Nigel stared at the woman walking along the path. He needed to cross the path to get to some good eats for lunch, but there was a human in the way.
His mother had taught him to be afraid of humans, that they carried the booming rods that killed many of his family, but this woman was taking forever, meandering along, staring at the thing she was holding, not even noticing him. So many people on the path were like this woman, oblivious to these things in their hands. Sometimes the humans talked to the things. Sometimes the things made noises. Sometimes the humans held them up to the sky and then put them back in their hand.
Nigel was hungry, and getting angry as the woman took forever to cross his path. He decided it was time to push her along. He charged, and as he got to her, she looked up, saw the deer, and started to run away, like he had done so many times when he had been surprised by a human. He smiled and charged.
Her two legs were no match for his four, so it only took a couple of pushes of his huge rack of antlers until she collapsed, dead. As he returned to his mission for lunch, a wave of power surged over him, the power of someone who had no fear. He was determined to rule over the humans, and excitedly thought about his next kill.
The trail made for easy targets. Nobody suspected the buck in the brush, watching and plotting for his next victim. Never groups, never ones on those speeding by on those machines with the two circles, and never anyone bigger than him. Usually, it was women, walking by themselves, the slower the better.
While the bodies piled up, the humans were stumped. Women, walking alone on the trail, killed by being beaten to death in the middle of the day. There were none of the usual clues or patterns the humans needed to solve the mystery, and soon, the killings became routine.
Nigel would spot his victim and charge until they were on the ground, lifeless, then would go about his business. When the body would be discovered by another human, Nigel would flee, pretending to be afraid of the flashing lights, the sirens, the flow of people in and out, the yellow streamers.
Sometimes he would go over to where the big boxes with trees on top were parked, listening to the humans chatter into sticks while facing other humans with boxes on their shoulders and snaking cords everywhere. They would gab on about the “Millennium Trail Killer,” whose motive remained a mystery as the victims grew.
Eventually, it became harder for Nigel to find victims as the humans stopped walking the trail alone. His bloodlust unsatiated, he wandered around until he found another great trail to catch victims, even if it meant crossing those big, hard paths with the fast-moving boxes that sometimes killed deer. Bah, he was Nigel, the Millennium Trail Killer. Nothing could stop him….
One afternoon, he spotted the perfect human, and charged him to death. High on the thrill, Nigel started the long journey home, not realizing how late it had gotten.
“Another body on a new trail. The Millennium Trail Killer must have moved.” Jane said to Mark, her cameraman. They were headed up to the newest crime scene for the evening news.
“Or a copycat.” Mark replied.
“A copycat of the perfect crime?” Jane looked at Mark as he drove. “Doubtful.”
They rounded a curve and felt the unmistakable thud of hitting something. Mark pulled over, getting out of the news truck to investigate. He shouted to Jane.
“Ugh, I have to call it in. We hit a deer.”