Dream of Me
Twisted Love Stories
Carrying with her an unshakable feeling of foolishness, Clarice Starling made her way down the dimly lit corridor, ignoring hisses aimed at her by the occupants of the cells to either side of her. She allowed her fingers to curl a little tighter on the handle of her briefcase. unconsciously she fixed the neck of her blouse before she reached the last cell.
Again, Doctor Hannibal Lecter stood in the centre of his cell. A devilish smirk played at his lightly pink lips. He greeted her with a nod, requesting she sit on the chair that Barney had set out for her. She set down her briefcase and sat, crossing her legs.
"Good afternoon, Clarice," he was the first to break the silence, his maroon eyes piercing. Rather than finding them unsettling though, Starling was fascinated. Perhaps those eyes were how he noticed even the tiniest of details. It was because of the ability she knew he possessed that she had little hope he wouldn't notice the rings beginning to form under her eyes.
"Doctor Lecter, I thought I'd drop by and keep you company for an hour or so. I hope you don't mind."
"Oh not at all Clarice. I quite enjoy your company. It's a pleasant change to have someone here worth conversing with."
She nodded appreciatively, "Yes, thank you."
"It's my turn to ask you a question I believe." he stated tilting his head, waiting.
"Right then." He paused a moment to consider the woman seated on the other side of the glass. She tried to appear relaxed.
His mind ticked. "You haven't been sleeping properly. What's keeping you awake, Clarice?"
Against her will, her muscles tensed with the sudden flood of panic.
"Don't lie or I'll know."
She shrugged half-heartedly. "Nothing interesting; just a dream."
He narrowed his eyes and every shadow in the room flew to outline his two crimson orbs.
"That's not an entire answer, my dear. What is this dream about? What does it involve?" he urged her to continue.
She swallowed hard and silently refused to meet his gaze.
You're not to tell him anything personal, Starling. Believe me; you don't want Hannibal Lecter inside your head.
Well it was a bit late for that. He was going to find out eventually.
"You're in it actually," she said as casually as possible, all the while her heart fluttered like a hummingbird in her ribcage.
He lifted his eyebrows and pursed his lips, feigning surprise.
"I see. And where is this… dream of yours set?" His curiosity was obscured by the danger in his seldom used voice.
"In the room you're standing in, Doctor." She replied finally meeting his gaze.
The little voice in her head sarcastically slow clapped. Well done Cee. Now compose yourself, stand, and leg it all the way to Australia. Change your name to something with 'azza' on the end of it. You'll fit right in.
The corridor narrowed and the concrete walls closed in around her, the last ounce of breath wheezing out of her lungs in a shuddered breath. The glass only seemed to magnify his stare. She felt ridiculous.
Sharing dreams with a serial killer? Really Starling? You're like a teenager again, talking on the phone while absent-mindedly curling the phone cord around your finger. What are you supposed to say huh? Giggle and whisper 'hey, did you dream of me too?'
The look in the Doctor's eyes was one of amusement. The smirk was back.
She shrugged off the little voice, "No big deal, we were just-"
"We, Agent Starling?" he cut her off. His smirk was turning into a grin, growing wider with every verbal blunder she made.
"Oh, yes. You and… We were in that room..." Her eyes darted around his cell for an escape, a topic change, anything.
"You believe that is unacceptable Clarice? That you dream such things? What would Ol' Jackie Boy have to say about that, hmm?" He paused for a moment, his grin remaining but his eyes were dead serious. "What was the nature of the dream Clarice?"
"It's my turn to ask you something Doctor," she replied with more confidence.
"So it is."
The illusion of control was again hers, somewhat. She took a deep breath before continuing.
"What was Benjamin Raspail's relation to 'Buffalo Bill'?"
"Now that question has quite a story behind it," he brought his hand to rest under his chin, deep in thought.
The ambitious Clarice Starling leaned forward eagerly in her chair as Dr. Lecter finished telling her of Benjamin Raspail and Jame Gumb, though of course he didn't refer to him by name. Where's the fun in that? Then Starling would leave and be too busy to come back for talks. And how Hannibal Lecter coveted for an intellectual conversation. Besides, he needed her. His plan wouldn't work otherwise.
"Did you ever meet Buffalo Bill or see a picture of some description?" her West Virginian accent creeped in like mist under a closed-door.
"Indeed I did Clarice, but that is another question entirely. Now it's my turn to ask you something, is it not?" his deep, metallic voice was daring and it sent shivers up and down her spine. She crossed her hands in her lap and stared him squarely in the face as she anticipated and dreaded the question as the words formed themselves on his lips.
"What was the nature of you dream, Clarice?" his voice barely above a whisper. Her heart was pounding again. She dropped her eyes to her feet.
"I don't imagine the answer is on those second grade shoes."
"It was less than professional." she managed to mumble.
"Look at me, Clarice,"
Sorry, I choose life.
He was still waiting for her. He could see her battling with herself but in the end it was obvious who had won. She was a warrior.
With faux confidence, she trailed her eyes up his legs, his toned stomach, his chest, his neck, his chin, then she paused for a moment before shifting in her chair and looking into his eyes. A long silence hung over them before he finally drew a deep breath and began to speak.
"Why did you tell me truth so easily, Clarice? Why didn't you simply find a way around the question like I'm sure you do with so many others? Questions that you don't want to know the answers to even though your unconscious mind knows them already…"
Here we go, she thought, way to make an idiot of yourself Clarice.
"I told you, Dr. Lecter," she began, "because someone possessing your vast knowledge on the human mind should have no trouble at all finding out, and in my opinion, this way saves us, and Catherine Martin, a considerable amount of time."
He seemed to consider that for a moment. "Very good Clarice, but I think there's a little more to it than just saving time. Why did you really tell me, hmm?"
You've got to be kidding! Why must he see every goddamn thing? Ugh. What else is there to consider? Surely I don't like him. No of course not… that's reaching just a bit… but its true that I'm just a bit turned on by the gentleman thing he's got going on… shut up Starling.
"Why don't you tell me Doctor, since you know everything? I think it's my turn to ask something anyway."
He smiled, a sight that would frighten most.
"Very well. Remember though, you asked for it,"
Doctor Lecter, as always, took advantage of the situation quickly and effortlessly. Clarice quickly realised her fault as soon as he opened his mouth to speak.
'I think you told me, Agent Starling,' he began, 'because somewhere deep down beneath that rough exterior of a girl who has endured already one too many of life's hardships, you want me to know of this dream, perhaps even wish me to share it with you,'
And I'm certainly not saying I haven't…
'I believe Clarice, that you wish for me to be the one person, save your dear, dead daddy, that understands you. The whole you. You want me to see into every dark corner of your mind, even if it truly is painful. You're trusting me with your mind and for that, I thank you… but that's not all is it?' he paused for a moment and Starling shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
This is it, he thought, I've got her…
And then Clarice did something that one only witnesses once every twenty or so years. She surprised him.
'I'm terribly sorry to interrupt Doctor, but I'll have to stop you there for just a moment if you'll permit me.' It wasn't a question. Even if it was, she left no time for a debate.
"What you didn't see is that my daddy never did understand me and one might even go to such lengths as to say that it is because of him and his failure to carry out his service that I felt it compulsory to pick up where he left off and found my place in a corrupt law enforcement agency where no one understands me still… but I believe you do Doctor Lecter. Maybe it's your great knowledge or your being in a career that demands that you understand people… or maybe you know from personal experience. Do you know what it feels like to lose all those that you hold dear… and did you want so desperately to save just one small part… but you just weren't strong enough?
"Maybe you know what it's like to wake up at night to that one nightmare that has haunted your sleep since childhood. You wake up in a cold sweat but it still rings in your ears like a church bell in an empty cathedral and you just cant stop it…" She noticed his rigid stance and hard stare, but not a moment later, his composure returned as though calm rolled down from his hairline to cover his face.
Outwardly, he was the pinnacle of calm but in his mind, doors to the darkest rooms of his memory palace swung open and thoughts he had long since locked away flooded out in a tidal wave of painful. His sister, his dear baby sister smiled at him from behind his eyes and he remembered the sound of the axe falling - the wounded dear running in the snow. Clarice looked at him from behind the glass and he could tell that she was as shocked as he had been. Was she shocked at his wordless response or that she had been right? Probably both. He smiled to himself.
This will certainly be interesting…