This is a piece of free-writing I did a little while ago. Spark word: bell. Time: 10 minutes.

“So,” the cloaked figure whispered, “this is where they found her. Bloodless and naked, except for a necktie around her-”


“-around her neck,” continued the cloaked figure, irritably. “No one knows-”

“Dong! Dong-dong!”

“-why she was placed here…” He looked pleadingly up to heaven as there was more violent donging. “Oh, for pity’s sake!” he snapped. “Every bloody Thursday, bloody bell-ringing at St Elfige’s!”

The group looked at each other. One tourist ventured a hand. “How long does the exercise last?” he asked.

“Fooking ages,” said the cloaked figure, miserably. There was silence amongst the throng. The donging was incessant, especially now neighbouring St Ethelreda’s had merrily joined in, clanging away with St Elfige’s. Sometimes, they were even in time.

“Well, err,” said the tourist, who obviously saw him as the leader, “there’s a pub over there. Shall we-?”

“Yes!” shouted their tour guide, pumping a fist and getting entangled in his cloak. “A stiff drink is what I need. Come on!”

They trooped dutifully after Gary, their mysterious guide, into the Lamb and Flag. Gary did a quick headcount. “14 beers please, and one white wine spritzer.” That was to placate the American lady with the large camera around her neck, who was positively phobic of warm ale.

A few hours later, with drinks flowing and conversation in full swing, talk turned to Gary’s job. His cloak, which had started off the evening on a coat hook and treated with all reverence, was now being passed around the tourists who were snapping each other wearing it.

“Well, ffing is,” Gary slurred. “‘Snot many jobsh around here. And Dickie Killbird ish verrry popalar at the moment…” The tourists all nodded. Since one of the houses nearby had had their driveway redone, the whole town was full of nothing but Dickie Killbird. It was believed locally that the headteacher of the Prep School, Derek Templeton, had been the Scourge of the Sixties. This was based on his being a bit odd, wearing a cloak at all times, and also having claimed to have murdered over 30 women.

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