This last story will probably hit 8,000 words after all. Neat-o.
From “Polly Want”:
…it wasn’t out of Kuiz’s mind. “Look at this,” he said to Blid one afternoon. Kuiz had called up a map of the greenspaces outside the city and was pointing out a collection of dots. “This is where the creature is.”
“All right,” said Blid. “How do you know?”
“Animal attacks,” said Kuiz. Blid blinked. “There’s been reports of treerat mutilations in the area. The greenstewards have been assuming that a pack of foxes or some other predator was involved, but if you see the still pictures” — Kuiz called them up, and Blid grimaced at all the blood — “you can see how it can’t be that.”
Blid made himself look. For a moment he didn’t see anything of the sort; but then, something clicked in his head. “Oh. All the treerats had their heads attacked,” he said.
“And their brains sucked out,” Kuiz said, almost happily.