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Biography

An experienced journalist, Elena Gallego Abad is the author of a series of novels about Dragal, the Galician dragon seeking to reincarnate in the body of a boy, Hadrián. The saga comprises three novels – Dragal I: The Dragon’s Inheritance (2010); Dragal II: The Dragon’s Metamorphosis (2011); Dragal III: The Dragon’s Fraternity (2012) – and further novels are planned.

A film, together with other multimedia content, is currently in production.

The book series has continued with a new novel, "Dragal IV, The dragon race", published in April 2015 and with a second trilogy starts.

Elena Gallego Abad is the author of another novel, Seven Skulls (2014), which follows a journalist, Marta Vilas, as she investigates a case of multiple murder. The author is often described as the Galician J. K. Rowling and praised for being the first woman to write a crime novel in Galician.

 

Dragal, a magic universe

Dragons

Only a few legendary characters are still alive in the collective memory as they dragons, who almost touch divinity, do.

All around the world, in other times, legends about this figure exist, especially in sacred texts and in the universal iconography.

Dragons can be found in Christian and Buddhist temples, in Hebraic and Mussulmen texts… And of course, also in the north-western Iberic Peninsula, known as Galicia.

What may happen if the stone dragon placed in the front wall of a roman church came to life?

What if that dragon, who keeps the secret of a millenary prophecy expected to take place at any moment, embodied our main character?

With inspiration on the “traslatio” myth of the Saint-Jacques Apostle which is kept in the famous Codex Calixtinus, and which were the seed on the whom Jacobeans myth was born, Dragal shows us that the old Lupa’s Queen and the magic waters of Poza da Moura legends are related to the pilgrimage to Compostela of Nicolas Flamel, the alchemist, in the medieval ages.

What did they know about the last Galician dragon?

A cinema dragon

Dragal’s trilogy, edited in Galician by Edicións Xerais de Galicia, will pretty soon release on screens and different multimedia supports, by the hand of Galician film producer Ficción Producciones.

In its original version in Galician language, the first novel “Dragal, a Herdanza do Dragón”, was finalist in the IV Premio Fundación Caixagalicia of Young People’s Literature in 2009.

First published in April 2010, it received Frei Martín Sarmiento’s prize in 2012 (gave by the pupils from the catholic centres in Galicia, category 1st and 2nd ESO).

From January 2016 the 9th edition is on the shops.

In 2011, Elena Gallego Abad published “Dragal II, a Metamorfose do Dragón”, with a great success among public and Critic.

In July 2012 she published “Dragal III, a Fraternidade do Dragón”, which during the first months of 2013 leaded the sales of Galician Child and Young People’s Literature.

In March 2013 film producer Ficción Producciones bought the adiovisual rights of this trilogy (which will have a continuation with new books) to develop an ambitious film/multimedia project of international character.

The series is being translated into different languages:

 DRAGAL I The Dragon's Inheritance (Small Stations Press 2014)
DRAGAL I L'hèrencia del drac (Pagès Editors 2014)
DRAGAL I la herencia del dragón (Anaya 2015 )
DRAGAL II La metamorfosi del drac (Pagès Editors 2015)
DRAGAL II La metamorfosis del dragón (Anaya 2015)
DRAGAL II The dragon's metamorphosis (Small Station Press 2015)
DRAGAL III La Fraternidad del dragón (Anaya 2016)

The first novel in the series Dragal also been selected for the project New Spanish Books 2015 (France).

The book series has continued with a new novel, "Dragal IV, The dragon race", published in April 2015 and with a second trilogy starts.

DRAGAL I: THE DRAGON’S INHERITANCE synopsis

Dragal I: The Dragon’s Inheritance (264 pages) is the first in a series of novels that tell the story of Dragal, the Galician dragon seeking to reincarnate in the body of a boy, Hadrián. Two more titles have been published – Dragal II: The Dragon’s Metamorphosis and Dragal III: the Dragon’s Fraternity – and further novels are planned. A film of these three novels, together with other multimedia content, is currently in production.

At school, the maths teacher, Miss Ermidas, is handing back the pupils’ exams. When she gets to Hadrián’s desk, she gives him back his paper and Hadrián is delighted to see that he has got a 10. The stone dragon on the cornice of the nearby church of St Peter’s is also delighted and gives him a wink. Miss Ermidas has been worried about Hadrián ever since he arrived at the school after his father’s death. She can’t fathom how he managed to get such a high mark, but hopes that the wounds of his father’s death and his subsequent move from another city are starting to heal.

Before moving to Galicia with his mother, Hadrián has only ever been on holiday. But when his father dies in an accident, he is forced to move there permanently. He is unpacking his things when his mother enters his new bedroom and hands him an amulet that used to belong to his father. On one side is a dragon in a threatening gesture, on the other what looks like the same animal incubating an egg. Six weeks into term, he notices images of the dragon on the capitals of the church next to his school, St Peter’s, and a larger effigy of the dragon on the cornice, which winks at him. When the history teacher, Mr Alberte, explains about the dragons on the church’s façade, Hadrián has already spotted about seven of them. When asked what a dragon is doing there, he says it’s ‘waiting for its moment to come’.

Hadrián is searching for the medallion in his bedroom. When he finds it, he notices the tails of the dragon move. Frightened, he goes out of his bedroom to find his grandmother’s old Bible in the hope that this will protect him from whatever force is hidden in that medallion. During the night, he remembers a story his father told him when he was little about a dragon that lived in the village and harassed the local inhabitants. Some thought about the best way to kill the dragon, but others formed a secret order of knights with the aim of protecting the dragon’s magic.

Hadrián stares at the dragon on the cornice of the church and doesn’t pay attention to the maths teacher’s explanations. When she asks him to come to the front and explain the solution to a maths problem, he finds that a voice in his head, that of the dragon, solves the problem for him. The maths teacher is again amazed at his ability. Hadrián visits St Peter’s and talks in his mind to the dragon on the frontispiece. He also receives answers. The parish priest, Father Xurxo, notices him standing outside and is intrigued. Hadrián explains that he is the grandson of Miss Xulia, one of the priest’s most devout parishioners before she died, and the priest remembers how he once healed a scrape on the boy’s knee. When Hadrián expresses an interest in dragons, the vicar takes him inside and shows him the ten dragon heads that adorn the double vault. On leaving the church, the boy is met by a classmate, Mónica, who reminds him he missed handing in a project they were supposed to have done for their language class.

Hadrián explains the reason for his absence and Mónica accepts an invitation to complete the assignment at Hadrián’s house. After they’ve finished, she asks to see the medallion. Hadrián is initially unwilling, but then takes her upstairs to see it. Mónica is holding the medallion when the dragon’s tails move again. Hoping to find answers to the enigma of the medallion, Hadrián suggests visiting his great-grandfather’s old library in the house, where Mónica discovers an ancient manuscript called The Secrets of Alchemy. Under ‘D’, there is a description of a dragon and, when Hadrián returns to his bedroom, he finds the tails on the medallion have copied the illuminated initial in the manuscript.

The maths teacher, Miss Ermidas, tries to reach out to Hadrián, warning him not to miss the train of his life. She’s been worried about him ever since he moved to Galicia following his father’s death. Hadrián is grateful for the gesture, but runs outside. Meanwhile, Miss Ermidas notices a whole series of geometrical forms and mathematical formulas scribbled on Hadrián’s desk. She asks the caretaker to ensure all the desks are cleaned by the morning. Mónica does some research on the Internet and comes across a pencil drawing of the dragon incubating an egg. When she prints it out, she discovers some text that says this is a reproduction of the medallion of the Grand Master of the Order of Dragal, dating to the eleventh century, but when she tries to find the image again, it appears to have disappeared as if by magic and doesn’t show up in search results. She now knows there is an Order of Dragal, which must be the order of knights who swore to protect the dragon’s magic. At home, Hadrián continues to peruse the ancient manuscript The Secrets of Alchemy, rereading the entry for ‘Dragon’ and discovering an entry for ‘Alchemy’, both of which refer to the Grand Master – the Grand Master of what? Hadrián leaves their maths class the next day without giving Mónica time to tell him about her discovery and revisits the Moor’s Pool, which he first visited as a child with his father. There were three pools. When he tried the water in the first two pools, it was freezing. His father then dived into the third pool, where the water was warm. He explained how an alchemist had come to the village, looking for the dragon. The alchemist had gone deranged and the dragon had kidnapped his beautiful daughter, keeping her prisoner in a cave under the water, but, when the dragon’s attention was diverted, the daughter had discovered the key to her prison, which she would give her champion together with the secret of the elixir of eternal life.

Before their language class, Mónica goes looking for Hadrián in St Peter’s, where she meets the priest. He explains to her the symbolism of the images on the vault, which shows the Apocalypse, the Virgin and Child, and the dragon heads representing evil. He also hands her a book for them to read, A History of St Peter’s by Friar Paulo de Misteri. After class, Hadrián and Mónica arrange to meet at Hadrián’s house. She shares with him the pencil drawing and the book by Friar Paulo de Misteri, in which they discover there used to be a stone cross on the frontispiece, where the effigy of the dragon now stands, with an inscription in Latin that said ‘Crux sacra sit mihi lux. Non draco sit mihi dux’. They also discover there were catacombs under the church, where the earliest Christians worshipped, and that, having destroyed the first Christian church, the dragon took refuge in these catacombs. When the Order of Dragal undertook the rebuilding of the church, a bishop from the Vatican altered the original plans and had the representation of the Apocalypse, of the triumph over evil, installed on the vault. They decide they have to find out who then replaced the stone cross with the effigy of the dragon.

Hadrián and Mónica discover that the local school bully, Brais, and his mates are spying on them, surveying their movements. In order to be able to talk to the priest in private, Mónica suggests Hadrián ask the priest for confession. The priest explains the meaning of the Latin inscription (‘Let the Holy Cross be my light. Let not the dragon be my guide’) and confirms the existence of the catacombs. He also promises to guide Hadrián to the start of his journey in the search for the dragon. On leaving the church, Hadrián is met by Brais, but manages to shrug him off. At home, Mónica prepares a map of the catacombs, using Friar Paulo de Misteri’s book, together with a list of the things they will need to go down to the catacombs. Hadrián arrives and tells her about his meeting with the priest. On the way to the bus stop, Hadrián is assaulted by Brais on his bike, but manages to recover. Hadrián and Mónica travel to the regional capital to buy the caving equipment in preparation for their descent. On their return, Hadrián goes to see the priest, who confirms the entrance to the catacombs is somewhere inside the church. This is where the followers of Dragal stored the dragon’s body. He also informs Hadrián that the Grand Master of the Order of Dragal is Hadrián himself, but the boy shouldn’t worry because the dragon will surely guide him.

Hadrián asks his mother about his father’s accident. He died while visiting the caves near St Peter’s with his club, The Dragons in the Shadows. Hadrián imagines his father must have known about Dragal. He notices a crack in the egg the dragon is incubating on the reverse of the medallion. Hadrián and Mónica make their first incursion into the catacombs with the priest’s help. They reach as far as a crypt halfway through the tunnels and decide to turn back. It’s enough for one visit. After a maths exam in which the stone dragon helps Hadrián telepathically with the answers, they decide to make a second incursion that night. They meet outside the church, but, unbeknown to them, Brais has followed them. They become aware of his presence in the tunnel and Mónica lets out a loud scream, which causes a flock of bats to exit the tunnel and Brais’ candle to blow out. They leave Brais whimpering in the darkness and continue to the crypt, where the tunnel divides into two. As they are about to take the left fork, Hadrián’s rucksack catches on a metallic object and a boulder falls across the entrance to the crypt, blocking their way back to the church. They are trapped! Father Xurxo hears all the commotion and enters the church to find Brais weeping disconsolately on the steps that go down into the catacombs. Brais explains what has happened and Father Xurxo discovers there’s nothing he can do to help the others.

Hadrián and Mónica try to find a way out via the cliffs and the medallion acts as a compass, the dragon’s tails pointing consistently west. But just as they think they have discovered the underground stream leading to the cliffs, the dragon’s tails on the medallion point the other way, to a grotto they understand to be Dragal’s temple. Mónica doesn’t want to go there, but Hadrián gives her a kiss and encourages her on. In the middle of the grotto is a round table. Hadrián realizes he has to place his father’s medallion in the opening in the centre of the table. After he does this, there is a tremor, the round table breaks in two and they discover a dragon’s skin, proving the existence of Dragal. One of the scales slips off and, when Hadrián picks it up, the hard substance turns into jelly and merges with his skin, producing a very intense pain. An ethereal body spinning in the air absorbs the skin and in a booming voice predicts that the prophecy of the dragon’s return is about to be fulfilled. Under the guidance of Hadrián, who has also started to talk in a booming voice, they reach an even more beautiful cavern where there are three pools of water. Hadrián has started turning into a dragon, his skin becoming scaly, his right hand metamorphosing into a claw, but when he dives into the water in search of an exit, because of the warmth of the water, the metamorphosis is momentarily halted and he manages to guide both of them out into the open. They hurry home in order to be in their bedrooms before their parents discover they are missing. Once out of the catacombs, Hadrián again has to struggle with the dragon, which wants to take control of his body and mind.

Back at home, in the bathroom, Hadrián manages to transfer the dragon now inside him to the mirror. Dragal asks him what he’s doing. Hadrián explains that metamorphosis, as far as he is concerned, wasn’t part of the deal, but Dragal offers him power in return for his sacrifice. At school the next day, the police interrupt their English class to say there’s been a robbery in St Peter’s during the night and one of the culprits, Brais, has accused two other schoolchildren of being involved. When Hadrián and Mónica are interviewed by the officers, they insist they spent the night at home and the priest backs them up. They then visit the church, where a forensic expert is on the verge of discovering the secret entrance to the catacombs. They try to divert his attention. Father Xurxo admits he broke open the collection boxes, scattering coins on the ground, so that people wouldn’t realize the real reason Hadrián and Mónica were in St Peter’s the previous night. The forensic scientist, however, discovers bat excrement under the altar, which the priest explains away by revealing two horseshoe bats in the wardrobe where he keeps his vestments. The children return to school, but Hadrián realizes he is not going to be able to control the dragon inside him for much longer, he must get away. Mónica tries to persuade him to let her go with him, but he refuses, knowing that dragons are in the habit of devouring humans. Hadrián seeks refuge by the Moor’s Pool, where Mónica has promised to bring him some food in the evening. Here, Hadrián gives way to the dragon. The metamorphosis is complete. Dragal has taken control of his body, for the moment at least, and falls to thinking about its next meal. The dragon remembers that Mónica has promised to come to the pool in the evening, and that is when the next sacrifice will take place.

The saga of Dragal has become a real phenomenon in Galicia since the publication of the first novel in 2010. With the imminent release of a film devoted to Dragal and other multimedia content, together with a planned fourth novel, it is likely this interest in Dragal, the Galician dragon, will only increase. Will Hadrián be able to retake control of his body and subdue the dragon, becoming lord of the secret of the Universal Panacea, as predicted in The Secrets of Alchemy? What role will Mónica and Father Xurxo have to play? Will the knights of the Order of Dragal spring to the dragon’s defence? In the second and third instalments of this saga, all will be revealed.

Synopsis © Jonathan Dunne

DRAGAL II: THE DRAGON’S METAMORPHOSIS

In this second instalment of the saga by Elena Gallego Abad devoted to the Galician dragon Dragal, the schoolboy Hadrián, who with his friend Mónica discovered the dragon’s remains in the catacombs under St Peter’s Church, is locked in a struggle with the dragon to see who will come out on top. Mónica has promised to take some food to the Moor’s Pool, where her friend has gone for refuge, but is unsure what dragons eat when they’re not devastating the local population. Before setting out, however, she receives strange, handwritten messages of warning, telling her not to go. She seeks help – first from the parish priest, Father Xurxo, who produces an ancient box containing three objects that might be the Grand Master’s keys, and then from a police officer, Cortiñas, who turns out to have a vested interest in the dragon’s well-being. When Hadrián goes missing, his mother calls the police, but only Mónica knows where he really is. Will she inform the police and break her promise not to reveal where he is hiding? If she does, will the police be in time to save her friend, and what will become of the dragon he has started to turn into?

Chapter 1 - LOOK FOR ME AT SUNSET

The shadow of the winged dragon moved away from the façade of the old church of St Peter’s and, as if such a thing was possible, disappeared. It vanished in an instant, the time it took for a crack to appear in the stone, but nobody was aware of the sign.

The sound of the bell disturbed the silence of the corridors in the secondary school, which seemed to come to life in a matter of seconds. A group of sweaty teenage girls appeared out of nowhere, quickly crossing the few yards that separated the gym from the girls’ changing room on the same floor.

The trick to getting hot water was to be one of the fortunate few to reach the taps first. The second group would only be able to enjoy it for a couple of minutes, while there was always the odd girl who got left behind, relegated to a third group, whose only option was to have a cold shower.

Mónica wasn’t prepared to fight with anybody for this privilege and so, as soon as she spotted her classmates’ movements, she moved to one side.

The girl preferred to be the last to arrive and to be left alone.

She would never have admitted the reasons why she loathed the changing room so much. Perhaps it was because she’d always been the ugly duckling, until quite recently full of complexes and overweight, the butt of everybody’s jokes. It had been years since the last insult, but she had never forgotten the laughter caused by the underwear her mother had bought her in the market, in amongst all those girls who had everything… except for a little charity.

At home, they never found out that Mónica had returned that day with torn underwear, and she avoided doing or saying anything that might recall the incident. And yet, since then, she had always waited to be in the last group for the showers.

The clock’s hands pointed to two o’clock in the afternoon, but there was no hurry. She helped the gym teacher collect all the equipment and then finally headed in the direction of the changing room to have the cold shower she needed.

As she opened the door, she was struck by a hot blast that smelled of shampoo and deodorant. As always, the floor was flooded, and she took great care to jump over rucksacks, dirty towels, trainers, flip-flops and puddles to reach her destination: the final locker of the enormous wardrobe mounted on the wall.

Invisible at the far end of the room, she waited for the other girls to leave the enclosure. Only then did she remove her sweat-drenched tracksuit and enter the last of the showers.

The icy water suddenly arrived from on high, sliding down her naked body and cutting short her breath and train of thought. Having overcome the initial shock, the girl relaxed, letting the liquid element flow over her neck. Only then was she able to think about Hadrián and the dragon the boy carried inside him.

If there was something that Mónica had learned in the last few days or hours, it was that reality always exceeds fiction, however fantastic this may be. The discovery of the catacombs beneath St Peter’s Church, the confirmation of the existence of an order of knights devoted to keeping the dragon’s secrets, the escape from certain death through the waters of the Moor’s Pool, her friend’s impossible transformation into a fantastical creature that didn’t exist…

She could still hear Hadrián’s final words:

‘Look for me at sunset and, if you don’t find me, leave whatever food you’ve been able to bring on the rocks. I’ll be waiting for you.’

Mónica had those features perfectly etched on her memory and now, with her eyes closed beneath the cold water of the shower, she could visualize each and every one of the scales she witnessed rising up on her friend’s skin, giving him the appearance of a reptile. And she felt frightened.

She’d promised Hadrián she would go to the Moor’s Pool to help him fight the monster he was struggling to turn into. She only had a few hours to search for an antidote, to find a cure for that illness consuming him, but she was afraid – a visceral fear that rummaged through her insides.

‘You’ll just have to come up with something,’ she reasoned after a while, as she stepped out of the shower.

Aware of the time, she searched for the hairdryer in her sports bag and plugged it in. As she turned towards the mirror, she realized the steam had left some whimsical drawings on the glass, which looked alive. The hot air had formed a strange circle, inside which a creature in a foetal position moved about in search of space, as if struggling to complete a metamorphosis.

For a moment, the girl recalled her friend’s strange medallion, on which the winged dragons occupying both sides of the metal coin had the ability to change their appearance. But no, the image forming on the surface of the mirror had human features.

‘Hadrián!’ she shouted as soon as she recognized the face. The image on the glass stopped and gave her a blank gaze.

The steam did look a little bit like her classmate, but the girl preferred to reject that possibility in the stain opening and closing its mouth like a fish out of water. Had she paid attention, she might have heard the warning the boy was trying to give her from the distance he found himself at. Mónica, however, aimed her hairdryer at the mirror and blasted it with a current of hot air that evaporated all that dampness in a matter of seconds.

 

Take care!

 

The message appeared on the glass as if someone had written it quickly with their fingers, but vanished straight away. Even so, the teenage girl scrupulously rubbed the mirror with her towel, as if this might enable her to erase all traces of the experience from her mind.

But that wasn’t possible and, outside the school enclosure, travelling home on the school bus, it was she who reproduced the message on the window of the vehicle:

 

Take care!

 

Given the terrible mess she was in, this warning struck her as a little superfluous. She had to take care of the whole world, herself and the dragon, and she didn’t know where to start.

Back at home, having laid the table for lunch, eaten without a great deal of enthusiasm and helped her mother do the washing-up, Mónica shut herself in her bedroom to ‘study a bit’.

Her priority now was to keep the promise she’d made to Hadrián. She had to find some food for Dragal and had barely half an hour to search on the Internet for information that might prove useful.

Because, she asked herself… what the hell does a dragon eat?

The only references to Dragal’s culinary tastes that the girl remembered were those lines in Friar Paulo de Misteri’s book, where it talked about human sacrifices. Apparently, in the Middle Ages, the dragon had sowed destruction in those lands, feeding on young women, children and entire flocks. Obviously, at the start of the twenty-first century, this was an option she had to reject out of hand.

In response to her questions, she soon discovered online a ‘complete and balanced diet for dragons and other omnivorous reptiles’ that was sold by a certain pet shop in bags of 150 and 300 grams.

Could this be for real?

Mónica carefully read the information that appeared on the computer screen:

 

This diet guarantees basic nutritional values for the health and development of your pet. All the ingredients in Dragosanix are carefully selected to ensure the highest quality. Dragosanix is reinforced with essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids, meaning your dragon will not need any other food supplements.

 

As she clicked on the same website, she came across images of several reptile species. Among them, the ‘bearded dragon’ and the ‘Chinese water dragon’, which looked like different kinds of iguana.

‘They’re just pets!’ she exclaimed in disappointment, as if she’d really been expecting to find information about dragons the size of Dragal on that website.

She was startled by the voice of her mother entering the room.

‘Darling, it’s time you…’ her mother started speaking. But when she noticed the images on her daughter’s computer, she interrupted what she was saying with a shriek:

‘What an ugly bunch of bugs! I hope you’re not thinking about bringing one of those home!’

‘No, it’s just…’

What could she tell her mother in such circumstances? That she had a real dragon hiding by the Moor’s Pool, waiting for its dinner?

So she lied:

‘I’m searching for information for a project, mother. You know I never really wanted to have a pet anyway!’

Her mother breathed a sigh of relief:

‘Leave those creepy-crawlies where they are and get your things. If you miss the bus, you won’t make it to class on time.’

Mónica wasn’t planning to attend school that afternoon, not until she’d resolved a few pending issues, so she got off the bus at a stop in the centre of town and walked to a pet shop she’d heard about.

Her idea was to buy some food for reptiles but, since it was before four, the shop was still closed. A sign hanging on the door gave the afternoon opening hours as from four to half past eight.

‘Damn it! I won’t have enough time!’

‘Time for what?’

Mónica was surprised to hear that voice, which she thought she recognized as belonging to one of the policemen investigating the robbery at St Peter’s, and turned around, hoping she might be mistaken. Her worst fears were realized, however. The man waiting for an answer was Officer Cortiñas.

‘Oh, hello!’ she said, not knowing which way to look.

‘Hello there. Aren’t you supposed to be in class?’

Without saying anything, Mónica glanced at the shop window. The inquisitive look of this officer from forensics made her feel very nervous. On the other side of the glass, a little dog stuck in a cage became aware of her presence and started jumping around and wagging its tail. The girl placed a hand on the window, and the little animal started licking the glass in search of an impossible contact.

‘Did you come here to buy a dog?’ asked the investigator out of the blue.

Unable to invent a lie, Mónica remained silent. But the policeman didn’t seem prepared to let her off the hook:

‘Where is your friend, Hadrián?’

This was the question the girl had feared most, but she shrugged her shoulders, feigning indifference.

‘Hadrián? I don’t know, I suppose he’s at school!’ she replied at once, perhaps a little too quickly.

The officer gazed at her intently, as if able to discern the girl’s nervousness in her gestures and aware that she was trying to pull the wool over his eyes.

She was saved by a few muffled barks from behind the glass. On the other side of the window, the dog was desperately trying to get her attention.

But Cortiñas hadn’t finished yet:

‘You and Hadrián are good friends, right?’

Mónica weighed up her answer before replying:

‘More or less. Why do you ask?’

Now it was the man who remained silent. Glimpsing an opportunity to escape this interrogation, the girl looked back at the dog confined inside the pet shop. Perhaps now the policeman, instead of answering her, would leave.

‘I knew Hadrián’s father,’ he murmured instead.

‘Oh really?’ Suddenly interested, Mónica looked away from the shop window.

Cortiñas took a while to continue:

‘It was a shame about the accident. None of us could ever have imagined… I’m sorry about your friend, really I am!’

On the other side of the glass, the dog, realizing it was no longer the centre of attention of those humans, started gnawing at a plastic bone. The investigator gazed into Mónica’s eyes, as if seeking confirmation that he could trust her.

‘When you see Hadrián, ask him to come and talk to me!’ he said, handing over a business card.

The girl stared at the flat piece of paper, which showed a name and a mobile phone number.

‘Ask him to call me!’ repeated the officer, turning to walk down the pavement in the direction of a car parked a few yards away.

The girl waited for the vehicle to pull away and join the traffic before daring to move a muscle. Once the officer was out of sight, she put the card in her back trouser pocket and broke into a run.

 

Translated from Galician by Jonathan Dunne