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.

Horseplay

My boss was fuming as he scolded me in his office.

“I thought I told you many times about goofing off while on the job,” my boss snarled. “The machines we have are for making your work easier and not for engaging in reckless horseplay!”

I nodded weakly.

“If I have to remind you one more time, you’re fired. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes sir,” I replied. “It won’t happen again.”

“Fine. Now go get the forklift off the ceiling.”


Posted in Humour on
Horseplay
  • 2.42 / 5 5
12 votes, 2.42 avg. rating (49% score)

Life is Cruel

Jim’s life sucks. He is lonely, fat and rude. Jim firmly believes that life is cruel.
Jim is given a reset button to allow him to change his past. It will send him back to his first day of high school- letting him start his social life again.
On his way to school, Jim is hit by a car and killed. Jim thinks his old life wasn’t so bad. Jim wants to go back. Jim can’t go back. Life is cruel.


Posted in Humour on
Life is Cruel
  • 1.75 / 5 5
12 votes, 1.75 avg. rating (37% score)

Petals and teardrops

The petals flutter down to the ground along with the teardrops that come pouring from my eyes. I struggle to breathe. The sickly sweet taste of the flowers growing in my throat feels like poison, and the blossoms covering my eyes imprison me in a dark void that I can’t escape from no matter how hard I try. I can’t live like this forever. Eventually these flowers will consume me until I have no strength left to keep myself from dying.


Posted in Fantasy on
Petals and teardrops
  • 1.75 / 5 5
12 votes, 1.75 avg. rating (37% score)

Waiting

She sat next to the phone, staring into the distance, waiting. Waiting for a call she knew was coming, yet hoped never would. How had he met his end? Was the autopsy finished, or was he still lying on a cold slab in the morgue, waiting to be prodded and poked? The sharp, high pitched ring of the phone filled the room. She let it ring, until the sound stopped. She unplugged the phone and cried. She couldn’t face the truth.

Spring’s song

Spring’s song has begun in the northern hemisphere with snowdrops ringing to wake all sleeping from their winter’s sleep. The croci playing bass, giving a rhythmic and harmonic foundation to the world. With the melody sung by the newborn wildlife throughout the land, reverberating through hills and valleys, and the trees and bushes their backing singers resplendent in their new season green clothes. Every year this song can be heard but will you stop today to see, hear and feel it?

The (Un)natural World

Has the world changed or have we evolved into a new type of human being? Filled with jealous fear and hate as act as judge and jury not other’s wellbeing. No longer the a bit part actor, but have become director of Planet Earth, such is our strong sense of self-worth. Sampling, covering and autotuning the songs of nature to sing in the key of humanity, and painting the world in fifty shades of grey as the brave new world’s maker.


Posted in Other on
The (Un)natural World
  • 2.73 / 5 5
11 votes, 2.73 avg. rating (55% score)

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