ForagingPhoto license

c. 600 words

Vic the Velociraptor was having a bad night. He’d long ago eaten all the cats in his neighborhood and had to go further and further from his friend Jim’s apartment to find food. If only eating humans didn’t cause so much trouble.

Dogs were his preferred meal but he knew better than to eat the ones tied in their yard. Blood splashed around a dog house gave him away. Vic wasn’t a crime scene clean-up kind of guy. Feral dogs and runaways were perfect. A big one could fill him up for days.

“I got this.” His favorite line from runaway pit bulls, rottweilers, and german shepherds as they attacked him. They’d run straight at him and he’d bite off their heads.

If only Toronto wasn’t so big. He could go into the woods after wildlife. Jim didn’t want to move to the country. His writer friends lived all around him. Vic had often asked if there was a useless friend he could invite over for him to eat. Jim wasn’t having any of it. “Why don’t you eat a hobo?” he’d ask. “Because then the police come out looking for me and I can’t hunt for days. Do you want me to starve?”

Vic was in a drug neighborhood far from home. He always saw people here taking drugs in alleys and abandoned buildings.

“Your classic serial killer can be found by the pattern of his kills,” a woman was telling her friend. Vic had almost stepped in front of them. They were standing at the back corner of a building in the alley beside a bar. Vic stayed out of sight and listened. “They kill away from their home so the police look in the wrong neighborhood. But there’s a pattern. Some big time FBI profiler in the US found it. They put dots on a map with all the kills and add endless lines between all the dots. Wherever most of the lines go is the neighborhood of the killer.”

“You’re some smart, Irene, learning all that,” said the other woman. “You should have been a cop.”

“They don’t let crack-heads be cops, Donnie.” That’s what that smell was.

A cigarette butt arched through the air and landed down the alley. “I gotta get back inside before I get addicted from second-hand crack smoke. Ira is threatening to cut off my smokes if I don’t earn more money. I don’t need another addiction.” Vic heard her high heels clacking off down the alley.

That night, after eating Irene, Vic went home and looked up FBI profiling on the internet. That led to a lot of reading and many maps showing how kills led the police to killers. He then checked a map of Toronto and was surprised to find the areas he knew in his head matched the map.

For years to come Toronto was plagued by The Vampire Killer, a disorganized serial killer whose kills were spread out over a massive area of the city. Police couldn’t put foot patrols in all of the city where the killer might strike. The profilers did their best at predicting the killer’s home. Their lines always showed he or she lived to the north, but investigations in that area went nowhere.

The police also had trouble understanding the frequency of the kills. They had no idea it depended on the availability of stray and feral dogs.

After that day, Vic’s foraging became a lot easier and he became a happier Velociraptor.

Story by Ivan Izo.


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