Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Secret Order of Doom: Part Two

Ms. Madison packed hurriedly, changing into an elegant suit and packing for a trip to the country. She took a cab to King's Cross, where she picked up her tickets. After a brief wait and a chance to look through the bookstall, Ms. Madison boarded her train , stepping into the never overcrowded First Class section. Stretching out her legs, not caring that a couple of men were interested in them, Ms. Madison settled back in her seat to enjoy the ride.

Soon, the suburbs of London had given way to countryside. After watching a few towns and villages flash by, the blonde secretary drifted off to sleep, only waking up when the train was pulling into King's Lynn station. Outside, suitably labelled, was a red Daimler, a duplicate set of keys for which Ms. Madison had picked up at King's Cross. Glad of satelite navigation, Ms. Madison headed out of the ancient seaport, towards the village of Litcham.

She was booked into the Bull Inn, Litcham, following the Green Man's normal practice of putting her into fairly public hotels, so that anyone who wanted to make a confession could approach her.

Litcham is an ancient village, gathered around a green, still far enough out of Norwich to retain the air of a real village. It has most shops, as well as a its own museum, while the Church is monumental in scale. Unusually for a Norfolk village, it even posseses its own High School. Passing elegant Litcham Hall, still a power in the village's politics, Ms. Madison turned right, pulling up outside the Bull. She checked in as elegantly as only she knew how. The man on reception looked at her with some suspicion, as she signed the register.

"I take it I'm allowed to drink somewhere in here?" she spoke calmly.

"Of course, Ms. Madison," the innkeeper nodded. "We serve dinner from six-thirty."

"I'll eat at eight," Ms. Madison raised her chin slightly.

"Here's a message," the innkeeper handed her a folded piece of paper. "There was a clerical gentleman 'ere earlier - a bloke with a dog-collar. He left this for you."

Ms. Madison opened the letter up. It was short and to the point. Apparently, she was to go to the Church at once to learn something important. At the bottom of the page were a few words in bold capitals:

Even if it was a trap, Ms. Madison decided, she had no choice. She had to go to the Church. This was a clue, and she had to follow it. Asking the innkeeper to take her bags upstairs, the elegant blonde hurried out of the Inn and down the sloping street that led down to the Church, her heels tapping an urgent tattoo on the pavement, her heart in her mouth.

She only hoped this trail would be cold. And that it hadn't been cooled off.

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