Welcome to 81words

How short is a story?

The challenge is to write a complete story in exactly 81 words.
You can see how other people have done and rank their stories. Can you do better?

Why 81? It’s just long enough to allow for a story to develop but short enough to mean every single word needs thoughtful weighing. Mostly though it’s just a nice number, ask a mathematician.

Scroll down to read stories, or register / log in to vote and submit your own stories.

The Gift

I met my new client at her house today. We sat and as I began to speak, a large blackbird flew through a window, circled overhead and flew back out another window.

My client never blinked but asked it;
“Is this for Catti?” I was momentarily taken off guard, she turned and asked me; “Who is Goudnov?

“ Goudnov is my father.” I replied.

“Catti, you must see him before November, don’t leave it until Christmas, it will be too late.”

Dismiss Life, Worship Death

Danny’s body’s on me… Their chant pierces the window; “Dismiss life, worship death.” We’d been running on a flat for miles, sliding across the road, their chant and marching running on the breeze behind the roaring motorbikes and trucks clambering after us. Suddenly Danny isn’t dead, but starts to moan and shift his bloody head. The chant is so loud the torn metal around us rattles, and I can see their fluttering black rag of a standard in the rear-view mirror.

The ugly panda

Once there was a ugly panda met polar bear and started talking with a polar bear. The polar bear saw the ugly panda. The polar bear laughed at the ugly panda.The polar bear was thinking that he is more beautiful than the panda. The panda was sad and the next day the ugly panda became beautiful panda and the polar bear became ugly.

Moral of the story is: not to laugh at the ugly people. Everything is constant in this world.

A Bright Spell

A blanket of gray filled the skies as a green and black snake moved like a wave, the ground was covered with many green strings. Without realizing he entered into a trap, violet squares wrapped around his entire body. A choice to be made. A yellow leaf or a brown mouse, which one? Minutes passed, he swallowed the yellow leaf, white smoked appeared, and something small showed. A bright yellow and orange butterfly flow into the bright blue sky so free.


More of them, always pretending to be nice. I thought I belonged to nice people once but they left me here.

It still hurts to think of that.

The new masters bring them in. They prowl and covet and then like Hyena they strike. They take my friends away.

A blanket and a bowl but no escape. When will it be me they take?


‘Awww he is a cutie, finally we’ve found you a forever home Buster!’

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‘We’ll see each other again…’
‘In time. There are four months of travel ahead of me before I even meet my betrothed.’
William clasped his fingers over the rim of the carriage window and rocked onto his toes. He wished she would not speak of him. Her lips looked hateful whenever they formed his name. She was not meant to be hateful. The horses whinnied as the driver nudged them to begin their journey.
‘Stay,’ he urged desparately.
‘Goodbye William.’

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