“I’m serious, Ghoul!” Baltimore police officer Jonas Williams poked his vampire co-worker with a massive finger. “You owe me.”
Niles Gule leaned back in his chair and lifted a supercilious brow.
Williams’ grey eyes narrowed. “I saved your life in New Jersey.”
Niles scoffed. Williams had saved him from mortal embarrassment but he’d hardly saved the vampire’s life.
“You’d still be naked in the Point Pleasant drunk tank if I hadn’t bailed out your ass.” Williams punctuated each word with another poke of that blasted finger. “She’s not that bad, really.”
“Then you date her!” Niles planted his elbow on his desk and stared at his computer screen, hoping Williams would get the message.
“I’m dating her sister!” Williams huffed and slouched against the vampire’s desk. Around them the precinct buzzed with change-of-shift activity as the day crew headed out and the night shift began. “Evelyn is very protective of Myrtle. She hates leaving Myrtle home alone while she paints the town.”
Myrtle. Niles chewed on that name, not liking the taste of it. Who would name their kid something so awful?
Williams wheedled. “I told Myrtle all about you. Blonde. Blue eyes. Tall. Good looking. She’s really excited to meet you.”
Niles’ eyes widened. “Did you explain that I’m a vampire?”
Williams shrugged. “I didn’t delve into details.”
“I’m not dating Myrtle just so you can bag her sister, Jonas.”
Williams’ protest was cut off when their boss, Sergeant Tan Lo, appeared at Niles’ desk. The diminutive Asian nodded briefly to Williams before handing Niles a call-sheet. “Got a robbery. You and Cruz get on it.”
Niles’ partner, little Mexican-American Mariella Cruz, snatched up her car keys. “Where at?”
“American Red Cross,” Niles read off the call-sheet. “Mount Hope Drive.”
Cruz marched for the doors. “Out by Pimlico. Let’s roll.”
“Cooksey and I will be right behind you,” Williams said.
Cruz waved breezily but never slowed down. Niles followed in her wake.
After twenty harrowing minutes of Cruz’s suicidal driving, the pair arrived at the Red Cross service center. When Cruz tore into the parking lot and squealed to a stop, throwing Niles into the dashboard, he gave her a hard stare then smoothed his hair and straightened his tie. She grinned and popped out of her Fiat, leaving Niles to unfold his long, lithe body from the tiny vehicle.
“We’ve got to buy you a bigger car,” he grumbled as he shook out his legs and straightened his back.
Cruz laughed. “Hell no! I like my little Fifi and I love watching you get in and out of it.”
She turned her back and never saw the stink-eye Niles sent her way.
He froze when he read the sign above the door. “This is a blood bank?” His voice squeaked.
Cruz’s black ponytail flew as she glanced over her shoulder. “Yeah.” She hesitated when she saw Niles’ blue eyes widen. “Are you okay with that?”
“Someone robbed a blood bank?”
Cruz shrugged. “Apparently.” She ushered him inside.
The two detectives were greeted by the center’s director. As they interviewed the woman Williams and his partner Cooksey arrived to assist the investigation. The director told them someone had broken into the center and absconded with several hundred units of blood. Interestingly, the thieves had been particular, selecting only negative blood types.
“It’s a problem,” the director complained. “Negative factor blood is rarer than positive regardless of the type. I just pray no one needs negative factor blood before we can restock. We’re calling all our volunteers to donate.”
Cruz glanced pointedly at Niles.
“It’s sweeter,” he murmured. The thought of all that sweet blood made his mouth water.
“So we’re talking vampires?”
Niles nodded. Knowing his brethren were up to their old tricks rankled. Every time he thought he’d rid the city of the vermin, more crept back in.
The director led them into the refrigerated storage room. Niles took only two steps inside before he staggered to a halt, using the wall to keep himself upright.
The room had been ransacked. Blood was stored in gray cabinets labeled with blood types and dates of donation. Most of the drawers hung open, their contents thrown about. Dozens of the plastic bags used to hold blood lay scattered. The floor was awash with congealing blood from units that had been crushed under foot, making the floor a skating rink of red. The smell of iron and copper was overwhelming.
“Whoa!” the director exclaimed as Niles wilted. She tried to grasp his arm, but Cruz beat her to it. “Vasovagal reaction, I suppose.”
Cruz nodded without correcting her. Niles wasn’t suffering from shock at the sight of blood. His reaction went much deeper than that.
“So much blood,” Niles whispered. He couldn’t stop the smell from making his head spin or his saliva from stealing out of the corner of his mouth. A rampant desire to chug a unit whole flooded him. His entire body quivered with longing. He’d been without blood for so long. Two years! And it was in abundance just begging to be taken. His shaking hands extended to grasp a bag.
Cruz held it down.
Williams appeared at the doorway. His gray eyes summed up the situation in a heartbeat. His giant paws clasped Niles by the shoulders and he strong-armed the vampire out of the storage room.
“He’s a lightweight,” the big man explained to the director as he shoved Niles ahead of him.
Williams assisted Niles to a desk. The vampire perched against it and rubbed his face.
“That was intense,” he murmured.
Williams checked his color. Seeming confident that his co-worker would recover, he said, “I’m going to help Cruz. If you start feeling better, check the security tapes.”
Niles drew a deep breath as he nodded. He continued to lean against the desk while he waited for his heart rate to settle and his blood to stop raging, his head to clear. When he felt he could act in a professional manner, he did as Williams suggested and checked the security tapes. He discovered that the intruders had disabled every camera.
Unable to assist any further, Niles waited outside in the darkness. Eventually, Williams sidled up to him.
“Tough night?” he asked.
Williams’ saturnine face looked ghoulish in the harsh light of the parking lot. “If you’re interested, I made a withdrawal for you.”
His eyes widening, Niles looked down at the object Williams pulled from under his jacket. It was a unit of whole blood. Type AB negative. The sweetest kind. Niles was drawn to it like a child to candy. Once again his mouth watered. His claws uncurled to sneak towards that bag.
“Not so quick!” the police man said, jerking the unit away. “You have to pay for it.”
“You stole it!”
Williams shrugged. “With that mess? They won’t miss one more unit.” He grinned and jiggled the bag.
Niles’ body lurched towards it. Williams skittered backwards.
“Do we have a deal?” he asked. “Myrtle for the blood.”
Niles glared at his nemesis. Williams looked like a heroin dealer knowing he had a junkie on the leash.
“You don’t have to sleep with her. Just take her out a couple of times.” Williams let the bag sway back and forth just out of the vampire’s reach.
Niles hated himself for desiring that blood so badly. But he hadn’t indulged in years. Just one taste. One little taste.
“Deal!” He snatched the bag and hid it in his coat.
Williams grinned. “I’ve got you now, Ghoul,” he chuckled as he sauntered away.
The vampire grimaced.
He’d just sold his soul to the devil.
© 2017 Newmin
Niles comments: Give blood. Not for my sake. For yours.