By Jonathan Urban

February 16. 2001

(The character's Hannibal Lecter, Mason Verger, or any other ones from the novels by Thomas Harris are all property and copyright of his. I recommend all of the author's great novels: Black Sunday, Red Dragon, Silence Of The Lambs, and Hannibal)

NOTE: If you read this, please review! Good, Bad, or Indifferent, I appreciate all reviews!

--(Takes place between Red Dragon and Silence Of The Lambs)--

PROLOGUE: A Bitter Taste—The Present

Incarceration provides one with an opportunity to evaluate one's life... Not always such a prudent activity, as was the case with one such man--Dr. Hannibal Lecter. However, in his case he was not regretting any of his previous actions, except perhaps working in the field of psychiatry and assisting individuals such as Mason Verger...trying to help redeem them in some bastard definition of the word.

The name alone disturbed Dr. Lecter, who was not easily disturbed by anything. He was not disturbed that Verger was not helped by his sessions—nor was he disturbed about the day he manipulated Verger into cutting his own face off and feeding it to his dogs. He was disturbed that Verger was on the outside, free—able to satisfy his taste for young children—whereas Dr. Lecter was starving, his taste not satisfied for flesh...


The Past

The building was not unlike most buildings in Maryland, it was architecturally dull, and built out of brick, and five stories tall. The building housed several different companies and organizations. There was everything from a local tax service company to a small psychiatric practice.

The latter was on the fifth floor, in a corner suite. The chief psychiatrist was a Dr. Hannibal Lecter, known for his professional manner and quality of service. In fact, he was used quite often when courts needed a psychiatrist to evaluate a person as to whether they were criminally insane or not. He took great pleasure in these high publicity cases, because they brought him plenty of new patients.

Today, Dr. Lecter was expecting such a case. A child molester, by the name of Mason Verger was recently charged with molestation of several minors, but since his wealth bought a very good and convincing lawyer, Verger was remanded to a secure psychiatric hospital.

Dr. Lecter read the articles in the paper, following the trail of mental and physical anguish that Mason Verger was wreaking on young children. He even offered his services as a professional witness, so as to show that Verger was no more insane than anyone else—that he knew good and well what he was doing when he sodomized a young eight-year-old girl. Dr. Lecter's services were nonetheless turned down.

Today was different... Dr. Lecter had been chosen by the court to evaluate Verger once a week, after his initial introduction into the psychiatric ward. Verger was brought from the hospital in a Maryland State Trooper's car, hands cuffed behind his back, to the office of Dr. Lecter.

Two Troopers escorted a scraggly Mason Verger to the elevator and then to the door of Dr. Lecter's practice. Sue Ellen, the receptionist, greeted them. She was a lovely woman, in her thirties, long, dark hair with blue eyes and a nice slim figure. "Dr. Lecter will be right with you," she motioned for them to follow her.

For a moment she felt Verger's eyes on her body—the very thought of that sick bastard looking at her made her uneasy, though she effectively managed a smile as she opened the door to the waiting room. She left the two troopers and Mason Verger, feeling once again his eyes crawling over her body, like some microscopic insects she could not brush off.

A few minutes passed and Dr. Lecter's door opened, "Hello gentlemen, my apologies for the delay, please come in." Dr. Lecter was average in stature and build, his hair receding, yet had a calm and comforting face. The troopers and Mason Verger followed Dr. Lecter into his office. The troopers placed Verger in a chair, hands still cuffed. "Dr. Lecter, we will be right outside the door if you need us."

"Very good, then I'll know where to find you," Dr. Lecter seemed impatient for the troopers to leave him alone with his patient. Dr. Lecter waited for them to leave and then looked across his desk at Mason Verger. Verger was in his early thirties, long blonde hair, hazel eyes, and an expression on his face that was definitely pretentious.

"Mr. Verger, I have been perusing your files most are a very bad person," Dr. Lecter placed the file down. "You like having sexual relations with little girls, Mr. Mason?"

"Fuck you!" Verger spit on Dr. Lecter's desk. "What do you want me to say...I enjoyed fucking little girls...well here's a news flash Doc...I like little boys as you see that anywhere in those fucking files of yours?"

"Mr. Verger—may I call you Mason?" Dr. Lecter remained his normal calm self, though thought quietly to himself, that this man before him must be truly a rotten bastard that should be serving up life in prison, being the girlfriend of a rather large man named Bruno.

"In growing up, Mason, did your daddy ever touch you...or perhaps mommy?"

"What the fuck does that have to do with anything—no, wait, let me guess—I was sexually abused by my father or mother, and this in turn would cause me to become the abuser," Verger laughed out loud, rather uncontrollably. "Yes Doctor, I too, took a psychology course or two in college..."

"I can see that Mason, and I'm sure you excelled in that course. Tell me, does masturbation kill you urge to fulfill your sexual promiscuity on others or does it heighten that urge?" Dr. Lecter smiled.

"Take these cuffs off me and I'll show you Doc—you'd like that wouldn't you?" Verger laughed again.

"Now now Mason, no need to be rude, I am merely here to be of service in helping you with your condition. Think of me as a tool for you getting better. We can be friends Mason—yes, think of me as a friend you can confide in."

Verger laughed his laugh, "Sure Doctor, whatever makes you feel better—especially if it makes you feel like you are accomplishing something..."

Dr. Lecter got up from his chair and walked to a bookcase, next to a window. He picked up a book, smiled when he looked at the title. "Do you know the one trait every person has the potential of—no matter his race, family's wealth, or place of birth—everyone has the potential for evil Mason. Whether or not we choose to fulfill this trait—that is up to conscience.

In that instant, Mason Verger saw in his mind the first little girl he ever lusted after. She was in a little dress, nice shiny shoes, running around. He rushed after her and when in reach, grabbed her and threw her to the ground violently. When he rolled her over, he saw his own face—the face of evil...

--To Be Continued--