14. Three-days-dead (2)

“Oh my, what has happened here?” gasped my companion. He made his way through the apartment, drawn, no doubt, by a fascination with despoiled opulence.

The hall, which stretched from the left side of the entrance toward a distant back wall, was flanked by a series of doors that opened onto various rooms. They were all in the same state: beds taken apart, mattresses slit; cupboards thrown open; wardrobes and closets eviscerated, the contents dumped onto the floor, creating a chaotic topography. Table-sized contemporary canvases hung in shreds on the walls, slick surfaces breached, their abstract iconography reduced to tatters. The bathrooms were cluttered with opened boxes and bottles—all emptied into sinks and sunken tubs. In the guestroom, torn clothing lay strewn in large piles. Heels had been removed from the shoes. Books had been pulled from the shelves, spines cut and pages ripped. Draperies had been yanked from the rods, broad hems sliced open, and every electronic device in the place, including the phones, had been completely dismantled and carelessly cast aside. Mixed in with the mess were pieces of jewelry, the gemstones removed. But the precious stones hadn’t been stolen. They were scattered about. Someone had been looking for something.

“Oh,” stammered my lame-brained escort, “Someone broken in,” stating what he thought was the obvious. If he’d been more observant, he’d have noticed that though the place had been ransacked, there were no signs of forced entry. The vandals, whoever they were, had let themselves in . . . with a key.

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 14.2/Three-days-dead