Red in tooth (fiction)

Was readingĀ  a post on Aardvarchaeology, when following a link in a comment led me to this blog, and I saw three words; the last three of the bit below; and knew I had to write something.

So I did.

*

Melbourne Zoo, Friday, noon.

A man walks in, his suit ill-fitting, his steps too precise for a non-military man.

I know he’s special forces before he says a word. I know because I was special forces too, once.

“Mr. Budgeriboo?” he says, then takes a second look at my nameplate. “Is that even a real name?”

I give him my best stony glare; you could do all the stonings in the Old Testament with the stones in that glare, because I got stones.

They called me Stones, back in the forces; not Mr. Budgeriboo.

“There is a problem”, he says, voice low and confidential, as if he’s afraid the koalas are Russian spies. He need not worry; I have a garrote and night goggles. No Commie koala would last a night in my zoo.

“Tell me”, I grunt. I was a lieutenant, and I used to yell; now I grunt.

He slaps a folder on my desk, hard. I open it, then mutter: “You gotta be kidding me.”

But he isn’t; the special forces have no sense of humor. They remove it in the basic training. I’ve destroyed stand-up comedians; I just get in the front row and stare until they weep.

The pictures are lurid, full of red and gnawed-on white. The police reports are short, as if unwilling to admit what they suspect.

Coyote, they say. Or a dingo.

Bullshit.

Ain’t no dingo with jaws that size. Ain’t no prairie dog that can throw a grown human being around like that.

I know those teeth, and I know what I’m seeing is impossible. Unless…

“The Time Vault is open”, he says, like the lives of my team meant nothing. Like all I gave closing that damn thing meant nothing.

“Something came through”, he adds. Just like that.

And just like that, they’ve come to me. The world’s only special forces biologist. The best motherfucking combat zookeeper in the world.

They’ve done just like they should.

Ain’t many a man that can stop a serial killer dinosaur.

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