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 Cold Stare

The fire was lit and burning with its own momentum while the coffee finished dripping. I rinsed my bowl, left it in the sink, and unplugged the laptop. With the computer in one hand and my favorite mug in the other, I rounded the corner to the leather chair by the stove, plopped down and cracked open the modern marvel on my lap. It was warm now, comfortable even except for the cold stare of the blank page in front me.

Posted in Other on
The Cold Stare
  • 2.25 / 5 5
8 votes, 2.25 avg. rating (46% score)

The Diary of a wimpy tiger

A Diary of a Tiger

Dear Diary,

Today i had the worst day EVER.

At the pond, all the water dried out and all my friends (lions and giraffes; all the cool animals) drunk it all before me.

At hunting school i slipped and got mud all over my beautiful coat.

And finally to top it all off, at tea time I dropped my tea all over the floor (pork and sausages); sadly my favorite food was gone down the drain

Posted in Animals/Nature on
The Diary of a wimpy tiger
  • 1.88 / 5 5
8 votes, 1.88 avg. rating (39% score)


I have not seen anyone since last Wednesday and that suits me just fine. (Or was it Tuesday?). And thinking about it, I see the cleaner for one hour a week, the gardener for two, and my befriender for one. That’s only four hours, plus whatever occasional visits my daughter can manage (usually not that much actually). Nobody has any real sense of what I do during all the in-between hours. So, I am going to tell you, carry on reading.


The monster that lives beneath the desk while I write keeps tempting me to quit. With its forehead it thumps my chair; with its claws it rocks my ankles, and I find it difficult to tap at an eroding passion. If I reach for the keyboard it smacks my hand, if I start to think it screams.
So with my finger I push it down on its forehead and I tell it to **** the **** off, because I’m writing here!

Posted in Other on
  • 1.62 / 5 5
8 votes, 1.62 avg. rating (35% score)

The Modern Reincarnation

He stood waist deep in the water. It was freezing, even more so because he wore nothing but a silk robe over his naked body. But he didn’t care, he was spreading the word of the lord. Spotting two young men walking alone the riverbank, he called out to them.
‘Come, gentlemen, allow me to give you my father’s blessing.’
‘Who the hell are you?’ one man scoffed back.
‘Why, I’m Jesus Christ.’
This was met with an uproar of laughter.

Posted in Other on
The Modern Reincarnation
  • 1.87 / 5 5
8 votes, 1.87 avg. rating (39% score)

Inner demons

I clasped at his throat as his nails punctured my bones. The familiar gin scented blood overwhelmed every sense, and as the scent grew stronger and his grasp clutched firmer, I was overpowered again. Accepting defeat as my vision faded and my consciousness waned, the world expelled us both and we lay there in silence.

The sun broke and I could feel that he was distant. Cradling the broken glass, I exhaled as the orchestra began to play its final symphony.

Posted in Spirit on
Inner demons
  • 2.11 / 5 5
9 votes, 2.11 avg. rating (43% score)

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