Detective Noir (extract)

Soon after, Ivan heard footfalls on the stairs. He smothered his pipe, went to the door and placed his ear to it. Petra’s heels on the linoleum floor came closer. He held his entire body against the door as though he were being nailed there, and listened. Her walk was slow, the rhythm melancholic. She walked like she was coming from somewhere she disliked and had arrived at a place she didn’t want to be. She was alone. Ivan spread his hands across the surface of the door and pressed his cheek against the wood. He waited until he heard the jangling of her keys and then he lowered his hand and opened the door slowly. But he was too late. All he saw was the wave of her black hair upon her collar, the fall of her coat down to the sheen of her stockings and the warm light of her apartment becoming dark as she closed the door behind her.