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Rated: GC · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2078224
There are a lot of ways an animal could kill someone. This isn't one of them though.

Animals on the Loose

     “I decided to join the circus...” was all that Patkin got out before he got interrupted by Chief Investigator Ninette. He started to speak again, but didn't.

     “I’m not interested in why or when you joined it,” said Ninette. “All I want to know is where you were when the animals were let free.”

     “That depends on where the animals were when they were first released. I have been all over here today.”

     “We don’t know where it all began. We’re still trying to figure that out.”

     “Then I don’t think I can help you. Like I just said I have been all around this establishment today.”

     “What exactly do you do around here?” Ninette asked.

     “It’s probably a shorter list of what I don’t do here. Whatever needs to be done I do it.”

     “Does that include taking care of the animals here? Are you responsible for feeding the animals, bathing them etc.?”

     “Yes, it does. I took care of all the animals here today.”

     “Were all the cage doors sealed when you left them?” Ninette asked.

     “I always double, usually triple, check the doors. All the animals were still in them after I left them.”

     “Who else has access to those cages? You’re not the only one – are you?”

     “I’m the only one who takes care of the animals. I have the codes to all the doors here”

     “When you say all the doors does that mean not just the animal ones? Does anyone else have access like this.”

     “The Owner does of course. So does the Animal Medic, the trainers and the performers too. At least they do when they are needed.”

     “So it’s just you and the Owner basically. The others only have access to their animals – unless there is a medical issue that comes up.”

     “That’s about it? Why are you asking me all these questions? It can’t be because most of the animals released.”

     “It’s not.” Ninette and Patkin had been walking around among the cages while they talked. Each cage they went by Ninette checked out.

     Ninette showed Patkin an image from a Data Pad she had been entering data into after checking each cage. “Do you know this female?”

     Patkin only glanced at it for a few seconds. “Yes and no. I saw her around here, but I don’t know who she is. Who is she?”

     “Do you mean who was she? She dead.”

     “Did one of the animals kill her?” Patkin asked.

     “That’s what I am supposed to believe. It wasn’t one of the animals though. She was killed by a human. Probably someone who works here.”

     “What makes you think it’s one of us? Why can’t it be one of the animals?”

     “Whoever did do this they want me to believe it was an animal who killed her. That’s why the animals were let loose. They made it look like the animal did it, but it didn’t.”

     Patkin didn’t say anything for several minutes. “What do you have that says one of us here did it?”

     “Why did you ask me that?” Ninette responded with a question of her own.

     “I’m a kid. I am curious about death, murder and things like that. All of us are. At least we are on Banom.”

     Ninette showed the image to Patkin again. “She was hit on the back of the head with something heavy. An animal couldn’t have done that. Also if an animal had killed her there would be a lot more damage to her. She probably wouldn’t have been recognizable if an animal did it.”

     “You think I did it - don’t you? That’s why you are asking me all of these questions. It’s because I’m thirteen. Everyone knows that kids are nothing but troublemakers. Especially those who have ran away from home.”

     “Calm down.” Patkin was out of control. He kept on ranting and raving about him not being the one who killed her. Ninette tried to stop him. Finally, she did – with a slap to the face. “I don’t think you did it, but I think you know who did though.”

     “I don’t know who did it. Do you really think I didn’t do it or are you just saying that?”

     “No, I really mean it. I also mean that I think you do know who might have done this to her.”

     “Why do you think I know anything about what happened to her?” Patkin asked.

     “Because you said it yourself about an hour ago. You said you have been all over this place today. If anyone saw or heard something, it’s you.”

     Patkin thought about that for a minute. Ninette could see that the way he cocked his head back and forth with a blank look on his face. “I don’t know anything.”

     “Would you tell me if you did?” Ninette asked.

     “No, I wouldn’t. That’s not my job. It’s yours.”

     “That’s not exactly true. If you know something or think you do, then you need to tell me. Just because you point at someone doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and detain them. I’m still going to check them out – especially if they are on the List of Possible Killers.”

     Patkin thought about that for several minutes before he finally spoke. “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble if I’m wrong about something like this.”

     “You won’t. Like I said I’m going to check them out discreetly. If they did do it then it’s partially, if not completely, because of you – and if they didn’t kill her that’s okay too.”


     Thanks to Patkin Ninette did get her killer. Patkin told her about a loud discussion he overheard between the female and the killer-to-be. He saw the killer pick up a large piece of wood – and threaten her with it.

     Patkin didn’t see him use it to kill her. He did see the killer welding it in front of her face though. The killer was the Owner of that place.

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