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Holmes and Hannibal (short story)

Posted on September 26, 2009 at 1:50 AM

[Detective Sherlock Holmes walks cautiously down a dark, stone walkway; barred cells lining the far wall. He slows as he reaches the end of the corridor and removes his coat. Holmes takes a seat on the foldout chair propped several feet from the glass wall of the last cell; placing his coat and briefcase against its legs. He exhales deeply. Dr Hannibal “the cannibal” Lector—the sole occupant of this maximum security prison floor—is stirred awake by the presence of his reluctant visitor.]


HOLMES: Good evening, Dr Lector.

LECTOR: [Silence] Good evening detective. How was your flight from London. Uneventful I hope.

HOLMES: Fine, thank you.

LECTOR: [Lector sits up from his bed and rubs his forehead, but still manages to avoid eye contact with Holmes] And where is the young Dr Watson. His absence is unfortunate, but considering the heated manner of our last … exchange, not surprising.

HOLMES: Dr Watson is fine. Regrettably he has some unfinished business to tend to in York, and was unable to come. He sends his regards, nevertheless.

LECTOR: I’ll bet he does. [At last Lector stands up and faces the glass. Holmes removes his cap and nods respectfully] So tell me, what brings you all the way down to my humble abode? I don’t expect it’s the delightful ambiance.

HOLMES: Dr Lector, I’ve come to seek your advice on a difficult case that I’m investigation at present. You may have heard of the serial killer terrorizing villages throughout Northern England. Well the task of finding him has been re-assigned to me.

LECTOR: Hmm … and in your desperation you came down here … down to this miserable dungeon of mine … against your better judgment I should think.

HOLMES: In so many words, yes.

LECTOR: Honesty; a noble quality, but somewhat useless in our line of work.

HOMLES: “Our”?

LECTOR: Yes, you and I, we are both of us students of the human mind; its motivations; its desires; its … darker pathology.

HOLMES: Perhaps, but for the moment I only want to understand one mind.

LECTOR: Yes. [Lector turns back to his cell] This killer you seek; as I recall the papers are calling him the “Bloody Surgeon” though I have no idea why, as the knife wounds in these murders appear to be particularly brutal in nature.

HOLMES: The name refers to a specific aspect of the murders which have been concealed from the press and which I divulge to you now in the strictest of confidentiality. Each of the five known victims has had an organ removed from their body.

LECTOR: Really? [Lector turns back to the glass]

HOLMES: Yes, the first victim, a waitress named Mary White had her liver cut out. The second, a barrister called Thomas Groves had his tongue removed. Next was Daniel Porter, a tri-athlete who had his lungs detached, followed by Sally Winnfield, who lost part of her brain. Finally, their was Tyrone Young, the most recent and most publicized victim, a British soldier who was found missing his—

LECTOR: Let me guess, “his heart”.

HOLMES: How did you know that? That information wasn’t released to the press.

LECTOR: Call it a lucky guess. I’d like to think you’ve at least formulated a theory as to what you’re dealing with.

HOLMES: I have. I believe the killer is a cannibal.

LECTOR: And that he is removing these organs to be consumed later. What are the incisions like? Are they rushed, messy, or are they well done; carefully sliced.

HOLMES: The cuts are excellent, as if done by a professional. The killer has taken great time and effort not to nip any of the other arteries.

LECTOR: Hence the name

HOLMES: And contrary to what the papers reported the murders were not brutal at all. Each victim died from a blunt stroke to the back of the head, killing them instantly. Their organs were removed and their skin was then stitched back up.

LECTOR: This one is beginning to interest me. Do you have the case file with you?

HOLMES: The case file is useless. There were ity>York, and was unab20found at any of the crime scenes. No fingerprints on or around the victims. No connection what so ever has been established between each of the locations and each of the victims.

LECTOR: And you haven’t got a clue who he is, how to find him, or what his next move will be. This one is cold, calculating and extremely careful. He knows what he’s doing and isn’t afraid to take his time. [Lector approaches the glass menacingly] So you have come to me in hopes of—what—establishing a pattern … building up a psychological profile? You didn’t come here to discuss the case with me at all did you? You came to study me.

HOLMES: What? No. I came to hear your thoughts.

LECTOR: Ha! You came here to catch the scent of a killer. How very stupid of you Mr Holmes. Your killer and I are nothing alike. True, our so-called crimes are similar in nature, but our motives are entirely different.

HOLMES: What do you mean “motives”?

LECTOR: [Silence] He scares you doesn’t he?

HOLMES: Dr Lector, what did you mean by “motives”? Are you telling me you have a theory on how he is choosing his victims?

LECTOR: What is your deepest fear detective? It’s not the killers you hunt, is it? It’s the unreasonable; the unnatural? You are a man of logic aren’t you? But some men aren’t looking for anything logical. Some men just act on impulse. Like your hungry little surgeon. Methodical as he is, your killer is a slave to the darker impulses that drive him to feed on the blood of the living. What you fear most is what you cannot understand – this killer … me.

HOLMES: [Whispering] Yes …

LECTOR: [Lector presses his nose against the glass and looks down on the cowering Holmes] You’re afraid, but your not a coward. You stalk him like a wraith; I see it in your eyes, but this one is smart. You must meditate on the nature of his crimes. Hunt him for what he truly is, a monster. Glimpse the skull beneath. Look past the face and see you enemy!

HOLMES: But how, he has no face to me.

LECTOR: That’s because you’re looking at him all wrong. The man you seek … is not really a man at all.

HOLMES: What? The Surgeon is female? What makes you think that?

LECTOR: The surgeon is a witch-doctor. Why else would she be collecting those specific organs? She is a student of the Vudu cult. Follow the potion trail and you will find her. Farewell Sherlock! I look forward to our next encounter...


[Lector then switches off the light of his cell and lies back down on his mattress. Holmes tries to get more out of him, but Lector refuses to say another word. Eventually Holmes picks up his coat and briefcase and walks slowly back up the dark corridor of empty cells.]

Categories: WRITING, Short Stories

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