Inspector Virgil was not having a pleasant evening. Having to finish dinner in a hurry to investigate a murder was not an unusual thing, but it wasn’t something that improved with familiarity, either.
And the inspector realized that this was going to be one of the worst as soon as he entered the house, because he heard one of the police officers throwing up in the bathroom.
The smell of carrion dominated this small apartment in Entrecampos. “Apartment” was a generous term; it was mostly a main suite with a bathroom in a corner and a partition separating the main room from the kitchenette. The perfect love nest for the two students who lived there, according to what he had been told on the way.
Only, right now, the police were not even sure if they had a whole student here. One of the agents had, just minutes before he arrived, found half a jaw above one of the bookshelves. They could only figure out that it was a jaw because a tongue had been hanging from the bone. Virgil had never seen anything like this – it was as if the girl had been attacked by a wild animal.
No … Wild animals did not hang… Strips of skin… From the ceiling lamp, like macabre Christmas decorations. Virgil put on his gloves and tugged lightly on one of the strips as if it were a sleeping serpent. The piece of pale skin curled into the palm of his hand, staining the white glove with scarlet ichor.
And… There were no signs of fighting, other than a broken mirror. The room was soaked with blood and filled with pieces of someone, but nothing suggested a fight, there was no sign of weapons, nothing else was broken. Neither had the neighbours reported any noise – apart from the too-loud music, which was usual. Had it not been for the blood dripping through the shabby tiled floor to the apartment below, and God knows how long it would have been until they found the grisly scene.
Virgil started toward the bathroom, after the agent occupying it had recovered. He was almost tiptoeing forward, trying not to step on anything that seemed to have been part of a person.
The inspector let out a sigh as he entered the white-tiled cubicle. Handprints stamped in blood, here and there – this was more familiar territory. The prints led to the small window, large enough for a thin person to use to get out. Virgilio looked out into the street.
It was raining very hard, nearly hail.
There was no fire escape, and they were on the fifth floor.