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.
Howling At The Moon
Barney the german shepherd started it, standing in the yard and howling at the moon.
Within seconds, Max the greyhound and Lexie the labrador joined in. Then Joey and Dax, the jack russell twins, added their voices to the din.
In minutes it seemed that every dog in County Cork was singing to the moon. People with double glazing were pretty oblivious; others shouted and others covered their heads with pillows.
Then the dogs stopped as suddenly as they had started.
Looking For Ghosts
Rumour said the house was haunted. Phil and Amy set out to prove this wrong.
Into the hall. No warning bells rang. Into the lounge. Settle down and wait.
Nothing happens. Phil and Amy’s eyes grow heavy. Soon they are asleep.
A coldness wakens them, an icy chill even in the midst of summer. A movement from across the room. A sound of runninig footsteps.
As one, Phil and Amy flee to spread the rumour of the haunted house once more.
Waiting at the station are maybe a few less passengers than usual. Looking down or straight ahead. Barely acknowledging acquaintances.
On the train people struggle to maintain their personal space. No casual bumping or brushing of arms. No innocent eye contact.
The slightest noise or unexpected movement and the tension increases. We all go into an invountary fight-or-flight response, only relaxing when no threat appears.
Is anywhere safe? Maybe home, but who knows. We will not be held hostage to fear.