Jacky Chan and some members of the Predator Taskforce were tasked with the job of surveying the pet shops that catered to the more exotic animals. It was a long shot but it was just possible that someone had spoken to someone who had spoken to someone else about importing a Komodo Dragon.
At least it got them out of PHQ and by the end of the first day, Jacky felt that the experience had added to his knowledge and experience. He would never look at cats, dogs, and rabbits in the same way. One shop did indeed sell rabbits, as live food to customers that owned pythons. Jacky was horrified by the thought of their fluffy little bodies being crushed and devoured and wondered if there wasn’t something in the cruelty towards animals laws about it. But that was for someone else to decide and after all, they needed these peoples’ cooperation and trust.
But all their interviews, 125 of them, drew a blank. No one had heard anything of the importation of a Komodo Dragon. One vendor actually went so far as to ask Jacky to let him know if they did find out anything about importing a Dragon. The man was sure he could find customers that would take one. Jacky assured the man that he would keep it in mind. After the fruitless three days that part of the investigation was closed.
Another team was tasked with going through the reports and backgrounds of the victims once again to ensure that they hadn’t missed anything. Everyone knew, however, that this was just making work. It was to keep people occupied and the feeling of helplessness at bay as each day the officers looked at the calendar and counted down the days to the next murder they knew was coming.
Roger Lansard had grown up in the luxury of his father’s money. While Lansard Senior went into seclusion, he was brought up by a series of Chinese amahs, Filipino maids and private tutors. He had managed to obtain suitable qualifications to allow his entry into the University of Hong Kong School of Law in which he had passed with 1st Degree Honours. From there he had done his time in one of the more prestigious law firms the colony had to offer and as soon as possible he had set himself up in his own chambers.
He had earned a reputation of taking on very specific cases. Cases that earned him kudos in the legal fraternity. He was, to all concerned a solicitor of considerable talents. And so he had survived a humble but not inconsequential lifestyle for many years.
Then, seven years ago the symptoms had started to appear, and with them, the hunger. He had gone to see his father, who was, by then only attended by one servant. An elderly man of Indonesian descent. The meeting had taken place in a darkened room and Lansard Jr. could not help but notice the smell of rotting flesh that permeated the room.
It was then that the old man had told him about his search for longevity. At first, he refused to believe what the old man was telling him. If what he was saying was true it would make him almost 200 years old. The pure impossibility of the story exposed the old man as a liar. And it was then that Gregory Lansard had turned up the lights and his son had seen him for what he was. What he had become.
Roger remembered that day. It was forever imprinted on his mind and memory. The room was still dark but there was just enough light to see the old man’s transformation. What struck Roger’s mind most of all was the hand that gripped the armchair. It was the forehand of a huge lizard, scaled, with horned claws. He would recognise it when, later, his father recounted his travels and research through the islands of Indonesia and in particular the Island of Komodo. It was all about the saliva, the old man had told him.
It was all about the saliva.
(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