A murder of black-feathered squawkers ruptured the silence. Crows circled the spectres of the church's jagged tower, its gargoyles mocked the lively birds with a stoic vigil. A rosewood sunset coloured the heady scene of gathering rain clouds. The slant of the roof ran unnatural atop the suburb's lonesome peak. Lonesomer still were the patterned headstones of the cemetery, steeped in sorrow and steadfast against time. The holy shrine bore down on the lifeless homes around it, their streets slumbered on the thick intoxication of secret anxiety. Their hearts were sealed in the archways and oak doors.

A soul, barely awake, ambled the incline of quiet sidewalks. The destination grew over the thoughtful traveller, washing his thoughts away to leave nothing but a faltering resolve. It was wrong, he knew it was wrong. The old Xangu man was long lost in the webbed avenues of that grand old city. He looked over his shoulder, his weary eyes were wrought with sadness. Distant civilisation leered back at him from the horizon. At the top of the hill was nothing but apprehension. An honour guard of winter ash, their stark silhouettes were backlit by the twilight, beckoned that reluctant assassin along the final approach.

Before entering the church, Gum flashed a note at his eyes and then dropped it in a bitter squall. The dusk afterglow cut the doorway's open shape into the darkness inside, save for the thin outline of the gaunt old shaman. Pews and pulpits, carved with baroque detail, lurked in the shadows. Gum's stiff fingers stretched out to feel the detail as he walked the aisle nervously, the poor illumination left him struggling to see. There were no votive candles lit for loved ones. The heartless evening hinted at its choking conclusion; the moment had the feeling of a trap. There were high windows overhead, circular in shape and stained sweet with colour. The stained glass cast an ominous light show across the deep arch of the sepulchral ceiling.

Encroaching rheumatism restricted the fluidity of his motion, but nevertheless, the Xangu native slipped into the shadow of one of the church’s alcoves flanking the nave.

Do Mugu listened for his target to arrive.