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Death in Chains

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Hungry. So, so, so hungry. Winter has been long and hard, prey fleeing from the woods to seek out warmth and food for themselves. He doesn’t like these herds, his quarry gathering as if they can sense the predator waiting for them on the edge. He hasn’t left these forests since he arrived here. Lithuania is a harsh place but it suits him well, at least until now. Now he has not fed for days, weeks, he does not know. Time has begun to blur on the edges, his mind fraying as the beast he tries so desperately to chain claws at its bonds. He stopped moving some time ago, when though he doesn’t remember, but snow has begun to settle around him. He lays there still as white flakes dust over him, wondering faintly that if he doesn’t move long enough would they bury him?

He’s so hungry, so hungry it hurts, that when he smells the whiff of blood he almost thinks he’s dreaming. But the smell is REAL it’s there, warm and coppery and so so close. He doesn’t know how he stands up or when he starts to run, one minute still as a corpse, the next racing through the woods like the hunter he was born to be. When he bursts through the trees into the clearing, sees three men just standing there he doesn’t think. It’s all instinct, a blur of claws and teeth and red, red everywhere. They’re nothing but mulch before he realises they’ve stopped fighting and he drops to his knees, lapping blood off frozen snow, tearing into flesh with the ferocity of a wild animal. Hunger does crazy things to men, especially when they weren’t quite men in the first place. He eats until he can’t anymore, then finally sated curls up in the snow. He drifts and sleeps, a wolf sated, the beast beneath his skin calmed.

In the bloodshed, in his hunger, he misses the children. The blood that drew him here comes from a cut in the young girl's neck, where if he hadn’t interrupted would have separated her head from her frail body. The boy, who shields his sister from the sight of the corpses, watches coolly as the creature sleeps. The boy is no stranger to the harsh world he has found himself in, not after the last few weeks, and he knows that the winter is harsh and there are more things in the dark, hungry things. But Hannibal Lecter is smart and though not yet fully a predator, aware of what he needs to do for survival.

“Mischa. Get the chains from the cabin.”