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Last month the assignment was to create a list of titles, for inspiration, the way Ray Bradbury did – look back and see my list. This month, part two of the assignment is to write between 100-200 words inspired by one of the other participant’s titles. I found two that inspired. Read on …

From Aku’s list – A Ukelele

He waited at the corner of 42nd street and 5th Avenue. He leaned on the lamppost and looked at his watch. She should be there soon. It wasn’t the rendezvous he would have chosen; too much light, too exposed. But that’s the problem with foreign agents, they are too romantic, no sense of danger.

She appeared out of the darkness on the opposite side of 5th Avenue, next to the wall surrounding Sunset Park, and crossed towards him. The collar on her raincoat was turned up, casting a shadow across her face.

“I wasn’t sure I’d get away, but I managed.” Her French accent was out of place in the middle of NewYork. She handed him the package. It was smaller than he expected.

“What the hell is this?” he growled.

“A ukelele,” she purred, “… a special ukelele.”

He unzipped the case; inside was a cheap plastic uke with coloured strings, a kid’s toy.

“Now look here, little lady … ”

But she was gone, except for the memory of her perfume, and the tip-tap of stiletto heels in the darkness.

From Stephanie’s list – The Forest

Most of Britain was covered in trees, but King William Rufus’ favourite area for hunting was the Nova Foresta, the New Forest. It was an area designated by his father, also King William – the bastard Duke of Normandy who invaded the islands in 1066 – where the deer were protected for the benefit of the king, not the peasants. Taking a deer was punishable by death, and Rufus took great delight in reminding the forest folk how serious he regarded the offence. Rufus was not a popular king.

Late in the summer of 1100, the king’s hunting party was midway between the hamlets of Minstead and Brook, a part of the forest dense with oak trees. The king and a couple of his seconds headed down a slope where the proud buck had last been seen. The rest kept to the higher ground and circled around. One member of the party held back. Sir Walter Tyrell waited near the tall bracken where he could keep watch on Rufus’ progress.

Later that afternoon, Purkis, the local charcoal burner, found the king’s body. His horse was standing nearby. The arrow in the king’s chest bore the fletchings of Sir Walter.

Was it an accident? It is said that Sir Walter’s arrow glanced off a tree and struck the king. Was it murder? Sir Walter was an expert with the long bow, there are doubts that he would have taken such a shot if there was any risk. Why was the body left for an old charcoal burner to discover, and transport to Winchester? Rufus’ brother Henry was keen to be king himself, was there a conspiracy? We’ll never know.

© 2017, K Patrick Moody