Daniel visits the Fortuny hat shop, which is abandoned and dusty. The building caretaker, Doña Aurora, knows a lot about Carax. She tells him that Carax went to Paris between 1918 and 1919 to escape his father, Fortuny, who wanted to put him in the army. Daniel asks about his return to Barcelona, but the caretaker says that after a letter arrived for him in Barcelona, Fortuny told her that Carax died in Paris that year. She’s happy to hear that he might be alive, because he was a good child and used to fascinate the neighborhood kids with the wild stories he told.
Just like Daniel, the young Carax lived under the threat of military service, although Carax’s father seems more similar to Mr. Aguilar than the mild Mr. Sempere. If Carax did die in Paris, the similarities between his life and Daniel’s seemingly lead to a dead end. However, it’s important that this information comes from his estranged father, certainly not the most reliable source.
Doña Aurora also divulges that Fortuny beat his wife regularly, and that the wife, Sophie, told one of her neighbors that Julian wasn’t Fortuny’s biological son. She says Fortuny was a “mean old bastard.”
Sophie’s revelation makes Carax very similar to the protagonist of his own novel, whose mother tells him to search out his biological father.
Doña Aurora isn’t sure if the man in the photo is Carax, and she doesn’t recognize the woman. But she does remark that during school Julian fell in with the son of the famously rich Aldaya family, as well as a “scatterbrained” boy named Miquel.
Miquel is also the name of Nuria’s husband; he’s another character beginning to make appearances in seemingly disparate narratives.
The apartment is now entrusted to the care of Sophie’s lawyer, whom Doña Aurora believes visits the apartment at night, possibly with women. A mysterious police “inspector” also once visited the apartment.
Clearly Fumero, the inspector who haunts many other characters’ pasts, is also interested in Carax, probably not benignly. This fact means Carax is connected to Daniel’s life and those of his friends not just by his books but by his real-life enemies.
Daniel tempts the voyeuristic caretaker into visiting the empty apartment, which turns out to be stuffed with old dusty possessions and infested with birds. They find a pile of childhood photos of Carax, which reminds Doña Aurora that Carax used to tell her daughter he had a secret sister who lived with Satan at the bottom of a lake. The door to Carax’s room is locked, but Daniel stumbles on the key hidden in a music box and opens the door.
Doña Aurora’s recollection of Carax’s storytelling as a child is especially interesting given that the devil is also a prominent character in Carax’s adult novels. This suggests that Carax repeats the events and preoccupations of his childhood in his literary works.