To read Part 1 of the story, click here: Bleeding Out, Part 1.
Mangrin was not a happy copper.
It turned out that his idiot partner was on to something when he suggested the blood that the killer was somehow draining from his victim’s bodies was the same blood type. Buckley did a little happy dance in the crime lab, shaking his skinny ass practically in Mangrin’s face. Mangrin wanted to punch him.
“Told you so,” Buckley said, poking out his tongue like a two-year old.
“Shut up, Bux!” Harry, the lab scientist said.
Mangrin took a cigarette out of his pocket and played with it, rolling it between his fingers absentmindedly as he pointedly ignored Buckley and studied the lab results that Harry had handed him.
“So whaddaya think it means, Sal?” Harry asked.
“Dunno,” Mangrin replied.
“Maybe he ‘aint a vampire, but now we know it’s really the blood he’s after,” Buckley said. His eyes were lit up like a virgin on prom night. “But maybe the Sarge is right, Sal. Maybe he is some twisted fucker that likes to drink it. Seen one too many movies, read one two many Anne Rice novels.” Buckley’s smile grew wider as Sgt. Delaney entered the lab. So did Mangrin’s.
“What’s the news, Sal? Are they all a match?” She came over to stand beside him and his nostrils flared, taking in her perfume.
God, what I wouldn’t give to…
“They match,” Buckley said smugly.
Mangrin shot him an evil look and handed the report to Delaney. She gave it the once-over, then placed it on the counter in front of them.
“I have something else,”she said, nudging Mangrin. “A lead for you. Something else the victims had in common.”
They hadn’t spent much time at the clinic. They didn’t need to. The manager had told them what he could. Yes, he confirmed, all of the victims had had labwork done recently.
Mangrin and Buckley got out of their unmarked car and walked inside the El Dorado Apartments. They made their way through down a hallway across carpeting that had seen better days, and Buckley rapped on apartment 112.
A gaunt, balding man in glasses opened the door a crack and peered out. “Yes?”
Mangrin flashed his badge. “Detectives Salvador Mangrin and Ed Buckley. Are you James Wells?”
“Yes, sir. What do you want?”
“We’d like to ask you some questions about where you work. If you don’t mind. Could we come in? You do work at Amerilab’s, correct?”
The man nodded and reluctantly pulled open the door just enough for Mangrin and Buckley to squeeze through. The apartment was sparsely furnished, only one beat-up stuffed chair in a corner, and (Mangrin noticed) no T.V. or stereo.
Wells shut the door behind them. “I’d asked you to take a seat but…” he said, looking down at the floor.
“Don’t worry about it, man. Times are tough for us all,” Mangrin replied.
“Jimmy?” A soft voice called from behind a closed door off to the side of hallway.
“Excuse me. My wife needs something.” James Wells disappeared in the direction of the voice. Buckley wandered off through a door to what looked like the kitchen. Mangrin stood there on Wells’s threadbare carpet, feeling anxious.
After several minutes, Buckley appeared in the kitchen doorway. “Hey, Sal. Come take a look at this.”
He entered the kitchen to find Buckley standing at the refrigerator door, holding an extremely large plastic packet of what looked like mustard. They both knew it wasn’t. Mangrin ventured to the other side to gaze into the open refrigerator door. There were dozens of them, stacked neatly.
Suddenly Wells sprang into the kitchen and grabbed Buckley from behind, sliding a very sharp knife up against his throat. Buckley’s eyes widened in fear.
“I’m sorry….really, really, sorry. But I have to…”
Wells sentenced died on his lips as the bullet from the silenced pistol entered his chest below the shoulder. He gasped in pain and fell to the floor. Mangrin holstered his gun and walking over, kicked the knife out of Wells’s hands, looking at him with contempt.
“Why?” he asked.
Wells sputtered, coughing up blood. Mangrin’s bullet struck a lung, apparently. “My…wife….she…” Wells stopped, wheezing.
Buckley opened a door beside the refrigerator that looked like it might’ve led to a pantry. “It’s all here,”he said. “Lab equipment for processing blood into plasma. There’s a Sangofer unit. She’s a hemophiliac, isn’t she? Your wife?” Buckley asked, stepping back into the room with such a cool assessment that Mangrin couldn’t help but be impressed. He vowed to go easier on his partner in the future.
“Yes,” Wells choked out.
“Why for Christ’s sake did you have to cut all those people so many times? Just for their blood?” Mangrin asked.
“Had to make you think it was a psycho doing it. Didn’t want to get caught.”
“Why couldn’t you just take her to a goddamn doctor?”
“She….got worse…She lost her job. I couldn’t afford the insurance. I sold all….all our stuff. Finally…there was nothin’ left worth selling. So, I…”
“Started killing people for their blood…their plasma.” Buckley finished.
Buckley and Mangrin stared in horror at the little man lying on the floor, bleeding out as so many of his victims had done. Their horror was not so much in what the man had done. But it crept into in the silent black rooms of their own minds and they wondered what they would have done in Wells’s shoes to save someone they loved.