Clarice woke suddenly. Her head hurt and she lifted her hand to rub it but realized she was restrained. She shifted slightly trying to remember what had happened.
"I'm glad to see you are awake, Agent Starling." a voice said. Clarice opened her eyes suddenly. She was lying on her side on a bed and sitting across from her in a chair was Dr. Lecter. Her left wrist was handcuffed to the metal headboard. The only light in the room came from a candle sitting on the desk to Dr. Lecter's right.
"What happened? Where's Graham?" she asked, her head still throbbing.
"Will is tucked away safely. He won't be bothering us anytime soon." Dr. Lecter replied.
Suddenly everything came back.
She and Graham had stopped to speak to Dr. Lecter about the case they were working on. She had waited in the car but decided to go in when Graham hadn't returned. She'd knocked but received no answer. She heard someone yell and entered the front door. Clarice had called out as she stepped inside. She had heard a noise from the den and turned that direction just in time to see Graham stumble from the room and collapse.
"Run." Graham had said before he lost consciousness.
Dr. Lecter crossed the threshold a moment later. His gaze landed on her. She had seen the empty needle in his hand and started backwards. She had reached for her gun but hesitated for a second and that was long enough for him to close the distance between them. He had dropped the needle and grabbed her hands. He knocked the gun from her hand. She had tried to pull away but had slipped on the rug by the door sending them both off balance. She had hit her head on the door and fell. Dr. Lecter's arms came around her as she fell. The last thing she remembered was him leaning over her, his eyes locked on hers then everything went black.
Now he stood and crossed the room. Clarice looked around trying to find something to use against him should the chance arise.
"Be still Clarice. You hit your head very hard. I need to be sure you didn't do any permanent damage." he said sitting on the edge of the bed. Clarice was very still while he checked her over. She winced when he touched the back of her head. He moved away when he finished.
"I'll give you something for the pain." he said picking up a syringe. Clarice shifted uneasily.
"No thank you." she said.
"There is no need to suffer Clarice."
"Aspirin would be fine."
"As you wish." he replied placing the needle back on the table. He disappeared into a door on the other side of the room. He returned a minute later with two aspirin and a glass of water. He waited while she took the pills then placed the glass on the stand beside the bed.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked once he had retaken his seat across the room.
"Special Agent Graham discovered my little secret. Though you were a surprise my dear."
"You're the Chesapeake Ripper." she said simply. He nodded. Clarice closed her eyes.
"What did you do to Graham?"
"He is merely sedated and stored in the basement until I decide what to do with him."
"If you kill a federal agent they will find you quick. Mr. Crawford knows we were coming here."
"I am not worried about the deductive skills of Jack Crawford."
"All the same if they find Graham or my body in the same shape they have found the others someone will put two and two together."
"Well then I'll just have to make it look like an accident."
"That shouldn't be to hard." she remarked. He studied her for a moment.
"What do you mean by that my dear?" he asked. Clarice gave a half hearted laugh.
"Graham's blood alcohol content is close to double the legal limit. We nearly hit a tree on the drive over. If he crashes they may check his blood but as long as what ever you gave him won't show up you'd be fine. Of course with the two empty bottles of scotch in the back and a half bottle of bourbon in the cup holder they may not even bother to check. If you push the car down a hill maybe it will explode. Tweak a few wires on the engine and they may not even find enough to test. Save you from having to find a place to ditch his car."
"You don't seem to care for Will much."
"He's an egoistical, self-centered, alcoholic bastard." Clarice answered without opening her eyes.
"I'd be easier to get rid of. They never test the passenger so you could give me anything you wanted."
Dr. Lecter was silent for a moment.
"Will mentioned you have a suspect, other than me that is." he commented.
"Frances Cole, a former mortuary worker, fits your profile to the letter. He has clippings of the murders. I think he is a real fan. He acted like he wanted to take responsibility for the killings but he lacks confidence. He may be a copycat in the future though."
"What did Will think?"
"He thought if we pressured the guy enough he'd confess."
"Do you agree?"
"I told him if we tried to pressure him he'd confess in the note they find pinned to his chest when he hangs himself from the support beams in his basement."
"Suicidal? That wasn't in my profile."
"No, but if the guy confesses in a suicide note I think the Bureau would ignore the lack of evidence that he wasn't the killer and enhance everything that proves he was. Then you'd just have to stop killing and they'd close the case."
"Perhaps I should stop by and encourage his confession."
"I'm sure you could. I think he'd do anything for you if he knew who you were."
"I must say Agent Starling you surprise me. You seem to have no problem with what I have done in the past and have even put forth several ideas to keep me from incarceration as well as given very sound plan for two more murders."
"I don't approve of what you have done Doctor, but I know the pasts of all of your victims. They were far from innocent."
"We both seem to have a wanting to see Will pass on but what about yourself Clarice? What atrocities have you committed that make you so willing to share his fate."
"My crimes are those I committed against myself."
"Tell me." he said simply. She opened her eyes and studied him for a moment. She rolled onto her back and winced. She chose a spot on the ceiling and kept her eyes there when she spoke next.
"I went against my better judgment. I should have gotten out of the car long before we arrived here. I should have had my gun out before I came through the front door and I should have shot you twice in the chest before you had taken two steps."
"Why didn't you pull the trigger Clarice? You hesitated."
"Just surprised I guess."
"That is a lie Clarice and we both know it. What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking about wolves." she replied, "Now if you don't mind Doctor my head is throbbing so unless you wish to kill me now I would like to sleep. Believe me you'll have an easier time giving me that needle if I'm asleep."
"As you wish Clarice. Good Night."
"Good Night." she replied as he extinguished the light then left the room.
Dr. Lecter stood outside the door of his guest bedroom until Clarice's breathing became even and he was sure she was asleep. Their little talk had surprised him a great deal though he would not show it. He ran over everything she had said as he made his way to the basement. Will Graham was tied to the work table in the middle of the room. Dr. Lecter studied him for a moment before taking a needle from the desk by the wall. He filled the syringe then slipped it in to Graham's arm. The doctor busied himself while he waited for Agent Graham to wake up. When he heard movement he turned.
"Good evening Will." he said. Graham struggled against his bonds.
"You may want to relax and enjoy the time you have left. After we've finished our talk we'll be taking a little trip."
Graham stopped and stared at Dr. Lecter.
"You won't get away with this. Starling was with me…"
"And now she is resting comfortably upstairs."
"What are you going to do with us?"
"I'm afraid you won't be around much longer but I may keep Clarice. She is an interesting young woman, though she doesn't seem to have a very high opinion of you." Dr. Lecter commented, "What did you do to evoke such feeling from her?"
"I didn't do anything to her." Graham said defiantly.
"She doesn't seem the type to hold such a grudge without cause. Perhaps I should ask her when she wakes."
"I don't care what she says. I didn't do anything to her."
"You protest a great deal for an innocent man Will." Dr. Lecter said holding his gaze, "Did you proposition her Will? Try to tempt her?"
Graham looked away but didn't answer. Dr. Lecter smiled.
"I see." he said simply.
"She came on to me. She only got this assignment because Crawford is trying to get on her good side. He wants in her pants as much as any one."
"As much as you Will?"
"I didn't do anything to her. She is just a tease."
"So she turned down your advances?"
"Don't lie Will. It is very distasteful."
"She wanted what she got and when she got it she changed her mind. I guess I'm not high enough on the totem pole."
"You have heard the adage Hell has no fury like a woman scorned."
"I don't believe anything could stop Clarice's fury. You ignited a rage within her Will and I think I will nurse the flames." Dr. Lecter said before slipping another needle into Graham's arm. The contents would break down quickly and any trace would be covered up by the alcohol already present. To be safe though Dr. Lecter planned to add a bit more alcohol to his system before following through with Clarice's plan. Dr. Lecter smiled as Graham slipped out of consciousness.