CHAPTER ONE: I’M ON FIRE
SUMMARY: Hannibal, now living and posing as a farmer in provincial France, still creates morbid tableaus to pass the time, while thinking and obsessing over Will, 24-7. Upon finding out that Will is now in France, Hannibal is driven to distraction – in his car. He is tempted to call Will, whom he hasn’t spoken with since that fateful night. Will, in his hotel room, gets a phone call that completely tips him over the edge. Both men work to the background music of Bruce Springsteen’s songs: “Fire,” and “I’m on Fire.”
Starlight and a slice of moon were all that illuminated the road that night, as he drove from the farmhouse to the cottage on the southern end of the province. Roads so lonesome and dimly lit gave way to what might be considered reckless indulgence; he enjoyed driving his stealthy vehicle without the lights on. Driving like this allowed him the feeling of being at home in his environment. He felt like a shark, gliding through a darkened sea, unafraid, king of all in the silent space of potential.
What he’d left in the farmhouse was his art. Art that could only be understood and loved for what it was by the one man whose actions sent him fleeing to this place. Will. Will, who knew him well, who betrayed him even better and who would inspire him, perhaps until the day he died. His path was that of the aesthetic murderer. His cannibalism, his unique choice…and his partner, Will Graham – the only one who might ever come to understand his gifts.
News of Will Graham’s present location piqued Hannibal’s curiosity and stirred him greatly. Will. Almost close enough to taste.
But now wasn’t the time to think of Will. Now was the time to sip imaginary flights of wine…red…white, pink? Now wasn’t the time for Will thoughts, no.
Hannibal saw several cheeses in his mind, the acquiring of which was one of the great perks of the area where he lived now, and he saw Will, by his side at the old table… Will lit by the flames of a dish served ritualistically, opening his lips to devour bones… and all. But now wasn’t the time to think of Will.
Music. He slid his fingers over the selection on display. Live music, Bruce Springsteen. Fire. Command.
The groove is sexy. This American knows how to please the ladies, he thinks. A man with a Dutch name. Easy, moody. Vocal introduction, verse.
“I know you’re a liar.
‘Cause when we kiss, … fire.”
No, it wasn’t the time to think of Will, whose eyes were always so glassy when the two of them sat beside the crackling fireplace, back in the old town house. Will, who never knew how to smile properly but whose smile, when attempted, was all about those glossy wet eyes. Will, whose eyes were so big and curious – but no, this wasn’t a good time to indulge in whimsical thoughts of Will.
“You say you don’t like it…but I know you’re a liar.
‘Cause when we kiss, … fire.”
Hannibal sucked in the sides of his cheeks and adjusted his seating. His hair, much longer now since the night he fled, fell in front of his eyes, his stubble more pronounced – he scratched at his short, scruffy beard and opened his mouth, wiping his bottom lip with his middle finger, tugging it slightly – unaware of the motion.
“Late at night, I’m takin’ you home
I say I wanna stay, you say you wanna be alone
You say you don’t love me, but you can’t hide your desire
`cause when we kiss, …fire.”
Will and that skin of his, as if he’d made a pact with the devil to always remain flawless and unblemished. Will, who even through the dark scent of blood and fear, smelled like everything that ever did and ever would arouse Hannibal, ever again. It was that flesh, the warm scent of Will’s personal mix of hormones and ambition – that maleness, the aroma of sweat trapped in facial hair, of a neck that begged to be licked in long, amorous tastes…Will, whose neck implored of Hannibal to seek beneath the buttons, rip aside the cloth and reveal, reveal that gorgeous chest, those succulent armpits, nipples to nibble on…
“Well your kisses they burn but your heart stays cool…”
Not a man of high fashion any longer, but still one who liked the feel of fine fabrics on his skin – Hannibal loosened the top few buttons of his black shirt. The last few notes of the song faded out. His breath seemed suddenly amplified by the quiet, and in the dark car, on that dark country road, Hannibal pulled over… to breathe.
How beautiful the stars looked. How lovely the trees were in silhouette, black on black. Such silence, such grace. He puffed his shaggy silver blonde hair out of his face and rested his head against the headrest – the car at a complete halt. Crickets did chirp and Hannibal, who felt uncomfortably bound by his pants, unzipped his fly and took out his cock.
With his head still bent backwards, he looked down at it, licking his lips. He always loved his own cock. He thought it perfect. Large and long, beautifully hued and smoothly strewn with only a few thick, lengthy veins. He admired how it looked in his hand, how hard he’d get, how impressive it felt as he softly stroked it beneath the sliver of moon and the gleam of starlight…
Will. Soft, parted lips, pink lips, full, petite, shapely…Will’s beard, his mustache, so trim and dark – open that mouth, let me see the glisten of saliva on your tongue, come bring me that mouth, come bring me the taste of your tongue, your dark pink pointed, wet tongue… come, come bring it, Will. Come, let me lick your lips, let me suck your lips into my mouth, let me feel your incisors with the tip of my tongue, your canines, let me pull your tongue with my own, around and around, breath me in Will… Will.
Hannibal’s hand was slick with clear fluid, he grasped the head of his cock and pressed his thumb down upon the hole, wiping it around, his fingers covered. Releasing his grip, he needed to taste of himself the sticky wetness…finger by finger he sucked, relishing his own pure taste…the taste of his own maleness, finger by finger – he licked.
He was tempted. The iPhone was right there. All it took was one swipe and a touch and he’d be able to hear Will’s voice. That’s all it would take.
Will. Would he ever stop thinking about Will. Was Will thinking about him? Or better yet, was Will thinking about him now, this second, this urgent millisecond? He looked at his stiff dick and then at his phone. One call, that’s all it would take.
Alone, as always, he tried to make the best of the meal that room service had left for him. Beef bourguignon – hadn’t it been Hannibal who once prepared this dish for him? Of course, the beef was, as always, questionable in its true origins, but that didn’t imply that Will didn’t enjoy it nonetheless. Will enjoyed all of Hannibal’s meals. He’d gotten over the fact that he’d eaten several dishes prepared with human flesh long ago. The food was the good part.
Of course, there were other good parts too, but Will always made sure he didn’t consciously recognize them.
He was in the mood for music when he came across the old Springsteen tune on his phone. He listened as he ate his meal.
“Hey little girl is your daddy home,
Did he go and leave you all alone,
oh… I got a bad desire,
I’m on fire…
Tell me now baby is he good to you
Can he do to you the things I like to
I can take you higher
I’m on fire…”
The music stopped. A phone call was coming in. Will, who lived in terrified anticipation of Hannibal’s call, learned to calm his automatic response of hyperventilating and realized that no, Hannibal never calls, nor will he ever. It’s just a mind game, Will tells himself, and as each moment passes, he prepares to answer. And this one – from a caller unknown. God, the anxiety that causes! Will feels the scar on his belly itch. He breaks out in a sweat.
Nothing. Nothing on the other end. Just breath. Soft breath…soft recognizable breath.
Will hears the voice he’s heard in every nightmare he’s known since the day Hannibal left him there to bleed out. It’s him.
He twitches, tears ready to form in his eyes. He hates this about himself, hates that Hannibal, with one word – his own name – has already brought him to tears. “Will.” He is calling him, saying his name.
“Hannibal.” It’s all going too fast for Will. All the regrouping and therapy and recovery – all the healing, all the coping – all the coping methods – they’re all disappearing. Hannibal is calling him and he wants him. There is nothing else.
“Hannibal, I’m… I’m sorry.”
“Shh, Will. The days of regret are long gone. We are no longer playing to the script of betrayal and irrationality. You are alive. I am alive. That is all that matters.”
“Will, I’m in my car right now. Pulled over to the side of the road. It’s very dark, very lonely. Nobody around for many many kilometers. Do you know what I am doing, right now, Will?”
The sound of Hannibal’s voice was softer than he’d ever heard it before. It enchanted him, made him want to lie down. He pushed away his plate and moved to the bed, where he felt compelled to remove his shirt. It was oddly hot in the hotel room. Was the heat always on this high?
“N-n-no…I don’t – wait, where are you?”
“I’m about an hour away from you. I could be at your room tonight. I could be in your room. Would you like me to come visit you, Will?”
What? Hannibal knows he’s in France? Wh – how? He knows where he is? “I-I-I don’t know…I’m confused. I’m sure you can understand that.”
Hannibal resumed stroking himself, he couldn’t resist. “On the contrary, Will. I think it is a moment of great clarity for the both of us. You are here. In France. It says… so much.”
Will’s face contorted. “I couldn’t live without you. I – you – you’re in my every waking thought, I can’t breathe without you… it’s like I need to be tormented by you. You’ve completely ruined my life!”
“Yes, and so it is.”
Oh how Will missed his cold quips, his psychoanalytical bullshit lines. He missed the shit out of everything this motherfucker was and more than likely still is, if not twenty times the fuck he was only a year ago.
“Oh my God, Hannibal… I’ve missed you so much.”
“I know, my beautiful, crazy Will. I think we should perhaps consummate this new arrangement when I arrive at your hotel suite.”
Will’s face dropped. Consummate? “What? Hannibal? You mean…fuck?”
“Yes, Will. Fuck. And then fuck again. And again. As I’ve been doing in my car with you for the past half an hour before I called you.”
“You jerked off in your car before you called me?” Will swallowed hard as he said this.
“Not quite finished, no. I have a very large cock, Will. I hope to show you quite soon. And yes, it is in my hand right now. What does that make you feel?”
Will laughed out loud. “It – it makes me feel like I have a fairly nice cock too, and – WAIT, what am I – what? What the fuck?”
“It will be very exciting to see you again, Will. The idea of it makes me want to come, now. On your face.” Hannibal was breathing hard as he spoke.
Well, he was alone – Will, unable to keep his pants on a minute longer, pulled his own cock out and started to pull on it. Being hard tugged on the scars along his lower abdomen, but for some reason, that seemed more than apropos…in fact, Will liked this idea.
“You may not recognize me, Will. I’ve changed quite a bit. I look like a wild long-haired farmer now…”
Will closed his eyes and imagined his old nemesis, sitting in his car, crazy silver hair, beating off, thinking of him. A wild farmer – hmm. How beautiful. Hannibal with long hair, wild hair. How different this was going to be.
“I find you quite attractive, Hannibal.”
“And I you, Will.”
“Only this time I don’t bring with me any surprises though. Still the same ol’ guy, just a little ragged and scarred…”
“Like a rag doll. I’m going to come on you now, Will. I’m watching my cock – it’s so stiff, Will, all because of you… you are making me come,” Hannibal gasped and stifled himself. “I am thinking of your open lips and I am coming… I am coming… Will, oh my God, Will…”
Will couldn’t even be bothered with his own cock, he was so engrossed in the sounds Hannibal was making as he self pleasured. He could jerk off after. Jerk off, shower, and get ready.
A moment passed in silence. Silence, like the starlight and the sliver of moon – all held in suspended animation and set to a soundtrack of exhausted breath and desire…held in suspended animation…held… held in…
“I will see you then, again, soon, Will.”
Will ended the call, and lay on his bed in disbelief.
The music resumed. Springsteen continued to croon.
“Sometimes it’s like someone took a knife baby
Edgy and dull
and cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul
At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
And a freight train running through the
Middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
I’m on fire
I’m on fire
I’m on fire….”
I beg you to listen to both of these songs and imagine Hannibal and Will’s story.