Congratulations to our fantastic new winners. This was a very popular writing competition but we are delighted with our selected top three. Thank you to everyone that entered. It was a hard decision as always as there were so many variations and ideas. We hope you enjoy the overall winning submission.
1st Prize: £500.00 T. Johnson
2nd Prize: £300.00 Sue Allen
3rd Prize: £200.00 Lisa Collins
The Great Escape
by T. Johnson
“We have to go now.”
“I can’t. I can’t do it. I’ll never fit in there.” Georgie looked down at his ample frame. His stomach was hanging over his trousers and he tried to pull his tummy in. It made little difference. If only he’d not just eaten.
“You have to.” Mark hissed. “It’s the only way that she won’t see you.”
“We don’t even know where it goes to.”
“It’s a way out of here, that’s all we need to know.” Shaking his head, Mark hauled himself up and slithered into the metal passageway.
Georgie watched as his friend disappeared from view. He felt frustrated by his lack of agility. By comparison, Mark was tall and slim and ultra-bendy. But, it was now or never. He didn’t want to be caught. Placing one foot on the radiator, he hauled himself up and struggled to gain entrance to the small gap. Wedged, his hips brushing against the sides, he groaned loudly.
Mark had to be kidding. This wasn’t an escape route, it was a damn prison. He had visions of his rear end hanging out into the corridor and someone below grabbing at his legs. He felt strangely vulnerable and so restricted that his breath started to come in gasps. Claustrophobia was his enemy and it was a very real threat. He already felt the walls closing in and there wasn’t much room to start with. Still, wriggling forward a little, he managed to gain some traction with his knees and then, with his feet. He was in. Hidden from view. He’d made it.
Swallowing hard, he had to control his anxiety levels. Up ahead, Mark slid through the chute like a snake, but there was no way he could follow. Progress was slow. How long was this chute? What if he couldn’t get around the corner? He had visions of the alarm being raised and being pulled out of the tunnel like a sardine in a can. Taking a deep breath, he grunted as he moved forward. He didn’t want to stay here, the sooner he moved, the sooner, he could greet fresh air and freedom.
“Why oh, why did I let Mark talk me into this?”
‘Because you always do,’ his inner voice mocked him. ‘You can never tell him no.’
It was true. Mark had been his best friend since they’d met in their first class at junior school. He had a face full of freckles that gave him a cheeky impish look and even now, those freckles still told the true story of his mischievous ways. He liked to take short cuts, metaphorically speaking, and he enjoyed cheating the system. He got into so much trouble and yet, never took the brunt of it when it all went wrong.
His mother had told him he was easily led and he should never hang around with Mark again. His father had given him a telling off but said that boys will be boys. Talk about a mixed message.
The chute was uncomfortably hot now He’d lost sight of Mark who no doubt had expertly manoeuvred the thin chute and was now impatiently waiting for him at the other side. He slithered nearer to the corner, the chute went two ways. Marvellous. Which way?
Mark? His voice echoed back at him.
His friend’s voice floated through the metal tunnel. “Come on. Blimey, you’re slower than a ….tortoise with a bad leg.” There was exasperation and fondness intermingled.
Georgie rolled his eyes. He was fed up with being called a bloody tortoise. Mark had started it when he’d had to run the 100 metres relay with him and Georgie had failed on the last leg.
‘God, it’s hot.’ He had to get out of here.
Light loomed at the end of the chute. He was almost there. He slithered towards it, picking up speed. He was moving slightly downwards, it was easier. He poked his head out of the chute, sunlight blinding him and brought his arms forward pushing himself out. He couldn’t see a thing, but worse, he was stuck, half in and half-out. His bloody stomach.
“Help me Mark.”
“Look, the tortoise has appeared. Hah. Wind your neck in mate.”
“That’s quite enough Mark.” A shrill voice pierced the air.
Strong hands gripped his arms and before he knew it, Georgie was on the ground looking up at Mark who was not in the least bit deterred at their being caught-out and, then, at his fiancée Martha, with hands on hips, looking only mildly exasperated by their antics.
“He’s still a bloody bad influence on you. What am I going to do with you Georgie?”
I just wanted a pint with my mate. “He mumbled.
“And you couldn’t just say that?”
“It was more fun to escape.” Georgie muttered dusting himself off.
“You are a daft man, with an extremely annoying mate, but I doubt the two of you will change now. Get to the darn pub and be back by 3pm so you can sleep it off. We’re getting married tomorrow Georgie and you had better be there on time.”
Martha glared at him, then pointed a finger at Mark. “And this time, I’m holding you responsible. It’s time you grew up. If you are not careful, I’ll be setting you up with one of the bridesmaids and then there’ll be no more shenanigans for you…ever.”
Mark visibly paled at the thought, pulling Georgie to his feet. As they walked away together, Mark whispered, “You don’t really think that she would do that, do you?”
“Better believe it mate. I hear her sister fancies you and believe me, nobody deserves to be punished like that, she’s a right one.”
Mark gulped loudly but then laughed. “Best get you back by 3pm then. Luckily, she didn’t say what state you had to be in. We’ve two hours of heavy drinking ahead of us my old chum.”