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 Value of Persistence

Quinn had been in love with Haley since the moment he’d met her. Someday they were going to get married and have two children, girls named Sage and Nicole. Just because Haley had said “no” every time he’d asked her out didn’t mean she was always going to say “no” in the future. Eventually she would see the light and say “yes.” The shoe she threw at him after he asked her this time did dampen his enthusiasm a little, however.


Even in the final hour where waking fretful from the night with unexplained unease and heavy heart, we know the fabric of this pale world is come undone, we feel its mesh give way, and all our others who compose our inextricably bound up robes, come away, as we ourselves are made undressed and naked, silent, once more, for the tomb.

What is there then?

No words…no thoughts, no sense, no noise, marks our passage to the void.

No more time.

Posted in Other on
  • 2.30 / 5 5
10 votes, 2.30 avg. rating (47% score)


Have you thought about flying? Not like flying in an airplane, I’m talking about really flying; Like how eagles fly, wings spread, soaring through endless skies of cerulean blue.

It’s also about breathlessly feeling the wind whip through your hair, adrenaline flowing like rain swollen rivulets rushing down a mountainside. I’m talking about stretching your arms out wide and screaming, “I’m really flying”

Looking up at the high-rise, the coroner turned and asked the gathered crowd, “Did anyone see him jump?”

First Day

Jack arrived, quite pleased with his punctuality; and approached the entrance of the School for Applied Mockery; trying the door; but finding it locked; knocking several times to no answer. Then he noticed a man seated to one side.
“No use, it’s locked, ” he said.
So Jack asked about opening.
“Not today,” the man said.
“Then when?” Jack asked.
“No idea.”
“So what are you waiting for?”
“Oh, I’m here to tell you were to go for your next lesson.”

Posted in Humour on
First Day
  • 2.50 / 5 5
10 votes, 2.50 avg. rating (51% score)

Everybody Be Cool

All of a sudden, the door of the jeweller’s shop burst open in front of him. A masked man hurried away, a huge woolen sack dangling over his shoulder. The shop owner yelled and screamed, alarm bells were ringing everywhere.
He took up pursuit immediately, tracking close behind the thief, jumping over fences, climbing up and down walls, breathing heavily.
Finally, he catched up with the masked man, who leaned against a wall, exhausted.
“Did you get everything?”, he asked him.

Posted in Crime on
Everybody Be Cool
  • 2.10 / 5 5
10 votes, 2.10 avg. rating (43% score)

A Goal In Life

They stared at the pouring rain through the café’s dirty window.
“Look at the weather. Suits my mood perfectly”, he mumbled.
“Why? Whats the matter”, she asked.
“I feel like I’m running in circles all the time. I don’t have a goal in life.”
“That’s not true. You have a goal.” She grabbed his hand and looked him in the eyes.
“What do you mean?”
“Your goal is to get the umbrella out of the car. And don’t get too wet.”

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