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 demon-warrior Azchon laid waste to the King’s great armies, destroying everything in his path. Only the Valor Knights stand between him and the Throne of Heaven.

“We must surrender,” their leader says.

“Surrender!? Are you mad? Never!”

“We cannot defeat Azchon. If we fight, he’ll exterminate us and then murder every single person we love.”

“He’ll kill us either way!”

“But if we surrender, he will spare our children. We must make sure our children live to fight another day…”

The Beach Cleanup

Jan emptied her bag onto the sand.
A decent haul — a glove, orange peel, a lighter — but Michael was more interested in the discarded pasty he’d spotted near the dunes. He’d found a prosthetic leg last week (sock attached) and hadn’t stopped talking about it. Got his photo in the paper and was told he could keep it if it went unclaimed for six months.
Jan looked down at her haul and stormed off, in search of body parts.

Posted in Humour on
The Beach Cleanup
  • 3.69 / 5 5
13 votes, 3.69 avg. rating (73% score)

In One Shot

Hot and sweaty, with a metal shotgun in my hands, I had only one bullet in it, as told to.

I carefully peeked to the side of the wall I was hiding behind and aimed at the target.


“Congratulations, you passed the test. Welcome to the mafia.”

-This was the only way to get enough money fast enough for a cure for Dad.-

-Surely you understand, right, Mom?-

That’s what I thought when I looked at her now dead body.

Posted in Crime on
In One Shot
  • 2.75 / 5 5
12 votes, 2.75 avg. rating (55% score)

That One Time …

Oh, that voice! I still melt. Dancing, I drift toward that night years ago, in the parking garage. We waited for an hour after the concert. People gave up and left, but we stayed. And then, there she was, and it was as if the music was still playing … the lights still following her. Her car pulled up, but not before she turned, looked through the crowd, past shoulders and heads, into my eyes, and said, “hello.” Oh, that voice!

Posted in Humour on
That One Time …
  • 2.25 / 5 5
12 votes, 2.25 avg. rating (46% score)

Wrong audience

„Come on“, she said. „Tell me more about yourself.” Her smile was like a ray of sunlight on a cold day. She’s goddamn beautiful, he said to himself.
“Well”, he said, avoiding eye contact. “I like to read.”
“What? Like, books and stuff?” She clearly hadn’t seen that one coming.
“Um, yeah. Actually, I’m a writer.”
“Oh. Cool. A writer.” A puzzled frown had replaced that beautiful smile. She grabbed her drink.
Wrong audience, he thought. Happens all the f***ing time.


“God help me”, he whispered to his bandmate. “Why do we have to do this?”
“Come on”, his colleague whispered back. “Just get on with it. You know they want us to.”
“I hate it so much”, the first guy sighed. He walked up to the microphone, closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Get the job done.
“You guys know what’s coming next”, he yelled. “It’s the song you’ve all been waiting for!”
The crowd started cheering in excitement.

Posted in Other on
  • 2.45 / 5 5
11 votes, 2.45 avg. rating (50% score)

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