The Predator Taskforce was assembled in the conference room for Peter Leung’s presentation. In the past several forensic men had examined the remains of the Predator’s victims but only Peter had been able to isolate the enzyme that made his report the most significant. He began his talk with the preliminaries, being called to the crime scene, examining the bodies and then deciding that it was vitally important to get everything back to his lab as quickly as possible so that it could be examined under better conditions. A liquid attached to the body and found pooled at the bottom of the dumpster caught his eye. Suggestions that it was waste that had leaked from other garbage was a possibility but he examined it more closely, isolating certain enzymes that caught his attention.
While his assistants examined the remains of the girl’s body Peter concentrated on the liquid. It was some type of saliva, but from what animal? He went onto an online database and pinpointed it. It belonged to an animal called Varanus komodoensis, a species of Monitor lizard, more commonly known as the Komodo Dragon.
There was a murmur of muffled conversation from the assembled police officer and Superintendent Shum gestured for silence. He asked Peter to continue.
Peter thought for a moment before doing so. Then he said, “OK, gentlemen, I’ve thought about nothing else since I made this discovery. Do we have a 200 pound, seven-foot long lizard running loose in the streets? And even if we did, how is it possible that it has the ability to place the latest victim into a dumpster?”
There was more murmuring and this time Shum let it continue.
“Ok,” he said. “Let’s brainstorm this”.
“There is a considerable market for exotic pets in Hong Kong,” said one of the officers. “There’s a shop near my estate that sells all sorts of lizards and snakes”.
“The alligators of New York,” said another, and everyone turned in his direction. Without being asked to elaborate he continued.
“It’s an urban legend,” he said. “There are stories about how holiday makers come back from vacation with a cute little baby crocodile or alligator. Before they know it the thing has grown to two feet in length and is eating them out of house and home. They know it’s only going to get bigger so one night when no one is looking they take it to a drain and shove it in. The story goes that some of these things not only survived but grew to incredible lengths, feeding off the garbage and the occasional tramp that wandered into the sewers looking for warmth”.
“The Yuen Long Crocodile,” said another.
Hong Kong had its own version but it was no legend. Some years ago a four- foot crocodile was spotted swimming happily along the canals in Yuen Long. After months of effort, they managed to catch it alive and transport it to a Botanical Garden in the New Territories. They never found out how it had managed to find its way into the Yuen Long canals but the same theory of the New York alligators applied.
There was silence for some moments while everyone digested what they had heard. Eventually, one officer raised his hand and Shum gave him the nod.
He began. “Some loony brings a baby Komodo Dragon into Hong Kong, it gets too big for him to handle so he releases it”.
“That’s not impossible, said Shum. “But, Mr. Leung’s comment stands. How did it manage to lift the last corpse into the dumpster? “
“It’s a horrible thought but…” the officer paused until Shum raised his hands as if to say, ‘get on with it’.
“Some crazy did bring a Komodo Dragon into Hong Kong and gets some perverted pleasure from seeing this thing kill to eat. Afterwards he, or she disposes of the remains, this time in the dumpster.”
Despite the fact that it was too horrible an idea to consider, the officers of the Taskforce did not reject it out of hand. Many of them had personally witnessed man’s inhumanity to man on more than one occasion. Silence fell on the group and to break it, Shum said,
“There is another point we should consider. Members of the Taskforce already know but you two may not be aware”. Shum was speaking directly to Peter and Jacky.
“The timetable for the murders is decreasing. The first four were six months apart, the next two, five, number six happened three months after that, number seven almost three months to the day following that. Number eight was only two and a half months after that. If the Predator continues along similar lines we can expect another murder within the next eight weeks”.
No one said anything. They were all experiencing the same feeling of helplessness.
(c) Copyright John Stewart Sloan – 2017 – Not for Distribution
The Featured photo is by Mark Dumont – Flickr: There Be Dragons, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25935468