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Three.


And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.


A chill breeze rent the warmth of Wolf's Trap, crisping the leaves with the essence of approaching autumn. The Graham house stood empty, its yard torn up by tires, looking like a crime scene. Hannibal Lecter was pleased to see it, found it suitable to the occasion; and, with a hint of a smile, slipped his Jaguar into place in the driveway, gravel crunching softly as another breeze set the forest to rustling. He opened Will's door with his personal key (had Will ever noticed that he'd made a copy?) and stood back for a moment, letting the saturated, stuffy air wash out in the breeze. Then with all the elegance of a houseguest to a castle, Lecter stepped into the room, walking amongst the empty bottles that littered the floor and lined the walls. It was evening, certainly, and he supposed he must have only just missed Will Graham's departure, judging by the fresh-dirt scent wafting in from the yard.

Gloved hands moved the bottles off the table and onto the ground, clearing the table of messes, and with a flourish Lecter lay a pleasant ivory tablecloth, a golden table-runner, and a small plate from the cabinet, one of the few that wasn't still sitting in the sink.

It satisfied Lecter to open the curtains and see the small grave outside, bare dirt and a piece of carved wood. The location of the grave, and the dust on the curtains, told him all he needed to know. Standing from the table, Lecter strode out the door and up to the mound of dirt, reading with delight the name carved into the side of the whittled log. W I N S T O N, it said, in roughly hewn letters; Lecter savored the idea of Will's expression, carving the grave marker. There was a bloodstain on the white siding in the back of the house that Lecter had no trouble connecting to the grave.

Custom dictated, of course, leaving an offering behind -- both to recognize the dead, and to leave evidence of his visit. After some deliberation, he decided on a wildflower bouquet plucked from the nearby field, tied with fishing line; this would do nicely to adorn the bare earth while the grasses grew. Now, what to place to mark Will Graham's loss? The most satisfying option became clear to Lecter when the moon lit upon the grave. A short while later, Winston's skull rested upon the plate in the kitchen table, bringing the scent of earth indoors to mingle with the whiskey fumes. Hannibal looked upon it softly, considering how well it suited Will's spirit.

And now for the note -- elegant copperplate on firm cotton stock, perfect for any occasion. It had taken Lecter some time to decide what to write, on the way to the Graham house. Retrieving the note from the velvet-lined container in his pocket, Lecter gazed upon the wax seal, where the coat of arms of the Lecter House was traced shallowly, and placed the note gently upon the table.

He dallied no longer, and drove off to the west, knowing it would be the only way Will would think to go.


Transient as ever, this fleeting moment between departures and arrivals makes itself known in the most elegant ways...
Originally this was actually Chapter Four, because I had dedicated Chapter Two to writing about Hannibal in Italy -- but it felt redundant and I decided to satisfy my Hannibal cravings in one superior chapter rather than two lesser ones. As always, write what you think in the comments or in a Note! (I'll edit this with the links to the next chapter once I've got a couple put together. ^w^)</i>
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March 27, 2016
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