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.


In the beginning there is dawn, dawn is beautiful, but a monster awakes and claims dawn. Dawn is frightened and runs away and so day takes hold and the monsters rule. Then dawn returns disguised as dusk and turns the day to night. The monsters go to sleep and dawn rules as night. Dawn becomes careless and removes his disguise. So the monsters awake and claim him again. The cycle repeats as Dawn is a fool but a beautiful, beautiful fool.

Posted in Spirit on
  • 2.70 / 5 5
10 votes, 2.70 avg. rating (54% score)


“I think he kills people,” Rich said of the man following them.

“No,” Stu said. “I’m thinking pervert.”

“Look at him,” Billy agreed. “Pervert for sure.”

They watched him the whole way. Each glance over a shoulder showed he was still there, getting closer.

At the school parking lot, they lost sight of him. Each boy breathed a sigh of relief before heading to class. When they took their seats, he was there, chalk in hand.

“Hello, class, I’m Mr. Smalley.”

On The Box

So, her old man learnt I’d cheated.

First I wasted time trying to break through the casket lid. On TV, this guy was buried alive but the soil made the coffin cave in. He broke through and burrowed to the surface.

Don’t believe everything you see on TV. Mr Austen buried me in his wife’s grave. Didn’t skimp on her coffin.

I realise I’ll die here.

I figure it can’t get worse.

Then Mrs Austen moves and tells me she’s hungry.

Posted in Horror/Chiller on
On The Box
  • 3.82 / 5 5
11 votes, 3.82 avg. rating (74% score)


“Are you sure?” she asks, tying the blindfold tight.

“Yes,” he says.

She steps back, picks up a knife for a practice throw, sinks it in the wood two feet below his outstretched arm.

Another knife, this one between the legs, only inches from his crotch. She can see him shiver. She smiles.

The last blade, the hardest throw, hits low on its target, parting his hair while piercing the apple, pinning it to the board behind him.

The crowd cheers.


Unemployed but not homeless, James is in Searching for a job with no luck, for him to be unemployed yet still faithful, such words of “I will find a job and remain there”. Yet with each day passing by for him to dive ever more into despair. He has come to the conclusion “each day is a struggle, I am tired, yet why is there days that I want to continue?”. He will indeed eventually come across a job for him?

Our bin

Talking to a bin can be hit and miss. It really depends on whether the bin is there to talk to.
Our bins favourite food in Wensleydale, that’s not to say it’s not partial to a goose or two.
“Be-bop-a-lula” goes the steam pot that sits on top of the bin…..always brings an upside-down banana shaped smile to my face.
Our bin can change its own tyre.
Our bin has a number 5 sticker on it.
What’s your sh*tty bin got?

Posted in Humour on
Our bin
  • 2.33 / 5 5
9 votes, 2.33 avg. rating (47% score)

Login or Register and vote to continue.

Log In