"There!" Andrea pointed up at the porch. There, in what had to be part of a Victorian restoration, was a niche, containing a statue of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. He looked as if he wished he could be somewhere else, while the lamb he carried over his shoulders looked equally desperate to be elsewhere. It could have been simply a testimony to the badness of much Victorian carving, or...
Beneath the statue was an inscription in block capitals: 'I AM THE DOOR.'
That was too much to be coincidence.
"Get the ladder!" the Green Man commanded, as he drew his gun. "And place it so someone could step through the niche."
"Pardon?" Ms. Madison looked confused (as Andrea noticed the clue, and the Green Man is in charge, so that leaves Lynnette to be the dumb one. I promise to make it up to her some time).
"The inscription's a clue," Andrea laughed, as she propped the ladder up against the porch. 'Those jokers got in through the arch above the porch - at least it looks like it."
The Green Man climbed the ladder, his coat flapping in the breeze. At last, he pulled down the iron shepherd's crook, and the statue swung inwards. Moments later, a man in black robes left the way the Green Man had gone. He landed on his head, so we need bother with him no more. The girls climbed up behind, Andrea bringing up the rear, checking the scene while wielding her gun menacingly.
The space was empty, but a deep air of menace lingered over the place. As the three intrepid crime fighters made their way forward, they could hear voices, and the weird scent of incense made their way into the nostrils of the adventurers. Ms. Madison drew her own gun. There could be no doubt that the church was being used by the secret order of Cain.
Andrea lingered by the entrance, watching for any more of the brethren, cocking her gun. Ms. Madison moved towards the far door. Plucking a black robe from a hook by the door, Ms. Madison donned it by way of disguise. Master and secretary traded glances, before Ms. Madison moved into the body of the church.
The building was darkened, lit by candles, casting weird shadows, as they danced in the breeze. The brethren were gathered around a flaming brazier, as a man with a gold sash stood before it, muttering. Ms. Madison moved closer, straining to hear.
"It is almost prepared," the man with the gold sash spoke. "For too long, we of the Order of Cain have been silent. The world has forgotten us, and we have been content to leech the gullible - all the more as people looked to turn away from the church. But soon we shall attain to a greater level of perfection...."
"Soon we shall be enlightened," another of the men laughed. "Gentlemen, we shall soon be in possession of a greater power than could have been dreamed of. We shall change the shape of the world."
"Literally." the leader chuckled.
"And what of you, brother?" the man turned to Ms. Madison.
She said nothing, feeling the colour drain from her face. The man seized the blonde's wrist, pulling up the sleeve of Ms. Madison's robe, revealing the soft, ivory skin of a woman.
"An intruder!" one of the men drew a revolver. Ms. Madison looked behind her for the Green Man, only to hear a laugh from the leader of the order.
"You have friends, girl," the leader chuckled. "Well, I have more than that - this is my headquarters!" He laughed, and Ms. Madison could only watch helplessly, as flames belched from the chamber above the porch.