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FADE IN:

TITLE OVER BLACK:  “The year of Our Lord 1592”

EXT. FARM – NIGHT

A CLUSTER OF BUILDINGS — main house, barn, pigsty and hen house — ALL cloaked in silence.  It’s late.
From somewhere in the darkness comes the SOUND OF COUPLING.

LETTYCE
(a rough whisper)
Yes… yes…!

INT. BARN – HAYLOFT – NIGHT

Making the beast-with-two-backs —

A NAKED YOUNG WOMAN (LETTYCE age 16)

Clutches the NAKED YOUNG MAN (WILL age 28) as he thrusts himself inside her.  Gasping…

LETTYCE
Don’t…

SERIES OF SHOTS

Embraced by her legs, he staggers to his feet and drives her back against the hayloft doorframe.

LETTYCE
Stop…!

Obviously he isn’t listening —

HARD CUT TO:

EXT. RURAL ROAD – NIGHT

Out of the darkness the SOUND OF HOOFBEATS as FIVE RIDERS, illuminated by torchlight, come at a canter.  Led by —

JUSTICE RICHARD YOUNG

A severe man in a cape and short-brimmed hat, two carry torches, all are armed.

LETTYCE
Don’t stop…!

Turning off the main road, they ride towards a darkened clutch of buildings —

LETTYCE
God… please…!

The SOUND OF POUNDING on a wooden door…

EXT. FARM – NIGHT

TIGHT ON A GLOVED FIST as it pounds the door.

DEPUTY
Open…!  In the name of the Queen!

INTERCUT WITH:

INT. HAYLOFT – NIGHT

The words instantly grab him.  Lost in ecstasy, the girl keeps going as WILL turns to stare out the hayloft door.

LETTYCE
Don’t stop… don’t stop…
(breathless)
Why… why are you stopping…?

Glancing up, she follows his stare —

JUSTICE YOUNG AND HIS MEN – THEIR P.O.V.

Now speak with the FARMER at the farmhouse door.  He points towards the barn.

WILL
Shit… the Queen’s Guard.

LETTYCE
Here…? Why?

WILL
No idea.  But it can’t be good.

LETTYCE
I’ve got to go…

Grabbing their clothes, Will and Lettyce begin to dress.

LETTYCE
If my father finds us, he’ll kill you.

WILL
What about you?

LETTYCE
(shrugs)
He loves me… but you’re a poet.

Pulling on her skirt and blouse, she frames Will’s face in her hands and kisses him hard on the mouth.

LETTYCE
He hates poetry.

She hurries to the ladder leading down from the loft.

WILL
(after her)
You might’ve mentioned it before.

LETTYCE
And miss the fun…?

Giving him a look like he’s an idiot, she quickly descends into the darkness of the barn below as —

WILL

Glances back through the hayloft door to find —

THE RIDERS LED BY JUSTICE YOUNG

Wheeling their mounts, they approach the barn, reining up in front as Lettyce slips unnoticed out the side door.

JUSTICE YOUNG
In the barn…! We’ve a warrant for the arrest of one…

Without waiting for him to finish, Will grabs his boots and begins to pull them on.

WILL
Shit… shit… shit…

Unable to remember the name, Justice Young rechecks the warrant in his hands.

JUSTICE YOUNG
…William Shake… something…

With a final tug, Will manages to get his second boot on.

JUSTICE YOUNG
Shake-Pear…? That can’t be right…

WILL
Shake-Pear…?  You’ve got to be kidding.

You’d think they’d at least get the name right.

Springing to his feet, Will steals another look out through a crack in the hayloft door.

JUSTICE YOUNG
Perhaps it’s Shakey-pear….

Indignant, Will scowls.

WILL
(between his teeth)
It’s Shakespeare you moron…!