one. Albert and Martin
Albert was eleven years old and not a bad boy, but on the day of the murders he disobeyed his parents. He did not do it because he liked to oppose them, it was simply because he thought that, as in the previous notices, nothing would happen in the end. The weather forecast had been warning for hours of the formation of a great storm, hot and cold winds that, when colliding up there, would descend to land in the form of tornadoes. But the truth was that they were constantly alert since spring had begun. His mother kept the TV in the kitchen at full volume despite the fact that the news was a loop that returned to broadcast as soon as it ended, and poor of you if you could turn down the volume or change the channel. His parents took the subject of tornadoes very seriously, and Albert did not understand why. After all, his house had never been affected by one. So when in the morning he told them that he had met Tim, the Jones boy, to play at his house, they refused to let him out. The Jones' farm had already been devastated by a storm three years ago, and there was no reason to believe that such a thing could not be repeated. The subject was settled. They would all stay in the house and go down to the shelter as soon as the alarms sounded.
Albert did not protest. He put his cup in the sink after breakfast and slipped out the back door. He had been halfway down the road that separated his house from the Jones' farm when he began to realize that something strange was happening. The clouds that had covered the sky early in the morning were moving at full speed; the sun sneaked between them projecting silhouettes of light and shadow on the earth. Nothing moved at ground level, the stillness filled the fields, the machinery remained in the granaries, the birds had fallen silent. He paid attention and only heard a dog howling in the distance, or was it not a dog? I spotted the Jones' farm when the first wind gusts arrived. Frightened, he ran, climbed the porch stairs and pounded the door with all his might. Nobody answered. He circled the house to the back door, which they always left open, but not today. Making a screen with his hands on the glass he scanned the interior of the kitchen. There was no one. Then he heard it. He took two steps back and leaned out the side of the house. The tornado bellowed along the deserted meadow like a sinister portion of darkness, wrapped in a layer of dust, fog and destruction. Albert stood still admiring him for a moment, hypnotized by his powerful coming to the farm and amazed by his magnetic power, while his eyes filled with tears of pure panic and sand in suspension. He looked around for a place to flee, where to shelter.
The Jones had a shelter, maybe in the front of the farm ... but I wasn't sure, and it was too late to get back there. He ran to the chicken coop, turned once to see the monster advance and kept running towards the small building while begging that they hadn't closed the door. He spotted the crude bolt, which was little more than a splint that swung on a nail and worked on a lintel recess. It closed inside. For a moment he was in utter darkness while his eyes managed to get used to the low light that slipped through the slits, panting, almost choked by the race and the suffocating smell of feathers and crap of gallin. He felt in his pocket looking for the inhaler while mentally looking at it at the table next to the TV. Forcing himself to contain the cry, he heard the beast roaring outside. Had his cry come down? Maybe he was walking away? He threw himself on the floor without noticing the soft, warm stools that pierced the fabric of his pants, and scrutinized between the vents on the boards. If the tornado had changed direction for a moment, he had done so to return with more force. He saw him approaching the meadow like a living creature composed of everything that had been dragging in his path. He turned inwards and only then, with his eyes already accustomed to the gloom, did he see the animals. The chickens had piled up, even over each other, forming a quiet and compact corner in one of the corners of the chicken coop. They knew they were going to die, and at that moment he knew it too. Shivering from head to toe, he crawled toward the birds and, shrinking as much as he could, buried himself among them just a moment, before the tornado reached the farm. The silent subjugation with which the birds had accepted their fate broke out in a groan of long, deep clucking resembling human cries of pure panic. Albert also shouted calling his mother, feeling the air escaping from his lungs and visualizing the small alveoli that the doctor had shown him in a scheme, folded over themselves, unable to harbor oxygen. Even so, he shouted, emptying himself completely, focusing on listening to that sound that seemed like a very small child. He knew that it was the end when a moment later he could no longer be heard, for the roar of the beast that was out occupied everything. The last thing he felt before the chicken coop collapsed on him was the heat of the urine spilling between his legs.
The sun shone on the top of a clear and blue sky, not a single cloud clouded its perfection, almost like a post-apocalyptic mockery. Martin stopped when he felt a drop of his dor that slid down his head between short, well-groomed hair. He ran a nervous hand and checked, worried, that the collar of his shirt was beginning to run away. With the toe of his polished shoe he pushed away splinters and rubble until he made a hole in which to put his briefcase. He took a handkerchief out of a white thread and wiped the back of his neck. He folded it and put it away again as he reappeared. Well-pressed pants, impeccable shoes. The sober American of soft denim, however, had been a mistake. He had to choose a lighter jacket foreseeing the heat after the passage of the tornado. As far as the eye could see, everything was devastating, except for the small red barn next to the stairs that descended to the shelter where the Jones family had been sheltered. He took his briefcase again and walked there. The two wide open gates and a strong chain that still hung from the inner handles betrayed the rush with which it had been abandoned. He paused for a moment and breathed in the smell emanating from the dark ground of the basement; It smelled like mushrooms and peat and, slightly, urine. He felt his heart racing. There was nobody there. Martin walked to the farm, or what was left of it.
Albert woke up. Before opening his eyes, he already noticed that he could not move, he felt enormous pressure on his chest. In the distance he heard the voices of the Jones family and began shouting. His lungs compressed by weight barely endured three exhalations before passing out.
He woke again to the hurtful and blinding light. He didn't know how long he had been unconscious, but this time he decided not to get hysterical until he lost his senses like the first time. He recapitulated his situation: he could not move. A board, probably from the roof of the corral, covered it completely, but he calculated that there must be something else on top, something very heavy. With his left hand he could feel the edge of the board, which was not very wide, so probably one of the thick beams that had held the chicken coop had probably fallen on the board. He gasped breathing through his mouth. His forehead burned in the place where the splinters of wood had torn off his skin, and his nose was clogged with mucus and blood, which prevented him from perceiving the stifling stench of birds. The frame compressed his chest and had surely broken his left foot. Still motionless, I noticed him imprisoned and lacerating like glass shatters. Next to his right hand he noticed the temperate corpse of a bird. He began to cry, but he knew that he should not be swept away in fear, and struggled to remember how he should calm down to control his asthma attacks. He breathed deeply and tiringly through his mouth with inhalations that were as intense as the heavy board on his chest allowed him. "Very well, Albert, you do very well, honey," heard the voice of his mother, who used to help him during the attacks. When he thought of her, he wanted to cry again, he noticed how his eyes filled with tears and he felt silly and small. Recognizing himself, he imprinted an involuntary jolt on his body, which extended to his shattered foot, which made him gasp in pain and spoil the fragile control he had achieved over his breathing. So in the next few minutes he devoted himself to mentally counting the inhalations and exhalations, keeping his mother away from his thoughts, until he managed to calm down a bit. He then turned his head on his right shoulder, scratching his forehead again, to try to see something through the opening that the boards had left when he fell.
He was a country boy, and although from his position he could not see the sky, he knew from the degree of light that it was just over noon and that the tornado had swept any trace of the clouds that covered it in the morning. He also thought that it was fortunate that Mr. Jones had cut the grass two days ago, if not, he would not have been able to see the man walking along the meadow from the ground. He knew immediately that it was not Mr. Jones. A badge shone on his chest and he carried a briefcase. Albert took a deep breath filling his lungs as much as he could and shouted, though only a hoarse and suffocated growl erupted from his mouth. The man looked away for a moment to the remains of the corral. Albert was sure he would go to him, but then the chicken he had taken for dead next to his right hand moved toward the open recess between the boards and went out into the meadow. The man looked away and walked back to the farm. Albert burst into tears without caring about drowning for it; After all, I was sure, I was going to die.
As he approached he distinguished the wailing laments of desolation. He had heard them dozens of times. Little did the words matter. All survivors of a tragedy, without exception, spoke the same. The voice is throbbed in the throat trying to convey a pathetic and hopeful spirit that was born slaughtered, bleeding and losing their meager forces while their owners stirred the debris in search of something, whatever, what to hold on to, to give them back a little hope with which to feed the supposed luck of having survived.
A girl of about sixteen was recovering from the colorful scarf debris she shook like gymnastic ribbons, tracing a trail of dust in the air before hanging them around her neck. She was the first to see it. He alerted the family as he pointed it out with long short finger nails painted black. They looked at him through the hollow of what had been a window; the meadow was seeded with splinters and the man was moving along it towards the farm. Martin watched them satisfied. There were two more boys: another teenager, about the same age, and a boy who wouldn't reach twelve. The older man was wearing a rock band t-shirt and the little boy had too long hair for a boy. Mr. Jones did not disappoint him. He whined sitting on the steps of what was left of the porch. Martin observed that he had abandoned a bottle of water, chocolate bars and a peeler on a step beside him. With his hands he held his head in a gesture of utter helplessness while his old mother, sitting beside him, comforted him by rocking him like a small child. Standing, a few steps away from them, a woman in her forties looked at him questioningly and brazenly. Young Mrs. Jones, he supposed. Thin and beautiful, she had dyed hair of a reddish and artificial color that did not favor her and she held one of those stupid little dogs in her arms, which kept on grinding. Martin checked once again that his identification was clearly visible on his chest. The whole group seemed encouraged to see him, they released what they had in their hands and, instinctively, they went to what had been the door of the house, although much of the wall on that side had disappeared. Mrs. Jones was the first to react. Without releasing the puppy, he placed the blouse on the neckline and slightly stroked his hair, before beginning to descend the stairs to receive Martin with his best smile. He also smiled hating her with all his soul for being capable of so much evil, of so much corruption, of so much horror, of enraging God himself. He extended his hand and, before touching hers, he had already decided that, although hers would have been to start with the old woman, this time she would be the first to kill.
Albert heard the screams and the shots. He opened his eyes wide and stopped crying. Maybe, after all, that was his lucky day.
2. Mountain character
FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Amaia Salazar shifted uncomfortably in her second row seat. She had been one of the first to reach the great hall where the conference would be held, which, due to the large influx of people, threatened to remain small. Unlike the classes of the previous days, exclusively for European police, it was announced as a master class and was open to all FBI agents and cadets who would like to attend. It was enough for a couple of his coldest looks to keep two agents dressed and a pair of cadets away with their distinctive blue polo shirt and a huge smile away from the adjacent seats. I didn't want company. Among all the areas that comprised the exchange program, the special agent Dupree conference was the most interesting. And not only for her, given the pace at which the room is filled. Gertha, a middle-aged German police inspector, greeted her smiling and sat next to her. They were the only women who were part of the European police group. And considering the cold reception that both had received from their male partners, it was not strange that the woman had not taken off since they had arrived. At first he had had reservations about her. He liked her, she was nice and kind, but she had seemed too talkative to her liking. Not the kind that stuns you without meaning or the one that interrogates you without mercy. However, at two breakfasts, two meals and a bus trip from the airport, Gertha had told him almost his entire life.
"Mountain character," Gertha had said.
"I bet you're from a mountain area, my husband is, and I also have a hard time getting the words out."
"Actually, I'm from a valley."
They had laughed together. Gertha had taken much more than a few words in those four days. Possibly because of the emotional coverage of confessing to someone you may not see again, or because Inspector Gertha Schneider, besides speaking, knew how to listen. He had ended up becoming the object of confidences and revelations he had never made to anyone. More than one night, their conversations had lasted until dawn. Gertha led a group of murders of forty-five people, of which thirty-eight were men. He had taken his ration of struggle for due respect and yet he did not hold a bit of resentment towards anyone.
Before she could start speaking, a man in a suit sat next to Amaia.
"Sub inspector, I've looked for her everywhere." I thought he would be in the common room, with the others… ”His tone was mock reproach, and to reinforce it he gave it with a smile that might have lasted too long. Amaia looked down so she didn't have to keep seeing her.
Emerson was his support agent for the duration of the course; Her mission was to guide her through the facilities, help her to carry out her training, accompany her, introduce her to the different instructors and give her access, through her own equipment and her password, to the data that the members of the course needed to do their exercises. technicians And, from time to time, he hinted a little ...
—Yes, well, I have gone ahead, I wanted to take a good place: this conference particularly interests me.
"Well, she's not the only one," Emerson said, turning to look at the room, which was almost full. You see that our Dupree agent raises real passions here. Have you ever heard him? Do you know him
“I attended a conference he gave three years ago at Loyola University in Boston, while I was studying there. I queued for the program to sign and shook his hand, that's all. According to the course summary, Agent Dupree will give our next seminar, I want to be prepared.
Emerson smiled presumptuously raising an eyebrow.
"Do you know something that I don't know?" She asked knowing that he was dying to tell.
—The special agent Dupree has his own methods; teaching a class does not always mean the same as for others. He is the head of an acting unit, not an instructor. From time to time he lectures or publishes an article internally. It is an exception that accepts to participate in the formation of the Europol group.
"You work with him, right?"
"Not exactly ..." He noticed that he had trouble admitting it. Sometimes I accompany them on their outings. I would love it to be something usual, and I don't rule it out, maybe in the future ... I belong to the support contingent of the communication area with the agent Stella Tucker, who in turn is part of the Dupree team. We could say that I work for him indirectly. The area of behavior analysis includes many areas. The acting units are composed of criminalist field agents, but there are many other aspects of the investigation that must be done from here, to provide bido support to those outside looking for the bad guys. He said "the bad guys" as if talking to a little girl, and accompanied him with one of those exaggerated smiles of his. Seeing that he did not obtain the desired result, he continued in a professional tone: “The researchers that remain here are common to the three action groups. Of course I am a criminalist and my specialty is data analysis. It may not seem so bright, but it is of paramount importance during an investigation.
As if the same device controlled the two functions, the light of the room and the murmurs of the public descended to extinction while a powerful white spotlight gained intensity illuminating the lonely lectern in the center of the stage.
Agent Dupree emerged from the right side of the proscenium and walked to stand under the ring of light. He was a thin and elegant man; Dark, short and well-groomed hair reminded him that already the first time he saw him he thought of a military past. The paleness of his face highlighted the darkness around his eyes, which gave him a certain air of innate sleeplessness. He wore an impeccable navy suit with a white shirt and matching tie, and his face was carefully shaved. He stopped in front of the lectern and corrected his position to the millimeter, although he never saw him place any paper on it. Amaia wondered if she had left the prepared speech on the support before; that data would allow him to get a clearer idea about the character and the forecasting capacity of the agent. He promised to check if he picked it up at the end.
According to the brief biography of the program, he was forty-four years old, born in the state of Louisiana, had extensive training in law, economics, art history, psychology and criminology. For a year, he had directed one of the three field work groups of the Behavioral Sciences Unit of the FBI, of which he had been a part during the previous five years. Dupree raised his chin, advanced one leg, dropping the weight on the other and, allowing the arms to position themselves naturally on the sides of the hips, looked around all the people gathered in the auditorium. A couple of rows further back, an assistant started in an applause that was immediately extinguished. Amaia kept her eyes fixed on the stage, but heard the silky whisper of the costumes of several agents as she turned to reconvene with her eyes to the unsuspecting. They did not like stridence; the screams, the howls and the applause they gave for the sport.
Dupree extended a hand and struck the microphone, producing a thunder in the room. He leaned a little on the music stand, looked up, and addressed someone invisible at the back of the auditorium.
"Could you please illuminate the public a little?" If I can't see them I have the feeling of talking alone. He smiled resignedly. And I have that feeling so often ...
The comment generated the immediate sympathy of the room, which seemed much more relaxed when the light level increased enough for Agent Dupree to distinguish them.
He looked over the audience almost as if he were looking for someone. When he reached Amaia, he fixed it on her for a couple of seconds and looked at the music stand again. It had been only an instant. She was telling herself that she was probably looking at someone behind her, when she noticed that Agent Emerson was watching her. He had noticed it too. Dupree addressed the public and began to speak.
- Everyone knows the importance of establishing a victimological profile that allows us, through the analysis of the choice of the obvious victims, to reach our goal. But today I will talk about the importance of establishing records of possible victims to detect the presence of a serial killer. We will pay attention first to the type of victim you choose, even before it is manifested or known about its existence.
A kind of sigh, half contained, flew over the room. Dupree looked back at Amaia. When he spoke, he did so by addressing each word.
- It is common to assume that crime is the way in which the murderer purges his own pain, since he has often been a victim before being an executor. And among all the assumptions, the most dangerous is that deep down everyone wants to be arrested, everyone wants to be caught and their crimes are nothing but terrible calls for attention to their own condition, excluding of course mental illness.
Amaia heard Emerson whispering embarrassed.
-What the hell...?
Special Agent Dupree paused and went back to the rest of the auditorium.
—Hypothesis that sustains that stridency and savagery are only meant to be noted. That they will not stop, because they have finally found a way to be something, to be someone, to be important, and that ego often loses them, because, in their eagerness to be recognized, they are exposed until they are trapped. But be careful, because the assumption is the investigator's greatest enemy, and the evidence shows that not all serial killers are compulsive and disorganized. In fact, some become quite aware of their "particularities" and often resort to tricks and traps in order to mislead, while doing work from within the mind of the investigator who pursues them, manipulating the scenarios or establishing false traces that lead us to think that what we have before our eyes is something other than reality. This type of murderer is able to exercise his macabre work with discretion for years, hiding his tracks or the bodies of his victims, posing them for disappearances, leaks, accidents or suicides, and choosing victims with a high-risk profile, people whose disappearance may go unnoticed or is unimpressive due to circumstances of social exclusion: drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless people, homeless people, illegal immigrants or irregular status. This predator carefully selects its victims, knowing that those belonging to these groups move very often. It is a peculiarity of our great country that complicates research in the United States; but for you, the European police, with the opening of borders between the member countries of the Union, is not very different, ”he said, heading to the left side of the room where Amaia and the rest of his companions sat.
»This type of murderer has no intention of being caught, he is able to play the role of a good citizen all his life, he has no desire for notoriety, he already has his place in the world.
He paused and fixed his gaze on Amaia's as he said:
"His satisfaction and his power come, as in the devil, that we believe does not exist." He smiled and the audience seconded.
Amaia pretended not to notice Agent Emerson's glancing gaze, although it was impossible not to hear Gertha, who leaned toward her and whispered:
"He told you."
Dupree continued to head to the living room.
—The homicide investigator is trained to detect discordant elements and explore the usual lines of investigation: beneficiaries, jealousy, sex, drugs, money, inheritance, blackmail. But with serial killers the motivations escape the usual ones, because gratification is psychological. Hence the importance of paying attention to the way our subject is rewarded to understand what needs he meets. The objective of this talk and the next exercises of their training courses will be about the detection of common and discordant elements around a type of victim, in the characteristics of the disappearance or in the scene of appearance of the body, which may lead to the suspicion that something that presents itself as a suicide or an accident conceals a murder or a series of them. And how will we study murderers that we have not yet been able to catch?
How to create databases with data that we do not know? How to establish the behavior of a ghost, of a poacher who gets his profit from not knowing about his existence? "He paused."
"Victimology," Amaia whispered.
"Victimology," Dupree continued almost simultaneously, "science based on the study of the profile of the victims, but also of the alleged victims, the disappeared, the escaped, those who fade into the air without a trace." Victimology in this case becomes an abstract science, in which the intuition of the investigator will be essential to establish whether it is really a victim. For this, aspects such as physical, psychological profile, social position, characteristic features will be taken into account; here they would enter from deficiencies to malformations, through striking features of their appearance. And the type of family to which they belong or, if they have no family, their diseases and pathologies, their medical treatments and any information we can obtain about their behavior and personality, tastes and affinities. Undoubtedly, the work that the investigator has to do when faced with the slightest suspicion that a victim can be treated, whether his body is or not, is unimproved, and we know that our memory can betray us, confuse us. That is why it is vitally important to document these elements properly to establish a database that we can turn to when our brain clicks again before the appearance, or disappearance, of another possible victim who has common features that we have already observed.
Agent Dupree pressed a button on the lectern and on the screen, behind him, appeared the face of a young man dressed and handsome, although very thin. The black and white image seemed taken from an old newspaper.
—In the 1980s, the English investigator Noah Scott Sherrington of Scotland Yard began to develop a database of possible victims based on the profile of women fleeing, missing or escaped from their home. The most striking thing is that Inspector Scott Sherrington did not have any corpse, or remainder, that would allow him to assume that they were dead, or indications that would indicate that they had been victims of a kidnapping or that their disappearance was not voluntary. When they study the dossier they will deliver after the talk, they will verify that it was a coastal area depressed by unemployment and with a horrible climate.
»The pop promise of the eighties in London was very attractive compared to a job in a cannery, if there was luck; and this led many young people to flee their homes. The periodic arrival of specialized workers who stayed for a short time made the young girls in the area see a boyfriend as an opportunity to get them out of there.
»Scott Sherrington, developing that database with the girls' profiles allowed him to establish what a predator's map of action might be. This work took years of follow-up of this particular list of missing persons from which names were falling when the inspector was able to verify that they had reappeared in another place in the country. However, little by little a map was drawn and the concrete profile of the victim was refined until it was absolutely alarming. El inspector Scott Sherrington es un referente para todos los investigadores del mundo en lo que a victimología se refiere, pues estableció la presencia de un asesino basándose en el perfil de sus probables víctimas. A partir de ese momento inició una investigación en la que entraron elementos que todos conocemos: búsqueda de testigos, reconstrucción de las últimas horas en las que fueron vistas y criba de los perfiles hasta ser capaz de establecer, casi sin margen de error, quiénes de entre todas aquellas chicas, que tenían en común el hecho de querer abandonar sus hogares, se habían fugado o habían sido víctimas de aquel depredador. Las teorías del inspector Scott Sherrington no recibieron en su día el apoyo con el que cuentan hoy.
Dupree hizo una pausa, dirigió la mirada a Amaia, lo que esta vez provocó que algunos agentes se volviesen hacia ella.
—Siguiendo su instinto y como culminación de una impecable investigación, Scott Sherrington redujo sus sospechosos a dos, aunque entonces el inspector lo calificó como «una corazonada» —recalcó Dupree.
—Una corazonada —susurró Amaia, discerniendo la conexión. Apenas seis meses atrás, cuando acababa de ser ascendida a subinspectora de la Policía Foral, heredó el caso de la desaparición de una joven enfermera que acababa de incorporarse a un hospital para hacer sus prácticas. Los anteriores responsables del caso ya habían investigado a su círculo más cercano y estaban a punto de archivarlo como desaparición voluntaria, pero su madre no dejaba de presentarse en comisaría y comenzó a hacer ruido en los medios con desconsoladas apariciones en la prensa y la televisión. El caso no fue ningún regalo, sino más bien algo que se quitaron de encima, pero ella lo recibió con entusiasmo. Repasó cada dato de la investigación y se centró de inmediato en un médico del hospital. Durante la investigación inicial ni siquiera había sido considerado sospechoso, aunque se le tomó declaración como testigo, pues varios compañeros de la chica recordaban haberle visto hablando con ella. Fue descartado en un primer momento porque no se pudo establecer relación, pero, sobre todo, por su conducta intachable. Un prometedor cirujano, heredero de la tradición médica familiar, de una de las más reputadas familias pamplonesas. Recordaba las palabras de su comisario cuando le planteó sus dudas: «Conozco a esa familia. Algo así está para ellos completamente fuera de lugar». Acompañó las palabras con un gesto grave y respetuoso, que descartaba el argumento por ridículo. Amaia no volvió a mencionar sus sospechas, pero, tras seguir al prometedor cirujano durante semanas, incluso en su tiempo libre, dio con el lugar donde tenía retenida a la joven a la que había sometido como esclava sexual. Ella no era la primera. Su detención permitió esclarecer la desaparición de, al menos, otras dos mujeres. Cuando tuvo que explicar en su informe qué le había llevado a centrar sus sospechas sobre el coleccionista, no había podido concretar más allá de decir que había sido una corazonada.
Dupree continuó dirigiéndose a la audiencia.
—La de Scott Sherrington era una fuerte corazonada. Durante semanas alternó la vigilancia a los dos tipos en los que había centrado sus sospechas. Una noche, en me dio de una colosal tormenta, mientras regresaba a su casa tras vigilar a uno de los hombres, su coche se cruzó en un semáforo con el del otro sospechoso, y decidió seguirle sin saber que acababa de dar con su hombre y que aquella noche sería testigo del modo en que se deshacía de sus víctimas. Qué hacía con los cuerpos después de matarlas era lo único que el inspector Scott Sherrington no había sido capaz de establecer, aunque el repaso posterior de sus notas nos sorprende con la brillantez de sus deducciones. Desgraciadamente, como he dicho, nadie estaba prestando ayuda ni oídos al inspector Scott Sherrington. El área de acción donde el asesino hacía desaparecer los cadáveres era amplísima, la analogía del paisaje multiplicaba las dificultades a la hora de averiguar dónde las escondía, y habría sido casi imposible hallar los cuerpos. Solo, en mitad de la noche, en un territorio hostil y durante el transcurso de una tormenta, el inspector intentó detener al depredador mientras este se deshacía del cadáver de su última víctima, una chica que encajaba en el perfil que Scott Sherrington había delineado. La sorpresa al entender que había dado con el monstruo, la superioridad física del asesino y una cardiopatía que no había sido detectada en el corazón del inspector le provocaron un infarto mientras peleaba con él. Scott Sherrington fue hallado a la mañana siguiente por unos cazadores de la zona, que lo trasladaron al hospital. Consiguieron salvar le la vida tras una arriesgada operación de corazón. Cuando el inspector Scott Sherrington volvió a estar consciente, el asesino había huido. Aun así, sus investigaciones fueron suficientes para establecer la carrera criminal del individuo y localizar los cadáveres de nueve de sus víctimas. La base de datos que creó Scott Sherrington aún sirve como referencia y lección magistral de cómo aplicar la victimología, tanto si el crimen es evidente o, por distintas circunstancias creadas por el asesino, nos lo ha presentado haciéndolo parecer un suicidio o un acci dente. El inspector tuvo que causar baja definitiva por su grave enfermedad cardíaca.
Dupree recorrió con la mirada toda la sala.
—Agentes, cadetes de la academia, gracias a todos por su atención. Miembros de las policías invitadas, sus agentes de apoyo les facilitarán un dosier completo de las investigaciones del inspector Scott Sherrington y de las bases establecidas sobre victimología tanto en perfiles de comportamiento como geográficos. Estúdienlas, constituirán el tema del próximo seminario. La conferencia ha terminado.
El agente especial Dupree abandonó el escenario por el mismo lugar por el que había accedido a él. El auditorio quedó en silencio un instante hasta que el escaso nivel de luz que Dupree había exigido para ver a los asistentes aumentó haciéndoles entrecerrar los ojos.
Amaia se puso en pie, pero permaneció quieta mirando al escenario y al lugar por el que Dupree había desaparecido, casi huérfana de aquella atención inexplicable que la había dejado inquieta y extrañamente halagada. Se dio cuenta entonces de que no había reparado en si Dupree llevaba o no algún documento en las manos.
La investigadora alemana le palmeó el hombro mien tras decía:
—¡A eso lo llamo yo captar la atención! Pensativa, oyó también a Emerson.
—¡Vaya, subinspectora Salazar!, parece que ha impresionado al jefe. —Su tono delataba una nota de insana rivalidad.
Amaia volvió la mirada hacia Emerson como si saliera de un trance y lo observó. Algo en él había cambiado. Correcto en todo momento, había cumplido con creces sus funciones; cuando se lo asignaron como agente de apoyo el día que llegó, estuvo segura de percibir cierto fastidio, que achacó al hecho de que entre una mayoría de policías varones le hubiera tocado una mujer. Aunque pareció compensarle que ella fuera la que estaba obteniendo las mayores puntuaciones en todas las áreas, lo que fue suficiente para hacerle recobrar el buen humor, y eso a Amaia la llevó a pensar que solo era uno de esos tipos muy competitivos a los que no les gusta perder en nada. En un par de ocasiones había notado cómo intentaba cautivarla combinando su sonrisa, blanqueada en exceso, con intensas miradas directas a los ojos. Pero ahora en su boca había un rictus recto, como el corte de un bisturí. Los pulmones llenos de aire, la mandíbula ligeramente alta. Un gallito. Amaia elevó la mano, le tocó levemente en el hombro y lo apartó de su camino. Lo rebasó dejándolo desconcertado y agraviado, como si en lugar de su dedo índice hubiese utilizado el cañón de un arma. Sorteando a los agentes que se habían detenido a charlar entre las filas de asientos, salió del auditorio buscando la puerta lateral del escenario.
A su espalda pudo oír a Emerson, que le decía:
—Salazar, ¡no puede irse ahora! El seminario empieza dentro de quince minutos en la sala tres y está al otro lado del edificio, tenemos el tiempo justo para llegar.
Emerson la alcanzó en el momento en que la puerta que llevaba al escenario se abría. Dupree salió acompañado de una agente. Un grupo de hombres que esperaba en el pasillo lo rodeó con saludos y cumplidos, al mismo tiempo que avanzaban hacia el fondo del corredor.
Amaia alzó una mano llamando su atención.
—Agente Dupree, por favor.
Dupree se volvió, la miró con indiferencia, inclinó la cabeza y saludó a Emerson, que se había colocado justo tras ella.
—Agente Emerson —dijo y, volviéndose, continuó su avance por el pasillo rodeado de sus colegas.
Amaia se quedó helada mirando cómo se alejaba.
Y no le importó que Emerson oyese que decía:
—¡Maldito cabrón petulante!
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