Ten year-old Hannibal Lecter is too thin, all sharp angles and glassy eyes. The wind tosses his sandy hair and pulls at his sweater, once elegant, now tattered and stained.
His eyelids droop just slightly, and with an exhale visible in the cold air, the snow around him is replaced with rolling hills of green, a castle in the distance,
and the sound of peeling laughter.
The boy stands absolutely still, breathing in the memory. Mischa is beside him, pulling at his hand, blue hepatica flowers tucked into her hair.
He smiles at her, a crooked, broken thing, and doesn’t see the punch coming.
It connects with the side of his head, dissipating the memory with a jolt of iron pain.
At once everything is white again, snow blinding in his daze from the strike, and Hannibal stumbles, as much from the shock of it as the force of the blow.
A swift shove easily knocks him from his feet.