The first thing Will Graham sees is Jimmy Price. It’s so far from what he expects that anger throbs through him. All this? And Jimmy Fucking Price?
There’s a thundering noise. He’s strapped down prone, with something tight around his face. It takes a few minutes of disorientation for this to add up to an FBI helicopter.
He exhales a disconsolate noise. Jimmy glances his way, and notices Will looking back.
“Bad?” Jimmy asks.
Bursts of the last twelve hours flash back. The Red Dragon. Hannibal. The clutching embrace. The fall. Push. End.
Except it isn’t.
Probably a good thing the oxygen mask and neck brace relieve him of the option of answering.
Jimmy nods. “Yup.” He pops the ‘p’. “I thought so.”
Three hours earlier.
Will looks halfway dead: stab wounds, broken ribs, possibly a punctured lung if the frothy blood he’s exhaling is anything to go by, a broken arm from hitting the water.
Chiyoh looks up to the top of the cliff. Too high. Even though they’d avoided the rocks.
Hannibal is worse. Alongside the shot, he’s splintered his ankle, is concussed from the fall, and has lacerations and broken ribs. And he’s lost so much blood.
She can’t take both of them. That was the deal. Hannibal will just have to understand.
The shot looks like a through and through. But, there’s only a one in ten chance it has hit nothing vital. If it’s the spleen or liver? He might make it. But a severed artery? Or it pierced the abdominal cavity? He’s already dying.
It was always going to be Hannibal if there was a choice to be made about who to take.
As Will splutters up bloodied water Chiyoh sets the dinghy back to a low throb. Closer in to the shore she puts him over the side into the surf, letting the tide do the work. The hushing of the sea belies her thudding heart.
She drags Will onto the stony shore above the tideline. The sea won’t take him again, not yet. She rolls him onto his front, just so he won’t choke on his own vomit.
Chiyoh thinks of the Red Dragon’s killings: shoot the husband, use a knife on the wife and kids, make the husband watch as he loses what was his, and come for him after. The evening hadn’t run to Dolarhyde’s plan. But it had been close. And he’d been faster and stronger than they’d all anticipated.
The recording will be convincing.
In the distance, blue and red lights blare urgent around the headland.
She turns the dingy back out to sea.
In the hospital Jack Crawford finds Jimmy sitting outside Will’s room.
“He awake?” Jack asks.
Jimmy shrugs, “Zeller called, says you found something?”
Jack shakes his head, “It’s what we didn’t find. There’s no sign of Lecter.”
They’re both quiet.
Finally, Jack sighs, “The only thing I know is that this thing still isn’t done.”
E. E. Rhodes is an archaeologist who accidentally lives in the corner of a small castle in Worcestershire in England. She writes flash, cnf and prose poetry to make sense of it all. She has watched Hannibal 372 times.