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Jack Crawford sat behind his desk when it arrived. Such an innocent package. The brown paper envelope held no sign of the information it contained. The label was typed and the post mark was England. He sighed and opened the envelope. Inside were two boxes and a white envelope. Laying the contents on his desk he opened the envelope and removed the crisp white paper within.
Enclosed with this letter you'll find a video please ask the director and anyone working on the Lecter case to watch it with you. You'll also find another box. The box contains blood and hair samples along with a fingerprint card. The lab will find them a match to Dr. Lecter. The tape will explain everything I hope.
Clarice M. Starling
Crawford sat back in his chair stunned. Clarice Starling had been missing for two years. She was presumed dead after the lake house incident. Paul Krendler's body was found in the corner of a garage and traces of blood were found in the kitchen. The blood had been degraded but it was found to be female. Everyone had given up hope that she would be found alive and after a year passed most had given up hope of finding her at all. He picked up the video case and looked it over. He picked up the phone and made several calls. The meeting was set up, the samples were sent express to the lab for immediate analysis.
The following afternoon three men were gathered in the conference room of Behavioral Science. The audio technician had set up the T.V. and left. Jack Crawford stood and looked around the table.
"Yesterday I receive an unexpected package." he started. "From Clarice Starling."
"Are you sure it was from Starling?" the director asked surprised.
"I had the handwriting analyzed and fingerprints taken. It's from her."
He produced the letter, in an evidence bag and placed it on the table. It was passed along the table.
"The samples she mentioned have been processed and do match Hannibal Lecter."
He passed copies of the evidence analysis around.
"This says there were traces of cyanide in the blood." Agent Burke, now lead on the Lecter case, said.
"Yes it does." Mr. Crawford replied. "She says the tape will explain everything. So if everyone is in agreement we'll watch it now."
The men nodded and Mr. Crawford started the tape then took a seat. On the screen the background was a bedroom. A large four poster bed could be seen. Heavy black curtains were pulled closed around it. A chair sat in the foreground. The image wobbled slightly as someone adjusted the camera, a moment later Clarice Starling stepped into view. She took a seat in the chair and took a deep breath.
"I know you all probably have many questions and I will do my best to answer them. I know the world thought I was dead and I have an explanation for that as well as a reason why you are seeing this video instead of speaking to me in person. So I will start from the night I disappeared. After witnessing Dr. Lecter's abduction by Mason Verger's men I went to the Muskrat Farm with the object of stopping Verger's plans of torture and execution. It is my belief that torture is inhuman in any case. My plan was to apprehend Dr. Lecter and bring him back so justice could be served. As you can tell my plan didn't work out. I was shot and the doctor decided on a plan of his own. The next few weeks are a bit of a blur. I was heavily medicated and undergoing some intense therapy. To put it simply: brainwashing." She paused here to gather her thoughts.
"Dr. Lecter kept me medicated until just under year ago when a medical condition required that he cease the daily injections he used to keep me complacent. Once the drugs were out of my system I started to remember things. During the time I was not medicated Dr. Lecter kept a very close eye on me to be sure I didn't remember anything. So I couldn't contact anyone without raising suspicions. Until this morning he believed I was still under his control. We travelled quite a bit the first year or so but we eventually settled here in England. A small town about fifty miles north of London called Bedford." Again she stopped then pressed on. "The reason we settled is the same reason I am not there in person. The medical condition that prevented the injections and constant travel was…pregnancy. Upon finding out that a child would soon join us he found us, what he deemed, a suitable home far enough away from prying eyes that he could stop the injections, so not to risk the child, and not risk any of my memories being recovered. He was very…attentive…throughout the pregnancy barely letting me out of his sight for more than five minutes. The memories did come back, slowly at first then rather quickly. Once the baby was born he was more willing to leave me alone knowing that I would never do anything to risk our child. Thanks to the internet I found out that Paul Krendler and Mason Verger were dead and that the world thought I was too. The past year has been quite trying, playing a part that I never wanted, keeping him convinced I was ignorant of my past and believed the fake memories he had fed me under sedation after the Muskrat Farm. He was right about one thing though. I would never risk our child. My child will not suffer for the sins of its father."
She stood and walked to the bed. Pulling aside the curtains she revealed the reposed body of Hannibal Lecter. She walked behind the camera and it moved closer to the bed. She stepped around the camera and picked up some items from the nightstand.
"Jack I'm sure you'll recognize these." she said holding up a vile, a fingerprint card, and a small evidence bag. "These will accompany this video tape to your desk."
She proceeded to fingerprint the body then took blood and hair samples. She placed them into a box and showed the camera as she carefully sealed it.
"From my hands to yours. Or to your lab techs. Either way." she said then sat on the edge of the bed. "Your tests will show that it's him. It will also probably show that he had a rather large dose of cyanide in his system when he went gently into his good night about an hour ago."
She picked up the tea cup on the nightstand and dropped it into waste bin. Every man in the room winced when it collided with the bottom of the metal can but Clarice just smiled.
"A peaceful end to a violent life. Many of you may not agree with it but it had to be done. By the time this video reaches you his body will be nothing but dust. He knew I would outlive him given our age difference and was sure to explain his final wishes to his loving wife. He asked to be cremated and his ashes to be scattered. I am carrying out this final request for one reason. That reason is sleeping soundly in the nursery right now. As for me and the baby we're leaving. A new life with new names and a new home. Dr. Lecter was quite good with money and had set aside enough for us to live quite comfortably in the event of his death. The F.B.I. could not find a link to any wrong doing regarding Dr. Lecter's accounts at the time of his incarceration so I do not feel the least bit guilty for using this money to provide for his child. I consider it restitution for stealing two years of my life. I won't be coming back to the States. I will not have my child labeled as the monster's offspring. Nor will I have my baby put into the system because someone decides they want me prosecuted for whatever trumped up charge they can come up with. During my time with Dr. Lecter I know of no crimes he committed other than being a fugitive. I may not be charged with anything but then again I was right about Krendler and Verger. Better safe than sorry. So this is where we part ways. You can talk to the coroner in Bedford. I'm sure he'll rule it a heart attack. I'll be sure to give him permission to release the records. The name is Edgar Phillip Myers. He died at ten-thirty seven on April the twelfth." she finished then stood. The camera view was empty except for the body on the bed. A moment later the screen went black.
The occupants of conference room were stunned into silence. A full two minutes passed before anyone spoke.
"Burke, since you're the lead on the Lecter case, contact the coroner in Bedford. Get the records released to us. Do not mention a connection to Lecter. This information does not leave this room." Director Noonan said. "Once we have all the facts a statement will be issued to the press."
"What about Starling?" Agent Burke asked.
"Clarice Starling is dead." the director said then stood. "After what she must have went through at the hands of that man that's the least we can do."
Everyone nodded and the conference room cleared. Within the day they had the coroner's records faxed over and after a brief conversation with the coroner himself Agent Burke found himself in Director Noonan's office with the director and Mr. Crawford. He handed over the copy of the coroner's report. The director read it over and passed it to Crawford.
"He ruled it a heart attack." Agent Burke said. "I talked to the man. He said the body was cremated and the wife, Katherine, took the ashes. She said she was taking them to Paris to be spread near the school he attended." Agent Burke paused for a minute. "I also checked flight records. There was a flight from London to Paris two days after the tape was made. Two first class tickets were purchased under the name Mrs. Katherine Myers with the specification one would be for a baby's travel seat."
"I told you not to worry about her." the director said.
"Don't you at least want to talk to her? Find out how they got out of the country? Where they went after they left? Just because she says she doesn't know about any crimes he committed doesn't mean he didn't commit any."
"No. Starling is dead. I will make a statement to the press tomorrow morning. Hannibal Lecter is dead. Case closed."
"What if the press asks about Starling? Their names have been connected since Baltimore."
"Lecter had a heart attack and made a death bed confession. She's dead. No details where her body is or how she died." Mr. Crawford said.
Director Noonan nodded. Agent Burke, seeing his superiors wouldn't give in, nodded.
The following morning a press conference was held in Washington D.C. The director of the F.B.I. accompanied by the head of Behavior Sciences stood at the podium surrounded by reporters and camera crews. The media liaison introduced Director Noonan.
"I thank you all for coming." the director said. "We, at the F.B.I., want the public to know we work very hard to keep them safe and to would announce the discovery of the location of the fugitive, Hannibal Lecter."
The reporters went mad shouting questions. Once the crowd settled again the director spoke again.
"I know you all have questions but if you'll bear with me I'm sure we can answer them. Firstly, the man is not in custody. As agents were closing in on him he suffered a massive heart attack. Hannibal Lecter is dead."
A reporter from the back asked if they were sure it was him.
"D.N.A. and fingerprints have been confirmed."
A few other questions followed about the where and the when which were answered then came the reporter from the National Tattler. His question was about Clarice Starling. Had she been found too?
"Unfortunately Special Agent Starling was not found. Before his death Dr. Lecter informed agents that she has been dead since her disappearance two years ago. The location of her body and the details of her death were not given before he passed. A memorial however is going to be put up in Arlington in her memory. She was a fine agent to the very end."
A few more questions were asked and the conference ended.
The news spread like wildfire through every media outlet. Every paper and news station covered it. The National Tattler's headline read: 'Cannibal Dead' and included a four page article detailing Dr. Lecter's rise to the top of the most wanted list. Gruesomely detailed accounts of his crimes, capture, and trial covered the majority of the article. A brief paragraph about his dealings with Will Graham on the Dolorhyde case and an entire page dedicated to his interactions with Clarice Starling on the Buffalo Bill case and escape. It included details of his return along with Krendler's death and Starling's disappearance. It finished with the details the F.B.I. had released about his death. It was this paper that sat on the table on the terrace of the beautiful home overlooking Buenos Aires. The woman, formally known as Clarice Starling, sat with her four month old son in her arms watching the sun set. The baby was quite content to watch the colors play across his mother's face as the sun disappeared. The baby's eyes suddenly caught a movement behind her. He watched the figure approach and squealed with delight when a finger caressed his cheek.
"He's supposed to be going to sleep Hannibal." she said smiling.
"How can he sleep with such a vision of loveliness before him?"
"We'll miss our reservations if he doesn't sleep soon."
"Let's skip the reservations."
"I thought you wanted to celebrate your death."
"I'd rather stay home and celebrate our life." he said leaning in to kiss his wife.
"That sounds perfect." she replied when they parted. He gently took the baby.
"Come along little fellow let's cancel the sitter and I'll teach you how to make a proper red sauce. We don't want you growing up thinking sauce should come from a can."
Clarice rolled her eyes at her husband's teasing before following them inside. The baby was placed in his carrier while his parents moved about the kitchen preparing dinner. Clarice playfully slapped her husband's arm when she caught him allowing the baby to taste the sauce. The baby giggled and smiled eventually falling asleep just before dinner was served. His parents kept him close watching over him while he dreamed as he was their dream come true.