The Silence of the Goats
Agent Kahling stepped into the starkly-lit hospital corridor and swallowed nervously. The Midlands Bureau of Investigation had run out of leads, and serial killer Buffalo Nicci was still on the loose. How do you catch a monster? Ask another one. So she was here to see the notorious cannibal Richard Lecter, whose twisted mind may hold the key to capturing Nicci.
"Be careful in there," Agent Zedd had warned her. "That man can talk the arse off a donkey, and he'll twist everything you say into some straw-man argument that you mysteriously won't be able to counter."
"Don't worry," Kahling had assured him. "I've got long hair and big boobs."
She glanced in the cells as she walked past. Dangerous criminals leered and snarled, displaying their contempt for all that is good in the world. Most of them were just bad, just this boring bad and just bad. But the last cell was different. Standing there, erect, masterful in his psychopathic criminal outfit, was Richard Lecter. He looked like he could have been posing for a statue of who he was, the Eater of People.
Bringer of Death.
Kahling felt a wave of joy rush over her, and the dark corridor suddenly seemed airy and light. She felt like falling to her knees and weeping with joy at this vision of manhood, but she had a job to do, so she controlled her emotions and swept back her hair. Richard's nostrils twitched.
"Lemon-scented anti-dandruff L'Oreal, with... silky shine conditioner. Because you're worth it."
Kahling gaped in amazement. How could he know? He saw the confusion dawning on her face like a beautiful sunset.
"I can tell the ingredients and the advertising slogans of all cosmetic products simply by smelling them," he explained coldly, his raptor-like gaze sweeping the corners of the cell and piling the dust lazily under the rug.
That was so cool! thought Kahling. She started to rummage in her handbag to see if he could do the trick with any of her other hair products, but she heard the stony silence come crashing down in front of her and looked up into Richard's steely-brown eyes.
"Don't try to test me," he rasped shrilly. "My half-brother tried to test me. I ate his testicles with some pava bread and a nice Chianti. F-f-f-f-f-f-f."
Kahling shivered at the masculine timbre of his voice. "I suppose you'll want me to give you information about myself in exchange for your help?"
Richard's look of scorn kicked her in the jaw and ripped out her spine, though only metaphorically of course. "Tell me about yourself? Why on earth would I want to listen to anyone else's opinion? The only way I can find the Truth is by being true to myself, and by completely ignoring everyone and everything around me! I may be locked up in a maximum-security cell, but in my heart I am free, and you are the one locked up! Your collectivist ways cannot cage the mind of a man who truly desires freedom..."
Kahling stifled a yawn and forced herself to stay awake for the rest of Richard's speech, though his twisting logic and sweeping generalisations threatened to blow her head up, leaving a melon-sized hole. If this was the only man who could catch Nicci, what hope was there for her latest victim, the Princess Violet?
Agent Zedd's bushy eyebrows furrowed with frustrated awe. "Remind me of the plot, Agent Kahling!" he commanded.
Kahling looked down at her notes, which she'd written to keep track of all the irrational plot-twists and illogical worldbuilding. "Let's see... last time we spoke was two days ago, wasn't it, because you wanted me to investigate the case of Buffalo Nicci, who's been torturing girls to death."
"That's right!" said Zedd "But go on, as we need to spend at least half the chapter on infodumping."
"Well, as you know Zedd, we work for the Midlands Bureau of Investigation, but we've been unable to capture this vile serial killer. We nearly got her once, but she changed into a different-coloured dress and so nobody recognised her. She slipped through our roadblock by getting her boobs out, and since then we've had no leads. The latest girl to go missing is Princess Violet, so we'll have to find this murderess quickly! Yesterday I went to visit the notorious cannibal Richard Lecter to see if he could help."
"And will he?" prompted Zedd.
"He says he'll only help if we can move him to the Palace, so he can use his Seeker-senses to give us more information about the case. I'm not happy with it, but it seems like the only moral thing to do."
"That's settled, then" said Zedd, "We'll move him into the palace. He should be safe enough there; my magic will protect us."
This seemed fair enough to Kahling. Still, she had one more question: "Just as a matter of interest, Zedd, as you're such a powerful magician, why can't you just use your magic to find this Nicci?"
"Ah, that's an interesting question," said Zedd, stalling for time. "You see, the magic spells I usually use are driven by the power of, er, additi...sub...plifi...macation, yes, and Nicci carries, um, the Amulet of Plot Device which can repel my magic like rain on a campfire. I never mentioned this before but it's all written down in this ancient book, right here, see?"
Agent Chase was walking past and overheard this conversation. "Wait a minute," he said, "Isn't this supposed to be a police-procedural crime thriller? What's all this about magic and amulets?"
"Bags, child, don't try to pigeonhole me!" fumed Zedd. "This is a story about nobility and the triumph of the human spirit, I can't be bothered with such petty details! You're obviously not old enough to understand." He instantly blasted Chase with a blast of additisubplifimacative magic which sacked him from the MBI and stripped him of his badge. Chase slunk away in disgrace, a civilian once more.
Later that day, Richard was brought to the palace, under heavy guard. He sniffed around the palace while the MBI agents grew restless. Eventually, he had his answers.
"Tell me, Agent Kahling, was there anything unusual about the... bodies? Apart from being tortured, of course," he asked.
"Yes, there were a few feathers, but what does that have to do with it?"
Richard laughed a raptor-like laugh, which sounded like an eagle with hiccups. "Birds... birds and evil... birds OF evil... what is the most evil of all the birds?"
"Why, a chicken, of course!" Any child would know that; Kahling was insulted that he'd even had to ask her.
"Have you searched the chicken farm?" asked Richard, in the smug tones of one who knows he's vastly more intelligent than all the straw men and sock-puppets around him.
Kahling gasped. Zedd gasped. All the guards gasped. One said, "To the chicken farm!" and most of them raced for the door. "Don't forget to guard Richard!" called Zedd over his shoulder.
Richard surveyed his captors, who eyed him warily - they knew that they were in the presence of a lethal, cold-blooded killer, who would stop at nothing to fight for his own personal freedom, leaving nothing else alive.
Bringer of Death.
The guards knew they could not relax their vigilance, even for a moment. Still, their wits were no match for Richard's. His mind raced. Pretending to stretch, he seized a sword from one of them and in an instant war broke out. He was lethality incarnate, a swirling, slicing machine of pure, lethal killing, lethally slicing his way through the helpless guards, whose strict training and co-ordination was no match for this lethal one-man death machine. Instantly, they had all been killed. Richard carefully sliced off the face of one of them to use as a disguise - there wasn't any real need for this, as all the other guards were dead, but he thought it might be fun. He removed the ears from the rest and saved them for a snack later.
Meanwhile, at the chicken farm, Agent Kahling had narrowly escaped being raped three times and now was facing Nicci. Before she could arrest her, though, Nicci cast a Maternity spell, so that if Kahling tried to arrest her, she'd also be arresting herself! They circled one another warily. This went on for some time to allow Richard to turn up and save the day, like this:
The strange chipping noises ceased, and suddenly a shaft of sunlight shone down into the dark corner of the chicken farm, illuminating a figure there. It was a statue, carved from a pillar of purest marble, which had just happened to be on a farm. Richard dusted off his hands and stood back to admire his handiwork, which he'd just knocked up in a few minutes after escaping from the palace. At the base of the statue was a single word: LIFE. Nicci glanced at the statue, then stopped dead in her tracks and stared, a tear trickling down her cheek. Life! And all this time she'd been a serial killer, in search of Death! The answer was so simple, why had she been so stupid? Now she was weeping with joy.
"How did you carve that statue? You haven't even got a sword!" asked Kahling in awe.
Richard held up his hands covered in stone dust, fingernails worn down by the hard marble. "I AM the weapon!" he declared.
Richard went over to comfort Nicci, and Kahling came too, feeling a strange kinship in these two bringers of death. They hugged, and went to find Princess Violet. No sense in rescuing the helpless brat, after all; she should have been able to save herself. Richard could kick her, and Nicci could torture her, and Kahling could watch. They strode off together into the sunset.