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La Verita Fa Male
(The Truth Hurts)

copyright 2001, by Dottor Cortese

Disclaimer:    The characters Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling were created by Thomas Harris.  They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of admiration and respect.  No infringement of copyright is intended, and no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this site.

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Clarice Starling sat in a chair on the corner of her terrace. It wasn't a particularly comfortable piece of furniture, just one of those standard white Rubbermaid outdoor chairs. Clarice didn't seem to mind. She lounged, casually sipping on her tea. Watching the birds flutter from tree to tree, she took in the scene of the impending sunset. The oranges, pinks, and reds of the sky gradually faded to purple and the sun vanished over the horizon, leaving only darkness behind. As she stared into the distance, the dark clouds floated across the rising moon and her thoughts shifted to the past.

It had been over a month since her last encounter with Hannibal Lecter, yet thoughts of him still plagued her mind. *Where are you Dr. Lecter? Are you watching the same stars as I am? Are you watching me right now, waiting for me to make the wrong move?* Clarice thought for a moment more and decided to retreat to the safety of her bedroom.

Inside, she glanced around, noting the usual disorder of her possessions. *One day I need to get myself straight. This mess is ridiculous!* In the kitchen, Clarice heard Ardelia's racket as she prepared dinner. A faint aroma reached her nose and she inhaled gratefully. Lasagna. She licked her lips and was drawn to the smell. She would not go to bed on an empty stomach tonight. 


She was pinned against the refrigerator, her hair caught in the door. Hannibal Lecter, mouth open, approached her as if to bite. Strangely, she felt no fear. He must have sensed this. "That's my girl." Dr. Lecter searched her eyes, leaned in slowly and kissed her squarely on the lips, lingering. Clarice snapped the cuffs on her own wrist and then on the Doctor's. It was all she could do.

As he opened an eye, she could see his disappointment. She was bewildered, lost in her own senses. Maybe it was the drugs. Maybe it was just shock. Clarice hadn't heard any of the questions Dr. Lecter had asked. When she returned to herself, she saw him wielding the butcher knife, ready to chop off her hand. She watched in slow motion as the cleaver glided down towards her wrist. She tried not to look.

Clarice heard the sound. A loud chop. With her eyes clenched shut, she wondered if this was what it felt like before one dies. A few moments later, she felt Lecter's hand glide over the skin of her cheek, wiping away the trailing tears. Opening her eyes, she saw him gazing back at her. Their eyes locked and she felt the intensity of his stare; he could see into her soul. When she looked down, instead of a missing hand, she only saw the knife lying at her feet.

She heard a faint chuckle. She looked up and was greeted with the rare site of a smiling Hannibal Lecter. This was some sort of game to him. When they made eye contact once again, Hannibal stopped smiling. Without leaving her eyes, he reached over to the counter and pulled back a fork. Taking it in his uncuffed hand, he held it up to her. "You didn't actually think I'd disfigure my beautiful little Starling, did you Clarice? Clip a bird's wings and it can't fly. Cut off a girl's hand and instead of live, she'd rather die." As he spoke, he easily unlocked the cuffs binding their wrists. He smiled again, "It's been a pleasure Clarice, I hope someday we'll meet again." And he meant it.

The only thought in Clarice's mind was *I have to stop him, but how?* Thinking quickly as Lecter turned to walk away, she forcefully grabbed his arm. Spinning around, the Doctor yanked Clarice forward, tearing her hair from it's vice. As waves of pain assaulted her, she used all her remaining strength to twist Dr. Lecter's left arm and body and shove him into the fridge as hard as she could. The strain she put on him was too much and she heard the loud snap of Lecter's forearm breaking.

At that sound, she let go, watching as he turned to face her, clutching his injured limb. By her shocked statement, he knew that she hadn't intended to harm him. "That was certainly uncalled for Clarice, but I'll forgive you, just this once. Don't let it become a habit." Clarice slumped down to the floor, relieved that he hadn't decided on the eye-for-an-eye style of justice, and watched him walk to the other side of the kitchen and grab a Tupperware container. Hannibal Lecter shot her one more glance before disappearing into the open doorway and from her view.

A moment later, Clarice got up and followed after him, trying to get a glimpse of where he was going. When she got outside, all she saw were fireworks, trees, water, and a boat. A boat. She hurried through the lightly wooded area to the edge of the water, hearing the sirens closing in on the property. Franticly shifting in every angle, she tried looking into the boat. Clarice lifted her arms high as the agents approached her, asking who she was. Peering into the boat as it drifted to a better perspective, she saw that it was empty. Dejected, she revealed to the other agents that she was Clarice Starling with the FBI and turning back to stare at the boat, bobbing softly in the water, she saw the reflected shower of sparks from above. Hannibal Lecter was gone. 


copyright 2001, by Dottor Cortese

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