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In the Absence of Faith

copyright 2001, by Ruth

Disclaimer:    These characters were created by Thomas Harris.  They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of admiration and respect.  No infringement of copyright is intended, and no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this site.

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Dr. Lecter sits in a chair on the foyer, between the stairs and the closed door to the elegant master bedroom, poised in deep thought. His hands are clasped and positioned at his lips, his elbows rest on the arms of the floral antique he sits upon. Dr. Lecter shifts as soon as he hears the bellowing of Clarice from the bedroom. The voice is deep and graveled, a chorus of rasps and growls.

He would begin soon. Against all he believed, he would begin soon.

Dr. Lecter remembers the point at which he stopped acknowledging any form of divinity, other than God’s cruelty and mercilessness. The recent events inside his and Clarice’s master bedroom only reinforce that acknowledgment. Dr. Lecter has finally accepted the fact that there is nothing clinically he can do to make Clarice better, just as he realized that there was nothing he could do in his childhood to save Mischa. He resents God equally for both these events. He is a psychiatrist, and the only reasonable solution for this serious dilemma, yet he is useless.

Because of his inability to cure Clarice of her ailment, if one can call it that, Dr. Lecter has been forced to choose. Forced to choose between the rational, modern plan of action, and the one that is unbelievable and archaic, even to those who had cultivated it centuries ago. He has studied the subject, and finds it little more than a persuasive substitute for true psychiatric treatment.

Still, Dr. Lecter has tried and failed with the drugs and therapy. The hypnosis only worsened Clarice’s condition, and still there are phenomena and occurrences that can be explained by no modern laws or theories. He has seen them himself. There are even more terrifying pieces of evidence between the violent convulsions and the all too accurate screaming of Mischa through Clarice’s mouth. Even Dr. Lecter cannot think of these occurrences without almost breaking his reserve; it is possible that Clarice Starling scares him.

No. Not Clarice Starling.

Though he does not fully believe what is happening, and still places his faith in the diagnoses he has come to know through study and practice, there is still something unexplainable. He has never been forced to accept a last resort in his life.

The screams from the room increase, and he hears the sound of his first name growled out in enormous decibels. It is time. Dr. Lecter rises from the chair and gathers the proper materials, sitting neatly beside him on a lamp table. The leather bound book seems quite superfluous, seeing as how he can recite the words from memory, but it is vital to the ritual, and so he brings it along. A vial of water rests beside it, lying on fabric of a rich purple.

The glimmering cross is what catches his eye. Picking it up with consideration, Dr. Lecter cannot decide which memory is most prominent in his mind – a clever invention of years past, or the painful incident only days before involving Clarice’s blasphemous violation of the symbol of Christ.

Another bellow from the room. It is cruel and taunting, beckoning him to get on with what he has set out to accomplish.

Putting his faith in something he has never contemplated before this day, Dr. Lecter picks up his materials slowly approaches the door. What lies beyond is unimaginable even to him. A single click, and the mahogany swings open. A blue light shines from near the bed – Clarice’s frail and broken figure lies spread across it, restrained at the wrists as if she were crucified lying down.

Dr. Lecter holds this vision carefully and objectively. With his head slightly tilted, and his eyes piercing, maroon mingling with the violet stole resting round his neck, he is completely comfortable to offer in salutation, “Good evening.”

Slowly, the scratched and sore-covered face leans up to greet him.

If one has never beheld evil before, they would be sure to recognize it in the vision Dr. Lecter sees before him. The smile is hideous, the pig-like eyes even more so.

With cracked lips and swollen tongue, the gnarled voice speaks one single phrase.

“What an excellent day for an exorcism.”


copyright 2001, by Ruth

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