Inspector Sanchez had barely time to change before heading down to Vigo in the early hours of 25th August. A man’s body had been found in a small boat just off the Islas Cies by a fishing boat heading back to Cangas. The local police surgeon had provided a thorough overview of the condition of the body and had noted the lethal blow had been applied with an expert eye.
When Maria Sanchez read this, she knew who was responsible. Of the cell of people in A Coruna, two were now dead, leaving five who would search for the assassin. The police would have to be careful because these terrorists were armed and would not be afraid to use the weapons.
She dropped off Sergeant Villa at the Urzaiz station and carried on to Guixar station. She reckoned the assassin would try to leave Vigo straightaway after the attack, so he might have gone already, but police procedure dictated that thoroughness and leaving nothing to chance were paramount.
It was around 8:15 am as she entered the station. It wasn’t busy at this hour, just a few people waiting for the train to Oporto. Backpackers on a train odyssey, a man travelling light with a delightful orange bag and yawning loudly, elderly couples looking anxiously at their watches, and a few young people going to play a team sport were all waiting.
She walked over to the ticket counter and showed her ID to the ticket-seller who had two colleagues with him.
“Good day,” she said, “I was wondering whether you sold a ticket to this man recently,” and she showed them a picture of the assassin taken from a CCTV camera near the Islas Cies ferry the previous day.
“I did,” said a woman, standing next to the seated ticket-seller. “He carried a black travel bag and looked windswept. It was yesterday afternoon, and he wanted a ticket on the faster train to Santiago de Compostela at 8:58 am.” The woman looked on her ticket ordering system and found the seat she’d allocated to the man. She wrote it down on a piece of paper and handed it to Sanchez.
“Thank you, and that faster train is from Urzaiz?” asked Sanchez.
“That’s right,” replied the woman.
“Has he done something wrong?” asked the ticket seller.
“He has,” replied Sanchez, “why do you ask?”
“Oh, you’re not the first to ask this morning,” replied the seller. “Someone from military intelligence wanted to know about him just ten minutes ago.”
“Military Intelligence? Did he have any ID?”
“They don’t carry any,“ came the reply.
“What did he look like, this man?”
“Rather North African, but with a good accent.”
“Thank you,” replied Sanchez and ran out of the station to her car. She radioed her colleagues to warn them that there was a lot of interest in the 8:58 am train to Santiago and to be on the lookout for potential terrorists in the area.
Sanchez watched a local police vehicle speeding past as she headed off, listening to a police radio report that someone had shot dead a homeless man near the city centre. Three men in a small car eager to discover the way to Urzaiz station followed her at a distance.