The prison. It was the last place a passer-by expected to see an average sized, blue eyed, shoulder length brown haired woman to be walking into. The looked like that of a business woman dressed casually, warmly dressed with the primness of someone well learned. Yes, this was what Clarice appeared to the eyes of the public. She herself felt that she looked completely different. Of course people feel that they look the way they feel, and as Clarice was a bit tense, jumpy if you will, she felt she looked like an open book. Her whole life could be seen with just a quick glance in her mind. She stood out like a sore thumb, anyone miles away would see her only out of all the people swarming about. In her right hand a leather briefcase was gripped, in the left, sketches. They weren't hers, oh never. She could never draw as precisely as the artist did.
Into the prison she went. She found it was quite different from the one she had originally gone to; it was quite the appealer to the eye, marble flooring, columns leading up to a ceiling that was perfectly leveled and colored in an off-white, her thought were interrupted.
Clarice quickly came to her senses and looked at the owner of the voice. He was a ruffled looking man, but he knew what he was doing.
"I'm, ah, here to see Dr. Lecter." She explained in her southern accented voice.
The man looked at her, unsure. "Is this official business?"
"No. I, ah…came to visit."
"You know the rules?"
She nodded. "Oh yes, I've visited him before, back in the old prison."
The man stepped aside, letting her pass by him. She nodded her head thankfully and continued. The main entrance of the prison opened up into a large room where many different armed men wandered about, and there was an elevator. 5…Clarice thought in her head. Lecter would be on the fifth floor of the building. She spotted and elevator and moved towards it, across the room. She then quietly took the elevator all the way to the fifth floor, which consisted, so far, of another hallway. She walked down the hallway, dimly lit, and came upon a desk. Another guard sat in a chair behind the desk. He looked up, surprised.
"Are you here to-"
"Dr. Lecter. I know the rules."
The man nodded before glancing back down at papers scattered on his desk. Clarice took this as a signal for her to go on. She walked past as the wall curved into an open space. In the middle there was a raised section closed off with bars going all the way to the ceiling, and on top of that there was a section in between the barred off area and the floor around it that was set off with blocks of tape. Clarice's first thought was that this wasn't a proper cell for Dr. Lecter. He'd gone from a top notch security prison to this? He must've been enjoying the freedom, as little as there was. There was yet another man sitting in a chair, supposedly watching Lecter. He turned his head, saw the woman slowly approaching, and then got up to leave her to her privacy. As far as he and the other guard knew, she was a personal friend of Lecter, though she was really coming because, as a trainee on behavioral science, her employer had wanted her to try talking to Dr. Lecter. Before her no one had gotten any information out of him. All the previous detectives had been male, and highly certified. At their first meeting, Lecter had been surprised that Clarice was but a trainee.
She walked towards the barred area. Lecter was sitting in his chair, reading something, his back to her. As she walked her heels clicked onto the flooring. She tried to keep her breath. This was her third time coming to talk to a man who had murdered nine people, and beyond that, he had be sure to eat some of all them. His cases were referred to as 'The Cannibal'. And at their first meeting Clarice had been quite scared of the man. Back in his old holding place, he had been separated by people with a plastic-glass sheet that acted as one of his walls. She stopped at the edge of the taped off section. It clear that it was a danger to walk past, for then surely Lecter would eat you.
"Good afternoon, Miss Clarice."
She was hardly surprised that he knew her without looking. "I thought, you might want your drawings back, at least until you get your view." She slowly bent over, and slipped the little bundle of sketches underneath the tape and towards the bars.
"How very nice…or did Campbell send you here for one last wheedle-before you're both booted off the case?"
"Nobody sent me. I came on my own." Clarice stated.
Dr. Lecter set his book down, turned his chair around and smiled coyly at her. His blue eyes never wavered from her gaze. Clarice admired his strong sense of control. He never seemed uncertain or over the edge. Always calm…seductive.
"People will say we're in love…Pity you tried to fool me, pity for Catherine, tick tock."
Catherine's name startled Clarice. She had forgotten that she'd come to get more information on Buffalo Bill, a notorious murderer who skinned his victims, whom had recently abducted a lady by the name of Catherine. Dr. Lecter claimed that he knew who Buffalo Bill was, so Clarice was doing everything she could to get him to tell her who he was. Lecter spun around in his chair, playfully almost. Clarice began circling the cage, heading to where he was facing in his chair.
"Dr. Lecter…you find out everything. You couldn't have talked with this 'William Rubin', even once, and come out knowing so little of him. You made him…didn't you?" She spoke of the character Lecter had spoken of to Catherine's mother, the senator. She couldn't say she was surprised that he would lie to people.
"Clarice you're hardly in a position to accuse me of lying." Came the rich voice.
"I think you were telling the truth in Baltimore-or at least starting to. Tell me the rest now." She demanded, coming around to face him.
He leaned forward in his chair, his eyes still never leaving her own. "I've read through the case file…have you? Everything you need to find him is in these pages. Whatever his name is."
"Then tell me."
"First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing, ask: What is it, in itself, what is its nature...? What does he do, this man you seek?"
"He kills wome-"
Lecter leaned sharply forward, his voice thick. "No! That's incidental." He rose to his feet, and slowly crossed his small section of what was his 'home' to the bars, gripping the cold steel in his hands. "What is the first and principal thing he does, what need does he serve by killing?"
"Anger, social resentment, sexual frustration-"
"No. He covets. That's his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things we covet? Make an effort to answer…"
"No. We just-"
"No. Precisely, no. We begin coveting what we see everyday. Don't you see eyes moving over your body, Clarice? I hardly see how you couldn't." He stopped for a suggestive smile. "And don't your own eyes seek out what they want?"
Clarice was silent, hesitant, for a few seconds. "Alright…yes. Now tell me-"
"No. Clarice it's your turn to tell me. Tell me why you ran away from that ranch."
Clarice shuddered. He spoke of her childhood, which she briefly had described to him before. How her mother was dead for her from an early age, how her father was murdered, how she came to live at a ranch with her cousins, and then ended on her running away after ten months.
"Dr. Lecter when there's time I'll tell-"
"I don't reckon time the same way, Clarice. This is all the time you'll ever have."
Clarice started to slightly panic. She had only been given five minutes to speak with Lecter.
"I'll listen now. After your father's murder you were left orphaned. You were ten years old. You went to live with cousins, on a sheep and horse ranch in Montana, and-?"
Clarice was silent. He certainly had a brilliant memory. "And…one morning…I just ran away."
"Not just, Clarice. What set you off? What time did you start?" Lecter was staring intensely at Clarice, hungrily ready to drink in all that she would say.
"Morning-it was still dark."
"Then something woke you. What? Did you have a bad dream?"
"Yes. I dreamed…I heard screaming…a strange sound."
"What was it?"
"I don't know. I went to my window. I heard more screaming…strange screaming like a child's voice."
"What did you do, Clarice?"
"I crept to the barn…I was so scared to look inside, but I had to…"
"And what did you see, Clarice?"
"Lambs…the lambs were screaming…"
"They were slaughtering the spring lambs?"
"Yes! They were screaming."
"So you ran away…"
"No. First I tried to free them, open up their pen, but they were so stupid! They just stood there…confused…they wouldn't run."
"But you could. You did."
"I took just one lamb. And I ran away as fast as I could…"
"Where were you going?"
"I don't know. I had no food or water. It was very cold-very cold- I thought if I could save at least one…But he got so heavy…so heavy…" She paused, deep in thought. The scene kept replaying itself in her mind. Herself as a small girl picking up the soft, baby lamb, and then running with it.
Dr. Lecter was just looking at her, knowing. He knew she wasn't finished just yet. And he was getting into her mind. Being a former phyciatrist, he understood exactly how the human mind worked, and he was getting a good feel for Clarice's mind.
"I didn't get more than a few miles before the sheriff found me. The rancher was so angry he sent me to live at the Lutheran Orphanage in Bozeman. I never saw the ranch again…"
"What became of your lamb?"
Clarice was silent, her eyes frosted over with a faraway look in them. Lecter easily recognized it. "Clarice?"
The woman looked into Lecter's feverish eyes, so blue and penetrating. "They killed it."
"You still wake up, don't you? Still wake up in the dark hearing those screams?"
"Yes…" She knew her five minutes were almost up, and although Lecter looked as if he were about to respond, she had to look away. She was expecting to see the guards coming towards her, ready for her to leave. But…she saw only the two. They were talking in hushed voices, and then…they left. They both walked out of the room, leaving her alone with a cold hearted murderer. But he wasn't cold hearted.
Lecter had been watching the two guards as well, and he smiled sweetly when Clarice turned her head back to him. She's long since forgotten her true reason for coming to see Lecter-to find out who Buffalo Bill was-and Lecter quickly decided not to remind her.
"It would appear we have been abandoned."
Clarice suddenly came to her senses. "Dr. Lecter, tell me his name."
"Will you ever let me know if the lambs stop screaming?"
"Tell me his name…"
Dr. Lecter began tisking her, as he usually did when he didn't want to answer. "Tisk…"
Almost in a trance Clarice dipped underneath the taped section and went came closer to the bars. Lecter watched with interest.
"Yes…I will tell you."
He smiled, waiting for the catch.
"But only if you tell me his name."
"Perhaps I'd be more apt to agree if you'd so kindly come into my home, if you could call it that."
Clarice instantly stiffened. She had gotten very brave by coming as close as she did to Lecter, and she feared for her skin at his words. She didn't think he would harm her, but there was a small voice in the back of her head, just shouting in panic.
"Don't lose your trust now." Lecter prodded.
"Dr. Lecter, I hardly think it proper for me to-"
"No, no Clarice. I'm not Dr. Lecter. My name is Hannibal…please, just call me Hannibal. We do not need formalities."
Clarice nodded; Hannibal was indeed his first name.
"And you will come in."
Clarice had to nod again. Slowly she began walking back around the cage, towards the locked door, Hannibal slowly following from within the bars. Clarice reached the door to the cage and slowly tried to click it open, to hear a clink.
"Don't pull that." Hannibal hummed.
Clarice sighed softly to herself and pulled something out of her pocket-a thin, pointed object. A paper clip? Clarice, while giving Hannibal a quick glance with stern eyes, shoved the clip into the locked keyhole on the door and expertly picked at it until she heard a clank. Hannibal smiled at the sound. Clarice then opened the door slowly, letting it swing in. She stepped inside, easily but cautiously.
"Close the door."
Clarice stared at him for a long time before finally swinging the door shut, though she was careful not to close it all the way for fear of being locked in.
Hannibal Lecter smiled and gazed for a long while, it'd been a long time since he had met a woman, let alone a woman who tried to understand him. He had a great level of respect for Clarice, and he didn't want to scare her away from his company, but for so long he had wanted to be able to just touch her hand. Just to make sure she was a person, and that she was really there.
"Come." He said, using his finger to make a pulling gesture towards himself.
Clarice stiffly took a few steps forward and stopped.
Hesitantly she obeyed another few steps. She was now about and arm length and a half away from Hannibal.
Hannibal had to let a small chuckle escape him. "I were going to harm you in any way, don't you think I would've told you the first time we met? I would've never been so open with you all this time. Your sudden fear insults me."
Clarice held up her head, and then deliberately took a long step so that she was now only a half arm length away, close enough to feel his cold breath. Hannibal smiled widely as this.
He looked down for a second. "Hold out you hand."
Clarice slowly lifted her arm up and presented her hand. Hannibal looked at it softly before raising his own hands to touch it. His hands were surprisingly warm compared to his cold eyes and breath. They were hard, as they appeared, on the contrary. He was quite the expert at calming. As soon as he had began slowly caressing her hand, in what looked like amazement, Clarice relaxed. Hannibal sensed her calmness instantly, and shifted his gaze to her eyes. He lost interest in her hand and moved his fingers to her cheeks, slowly letting them glide down her neck and then her shoulders. Clarice let her own hand, still raised and pointed, slowly drop back to her side as Hannibal explored her with his hands. He didn't touch anywhere inappropriate; rather, he was very amazing with simple body parts, such as the elbow, or palm. Slowly his hands rose back to her cheeks. He let his right palm rest on her right cheek while his left traveled downward and grasped her left hand, the one that had been held up to him. He gently raised it up again, placing it on his own cheek. Clarice tried not to jerk; his cheek was stone cold. How could his hands be so warm while the rest of him was cold? Her attention was distracted by Hannibal leaning in to her. She was afraid at first, afraid he was going to bite into her face and eat her like he did his victims. She vaguely remembered Campbell telling her about the time when Hannibal was being treated for back pain-all his restraints had been removed, his face mask, and the belts that held him to a bed. He had bit her, and a bloody mess it had been according to the photo she'd been shown. But what she finally felt was completely different. It was but a kiss, not a vicious bite. It was a good kiss, nonetheless. Warm, everything the man looked the opposite of. It was gentle as well, gentle and capturing. Clarice let her hand, resting upon Hannibal's cheek, move just a little, but enough to break the spell. Hannibal slowly pulled away, his eyes soft, and different than they had been only a few moments ago. He removed his hand, backing a few steps away, with that same coy smile pasted across his face again. Clarice opened her eyes finally, they were wild.
"You seemed frightened. Didn't think bad thoughts, did you?"
Clarice could never lie to Hannibal. He could too easily tell the difference between a lie and the truth. So she nodded.
Hannibal slowly shook his head at her. "I'd never."
Echoes were suddenly heard, and they were recognized as footsteps, returning footsteps. Clarice quickly turned and bolted out of the cage, closing the door shut behind her. She started walking towards the desk, where the two guards were seen, coming back. They looked rushed, and when they saw her coming they sighed in relief.
She stopped and looked behind her. Hannibal stood pressed against the bars and holding some papers.
"You do want these files don't you?"
"Yes…" She whispered. The guards saw her turned and starting walking towards her. "Your time is up." They kept saying. She dodged them and flew to the cage, grasping the file. For a second time was still, and she felt a finger brush her own. Her eyes locked with Hannibal's for that second, and she knew. She knew she'd never forget, or move on. His eyes would haunt her long to come.