The Criminal Minds challenge this week: You've got five minutes and ten questions for a murder suspect. What are they?
For Blood and Love
by Jeannie Holmes
Alexandra Sabian entered the interview room with a notepad and a file folder tucked under her arm. She hooked the unoccupied chair’s leg with her boot and scooted it from beneath the table enough she could sit comfortably. Placing the notepad and file on the table, she watched the woman across from her.
Dark hair, once confined to a tidy French braid, now framed her pale face in ragged wisps. Slick pink fang scars peeked from behind the collar and sleeve cuffs of her bloody yellow blouse. Gray eyes followed Alex’s movements as she opened her notepad and clicked her pen.
She often thought of interview murder suspects as a game of chess, always having to think three moves ahead of her opponent. It was especially true when questioning vampires, like the woman before her. To compound the issue, Alex only had a few minutes to attempt to gain a confession of murder before the woman’s attorney weaseled his way into the room.
“What’s your name?” Alex asked, starting with the basics.
“Leslie,” the woman said softly. “Leslie O’Dell.”
“What happened tonight, Leslie?”
“I went to Crimson Swan after work with some friends—you know, to relax. We were there for an hour or so. My friends left but I decided to stay for a little while longer.”
Leslie shrugged. “I wasn’t ready to go home to an empty house.”
Alex nodded. How many times had she stayed at the Swan for the same reason? She pushed the question from her mind. “Please, continue.”
“I had another drink—”
“Alcohol or blood?”
“Alcohol,” Leslie said. “Anyway, I was minding my own business when this guy comes up and starts hitting on me.”
“Did he introduce himself?”
“He said his name was Calvin Anderson and asked if I came there often.” Leslie snorted. “It was a cheesy line, but I…” She sighed and twisted the small diamond ring circling the third finger of her left hand. “I thought it was kind of charming.”
Alex waited for Leslie to continue her story. In the twenty-plus years she’d been an Enforcer with the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation, she’d learned that suspects would often talk themselves into a corner if given enough time, and as a vampire, she was nothing if not patient.
“We talked, mostly about our jobs—”
“Where do you work?”
“Nassau County Community College. I’m an administrative assistant in the science department.”
“And you’d never met Calvin Anderson before tonight?”
Leslie shook her head. “No, never.”
“That’s interesting.” Alex picked up the folder and began laying out black-and-white photos across the table. “I find it interesting because your car was captured by the Crimson Swan security cameras three nights ago.”
Leslie stilled and stared at the photos.
“But the photo I find the most interesting is this one showing you talking to Calvin Anderson in the parking lot.” Alex nudged the photo forward. “If you’ve never met him, as you claim, how do you explain this photo?”
Light glinted off Leslie’s ring as she toyed with it.
“Calvin gave you that ring, didn’t he?”
Tears streaked her face as she nodded. “Six months ago. He asked me to marry him, but he broke off the engagement that night.” She thrust her chin at last photo. “He found out I was sleeping with a donor. That’s why I went to the bar tonight. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him to give us—give me another chance. I told him the affair was over, but he wouldn’t listen. He just walked out.”
“And that’s when you followed him outside and into the alley,” Alex said, slipping the final photo from the folder.
Leslie glanced at the image of her aiming a gun at Calvin Anderson as he walked away from her. She sobbed and covered her face.
The security cameras had captured the entire incident. The argument. The gun shot. Leslie O’Dell kneeling beside the prone body of her dying lover and biting his neck after shooting him in the back. Three days of blood-abstinence was enough to make any vampire feel their sanity begin to slip. Calvin Anderson rejecting her for a second time had been Leslie’s breaking point.
Alex gathered the photos and returned them to the file. The case was as good as closed. Leslie only had one final question to answer and her confession would be complete. “Where’s the gun now?”
Leslie inhaled deeply, wiping away her tears. “In the Dumpster behind the Swan.”
The chair scraped along the bare concrete floor as Alex stood. She picked up the file and notepad and headed for the door.
Alex paused in the now open doorway.
“Aren’t you going to ask me why I did it?”
“But I thought cops always asked why.”
“The man you loved dumped you, and judging from the scars on your neck and wrists, I’m willing to bet the two of you shared more than a bed.” Alex shook her head. “No, Ms. O’Dell, I don’t need to ask why. I know why you did it.”
“Then tell me.” Her voice cracked. “Please.”
“You did it for the blood.”
Alex shut the door behind her, cutting off Leslie’s renewed sobs. She leaned against the door and fingered the long scar on her own neck. “For blood,” she whispered as the image of a dark-haired vampire floated before her. “And love.”