Saturday, 20 May 2017

Sleeper Cell

He came here when the world was too much for him to bare, sometimes for days or even weeks. It's a strange place for feeling safe, this old rusted abandoned prison but to Will it was like a home.

But tonight would be different, he knew that. As every 20th May around 9pm an old man would turn up, sit down and talk to him.

At first this old guy scared him as he heard the echo of slowly opened metal doors and footsteps slowly moving towards the same cell Tim used then the relief of the man's smile beneath the heavily lined face.

Tim was like an excited child. He came to love this visit and the companionship for a few hours with someone who seemed to care about him.

The time had come, the usual echoes filled the prison wing but something was different, Tim could sense that. The man seemed to be walking then stopping then walking again, followed by a heavy cough that sounded so bad.

As the man reached the cell he smiled as best he could before sitting down on the floor facing Tim.

"Sorry I'm a bit late, can't seem to get rid of the cold"

"Perhaps you shouldn't have come"

"I had too come, can't miss this date. It's too important to me"

Tim Smiled.

"Well, I'm glad your here but make sure you get home straight away and take it easy"

The man closed his eyes and smiled again.

"Funny to think I used to be a guard here all those years ago"

"I Know, how awesome was that" Tim replied.

"So many prisoners came and went but you always remember some more than others"

"Is this going to be the one about Robert 'Razor' Sharpe again? Tim asked.

"But, It's always tonight I remember the most and I always wonder, if only I hadn't been late that day, would it have things have been different?"

Tim put his hand on the man's knee.

"You can't keep blaming yourself" Tim said "Come on, tell me another story"

"I can't, I just can't"

For a moment there is silence, then the man bursts into tears, the pain too much for him.

"Why couldn't you talk to me Son? Why was I always too busy to notice"

"It wasn't your fault Dad, I just had enough, everything felt too much for me"

Tim's Dad stands and leaves the cell for a moment, returning with a small bag he left outside the cell door.

He pulls out a single flower and a bottle of beer, placing them on the floor where Tim is sitting.

"I love you Son, see you next year"

"Please don't go Dad"

But he leaves and Tim looks up at the writing on the wall behind him.



Saturday, 19 July 2014

Dead End

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven. No twelve yet?

“I told you” I shout into the darkness “I told you I would still be here”

There’s no answer from the other side of the locked door, the deafening silence annoys me more than the screams in my head.

Perhaps they are all dead?

They should have listened to me before we went looking for food, I told them not to go out after six as the light fades quickly especially here around the towers of Manhattan, who knows how many of them are in those skyscrapers now? Watching us from above like Gods deciding the fates of us mere mortals?

We never stood a chance.  

Their must have been at least 50 of them rampaging through the streets. I know Nick was the first one they got too, he tried to pull them off but his hands just tore away the skin on their arms then for a second they seemed harmless, until they bit him then their dead lifeless eyes turned red and Nick’s screams woke you up, back to reality, back to fear.

I wonder if they are all dead behind this door? I’m sure my wife and daughter were with me when we ran. Yes, yes they were, I remember pushing them back into the house and bolting the door as quick as I could.

But now I’m stuck in here like a rat in a cage.

“Open the fucking door”

Silence again.

Cramp starts in my legs and arms, chest feels like a vice tightening. I try to move to another positions but the space is limited and I know it will only be a short relief.

I bang on the door.

“Annie? Helen? Can you hear me?”


Was that a voice I heard?

“Daddy, are you ok?”

“Yes, I’m fine” I shout into the darkness.

I hear the lock being turned and the door is opened, a shaft of bright light burns my eyes. It takes a moment for them to adjust but I’m greeted by the sight of my daughter’s face.

“Are you alright?” 

She only nods.

“What about Mum?

Her tears tell me all I need to know.

I hug her tight not wanting to let go then I spot the bite marks on my arm.

Pushing my daughter away I force myself back in the box.

“Shut the door darling” 

“Daddy, I’m so scared”

“I know, but you have to shut the door and not open it again, understand?”

She nods.

“Remember I love you very, very much”

The door shuts and locks.

I feel the pain of cramp getting worse and my mind is becoming cloudy, that can only mean one thing but I hope my Daughter will be ok.

The clock starts to strike again but I’m not going to make it to twelve, I’m not even going to make it to……………

This story was written for the 2014 zombie apocalypse flash fiction contest.

Saturday, 20 April 2013


With my Grandparents about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary I decided to write a ‘This is your life’ book for them but first, I had to go into the loft of their bungalow to find old photos and other memento's and being the best Grandson in the world I had a plan!

“Look Grandad, it’s best I check up there and make sure the insulation is good enough. It’s been bloody old”

“Language” said Gran sternly.

Grandad smiled at me “Just be careful up there, if you were to fall you’re Grandmother would kill me”

Switching the torch on I looked around and started to go through some boxes eventually finding everything needed in one battered old box.

“Do you want a cup of tea?” he shouted up.

“Love one” I replied.

Perfect, I can get the box down from the loft whilst he’s in the kitchen. At that point my foot slipped and I fell towards the opening of the loft, narrowly avoiding falling out.

“I told you it was dangerous,” shouted Gran.

“I’m fine, don’t worry”

Picking myself and the torch up I spotted a stack of letters wedged tightly into one of the beams. Slowly removing them I could see my Grandad’s writing on them but were from an address in France.

France? He hated leaving the town let alone the country. They must have been from the war! I opened the first letter and that’s when I had the shock.

‘My Darling Blackbird,
How I miss you with all my heart and soul. I hope to be with you as soon as I get leave, you are the only thought keeping me alive through the long battles and losses I have faced in the last few weeks….’

I opened another letter and another and another, all were addressed the same ‘My Darling Blackbird’. I was always told that my Grandparents had been together since they were 15 and I’d never heard my Grandad use that term so he must have met someone else during the war. He cheated? Surely not?

“Tea’s up” Grandad shouted.

“On my way” I replied.

As I got down from the loft I saw him kiss my Gran on the head as he left her a cup of tea.

“So” he asked “Is the insulation ok?”

“Erm, yeah it’s fine” I replied.

He handed me the cup.

“Whose Blackbird?” I asked nervously.

My Grandad just stood there looking at the wall.

“I haven’t heard anyone else say that in a long time” he turned to face me and saw the letters in my hand. “Where did you find those?”

“Tucked into one of the beams, where you put them” I replied.

Grandad smiled.

“I had no idea she had kept them” he said.

“You mean these are Gran’s?” I asked.

“Of course” he replied “Who else would I send letters too?”

“Blackbird? You call Gran Blackbird?”

“It’s our little secret, which I suppose I can tell you” he said.

We both look into the front room at Gran.

“Your Great-Grandparents were French, did you know that?”

I shook my head.

“So when I first met your Gran, I though she had the most wonderful name” a tear starts to fall down his cheek “Merle”

Wiping away the tear he continued.

“You see in French, Merle means Blackbird and that’s what I say when we go to bed and when we wake up”

“Does she remember?” I asked.

“Occasionally and when she does she smiles that same smile I fell in love with.”

I hand the letters back to him.

“Why don’t you read these to her now, help her remember?” I say.

My Grandad looks at me and smiles.

“You soft little bugger” he says

“Language!” Shouts Gran.

I watch as my Grandad sits down next to her and starts to read.

The End.

Blackbird by Michael Sands (@wokingwriter)

Monday, 22 October 2012

'Look' Here!

So Miranda Kate, has tagged me in this blog game which involves searching your current WIP (Work in Progress) for the word ‘look’ and posting the surrounding paragraphs, then tagging another 5 writers to do the same.

Here's my contribution.

It's a scene from a play I'm writing called ' Must the show go on?'

Lights up and we see Claire alone, looking anxiously into a mirror.

Claire: Did I do the right thing tonight?

We hear Ramona’s voice off stage.

Ramona: What was that?

Claire: Nothing, just talking to myself.

Ramona enters carrying two glasses of wine.

Ramona: That’s the first sign of madness, unless you’re and actress.

Claire: Really? I never knew that.

Ramona: It’s a proven fact. I myself have suffered for years from this disorder.

Claire: When did you become aware it was a problem?

Ramona: Mmm let me see now (pause) Ah yes, I was standing on the station platform and learning my lines sing an ipod to as the other cast members when I looked over at a rather good looking young man who thought I was talking to him.

Claire: Brilliant, what did he do when he found out it wasn’t him you were talking too?

Ramona smiles.

Ramona: Never told him. Even after I slept with him.

Claire: Ramona!

Ramona: What? I was young, carefree and single.

Claire: I wish I had your confidence!

Ramona: It wasn’t confidence. It was stupidity, especially after I married him. Anyway, how are you?

Claire: It’s been a tough few months but I’m fine now.

Ramona: What happened?

Claire: This is difficult for me.

Ramona: Aww hun.

Claire: The person I am now is not the same person I was then.

Ramona: We all change. Sometimes its natural, sometimes it’s forced upon you by circumstances.

Claire: Well this is both. Well sort of.

Ramona: Look we don’t have talk about this if you feel you’re not ready.

Claire: Thanks, but I need too. I just hope you’ll understand.

Ramona: Darling, I doubt what you have to say can shock me.

Claire takes a deep breath.

Claire: I used to be a man.


Ramona: Ok.


Ramona: You used to be a man.

Claire: Yes.

Ramona: And now you’re not.

Claire: Not since three months ago when I had that thing taken away.

Ramona: Fucking hell.

Claire: See you are shocked.

Ramona: Well sort of. However I have one very important question to ask.

Claire: And that is?

Ramona moves in closer putting her hand on Claire’s leg.

Ramona: Did we ever sleep together?

Claire laughs and taps Ramona on the hand.

Claire: Not that I’m aware of.

Ramona: So how do you feel? I mean do you feel completely a woman now?

Claire: I’ve always been a woman trapped in a man’s body.

And now I have to choose 5 writers.

So here they are!



Saturday, 14 July 2012

I'm gonna put you in my film!

I always write in town, normally the same coffee place and after a while I get to know the people who make me the drinks. During conversations you can always find out things about the person that most people wouldn't know as they just ask for the coffee, pay and go. So here I am typing away on my film script and I need a name for a character so I decide to ask one of the Barristas if she would like her name in my film. I always get the same happy surprised face then an enthusiastic yes! You see a lot of the time I use names of people I know as a sort of in joke for me and the person named. My friend & mentor Richard Walton always appeared in my work (much to his apparent annoyance) either as an unseen villain or even a bottle of wine. When he died earlier this year at the age of 79, his wife and I chatted about his views on his continued appearance in my work and as I suspected all along he actually loved it. in fact the wine bottle I gave him with the words 'Richardo Walton 2003' had pride of place up in his front room! I now have that bottle at my house and every time I see it it makes me smile. So will me latest film script have an appearance of Richard's name? Of course it will. The opening shot will be a sign on a hospital saying 'The T R Walton Hospital' So if I know you there is always a good chance that one day i'm going to ask if I can put your name in my film!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

One Year On....

So hello there! Its been over a year since I blogged and I have to say things have been rather great on the writing front since last May's 'Michael Sands Week' at the Barons Court Theatre. More plays have been performed (albeit short ones) and writing/directing my first film 'Pizzaface" So today as I start writing my next film 'Kingdom of the Souls' which I hope to be professionally taken up and made I can look back at 12 months of the best writing time I have ever had. Anyway back to it.