The sun was already moving towards the horizon before Hannibal set out to return to Marsham Heath, plans settled behind him and the whole affair put to rest. By this time next week, Galley Field would be as empty and quiet as it had been when he had first arrived there over six years ago, fuming and hurt and plagued by nightmares, to take up residence in isolation.
His life couldn’t be more different now. That which he had sought to escape, he now rode towards, eager and anxious to be reunited. Will’s image blazed in his mind, in his heart, a brilliant light that he strained to reach.
He tried, and failed, to plan what he would say to Will. He never could predict his mate in anything, and did not trouble himself to do anything more than be prepared to tell him the truth, now that he had the details to supply in answer to the questions Will would most certainly ask him.
The little city of Moseley was lit by the time they passed through on their path to Marsham Heath, and the Capital was a haze on the horizon. The cloud of smog that had accumulated through the day reflected a yellow glow from the many street lamps, the light visible even from this distance.
The lamps at Marsham Heath were lit as well, a welcoming, beckoning path to guide him home, and Hannibal urged his horse faster, saying, “Quickly, now, Berger, and we might make dinner!”
“That’d be welcome, m’Lord!” Berger called, his sturdy little horse catching up quickly.
Mr. Thatcher had the door open right as he reached it, leaving Berger to hand the horses off.
“Have I missed dinner, Thatch?”
“No, my Lord; however, his Lordship has requested a tray in his suite,” Mr. Thatcher said, locking up the front door for the night. “Just as well. The dining room truly isn’t as we should prefer. Would you like me to send a tray to your suite as well?”
“Has it gone up yet?”
“No, my Lord, not quite as yet,” Mr. Thatcher said, shuffling to his side. He should have been retired ten years ago, Hannibal realized. It was certainly time for him to honor his duty to the people in the Lecter family’s care.
Hannibal debated a moment, long enough that Mr. Thatcher asked, “Should there be some change, my Lord?”
“No, Thatch, do as he’s said,” Hannibal told him. “But hold the tray for a moment. I’ll send Berger down with some instructions.”
“Yes, my Lord,” Thatcher said, and shuffled off as Hannibal moved rapidly upstairs. Continue reading