The Dragon – Part 16

Karin Baker had called the police emergency hotline to report her husband missing and was asked to go to the nearest police station to make a report in person. She was interviewed by a young Inspector who was proud to be handling his first Westerner. 

Had Mr Baker stayed away from home in the past for unusual periods of time: Yes. 

Had Mr Baker shown any sign of undue stress recently: He was in a permanent state of stress and this was experienced not only by Mrs Baker but the entire staff! 

Was Mrs Baker aware that Mr Baker might be having an extramarital affair? To which Karin answered, “God help the woman!” 

The obvious questions, such as did she known where he had gone the afternoon he disappeared led nowhere. He had left the office without telling her exactly where he was going, only mentioning that he was going to see someone. From past experience of his foul temper, she had known better not to ask any searching questions. 

When asked for a list of his most recent contacts the first one was that of Roger Lansard, Solicitor. 

Of course, none of this got back to the Predator Taskforce. It was a simple missing person’s report and there was no reason whatsoever to assume foul play. 

000 

Peter Leung was horrified when he thought of the present examination as being routine. There was nothing routine about examining bits and pieces of a human body. However, one thing that interested Peter Leung, in this case, was that for the first time the head was missing. He presented his findings to Superintendent Shum and as expected was asked to give a briefing to the Taskforce.

In the meantime, in Central Police Station, Inspector Wong was going through the routine missing person report. He had run Baker’s name through the police database and nothing had come up, which was not surprising. The vast majority of Westerners never had any trouble with the police. 

The next step was to call his regular contacts to see if they’d had any calls from him or had seen him. The also drew a blank and it was not until he came to the name of Roger Lansard, Solicitor, that he thought he might have to get up out of his desk. There was no answer from the number provided which was the office number of the solicitor’s firm. He checked with the Law Society to see if they had an updated number for the company but they confirmed that the one he had was the latest. The obvious solution was to send some constables around to visit. 

That afternoon two officers, a constable and a sergeant went to the offices of Roger Lansard, Solicitor. It was a simple matter of obtaining the information from the Law Society. They found the premises in disarray. There were packing boxes everywhere and young men packing files into storage containers. A Chinese lady greeted the officers and asked them what they wanted. They told her they were looking for one Roger Lansard with regard to one Mr. Baker. The lady, Lansard’s former secretary cum receptionist recognised the name and admitted that he had been a previous client of Mr. Lansard. The obvious question was as to when she had last seen him and she explained that it was some time ago. No, she had not seen him in the last 48 hours. 

The constable looked about the office and asked if they were moving. No, she replied, they were closing down. The officers noted that she didn’t appear very upset to be losing her job and she explained that Mr. Lansard had paid her over and above the normal settlement. She was happy to be going. 

Where might they contact Mr. Lansard, they asked, and she gave him Lansard’s mobile and home numbers. They thanked her and left. 

Outside in the street, the sergeant called the home number provided but the line had been disconnected. When he tried the mobile number it rang but no one picked up. There was no answering service to take a message. There was nothing more they could do until they returned to the station.

When they reported to the Inspector in charge of the inquiry he ordered the sergeant to apply for an ROP on Roger Lansard. This was a routine government inquiry, a Request on Particulars which would reveal any recorded data on the person in question. A routine inquiry would take 24 hours but because it involved a missing person’s report it would be done immediately. Within hours the file had been delivered to the officer in charge. 

The report revealed the usual information. His date of birth, Hong Kong Identity Card number, his next of kin, in this case, one Mr. Gregory Lansard, date of birth unknown, only known address, an apartment in Western District close to Lansard’s office. There were records of previous properties having been sold in the past few years. The next obvious step would be to send a team to the apartment and see if there was any sign of Lansard. 

Sergeant Wong and Police Constable Suen were despatched to carry out this part of the inquiry. They found the old building without difficulty and were not pleased with the lack of a lift. Trudging up the stairs they soon found themselves outside the door of the apartment. The door was open and the potted plants could not hide the smell of decaying meat. 

Chan and Suen looked at each other. Chan being the more experienced stepped up to the door and called out. 

“Hello. Hong Kong Police, we are looking for Mr. Lansard, Roger. Hello.” 

There was no answer. He pushed the door gently and peered inside and what he saw was enough to justify entry. He motioned Suen over to him so that they could both see the smear of blood across the floor of the front room. It was as if something had been dragged to a point where it simply stopped. Now they had all the cause needed to enter the apartment without a warrant. With their hands on the butts of their holstered service revolvers they entered. 

The room was sparsely furnished. To the right was a circular table with four chairs, two easy chairs and a cabinet containing some pieces of artwork and vases. There were paintings, old paintings on the walls. To their left was a bathroom and a door opened to a darkened room. Chan called out once again, there was no answer. He turned to Suen who was now standing near the table and told him to use his beat radio and call for assistance. Then two things happened simultaneously. He heard a shuffling from behind him and saw Suen’s face. The look on it was terror, pure terror. Chan turned and saw the stuff of nightmares moving towards him. 

Gregory Lansard had shuffled out of the bedroom on feet that resemble the hind claws of the dragon he was now rapidly turning into. He was expecting Roger and had no idea that his son had left the front door of the apartment open. After he and Roger had finished feasting off Baker, Roger, as he always did, cleaned up the mess and disposed of the remains. Lansard Sr. would then return to his room and rest, hoping that the mutation would slow or even reverse. He knew what he was turning into but the hunger for human flesh became so strong that at times he no longer cared what he looked like. Then he saw the two officers and his hunger overwhelmed him. He snarled and attacked the nearest one to him. 

The last thing that registered on Sgt. Chan’s brain was that it was a human lizard. But then Gregory Lansard, now more monster than man reached out with clawed hands and grasped his face. Before Chan’s mind could realise the horror, and the danger, Lansard bit into his lower jaw and neck. Behind Chan, Suen drew his revolver and started firing. The first shot hit Chan in the shoulder, but it saved Suens life. The bullet passed through Chan’s body and struck Lansard just above the heart. The shock of the impact made Lansard drop Chan and Suen kept firing, again and again, until the hammer fell on spent cartridges. He stumbled backwards until one of the dining table chairs caught the back of his legs and he sat down without realising it, unaware of the cacophony of voices coming through his beat radio.

Gregory Lansard, mortally wounded but still alive stumbled to the door and out into the staircase landing, he had no idea of where he was going. The light from the window stung his eyes, it was the first real sunlight he had seen in ten years. He started down the stairs when he heard the sound of booted feet, rushing up towards him. Confused, he turned back towards the apartment and went inside. Suen was still sitting at the table, still pulling the trigger on empty rounds. Lansard started towards him and then saw Chan’s bloodied body. The hunger that was never absent for long took over and he fell on the dead police officer, he was just about to relieve that hunger when blood loss and trauma took his life. Seconds later the response team entered the room. 

000 

After Peter Leung’s initial briefing and his findings regarding the Komodo Dragon Shum had put out a general order that any instances or reports concerning reptiles of any shape or form should be forwarded to the Predator Taskforce. He was therefore not surprised when he received a phone call from a Western District Inspector asking him to view a crime scene in which an officer had been killed. He had taken the three officers present in the room and put out a call for everyone else, including Peter Leung’s forensic team, to meet them at the location. 

000 

The responding officers, six of them ranging in rank from Inspector down to constable had arrived at the apartment. The scene that greeted them was one they would never forget. In the centre of the room lay Sergeant Chan, his throat almost completely torn away. The monster lying beside Chan was dead, thank God. It had been struck by several rounds from Suen’s service revolver. There was so much blood it was not until later they realised that Chan had been shot as well. Whether the bullet fired by Suen might have been fatal was a moot point. There was no way that Chan could have survived the massive trauma to his neck. Suen was still sitting in the chair, still pointing the weapon and firing it over and over again. They gently took it from him and led him downstairs to where an ambulance was waiting. 

When Shum arrived he identified himself to the officers and found Suen sitting on a gurney, wrapped in a blanket and staring into space. Someone had placed a plastic cup of hot, sweetened tea in his hands. 

“Has he said anything?” Asked Shum. 

“A man-lizard,” said the officer standing by the gurney. “He said a man-lizard killed Sgt. Chan.” The man shrugged. He had not been upstairs so could not offer any further information. Shum and his men rushed up the stairs as quickly as they could. 

He had requested that the Taskforce forensics team take responsibility for the crime scene so apart from checking Chan’s body to see if he might be saved nothing had been touched. The officers standing outside the door were all white-faced, shocked to the core by what they had seen. Shum asked them to go downstairs and wait for his team to arrive and give their statements. The inspector that had lead the response team remained behind. 

Inside the apartment, Shum saw Chan’s body, what he saw beside Chan was unlike anything he had ever seen before, or wished to see again. He recalled Suen’s words, ‘a man-lizard’. That was the only way Shum could describe the thing lying on the floor next to Chan. It was naked except for what appeared to be a pair of suit trousers, shredded at the cuffs and held on by a belt. The skin of the creature was a pale grey and greenish in places. It appeared almost leathery. But it was the face and head that caught his attention. The face was elongated, the nose was reduced to two holes and the jaws, open in a death rictus were most prominent. The teeth were enormous, especially the incisors, like that of a creature accustomed to ripping the flesh from its prey. 

Shum, as pale as those around him, turned to one of his men.

“Get downstairs, no press. Absolutely no press!” 

(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

Published by stewartgoeswalkies

Happily married man to a wonderful lady. Living in Hong Kong. In my younger days I enjoyed hiking, camping and rock climbing. I've trekked in the Himalayas and climbed Mt. Kinabalu in East Malaysia.

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