September: Theme - Escape

Winning Entry:

Too long a prisoner. In this hospital. In this worn and weary frame. Suddenly, the machine trumpets victory. Cry not, my loved ones. For my soul is free.

By Chad Elliot


For the September competition we gave you the them of "Escape". It was won with this entry from.  Chad Elliot. Residing in Bristol, Chad describes himself as an American living in England. He's had previous success as a comedy writer, being published in Viz Comic, Cracked Magazine and Weekly World News, as well previously winning Txtlit back in 2014. Chad is a big fan of old TV shows, classic films, great books, good gin, long walks for inspiration, and his wonderful wife Anne. Despite his successes, Chad admits to feeling he lives a substitute life, "like most writers/artists." But he also finds Txtlit great fun.

We like to mix up the monthly competition themes, testing you with some that give you plenty of scope and others that are quite defined, narrowing the potential storylines. Escape as a competition theme was clearly in the latter category but you still managed to surprise us by really exploiting the definition of escape and escaping. We liked the construction and subtle language of Chad Elliiot's story which is also written with a clear storyline. We know the theme is escape so it's no surprise that the opening line describes a prisoner but the fact that it's been going on for too long gives us enough intrigue to want to learn more. The simple 'In this hospital' of the second sentence explains the scene with a simple gravity. We then learn of a further layer of imprisonment; not only in hospital but in a tired and worn out body. The machine trumpeting victory must be the flat-line single tone of a heart monitor that is no longer interrupted by the bip-bip of a heartbeat. Victory is success over adversary so this is a really strong message that life in a decrepit state has become something that must be overcome, and this is achieved through death. Confirmation of the situation is given with the final two lines where the narrator urges his loved ones to be happy for him as in death his soul has found freedom from what has become painful Earthly constraints. Not the most cheery of stories but well written and conclusive.


Other shortlisted entries:

Strangers came to my village. They drilled until they found good water. They built a well. My children and I can sell water and buy food. We are safe now."

By Juliet Corbett-Jones 

His face was only inches from hers, there was no escape. She opened her mouth to scream. 'Open a bit wider please, now just relax', the dentist smiled.

By Val Fish 

He ran from relentless pursuers. He scaled a wall and faced a wide gap. With all his remaining energy he leapt. The screen went blank. 'Level 1 complete'.

By Chris Tattersall





Operated by O-Corp
39 Heathville Road