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81words - Stories Page 2

81words logo

An attempt to set a World Record for the most contributing authors published in an anthology

Full details about the 81 word writing challenge and the world record attempt can be found on the main 81words writing challenge page.

81 Word Stories – 101 to 200

Below you will find the second batch of 81 word stories, published in the order they were received.

Story 101

Supper

by Steve Plews

"What shall I cook for supper tonight?" he asked.

"You choose," she replied.

"Pasta?"

"You don't like pasta."

"But it's your favourite."

"For God's sake – make a decision about you for once." Anger spewed in her voice.

"Chops then?"

"I don't fancy chops."

"Toad in the Hole?"

"Nah, don't fancy stodge."

"I could do a Caesar Salad – we've got that chicken."

"I don't mind. You choose."

With the TV drowning out the silence between them, they wordlessly tucked into spaghetti bolognese.

Story 102

Only The Best

by Mandy Huggins

"Only the best for my nephew," Sonia said.

After she'd left, Deepal took her sister's extravagant gift to Amit.

He examined the silver rattle and snorted. "A useless thing. Difficult to sell on. Rs300."

Deepal took it. She needed food and nappies.

On his way home her husband noticed the rattle in Vinod's shop window. Rs700. They couldn't afford it, but he was good for credit at Vinod's. He smiled, picturing Deepal's face.

"Only the best for our son," she'd say.

Story 103

Polar Opposites

by Elizabeth Sirrell

I’m sharing the train carriage with four girls in skimpy attire, with fake tans, perfectly manicured fingernails and shiny straightened hair.

It’s below zero temperatures. And they’re wearing next to nothing.

I’m sitting here shivering in my in Ugg boots, thermals and woolly hat. And I have a drippy nose.

They’re going out to party. To drink shots and dance the night away.

I’m going home to bed. To drink hot chocolate and read a good book.

We are polar opposites.

Story 104

Group Decision

by Glen Donaldson

Two of the ghastly mutant creatures known as Son of Triceratops' heads had stayed up all night. 'They' had been debating whether their dentist, the distinguished and almost utterly free of petulance Dr Thnead, really did deserve the plaque awarded to him that day by the Royal Association for the Prevention of Monster Cavities. The third head, having already made up its mind on the subject and recognizing the importance of a good night's sleep, had wisely already nodded off early.

Story 105

Veg Out

by Sandra Purdy

"Eat your greens," Mam wailed again.

I really panicked, because I didn't have any greens on my plate, so I thought I was being a good girl, but I could see the rolled-up newspaper behind her back, waiting to imprint its headline on mine.  Mind you, I didn't eat the grey trees, or the little grey football things, because they were yucky, so when she shrieked, "Greens," at me for the trillionth time, that's when we knew I was colour blind.

Story 106

Who's Programming Whom

by Julie Stone

I put down my magazine. Of course, that makes perfect sense. We are all lost in some elaborate computer game, designed many years ago by some super race of intelligent beings. They created us, their avatars, to populate computer generated worlds, thus appeasing their boredom. Well, really, I don’t think so.

Oh bother – it occurs to me, my new SIM family need organising for their day ahead. I left them at the swimming pool. They will be starving and quite exhausted.

Story 107

Headlights

by Kim Montgomery

"Mummy, close the curtains, please."

"Don't you want to see the lights?"

"No, the lights are bad."

"But you like to watch them run around the wall."

"No, I don't want the headlights."

"You funny boy. Why don't you want to see the lights anymore?"

"Mrs Johnson said a lady is coming to the school tomorrow, and she's going to look at our heads, and if she finds headlights, she's going to cover us in white powder and send us home."

Story 108

Another World

by S.B. Borgersen

Max strums 'Take Me Home, Country Roads'. O-mouthed, they sing around the hissing, snapping, glowing campfire.

An accidental onlooker might see it as theatre: the orange glow in the young faces, the green aura around their naked bodies, the familiar song in an unfamiliar setting.

Alice frantically reaches for everyone's hands. "Stop," she says, "I don't get it, where's this road? Where is home?"

"That's a different world," they reply, singing another song, about a house called The Rising Sun.

Story 109

I Don't Like Eggs

by Gemma Hindmarch

"What do you want for breakfast?"

"Not bothered, whatever we've got."

"Where do you want to go for lunch?"

"Not sure, wherever you fancy."

"What should we have for dinner?"

"Don't know, I'm not really hungry."

My relationship. My life. Until one day, finally, he turned to me and said, "I'm making you an omelette for breakfast."

The bags were packed and thrown out of the front door with him closely behind. He looked confused.

"I don't like eggs," I screamed.

Story 110

Storms Of October

by Steve Lodge

We sat in a secluded booth, at the all-night Cochise Restaurant. Soft music, lights a little low. She'd had a craving for their specials. All of them.

"We must do this again," I whispered.

Her smile was so cute. "Yes, let's go to the movies one night. I realise now that I am powered by your hugs, just don't confuse me with any facts, that's all. I shall wait for your call."

Then, like the storms of October, she was gone.

Story 111

The Scorpion

by Sam Difalco

They tormented the scorpion all afternoon in the town square. At dusk the gang decamped, save for one boy. He held a rock above the writhing scorpion but, losing heart, also departed.

Using its pincers and hind legs, the injured scorpion dragged itself off. Made its way into the first house it saw. It crawled into the first bed it could, prepared to sting whomever slept there.

"It's me," whispered the boy. "I spared you."

But the scorpion spoke no English.

Story 112

The Dowager's Hump

by Jay Bee

Two guys got out first. Tall, bearded, long-sleeved in 30 centigrade, wearing shades. They yawed 360 degrees. It's noon in this small neglected Greek harbour where shaded cat's sleep.

A young woman winkles a fragile lady from the foreign plated car. Her dowager's hump reaching for the sky. Soft flat shoes ease her up the slope. They disappear into the unmarked notaries office. The men close in but don't see me.

The red car is chauffeured away.

I bide my time.

Story 113

Be Careful

by Ron Hall

The road was covered in snow. My hospital shift had just ended and I was headed home.

When Officer Jones flashed his lights at me I stopped.

Approaching me with an air of arrogance he said, "Driving a little fast weren't you?"

"30?"

"30 is pretty fast for these conditions." The bum wrote out a ticket. "You should be more careful," he said.

I sighed.

He stepped away and slipped, falling on his backside.

You should be more careful," I said.

Story 114

The Sound Of The End

by Kirsty Craig

She looks over her shoulder to the back seat.

Both children were sleeping peacefully with the afternoon sun warming their soft skin.

She turned, smiled to herself and turned on the ignition.

As the memories they were leaving behind faded away in the distance she began to laugh.

She had succeeded.

They were hers now.

A happy family, ready to make new memories.

In the distance she heard the sound, the sound of the end.

The sirens wailing, their parents chasing.

Story 115

Extreme Close-up

by Ronald Guell

He sees grass, there is a hole with ants scurrying down. Lying on his side, it appears the invention of gunpowder has claimed another victim. His eyes are growing dim but fading voices implore him to stay. Turned on his back, now walking slowly in a dark place. 

Lightning strikes him once, then twice. In a corridor, gliding on his toes. Floating, he hears nothing. Arriving, sees the ingress and remembers. At the end of the road there is a mirror.

Story 116

Morton's Toe

by Mike Scott Thomson

I was having a miserable day at the surgery when Dr Pod mentioned in passing, "Saw this guy's foot just now, and guess what? Every toe was a Morton."

I told him not to be ridiculous. How can each toe be the longest one?

Then I thought, Well, is it not our calling to consider such apparent implausibilities?

As I mulled it over, the fury ebbed away.

The question became my One Hand Clapping.

Feeling positively Zen, now.

Cheers, Dr Pod.

Story 117

Troubleshooting On The Oort Run

by Josie Gowler

"OK, so it appears visually operational in there."

"Yes."

"Have you tried fusing the proton decoupler?"

"Yes."

"Is the light on the synchrotron rephaser flashing?"

"Yes."

"Have you tried routing the combustion cylinders via the secondary manifold?"

"Yes. Nothing changes."

"Have you tried turning the main operating system off and on again?"

"Very funny."

"How about the asymmetric containment baffle orientation?"

"It's fine."

"And is the antimatter injection relay override reset?"

"Yes."

"Well, we're screwed then."

"Yep, you're right, we're screwed."

Story 118

The Poor Teacher

by Jo Headley

When I heard Mr Laton had died, I remembered how, at school, this teacher’s frequent bursts of sarcasm officially marked me out as a target. Mr Laton encouraged the class to resent me as the 'outsider'. He ignored the sly kicks and believed the lies they told until, one day, I was finally forced to leave the school in disgrace. Now he is dead and all I feel is a strange sense of pity for the teacher he might have been.

Story 119

The Project

by Michael J. Labbe

This is exactly the reason why he wanted the store to assemble it for them, but she insisted they would have fun building it together.

"They do not go on the top, they go on the bottom."

"No they don't," she argued, "they go on the top."

"They wouldn't put the legs on the top of the stand," he insisted.

"Then why does it show it that way on the diagram?"

"Because, once again, you are holding the diagram upside down."

Story 120

The Speech

by Katie Labbe

"The only reason he made me cry is because he's an ass." Wait. Did that just come out of my mouth? My eyes frantically scanned the room from the podium to find blank stares from colleagues and potential employers trying to figure out if I just called out my former boss at my intern graduation.

This is exactly why you don't give drunk girls a microphone and a captive audience.

The room erupted with laughter. Turns out I was the ass.

Story 121

My Journey

by Joan C. Knowles

I packed up my grief today and am driving it away.

I'm searching for a peaceful place in my mind and heart.

It's so hard to lose the ones you love.

The memories bring tears and happiness at the same time.

I want to replace sorrow and sadness with fun and laughter.

The sun's going to shine through the misty morning on my road to new dreams.

I'm looking to the future and what's around the next corner on my journey.

Story 122

Brief Encounter

by Dee La Vardera

"Bufo vulgaris, if I'm not mistaken."

"Are you addressing me, sir?"

"The Common Toad."

"Not so much of the common."

"How unexpected. And in First Class."

"My motor vehicle is unfortunately incommoded."

"This seat free?"

"My pleasure. Not passed any weasels, have you?"

"Just a woman with a Shih Tzu."

"Bless you."

"Have we met before?"

"Mr Toad. And you?"

"Nobody."

"You must be somebody."

"I keep a low profile. Observe people."

"People?"

"Mammals. Amphibians."

"Must dash. Ticket collector. Toot-toot. Toodle-oo."

Story 123

Smoke Stack

by Brandon Myers

Samantha ignored the No Trespassing signs, but still wondered if the stories were true. Was there something living beyond the smoke stacks? Was wandering onto an abandoned World War II munitions factory really worth impressing a few girls she barely knew?

Sam reminded herself of the story, "Those who enter the smoke stack property are never seen again." It sounded like an urban legend heard in towns across America. Then she fell into a hole and was never heard from again.

Story 124

Out For A Walk

by Rose Farris

"Hurry up, can't you?"

She, flustered, re-tying an errant bootlace. "You go on ahead, dear, I'll catch up later."

He marches away, a receding red rucksack.

She's always felt like a cork bobbing helplessly in his wake through company dinners, bowls club afternoons and now rambles; a lumpy, slightly dishevelled, embarrassment. Struggling over a stile, she finds him collapsed on the verge, frothy, blue-tinged lips gasping. She sits carefully down beside him.

"You go on ahead, dear, I'll catch up later."

Story 125

Alice

by Linn Kier

Alice said, "I want to change my name."

He said, "But I like the name Alice. It makes me think of my great grandmother who used to sing a song called 'Alice Blue Gown' to me when I was four, maybe five. Sometimes I couldn't sleep because there were bears under my bed. I can still hear her soft voice, but of course, you can do anything you want. So, what should I call you now?"

"The love of my life."

Story 126

Light

by Andrzej Christopher Marczewski

As the lights dimmed, my mind raced to try and understand what had just happened. One minute I was running for the bus, the next I was in a white room with people looking at me through green masks and goggles. Before I could think too deeply about that though, I could see light again, but this one was different in some way. Not cold and clinical like the first, warm and inviting. I think I might head towards it now.

Story 127

Death or Glory

by Brenda Brittan

Adrenalin high, he waited under the Ceremonial Entrance Arch, the hot Mediterranean sun reflecting on his breastplate.  

The multitude, all 55,000 roared. Their enthusiasm reverberating through the soles of his feet.

He flexed his muscles punching the air with a triumphant fist

The men envied his taut muscular body, the women swooned.

To rapturous cheers, he strode to the centre of the new Rome Colosseum.

He was ready. Ready for whatever that day would bring. 

Death or Glory.

Time stood still.

Story 128

Second Date

by Jonny Higgins

Bless my soul,

To a deep, dark hole,

In which I'm forever wanted.

I'll unfasten my locks,

And come out of my box,

For there are people to be haunted.

"What in the world...?" he muttered, barely audible.

"I know, right? Now come see this one," she exclaimed as she skipped down the dirt path

This had to be the strangest second date he had ever had: reading the epitaphs on gravestones.

What will the third date be like? he wondered.

Story 129

Dinner With The Family

by Ian Rennie

Every Sunday at one, Granny sets the table and serves dinner for the family. It's tradition.

We sit in nervous silence as dishes are passed and plates filled. Set for all of us. All of us.

You don't miss a Sunday. Not after the smashed plates and thrown pans when Cousin Pete skipped to attend a ball game.

Granny died last year. The dinners continue. Nobody mentions it for fear of what she might do.

Besides, her pot roast is delicious.

Story 130

Time

by Jaz Leigh

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick...

What? The clock had stopped.

The mouse that was so close to his hole? Frozen.

My cat who was unashamedly chasing the poor rodent? Stuck mid-leap as he was about to catch – what I can only assume – would become his lunch.

Holding my breath, I slowly made my way over to the window. Even the people outside were as still as statues.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick...

What?

Story 131

Bumpinksi's Blanket Statement

by Nathaniel David Knox

The famed bedding and pillow critic, Hubbard Q Bumpinksi, sipped his morning espresso when a reporter approached him, notepad in hand.

"Mr. Bumpinski, care to make a statement on Sonntag's new autumn line of comforters?"

"You reporters... can't you see I'm sipping?"

"Just a line or two?"

"Look, I don't want to make any blanket statements, but everything that Sonntag puts out is terrible."

"Wow, broad brushing a bit, huh?"

"Son," Hubbard said. "I don't talk paint products. Too political."

"Sorry."

Story 132

Hemlock

by Sue Johnson

Sonia raced across the field to pick the secret ingredient she’d noticed growing by the river. Returning to the kitchen she added it to the stew she was cooking.

By the time Alan came back from visiting his mistress, she hoped he’d be too tired to notice the strange taste.  By the time he’d finished eating, he’d be heading for eternal rest. He was overweight with a heart condition. Nobody would question his sudden death.

This time tomorrow, she’d be free.

Story 133

Goodbye

by Lindsey Esplin

The last of the mourners made their way toward their cars. She didn’t recognize any of them, nor had she expected to.

She smoked her cigarette for a few moments longer to be sure she was alone. Then a few more until it was done. She lit another as she walked.

She inspected the headstone the way she might a supermarket avocado, then took one deep inhale and put her cigarette out on it leaving the butt in the fresh dirt.

Story 134

Skydiving Not Quite For Beginners

by Gavin Biddlecombe

"Wind's too loud. You need to speak up."

"Jack, right?"

"Yeah."

"I'm Dave."

"Hi Dave. New to skydiving?"

"Pretty much. This is my first solo jump."

"I figured. Haven't had any lessons have you?"

"What makes you say that, Jack?"

"What you're looking at isn't your altimeter. That's your wrist watch.”

"No problem. I reckon I can get the timing right."

"Brings me to my next question."

"Best be quick before I pull the cord."

"Why the rucksack?"

"Ah. Now then…"

Story 135

Brain Donation

by Sophie Myers

"I want to donate my brain to medical science," Mum tells me over Weetabix.

The sludge of the disintegrating cereal becomes less appetizing.

"If that's what you want, Mum," I say.

I smile at her and wash out my still full bowl.

I don't ask why. She wants to contribute to the research for the cure.

I could argue, but why? She won't understand my sentimentality.

It's her body, her choice. I won't let her see what it will cost me.

Story 136

The Calm Before The Storm

by Claire Allinson

Sitting in the seafront café she sipped her tea, content, a moment of solitude in the crazy world around.

It hit out of nowhere.

She felt an unease in the air, the eye of the storm.  Then, BAM. It attacked with hurricane like ferocity no beast could match. It reached its final threatening crescendo, then died.

She fought for control and emerged the victor. This inner storm would not break her. She sipped her tea. Her future forecast now appeared brighter.

Story 137

I'm Waiting

by Natalia Godsmark

It's done. Proud of yourself? I dug in the knife, but you drove me to it. We're in this together, you and me.

"What do we do now?" you ask.

"We bury him."

"And then what?"

"And then... we carry on."

You say nothing, and I reach for my compact mirror.

"I'm waiting," I say, staring into those eyes.

"What for?" you snap.

I can't believe I have to say it. "For a thank you." You're silent.

"Thank me," I reply.

Story 138

Ecstasy

by Edmund Piper

"They say that when you ride in a Rolls Royce the only sound you can hear is the ticking of the clock."

"You can't even hear that nowadays."

"And another thing, you rarely see a Roller in a supermarket car park."

"The spaces are too narrow. Besides, Rolls Royce people don't do groceries."

"What do they live on then?"

"Whisky and hallucinatory drugs."

"So that is what the famous flying lady radiator mascot, the Spirit of Ecstasy, is all about."

"Precisely."

Story 139

The Choice

by Robert Tucker

No one spoke.

All eyes were turned to the front, scanning.

Feet shuffled forward with the precision of the Grenadier Guards.

Permutations and combinations jockeyed for ascendancy in my brain.

Would she be happy this time? I had seen the sheen of disappointment in her eyes on the last occasion.

The rain mercilessly battered the window. I would need to rush or all would be lost.

At last I stood at the front, isolated and exposed.

"Two cod and chips please."

Story 140

A  Mercian Killing

by Amanita Peridot Festoon

Ethelrega, Queen of Mercia, simpered. "Poor Boy Seven, eat, for me."

PB7 sniffled. "Don't like fungus."

EQoM sidelonged Cook. "Then we'll try pottage."

"Where are PBs 1-6?" dared PB7.

"Fertilising the fields," EQoM menaced sweetly, "in Martyrs' Meadow."

Time passed.

Cook bustled furtively. "Alive – but lifeless."

EQoM tingled.

Tlot-tlot on the cobbles.

"Athelrex, dearest. So soon? Treaty? What, half my/our Kingdom?  Alas, nay, fret not, my love. Sip this soothing soup. Then sleep. Entrust your troubles to me."

Ethelrega sparkled.

Story 141

The Deal

by Iuliana Khadyxa Filisanu

At thirty, Darren's prospects were terrible. He lived in poverty. Alone. Forsaken on a dead end street. No friends, no family. He no longer had the will to continue.

While having a drink before offing himself, a one-eyed man approached him at the bar. The man promised to change his life, if Darren became his employee. Darren conceded.

Now – 50 years later – Darren has money and women and power, and he still goes out every night to kill for the man.

Story 142

The Cut

by Alice Penfold

I thought you would be helping me dye today. We’ve had this date diarised since forever; we crossed our hearts and hoped to die that it would it happen.

"I'll change you to red," you said.

With lacklustre locks left so untended, I needed you here. You said (don't deny or lie to me that this is anything but truth) that you'd not miss the chance to chop off all my dead ends.

I haven't had a cut for too long.

Story 143

Joy Ride

by Joy Thomas

I hung on to the arm rest as we navigated yet another corner at break neck speed. It had sounded like fun, taking Nick's new car for a run. I hadn't allowed for the bravado of youth.

I was starting to feel sick.

Closing my eyes as we approached another bend in the road, I heard the screech of brakes, then the thud.

We swerved to a halt, sitting stunned, unable to move.

Reality kicked in.

The joy ride was over.

Story 144

Definitely Not A Gummy Worm

by Olivia Magnuson

"Look, I found a worm in the garden."

"Cool. Now put it back."

"But I want to eat it."

"Alex, don't eat the worm."

"But it looks juicy."

"No, it's not juicy. It's gross."

"But it looks like a gummy worm."

"It's not a gummy worm, Alex. Put it down."

"I'm about to eat it…"

"Stop. Put it down."

"I'm gonna do it."

"You're gonna get sick."

"Watch I'm about to do it."

Gulp.

"You were right Andrew. It was gross."

Story 145

Obsession

by Jonathan Inglesfield

It was my childhood autumnal obsession; daily at dawn I left, following a well-trodden route. Wind, cold and rain meant nothing; I scoured the ground and filled my leather satchel.

The obsession persists despite the years, now harder to justify. Smoothness of touch, swirled colours and simple beauty are engrained irreversibly in my brain. Perfection I cannot resist.

Leaving my business meeting with smart suited colleagues, I stoop to pick up the conker, "…for my kids."

"Thought you didn't have any."

Story 146

It's Magic

by Charles Osborne

Café.

I need help with my crossword.

A blind man reaches in his pocket; places a handkerchief over empty glass; whisks the handkerchief away, revealing a full glass.

He repeats the trick.

He offers the glass to me. Nothing comes out.

"That blind man can't afford a drink," a customer whispers. "He comes in here because he's lonely."

If I offer to buy him a drink, will this undermine his magic?

I haven't a clue.

I need to finish the crossword.

Story 147

A Quiet Night In

by L. A. Cunningham

"Bob," Mary sighed, "I wish you'd take out the garbage."

She sipped her wine.

"And put the dishes in the dishwasher and hang up your jacket."

Another sip.

"And put your glass on a coaster."

She sipped.

"I also wish you'd quit lying to me, Bob."

She picked up his glass, revealing a condensation ring.

Mary hurled the glass at the wall raining shards down on Bob's head and shoulders.

Bob just sat there.

Looking straight ahead with those lifeless eyes.

Story 148

Burn

by Liz Sheldon

Clack. Her black heels hit the floor with power over the man.

Snap. She pulls her black dress from her thigh to show its tightness while entrapping him.

Smack. Her red lips blow a kiss, toying, to remind the man of his sins.

Splash. She pours a clear liquid over the culpable man held in the pit.

"You will never again harm another one of us again." Flick. She drops her lighter into the darkness.

Screams. He burns with his evils.

Story 149

Gone

by Joe Bailey

I don't want to leave home. I love the world around me. The large multi-coloured buses. The long, majestic punts along the river. The buskers and the touts around town. The conker trees that spread their leaves.

I don't want to leave home. But it is all a dream. The people are mean. Pollution is rife. Crops are dying. There is war everywhere.

"Get out. Get out," I hear my mother call. But it is too late. I am already gone.

Story 150

Activate

by George Cornilă

His forehead was still itching after having the compulsory microchip implanted in his prefrontal cortex at the clinic. Everyone has been connected to their gadgets and household appliances for years now. It was time for the next step. Evolution. Everyone would be connected to everyone else.

Tommy took a deep breath. Those were the last moments he would ever be alone with himself. He was still master of his thoughts. A tab shone on the touchscreen in front of him.

'Activate'.

Story 151

Fatal Caution

by Vivian Oldaker

"Slow down."

"You want to catch the plane?"

"I want to get to Gatwick in one piece."

"They'll have found the old guy's body."

"I'm glad Grandpa didn't struggle."

"He did a bit."

"Scared of banks. Keeping his cash in a coal scuttle, asking for it. Slow down."

He decelerated, thus perfectly timing their meeting with the deer at the next bend. Its mad eyes stared through the windscreen. He swerved. They crashed fatally. Justice was done. (The deer escaped unscathed.)

Story 152

The Chicken And The Pineapple

by Alice Payne (age 10)

Once upon a time there was a pineapple. Then a chicken found it and stuffed his face until he was very fat.

Full of pineapple, the chicken needed to rest his stomach. He went off for a little snooze in the bamboo hutch he had built.

While he was asleep a hunter stalked up to his little bamboo hutch and stole away the chicken.

Sadly, the hunter drowned in the river and the chicken broke free and lived happily ever after.

Story 153

Three

by Rupert Payne

House number three. Cold, dark, gothic. Cracked, murky windows. Rusting gate, overgrown. Over 30 years. Lying empty, forgotten.

Neighbours avoided it. Visitors stared warily. The children joked. "It's definitely haunted."

They were right. Old Mr Smithson. Cancer or stroke? I can't remember. But he died. And never left. He loved it. Loved that house. Couldn't leave it. Until this morning.

A new family. They loved it. Just like him. The ghost smiled. He was happy. At last, finally. He could rest.

Story 154

Sirens

by Harriet Payne

The sound of sirens, that was the start to all of this. I had been with my parents at the time, going about my daily chores. It was then that I heard the sirens.

We all rushed out to the shelter and grabbed our gas masks. I could see fear etched onto my parents' faces as we huddled together.

Crashes echoed through the streets of London… then all fell silent. We climbed out the shelter, and saw nothing but loose rubble.

Story 155

At The Polling Booth

by Julie Howard

"How's it going?"

"Busy"

"Have I seen you before?"

"Don't think so. I'm Clare."

"Jenny. What got you into this?"

She points to the election pamphlet. "Maryanne. She's amazing."

It's no one I know.

"What about you?"

"Oh the total corruption of the Liberal Party. Crooks, every single one of them." I focus on her T-shirt. It's blue like mine, but something's different. She turns away. I see the word LIBERAL emblazoned on her back. Oh no, she's one of them.

Story 156

Spider

by Neil Brooks

The spider was relaxed, listening intently as the human conversation intensified. Understanding was easy as he had been doing that since he was little.

Recently though, his web vibrated strangely when humans were in proximity. The vibrations travelled up the web into each of the spider's eight legs. From there, his intelligent, unfathomable brain was able to interpret the unspoken emotions and feelings of the humans.

Right now, the words were saying one thing, but the emotions were dark and murderous.

Story 157

We Don't Talk Anymore

by Sydney Clarence

W4M: I am S, NBM, N/K. I am ISO a LTR with a M who is an AL, with OHAC.

Open minded so JBY. Message me BAE. TYVM.

Profile saved. This time would be her time. The continual beep-beep, ping-ding, sing-song of the phone through the night, jolted her from her sleep. 22 views, 27, 54. No new messages.

The too shy boy who loved her most in TRW, hid his pain by comforting her. If only he had the words.

Story 158

Smugglers

by Joanna Ball

The dash became a black dot. I wondered why, and then realised it was because it was heading towards us and the shore.

"That boat's out late tonight," I said.

She didn't answer. I turned to see if she'd heard me.

"Let's go back," she said.

"No wait. Let's see what it is." Now closer I could see silhouettes moving: people on board.

"Is it a pleasure craft?"

"Could be. Or a night fishing party."

"That's not odd."

"No. Perfectly normal."

Story 159

The Good Hammer

by TS Lanchbery

"How many tools can one man possibly need?" she asked. "And especially when so many jobs around the house remain incomplete."

"It is a good hammer," he said.

"So was the last one," she replied.

He was a kleptomaniac, something he had kept hidden from her until after the wedding. But she had her secrets too. It was a good hammer though, and, after she had cleaned off all of the blood, it fetched 34 pounds and 50 pence on eBay.

Story 160

World's Inheritance

by Waltraud Pospischil

"I wanna have another grandpa burger."

"No, all gone, have a grandma burger."

"Boohoo, why? Like grandpa burgers more…"

"'Cause grandmas live longer, more of them round who die every day and become burgers."

"Why didn't they leave us any animals or plants to eat?"

"Don't blame anyone, or you'll be a burger next."

"All that's left now are stories and films about something called nature, which they had."

"Don't question reality, or you'll become a burger."

"Rather be spicy chips…"

Story 161

Lost for Words

by Betty Hattersley

Normally, although eccentric, her gardening idealistic was ordinary. But she'd spent numerous hours working on a new project.

As dusk fell, I visualised a delicate illumination appearing from a tree stump in the centre of her garden.

"Why are those colourful, flickering illuminations glowing from your garden?" I asked politely (without sounding too inquisitive).

She informed me that fairies had taken residence in the tree stump and were having a party to celebrate their new abode.

What more could one say?

Story 162

Happy Anniversary

by Chip Jett

"You are perfect."

"No. Don't say that. It's not true. Besides, you give me something to live up to that I cannot possibly achieve."

"I don't want you to be something you are not. I don't want some ideal you think society has mandated. I want you." He paused. "OK. You're right. You aren't perfect. You have many flaws, as do I. But your imperfections erase mine, and mine are many." He searched and found the words. "Together, we are perfect."

Story 163

Mouse

by Nurholis

I was typing my script on an old computer, in the living room with my cat sitting beside me. I was completely focused on the last line.

I left to go to the kitchen, to fetch some snacks, planning to get right back to my work.

My cat stayed still, with a look like it was more focused than me.

I got some cassava chips. The cat was staying cool, quiet and serene.

"Do you want this 'mouse'?" I said loudly.

Story 164

What Ducks Do

by Deborah Wroe

"Walter, right a bit.

"Lucy, fall in line.

"Matilda, front and centre.

"One, two, three, go."

"Mum, look at the ducks. They are like those women in the Olympics, in the pool, with the things on their noses."

"Synchronised swimmers?"

"Yes, them. It's like they've been practising for ages."

"It's just nature, it's what ducks do. Practising, haha."

"Well I'd give them gold."

"Aaaaand relax team, fall out. They've gone. They left bread – last one to get it is a ninny."

Story 165

The Greatest

by Debaprasad Mukherjee

"I'm the greatest," said Mr King.

"Hail, Mr King," said people.

"I'll change policies," said he.

"Superb," said people.

Loss of lives and exchequer later, Mr King said, "I'm the wisest."

People said, "Hail, Mr King."

"I'll impose newer taxes," Mr King said.

"What a noble idea," people said.

People died of hunger.

In came the assassin, Mr Ego. He killed Mr King to make him a martyr.

"We died slowly, you died fast. You're the greatest," said the dead men.

Story 166

Cheated

by Derek McMillan

"Sorry, what was that?"

"I said," Jack raised his voice against the wind, "I am going to kill her."

"Who?"

"Haven’t you been listening? The Prime Minister."

That was the end of our conversation for that night. It was cold on the sea front, we said goodbye.

Next day we met up at the Hare and Hounds. Jack had a newspaper and a foul temper.

"You didn't tell me Thatcher was already dead." He looked at the floor. "I feel cheated."

Story 167

Nailed

by Richard Swaine

Given the, shall we say, richly varied nature of the historic allegations made against you, encompassing inappropriate physical conduct, racism, homophobia, misappropriation of party funds, the falsification of employment history, not to mention the ongoing paternity suites you've been named in, I'm sure you'll appreciate it if we don't detain you any longer than is necessary and why I'll be brief in delineating the main reasons why we feel you'd be the perfect choice for the position of Director of Communications.

Story 168

Murdered Girls

by Claire Apps

"Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I will forever remember you my sweet girls." I'm not a typical murderer; I don't need a trophy to have a reminder. My memory is intact, especially for memories such as tonight.

"Good night all, enjoy the rest of the night. I'll see you soon my sweethearts." Then, without looking back, I take my leave. Yes, it has been a good night. I can feel the girls watching me.

"Good night girls."

Story 169

Lost Opportunities

by Taye Carrol

Unattended baggage in Israel is serious business because of all the death delivered in pretty packages and Louis Vuitton luggage. A bomb squad will detonate your freshly baked pastries or lacy unmentionables before you can convince them there is nothing to worry about. These are easy to replace. But his number was in the one I left when my order was ready.

I always take a man's number instead of giving mine, promising I'll call.  This time I really would have.

Story 170

Making A Hash Of It

by Roz Levens

"Your house is always so warm and laid-back," beamed Judith, as she munched another brownie. "I love coming here."

She smiled and sniffed the air appreciatively. "And what's that wonderful smell?"

"Pot pourri."

Judith kept her face straight. Marjorie was a wonderful hostess, even if she mispronounced words. So what? It didn't matter in the slightest.

Later, when the police raided Marjorie's house and took away all the cannabis plants, Judith thought again.

Perhaps Marjorie was being specific, sounding the 'T'.

Story 171

Mr Alucard

by Robbie Porter

I knew once Mr Alucard. He was a neat man of peculiar habits. Some called him misanthropic, but that I think was on very casual acquaintance.

To me, at least, he gave every consideration, although with the kind of discernment one would normally give to a side of beef at dinner. One could almost say that he was eyeing me up for the main course. That in itself was most disquieting, even before I realised the terrible truth about Mr Alucard.

Story 172

The Silence

by Katie Chapman

"That's everything, thank you." The Queen dismissed her ladies for the evening. She planned to care for herself for once. 'Being normal' she called it.

She laughed in spite of herself – she ran an entire empire, yet was not trusted to dress alone. The new silence found in her chambers was comforting; compared to the constant bustling of court, so comforting, in fact, that she did not notice the shadow lurking, the knife glinting. The silence did not last that evening.

Story 173

A Laddered Stocking

by Maxine Smith

I could have danced forever, until I broke my leg. Alternatives were considered, so having only a laddered stocking and a threatening expression to my name, it was high time I held up a bank.

Proving successful at this, I repeated the exercise several times and became notorious.

Eventually, I was arrested and tried in court, but found not guilty. The jury could not countenance that someone with a princess pink plaster cast on their ankle would commit such a crime.

Story 174

A Writer's Retreat

by Karen McDermott

'A writers' retreat' the subject line announced.

An outline was thereunder sketched regarding a cottage (too expensive) in Devon (too far), cc'd too many names Tim didn’t recognise (anxiety-inducing). Activities would include swimming (not for Tim, who couldn't), board games, walking, and – seemingly lastly – writing. Along with sharing the outcome of the latter each evening.

Tim shuddered and closed the laptop, mentally archiving the invitation to his 'Things I will find excuses to wriggle out of later' folder.

A writer’s retreat.

Story 175

The Powerful One

by Rohana Chomick

"Rain, rain, go away, just come back another day."

I shouldn't have said that. It changed everything. Who knew I had such power.

There is no rain. Not now. Not for years. Everything is dying or dead. I still live, but my family is no more. Gone, all gone.

My skin crawls with loneliness. I hear no voices, no pattering of feet, no whisper of wings. I wish I had kept my mouth shut. I wish I was not a god.

Story 176

Loosing Grip

by Leigh Hastings

Edward gripped the safety line tightly as he felt his boots leave the side of the shuttle.

Snap.

He could feel the breaking of the cord reverberate throughout his entire body.

Every moment seemed an eternity as the memories flashed before his eyes. His marriage. Their child. Her tears when he said goodbye. His smile on his first liftoff.

Every memory, however minuscule 0r significant, came into fierce clarity as the shuttle slipped beyond his view.

Edward gripped those memories tightly.

Story 177

The Bride's Mind

by Bridget Scrannage

Sandy beach. Him, on one knee. 

"Will you?"

Sparkling diamond. Pounding waves. 

"Ooh, yes."

White wedding.

Planning. Reality.

Guest list: Avert Armageddon.

Flowers: "Hoooooow much?"

Food: "What DO vegans eat? Grass?"

Fake tan. Just why?

Gift list. No more cheese boards.

Bridesmaids. Keep separate and sober. Separate 'n' Sober.

Dress: "Hoooooooooow much?"

Photographer. Refrain from throttling.

Hen night. Did they find the stripper in the bargain basement? Put it away.

Best man: Scare witless ahead of stag do.

"Elope?"

"Yes please."

Story 178

Scouting For Boys

by Abigail Rowe

The whole village knew her for a witch. Rose Cottage was gingerbread sweet. I could've licked it. Me and Stevie creeping to the front door, like Shaggy and Scooby-doo. Tiptoeing, goose-bumping, hair-raising steps.

"Do we have to?" asks Stevie. He's only 9.

"You know we do."

A black cat comes from round the side. Yowls, fur on end. Stevie shakes.

The doorknocker is iron-cold.

The door creaks.

An ancient woman peers out.

"Bob-a-job" I stammer.

A sugared smile. "Come in, boys."

Story 179

Running The Gauntlet

by Alicia Sledge

From behind the kitchen bin, a black, beady eye glinted and whiskers twitched. Murine paws scratched on slick tiles.

In a frantic dash, a tiny creature scurried the length of the skirting board towards the crack that was its refuge between the washing machine and the wall. For such a small animal, it was not an insignificant distance; both speed and silence were essential. The distance was covered swiftly.

But alas, within inches of safety, a soundless, black shadow loomed overhead...

Story 180

The Bird Cat

by Arlene Everingham

From the upstairs window, I watch my cat snake through the long summer grass. He's hoping to sneak up on the birds who are lazing in the birdbath, like tourists on the beach.

One scrambling jump, and he lands face first in the water. The birds scatter, laughing as they fly off. He decides to stay there, wallowing, his long hair floating like black seaweed around him.

"Max, what are you doing?"

Ocean green eyes turn to me, and he smiles.

Story 181

We've All Been There

by Franca Basta

"What's the matter?"

"Nothing."

"It isn't our anniversary, is it?"

"No."

"Have I forgotten something?"

"No."

"Did I do something I shouldn't have?"

"No."

"Did I not do something I should have?"

"No."

"Someone sick?"

"No."

"Dead?"

"No."

"Can I get you something?"

"No."

"Let's go out for dinner."

"I'm on a diet."

"You're sure there's nothing wrong?"

"Yes."

"OK. It's been a really long day. I'm going to bed."

"You care nothing about my feelings, do you, you selfish egotist."

Story 182

I Hate The Cold

by Sarah Stansfield

The winter brings many things. Although I hate the cold.

I love the season with Christmas and getting together with family, but I hate the cold.

The snow is so beautiful and to see it glisten in the sunlight, but I hate the cold.

It is a time to reflect and reminisce, but I hate the cold.

The fireplace is beautiful when lit, but I hate the cold.

To see the children play in the snow, but I hate the cold.

Story 183

Loss

by Sue Partridge

She lowered his body into the freshly dug hole in the garden and covered him with soil. Tom had been a good companion for over 16 years. She had fed him morning and evening, given him a cosy bed and she had always let him go out on his nightly prowls. That was until today. 

He didn't come home last night. As he'd strolled into the kitchen this morning, bacon had been sizzling in the pan. Now she was a widow.

Story 184

Life After Death

by James Colfox

I felt sorry for Joanna, but most of my sorrow was reserved for the Priest.

Joanna shouldn't have tried to speak, we had agreed that she wouldn't but I knew deep down that she would. And she did, until eventually she was overcome with sobs and was led away. It was left to the Priest to deliver the Eulogy.

He didn't know me and so he spoke on the subject he thought he knew best. Heaven.

He knew nothing. He lied.

Story 185

Preparing For Prose

by Jo Howarth

The curtains, drawn, block out the empty darkness of the night. Lambent candles, placed with careful consideration around the room, bring forward spirit words, which land delicately and precisely on the Vergé de France pad – 50 sheets of champagne writing paper (from the old established firm, G. Lalo, Paris).

Sitting at her worn desk she remains still, head slightly bent to the right – pen moving over the spirit words, embroidering on paper. Diligently applying herself, stitching the core of her story.

Story 186

Pumpkin Pie

by E. F. S. Byrne

There is no reason to be afraid, it's all logical. Louise invented Halloween. She did it when she was five and her baby sister was one. Her mother was going to make pumpkin soup but didn't know where to start.

Louise took the knife and showed her. What she did was attack the pumpkin, as if it were her little sibling. Her mother screamed. Louise smiled.

"It's hollow," she said. "Just put a candle inside and pretend it's my little sister."

Story 187

Adulterous Decision

by RJ Saxon

Slipping on her summer dress.

His blood boiled.

Today he'd tell her.

"Ready?" Lucy smiled at Ethan.

Ethan nodded condescendingly, approaching the car.

Brake fluid spoiled the driveway as they headed towards Lover's Cliff.

"Lucy... who's it gonna be, him or me? Decide," shouted Ethan, foot down hard on the gas, towards the cliff edge.

"It's you, Ethan. Please STOP."

Ethan hit the tampered brakes.

Too late.

Dillon, the mechanic, planned a different outcome, when Lucy brought the car for service.

Story 188

His New Man

by Clare Tivey

She struggled to see what Charlie found so mesmerising about Alex.

Charlie had dated some attractive and charismatic men. Alex wasn't blessed with looks or charm – a small mean mouth that rarely smiled and, when it did, showed no connection to his upper face. However, Alex is smart and manipulative, she believes, with potential psychopathic tendencies.

Always the pragmatist, she laughed etc. at all of the correct points during dinner, but she and Alex both knew, they would never be friends.

Story 189

The Island of Iniquity

by Fee Johnstone

"Don't feed the attractions and remain seated," our tinny-voiced guide instructed as we donned our waterproof capes and set sail for the Island of Iniquity.

The boat slowed as we approached.

"The disturbing species exhibited here roamed the earth for 200,000 years, reigning terror upon everyone and everything."

Suddenly, a hideous fleshy creature catapulted itself against the boat and wailed – if I'd had a heart, I'm sure it would've leapt.

"Fellow robots," our guide announced theatrically, "I present to you… mankind."

Story 190

The Discovery – At Last

by John L Bell

He had discovered IT.

He had ALWAYS been able to magic up writing from ANY starting point, observation, trifle, happening.

Then he discovered the very aspect of life SO barren, SO unfruitful, SO sterile and SO futile, it cannot kick start a writing spree.

NOT cleaning toilets.

The 'discovery'?

Cleaning the baked on cheese from the sandwich toaster, WAS the Most Literary Barren Activity Known To Personkind.

No sentence cropped up... no phrase... not a juicy adverb.

Nothing... zero... nowt... zilch.

Story 191

Imagination

by David Wright

I have climbed the highest mountains and swam in shark infested waters.

I have travelled the world and visited exotic lands.

I have been an astronaut and voyaged to far off alien worlds.

I have ventured back in time and met many famous historical figures.

I have looked into the future and seen things yet to come.

I have had many varied and wondrous experiences and all without leaving the comfort of my own home – through the power of my imagination.

Story 192

Finding The Water Dragon

by Melanie Goodell

Once upon a time, at morning light, a dragon turned to face a knight.

"En garde," the knight called gleefully. The worried dragon spun to flee.

"You must not leave," the knight called out, "for only you can stop this drought."

"Me?" the dragon answered, low and rough. "But I am nothing more than tough."

"Yes, you." The knight replaced his sword. "Only you can sing the water chord."

The dragon sang a low, slow tune and quickly started a monsoon.

Story 193

Airport

by Malcolm Richardson

Bing bong.

"Final call for flight BA217 to New York JFK, gate 37."

"Where's the tickets, Marvin?"

"I gave them to Celia."

"Celia? I saw you give them to James."

"Where's James?"

"Starbucks, I think," suggested Jane.

"He was looking at the magazines," said Trevor.

"I saw him go into the toilets," Josephine added.

"Marvin, get him out of the toilet."

"James, where are the tickets?"

"I gave them to Stephanie."

Bing bong.

"Gate 37, for New York, now closed."

"Stephanie..."

Story 194

IM - The New Subtext To Corporate Meetings

by Claire Taylor

"I'm completely confused."

"Don't be, it's him, not you."

"And we pay him how much?"

"I know."

"Can't find an emoji for what he's saying, so will use the poo one."

"What's that he said? Elements? Never heard of them. Am I in the right meeting?"

"He means actions."

"Seriously?"

"Yep. Kind of 'squaring the loop'."

"What the what?"

"Indeed."

"So, he's just spent an hour telling us he didn't do his actions."

"Yeah."

"Where is the emoji for 'you're fired'?"

Story 195

Just Desserts

by Susie Frame

We met. We laughed. We hugged. We kissed. We loved. We married. We loved. We fought. We loved. We fought. We fought. We fought.

I left. He followed. He stalked. I quivered. He hit. I cried. He apologised. He pleaded. I caved. I forgave. I returned.

We laughed. We hugged. We kissed. We loved. We fought. He hit. I hated. I despised. I planned. I smiled. I cooked. I poisoned.

He died.

I'm incarcerated. I'm happy. I'm free.

Finally.

I'm free.

Story 196

Damp Grass

by Jenny Simmons

Stars glowed in the distance as we sat in the dark. Beautiful, but I was more interested in you.

We were in love, we were young. It all was new for us both. We would talk from sunrise to sunset, but that night we did more. We nervously kissed, slowly taking off more, and more. It was awkward; damp grass tickled our bare skin, I kept giggling. And then we were one. And in your eyes I saw the stars glow.

Story 197

The Travel Bug

by Pam Jackson

Mack was terrified of flying. Just the thought of hurtling through the stratosphere at impossible speeds in a winged tube made him feel ill. Yet he longed to see the exotic places he read about – Egypt, Singapore, Italy.

Eventually, Mack booked an ocean voyage and caught a train to the coast. As he approached the docks he gasped at the ship’s colossal size. He looked east and saw the ocean through the heads, vast and deep. He wept and turned away.

Story 198

Firstborn

by Kathryn Dixon

That first day post-Caesarean was brutal. In pain, exhausted, you screamed relentlessly. Breastfed repeatedly whilst the clock moved. In the twilight hours of your first day on Earth, you sat on my scarred abdomen, hunched like a tiny Buddha, tiny chin cupped in my fingers and we locked eyes.

Becalmed and peaceful now, your sweetness charmed. I vowed my eternal love and care. Prayed that you outlive me and grow into a fine person. I know you will. My lovely boy.

Story 199

Greedy Gecko

by Edward Rouse

Mr Gecko sat on a stone. A fly flew in front of his face. Another fly came along.

Mrs Fly waited for her children.

When her husband came home, she told him, "I'm so worried."

"I'll investigate," he said.

He soon returned. "It's that Gecko. I'm sorry dear."

Mr Gecko was having his nap.

He was woken by a buzzing sound. Before his tongue whipped out, it was all over for Mr Gecko.

Dan put the lid back on his box.

Story 200

The Dado Rail

by Jan Brown

I stroll round the classroom, glancing at wonky diagrams, budgets, garish mood boards, offering the occasional encouraging word. This is a popular technology task: design your bedroom.

"You might want to check your spelling." Voice neutral, I walk away calmly, rigid with suppressed laughter. Just leave it.

I can't. I look back. Julia's eyes are fixed on mine, defiantly willing me to break first.

"Dildo rail to divide..."

We break simultaneously, wiping away tears. No-one else understands why we are hysterical.

End Of Page Note

I hope you enjoyed reading stories 101 to 200. You can find links to hundreds more 81 word stories on the main 81 word writing challenge page.

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