The slit revealed a hallway full of envelopes, decaying. Frank rapped on the door a fourth time.
“Jozsef, open up. It’s Frank Burt!”
George Troop cupped his hands over the window plate, saw his ragged cheeks and white hair superimposed, jostling with the vacant room: a desk with no telephone; a second desk missing.
“Try around the side,” said Frank.
Frank knocked again then peered through where George had been. He saw missing light-bulbs, already Trebitsch had been reimbursed for the bulbs. Inside was no man or mission.
He stepped back to fix on the windows of the upper floors, all closed as long as he looked. There was laughter on the street from a passing Hebrew. Frank felt the isolation, the removal of hope that comes from being locked out.
Leafy hedge licking his coat, George Troop peered to a side-room carpet rolled up. The back door was locked. Of course, he thought. An upstairs window was open, maybe only a notch but he found a ladder and pushed it against the wall. As he climbed a rung cracked and gave way, alerting the next door neighbour.
Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to patreon.com/andyluke and access four advance chapters, commentaries or bonus art.