A Blood Deal
By Samantha Heckler O'Connor
Alright, officer. Is it recording? Are you ready? Ok, good.
As I recall, it was after six, as most of the businessmen in suits were on their way home or to the bar. That’s when I usually got a call or two, nothing special. You know, I should’ve guessed this would happen, as he, my client, was supposed to leave the country the next morning. He planned it out, I swear.
I got the call, I got up from my spot on the windowsill, and I got dressed. Huh? Oh, right. I put on this party dress, something that would excuse me being in a club, and it was red and tight, off the shoulder. The types of leeches I sell to don’t respect you if you look out of place, and a club like Droplets doesn’t let in people who aren’t ready to be there anyways. You have to look the part to play the part. I need my customers to buy, and you have to understand, it’s how I make it through the week. We all have to eat, officer, and it’s not like I touch the stuff. I’m not that crazy.
Whoever thought it was a good idea to infuse narcotics and blood was a nutzo. Vampires are crazy enough without drugs in them, but I guess it’s just business. That’s what I tell myself, anyways. If I took everything personally, I probably would have died of guilt by now, not that I don’t feel guilty, I do. Really, I’m sorry for those families, but I have people to take care of, and it isn’t easy out there anymore.
I wasn’t even supposed to be a full-time dealer, you know. It was only supposed to happen once because I was short on rent. When the news came out, I got put on the red list, that list of known vampire names that some cruel humans put together, like we’re all so awful or something, and I still don’t know who put me there. Been trying to figure that out for a while, honestly.
I’d been working as a bridal shop consultant, and it was decent money for once, but my employer saw me as a threat to her clients. She was worried that her sales would drop. I got sacked, and I tried to get another job, but no one wanted to hire me. It took a long time for me to make the final decision. I drained my savings.
Rent and blood costs a lot, though, you know? I need to drink about a bag a week, and each bag costs $200, and people aren’t willing to let you bite them anymore. Stigma and all that crap. If you get bit and someone sees it, you’re outta a job next. I get it, I do. I wouldn’t want anyone biting me if I was human. Doesn’t mean rent isn’t $600. Jeez, with all that blood, that’s, well, that’s $1400 a month without any other expenses. What about my water and electric bills? I couldn’t hash it. So, I did what I had to do to survive. I could’ve gotten a job at the factory, maybe, but I was a month behind on rent already.
Right, right, I should get back on track. The sun was just starting to go down, which was better for me and everyone involved, but it looked like it might rain. It was cold, but I could only tell that from my breath puffing out in front of me. I wore heels, which must’ve meant my feet hurt. I don’t remember. By the time I got there, I was ready to leave, but I had to make the sale. I was running low on cash, and that wasn’t even due to lack of sales!
A friend of mine had gotten into some trouble recently, and he didn’t have the money to pay back his medical bills, so I paid them. I didn’t want him to end up dead or anything, and it’s not what you think, either. He has nothing to do with this, and no, he didn’t do anything bad either. Some jerk SUV swiped his motorcycle, and he and the bike almost went toppling off an overpass. If the roads had been anymore busy… I don’t really want to think about it.
I don’t have many friends after all that happened with the list. He was the only human who spoke to me after the whole debacle. Who ever thought Johnny Mavrock from high school would be my savior? He didn’t do anything extremely special, really. The red list came out shortly after I was turned, and when I went to the bar to celebrate getting fired, he let me sit next to him, even though he knew what I was. He was always there for me to talk to about the failed applications for jobs, or the bus doors that closed in my face. He didn’t have anyone, either, not since high school, but he didn’t talk about the past much. He just listened to me talk about my family. Don’t talk to them much anymore, either. When Johnny got into the car accident and his lung collapsed, he had nothing to pay for the bills. So, I helped, but hospital bills like that, well, no one can afford them. It still isn’t paid off, probably won’t be for a while now. You can understand that too, right?
My kind, as you probably know already, get into certain establishments before opening. For the special cocktails and shit. After all, it’s illegal to drink from the source, nowadays, unless you have written consent, but you know that too. It’s still too risky, though. Just drink it bagged, I say, even if it’s pricey. Suck it up. Better to go hungry for a couple days than to end up dead in a cell.
Anyways, the lights were already going at the club, and there wasn’t any music. Weird, now that I think of it. As I walked to the back of the club where most of the booths were, I didn’t see many people. I didn’t want to think about what I was about to do, though, so I was kinda upset there weren’t other people there.
I don’t usually sell the harder stuff, or I try not to, but they make me because it’s what the customer wants, but you gotta be careful with that kind of stuff. Mr. Greene had asked for a vial of O-blue, and that wasn’t unusual for him. Each time he bought it, though, I wondered if it would finally happen, but it hadn’t yet, and Mr. Greene was a level-headed enough fellow. He was an accountant. He had contact with his human family, babysat his nieces and nephews even. Talked about them all the time. I didn’t think it was gonna make him snap like that.
It happened to clients of mine in the past. Malorie Wentworth had taken some O-blue before, and she ended up attacking her human husband when he got home, but she didn’t kill him. She regained control after a few sips, I heard. Still, I felt bad about the attack. I didn’t want to be selling O-blue, never have wanted to sell that shit. I actually started with AB-violet, which has less side effects, but it’s weaker, and it’s more expensive. Personally, I think it’s better to be selling that, but my supplier, who I’ll say jack shit about simply for safety’s sake, doesn’t agree with me. He wants to make money, and O-blue makes money. I don’t get to choose what he gives me to sell. If I give him any trouble, try to say no, he’ll send his main boy Charlie to rough me up. So, I sell O-blue.
Mr. Greene didn’t look any different than usual, though, when I saw him that night, except for being slightly more frazzled, which made sense. He was traveling in the morning, he told me. I couldn’t see anything different in his face. He had the same shadows under his eyes, and yes, before you even ask, they were still brown at that point. He was moving his hand a lot, twisting his wedding band around. I knew his wife had been dead for years, but he still wore the ring. He’s smart enough to have changed by now, but I do remember what he was wearing. He was wearing a charcoal grey three-piece suit with a navy blue tie. He had cufflinks too, but they weren’t anything special, just plain steel.
The only thing really strange was that he didn’t seem to notice me at first, and his head was down as he stared at his wedding band. So, when I sat across from him, he jumped a bit. He seemed to have been thinking really hard on something, and looking back, that makes sense. Although, as soon as he saw it was me he put on a smile, wide enough to see his fangs, and slicked back his greasy hair. I never liked his hair. It always made him look a bit creepy, and maybe he was creepy, but when you spend all your time working with creeps they don’t seem so strange anymore.
I smiled at him, too small to see my fangs, and maybe that was too encouraging because he struck up a conversation I didn’t want to have. That wasn’t extremely odd, but it was over the most mundane topic: construction on the highway, and I don’t even drive.
To distract him, I lifted up my purse and laid the whole mess on the table. I still kept hold of the purse, of course. My distraction worked. His eyes locked on my hands, and I told him that I needed money first, as usual. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a money clip. He threw a twenty at me, and I pulled out 50ml of pure O-blue from my purse. I handed it over. If you don’t know what the stuff looks like by now, you’re kind of a crap cop, but it’s a red liquid and it has a sort of iridescent shimmer to it. That’s how you know it’s real.
I thought his eyes turned black then, but I wasn’t sure, so I wrote it off as a trick of those stupid lights, and I left. I didn’t let myself have a second thought, but I was worried about the eyes. In the back of my head. I had to stop thinking like that, though. I was shaking a little.
You know, the last time I really felt guilty about it all was when Darryl Price killed that couple after buying O-blue from me. The woman was about two months pregnant, and she wasn’t drained completely like her husband, but she didn’t make it either. I was sick for days after reading about that. They weren’t able to trace back the sale, though, even if they did catch Darryl. I’m sure you’re used to hearing about these cases, though. That’s your whole job these days, your specialty.
I walked back to the bus stop, and nothing seemed wrong right away. There were a few humans there, and they looked at me weird, but that was probably due to the lack of a coat. I never need one, so I always forget. I rode the bus all the way back home. It was a quiet ride.
My apartment building was silent when I returned, the hall lights dimmed. My apartment is a shithole, if you must know. The whole complex is, but everything seemed normal. I went back, changed into sweatpants, drank a bag of blood, and opened a book. Of course, I went back to my windowsill. What else do I have to do aside from listen to the wailing sirens? Occasionally, someone walks by and isn’t that fun. You know, some vampires complain about the price of blood, some because they don’t have the money, others because they want to hunt freely again. I don’t exactly have the money, but I understand the price. Blood is a hot commodity, and donors for vampires are much less than those for medical reasons, but I can understand that too. I wouldn’t donate any part of me to be eaten like that.
I thought it would be better after the laws were written up. Maybe I was crazy to honestly think it would help the fighting end. I was wrong, but at least you’ve got a job now. Extra gang fights to break up. New types of drug busting. More hitmen. That’s what a lot of vampires have become, hitmen. I don’t think I could do something like that. I flinch every time I hear a gun go off on the next block.
Sometimes I really do feel bad, but what am I to do? O-blue is easy to make and cheaper than most other drugs. Yeah, it has more side effects, bad ones at that, but it will give you the same high as B-yellow. I’m not the only person in the neighborhood who sells it. If I wasn’t selling it, someone else would. Shitty excuse.
I’m not done with my story yet, officer. You still don’t know why I’m confessing, not that you care, but maybe it will help you find Greene, right?
I woke to a banging at my door the next morning. Knocking like that is never good. I got up and I went to the door, stumbling the whole way, and when I opened it, there stood Charlie. His face was what told me something was wrong.
In my ten years of working with my supplier, I’d never seen Charlie’s face so much as twitch. He was always expressionless. This time, and I didn’t even know why, this time, he was frowning. It was so slight, but if you’ve seen Charlie as much as I have, you’d have seen it right away too.
My first instinct was to shut the door, but he was already holding it open with one of his meaty hands. He told me the boss wanted to talk, and I asked him what about, but he never answered. Instead, he jumped on me, tried to wrestle me to the ground. I knew better than to shout, because that would only get me in more trouble, but I kicked him on instinct, causing his knee to go out momentarily, and I broke his nose with my elbow. He was really mad after that but still managed to tie my hands together, which is no surprise as he’s a behemoth. It was theatrical. He put a bag over my head and everything.
He stuffed me into the back of a car, at least I figured that, since I didn’t have to climb into any car, but I felt the engine turn on all the same. To be completely honest, he did a good job, because after the first few turns, I had no idea where I was. All I could tell was that Charlie had a strange taste in music. You wouldn’t expect a 6’5’’ linebacker to listen to the Dixie Chicks, but that’s all he played.
You don’t laugh at anything, do you?
When we got out of the car, I stepped on a rock, so I was already bleeding before the party even started. We didn’t walk a long distance before entering an elevator, so I think we were in a parking garage. The elevator ride was long, at least seven or eight floors, but with my nerves, it was hard to tell. I could be wrong. Elevators are disorienting enough when I’m not blindfolded. All I knew was that when we got out, I was forced to kneel, and I heard the boss’s voice, low and serious. He wanted my hood off, so it was off, but my hands were still behind my back, zip-tied, which is a bitch. If you’ve ever had your wrists zip-tied together, you’ll know that shit is more painful than regular rope or even handcuffs.
He slapped me, and my own fangs, my own damned fangs, cut through my lip. It wasn’t pleasant. I had to spit out my own blood on the floor, and he wiped it up with his finger. Figures. The area was some sort of sitting room with leather couches and a fireplace, and I know you want every detail but I wasn’t focused on the room, I was focused on him. I caught sight of a painting, though, abstract blue swirls. I’m sure it cost enough to pay for a year’s worth of my life.
He was in a black suit, as usual, and his eyes were black, whites and all, which was unusual. He’s too rich of a man to go thirsty like that, and he wasn’t acting like a feral vampire usually acts. If there is a guy like him out there that is feral, I really recommend you start looking for him. A feral vampire like that is not a fun time.
Right, well, it was silent. I didn’t know what to say. Then, he, very calmly, might I add, asked if I sold O-blue to Joshua Greene the night before. I confirmed his suspicion, and he kicked me in the gut. I didn’t know what I had done, but I knew it must have been something wrong.
He punched me in the side of the head, and then he began to shout. All I could hear was ringing, but I could tell he was shouting. His hands were waving around and he was pacing back and forth. I’d never seen him angry. Yeah, he’d been irritated before, but he’d never been so out of control. He kicked me again. He didn’t kill me for some reason, but I think I understand it now, though. He knew, it would be worse for me to live once I knew. I have nieces their age.
That decision didn’t stop him from beating me into the next world. He punched my other ear, and moved to kick me in the chest. I blacked out I guess, and I woke up to Cindy, his maid, mopping the floor around me.
Then there was Charlie, leaning over me, looking like himself again. No more frown. He leaned down and picked me up by my collar. He didn’t put a bag over my head that time, he just covered my eyes, which wasn’t pleasant, either, but it was better than the full bag. There were so many sirens blaring in the distance. They were fire truck sirens, specifically. You learn to tell them apart if you listen hard enough. We hadn’t been in the car very long when we passed the fire. That was the other big thing on the news that day, the one on 31st street. Charlie threw me out of the car when we reached my block, literally a drag and throw.
The only news station I had access to was on Mrs. Malorn’s radio across the hall, and it was night again at that point. Mrs. Malorn would have been asleep, so I planned to talk to her about it in the morning.
You see, when I went to talk with Mrs. Malorn, she was very excited to see me, as she was often a lonely woman, but when I asked her about the day before, she was quiet. Her smiling stopped. To put it lightly, I was worried. She asked me in for tea before telling me the story, even going so far as to hold one of my hands. Eight little girls had been found drained dry yesterday, and I was shocked. Eight vampires attacking in broad daylight in one day was unheard of. There it was, though, Susie Beckett age 10, Madelyn Grossner age 8, Penny Rett age 12, Katelyn Misson age 9, Elle Fletcher age 10, Nancy Smith age 8, Isabella Whitmore age 11, and Teressa Klein age 10. They were all dead.
It was quite peculiar, and quite disheartening to hear of, but I didn’t put two and two together. I didn’t know. Maybe I was in denial. You would think that I would immediately recognize the signs, but I didn’t know it was possible.
Mrs. Malorn told me that they already had a suspect, and I couldn’t help but ask who. Imagine my dread when I heard the name Joshua Greene. It made me feel sick, and maybe he was provoked by the O-blue, I thought, but then I dismissed it. Denial.
While I was having a meltdown of sorts, Mrs. Malorn kept ranting about the damned leeches. She kept talking about how he killed those poor girls, but did he really kill all of them? She said that the police thought so. I couldn’t even figure out how that was physically possible. How could you drain eight bodies?
He fled the country too, apparently, went to Peru, or don’t you know that, cause you should. I wonder if he planned it out. His eyes flashed black at Droplets, but could anyone get so hungry that they drained eight bodies? He had a plan in place to leave, though, so I think he did plan it all, and damn, I’m stupid.
I called my brother, wanting to hear my nieces shouting in the background. He didn’t answer, but I hadn’t really expected him to. I sat for two days, not moving at all, watching the kids go to and from school and the playground, but then I got a few calls. It was time to get back to work. You can’t tell me there was another option, because you don’t know what it’s like.
There was a bachelor party that wanted some O-blue. It was a big sale. I went home and threw up afterwards. I’ll give you the address, then. Maybe you can find them. Better to get as many as you can, cause I’m dead either way for this.
I never meant to hurt anyone, officer, not innocent people. I have family and friends that are human. Almost all of my old clients were human. Some brides would bring in their flower girl along with the bridesmaids, you know. Do you think those eight girls were ever flower girls?
I— I just—is that enough for you? Will it be any help? Arrest me if you want. An extermination center might be kinder now. I really hope you win the case against Mr. Greene, that you catch him. I know that this has been a really hard case for you. I’m done now. That’s all I have to say.