January: Theme - Caught in the Act

Winning Entry:

She’s home early. I stare at my red hands, the mess in the sink. She enters as I try to flush the stained shirt. ‘What did I say about separating the laundry?’

By  Catrions Mackay


Our first competition of 2018 was won with this entry by Catriona Mackay from London.  Catriona Mackay  Catriona is a civil servant and aspiring novelist and wrote her Masters' Degree thesis about an obscure 17th century alchemical manuscript about a man who gets engaged to a talking flower

Thank you all for your continued support of Txtlit.uk Despite the fact that we are no longer able to offer a prize we received a very high number of entries for January. Remember that as we are no longer using a shortcode SMS service there is no need to precede your entries with the word STORY and a space so make the most of those extra characters in your stories.

For January the competition theme was "Caught in the Act" and we received stories referencing some interesting scenarios in which characters we're caught. A number featured characters with dubious night-time occupations being discovered by a family member and more than one described secretive cross-dressing. Whilst many stories were amusing and/or well constructed, they failed to properly capture the competition theme which was about being caught actually in the act of doing something and not as a result of circumstances or events following the 'act'. We favoured  XXX's entry because it is well constructed, fits the theme perfectly and still manages to give us a little twist but with a question mark hanging over it. "She's home early" is a great opening, setting the scene and the potential for being caught brilliantly succinctly. Red hands and a stain in the sink. Trying to rinse out a stained shirt. What could possibly have happened. By our protagonist staring at his hands, we can almost feel the sense of hopelessness and the "What do I do now?" position he is in. Ah, but it's not so bad after all. Just a laundry mishap.... or is it?

Other shortlisted entries:

He wrapped up the scraps of material, feeling a guilty pleasure at the thought of them on her.  'Those aren't my size,' said his wife from behind him.

By Dominic Bell   

Presents wrapped and under the tree. Red suit abandoned on the floor. Then came the fatal blow. "Daddy, what have you done with Father Christmas?"

By  Julie Fielding 

I'd always wondered who put the flowers there; fresh roses, a dozen crisp, clean white ones, her favourite. I watched him, saw the love in a killer's eyes.

Awaiting author's details  

He’d believed it safe to release the ghastly, noxious gas but was soon proved wrong as a queue formed, the odour still sticking to the bus shelter walls.

By  Lynne Arnot 




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