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81words - Stories Page 3

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 – 201 to 300

Stories 201 to 300 are published below in the order they were received.

Story 201

Time Bomb

by Shaun MC

She found him strewn over the bath, pacified, motionless.

"Tim," she panics, before telling herself he's a joker.

"Tim?" she enquires standing back, smiling hysterically.

She frowns…

"Timmy Sharpe, stop it now." Then she spotted the telling blood.

He was announced dead on arrival at hospital.

When she learned he'd died of liver cancer, she remembered he'd complained about a pain which they never took seriously. She closed her eyes in absolute agony. There was always something more important to do.

Story 202


by Prajith Menon

At 11:30am, I could see vehicles coming towards me in the opposite lane.

10 seconds later, a car hit a bike.

After 10 seconds, the bike rider was flung into air.

After 10 seconds, his helmet smashed.

After 10 seconds, he was in a pool of blood.

After 10 seconds, people were busy taking pictures – no one took him to hospital.

After 10 seconds, he took his last breath.

In a minute, both drivers' lives changed.

"I was sent to prison."

Story 203

Pretentious, Moi?

by Kathryn Evans

"81 words? Well that's not proper writing. What I have to say is much too important to edit down to 81 words. I want to be a serious writer, you know, like Kazuo Ishiguro – bet he didn't start off with silly gimmicky things like this. I've been carrying out painstaking research into the history of Neolithic farming so that I can include it in my first novel. I..."

"OK thanks, I think we've heard more than enough from you now – CUT."

Story 204

Keeping Up Appearances

by Hazel Turner

Beryl took her usual seat on the bus, smoothing her Versace cashmere suit and adjusting her hat, as if posing for a photoshoot for Vogue. Mimi, her Pekinese, proved popular with the passengers who came and went. Beryl smiled, enjoying the admiration.

Later, arriving home, she carefully removed her scarf and gloves before opening her bag.

"Well, Mimi, another successful day," she cooed. Then she began counting her spoils: five wallets, four rings, three purses, two watches and a gold bracelet.

Story 205

Privacy Policy

by Chris Cantor

Every effort has been taken to provide the freshest possible story for your entertainment.   Please consider the suitability of the subject matter for your tastes. The story contains an exciting section and readers with nervous predispositions should consider this carefully, as we accept no liability for causation or exacerbations of health problems. The story should not be read whilst driving or operating dangerous machinery.

If you prefer to read our privacy policy instead of the story it is available at www...

Story 206

Gramps And Grandson

by Stuart Atkinson

"I want a good death."

"Why, Gramps, what’s the point?"

"I want all the loose ends tied."

"What ends, Gramps?"

"I want to be at peace."

"Why, Gramps? When you're dead you're dead."

"Maybe, but…"

"But what?"

"I may be dead, but you're not."

"What do you mean?"

"I need to make sure others keep on living. I don't want to leave things unsaid or undone. I'll be at peace, only if I know you move on."

“Love you, Gramps, promise."

Story 207


by Joyce Walker

I feel as if I've been here forever, so I say, "I hear no voices." That's because they tell me to lie, that they have plans for me and if I take the medication that's been prescribed they'll go away and be replaced by others who will not be so friendly.

So I tell her again, "I hear no voices."

Satisfied, the psychiatrist signs the papers that will allow me to leave the hospital and go back out into the community.

Story 208

Street Food

by Sally Skeptic

He'd arrived. Eight months and all his father's savings paid to that man who'd promised a comfortable journey and had delivered only airless vans and unseaworthy ships. But he was here at last, in London. 

The promised job had not materialised, but he was confident he'd find work. His immediate need was food and he saw a sign: 'Street Food'.  At home this meant plentiful and cheap; then he saw the small portions and large prices. Things would be different here.

Story 209

Cannabilism Is Not For The Faint Hearted

by Michael Ward

Things had gotten very tense recently. Strained relationships, so to speak. Difficult to talk to one another, let alone look each other in the eye now that there was only three of us left.

We've eaten the rest, the Galley Boy was the best.

We're adrift in an open lifeboat, off the west coast of Peru. There were seven of us to start with. Like I said, things getting a bit tense.

Hungry again. It's not gonna be me. Bit tricky.

Story 210

Air Miles

by Ron Smith

It was a typical civil service meeting. Grey suits, no biscuits and people referred to by initials.

The subject: 'Should the civil service allow its staff to accept Air Miles?'

"It's a benefit and should be taxed," said HMRC1.

The argument rumbled on until DMI1 (Director Military Intelligence) spoke dismissively.

"This is all very interesting, but none of it applies to my staff."

"How so?" several people interjected.

"Oh," he replied airily, "because they never travel under the same name twice."

Story 211

Four Grey Walls

by Bryan Keefe

Alone with my thoughts, I stare at four grey walls. They press in on me. A gloom descends. Staring at the walls, I wonder how I got into this predicament, but there's no one else I can blame. I have to live with the consequences of my actions. What was I thinking? I could put it down to naivety, but I knew what I was doing. Yes, I was influenced by others, but I'm an adult.

Why didn't I choose Magnolia?

Story 212

The Battle And Withdrawal

by Rajagopal Kaimal

When I commence my morning walk, the Night army still controls the clock; this despite the ever brightening sign of the Day army on the eastern horizon. And as this army slowly draws near, the Night army begins to slowly retreat, knowing that it cannot match the strength of the approaching force.

And as I walk leisurely on this advance, a retreat takes place on every road and street.

Then, under a vast cloudless sky, bright Day's victory is totally complete.

Story 213

The Numbers Add Up

by S. M. Chiles

Why is six afraid of seven? Right, seven ate nine. But really nine never got devoured at all because nine remains in every maths text.

This indubitably means six can not possibly have been afraid of seven to begin with and a massive conspiracy of numbers must have been concocted by two daft idiots to trick the public into believing three fake news lies: the death of nine, the maliciousness of seven and the elimination of all maths homework ad infinitum.

Story 214

You Know Me

by Louise Furre

"You think you know someone," said Pam. "But you never do really."

"We've shared a flat for eight years," said Angie. "I know you. But we all have secrets."

After dark, Angie left the flat with a large tin under her coat. Pam followed her stealthily.

Angie went to the park and buried the tin. After she left, Pam dug it up. She took off the lid. There were biscuits in it. A note said 'Bring them home, I'm making tea.'

Story 215


by Ania Kovas

Opening the box, she reached into it, not feeling the bottom. She looked, darkness greeted her, the sides fading away. Looking outside the box, it looked normal.

"Really bottomless?"

"Yes," replied the Claus.

"And no rope or ladder?"

"Coming back are you?" said the Claus.

"Guess not."

He handed her a backpack. "Bonus."


"You going to say goodbye to them?" he asked her. She shook her head. "It'll be a mystery."

She smiled, not prettily. "Good," she said, jumping in.

Story 216

The Woodsman

by Margee Unger

He was sitting in the park when he saw her. She was a beautiful girl with long, dark hair and a slender build that appealed to his taste. Her attire was made up of form fitting exercise clothing that showed off her curves.

His mouth started to water as thoughts began to run through his mind, about what he would do if he could get her back to his cabin in the forest outside of Branson.

He decided to follow her.

Story 217


by RK

The endless suffering, to find wild food in the winter season.

Hawthorn berries and chestnuts, you’d still be able to find, if you look for their colour schemes amidst the brown and dark green of the trees and bushes, provided they’ve not all been under covering snow or collected by the exploratory squirrels.

During other seasons, when the temperature is higher and the deciduous trees have their leaves, it’d be much easier to find any nice nibbles and forgeable fruits outdoors.

Story 218

Granny Ragwort

by Lucinda Thelwell

"Time to get up, the day's almost gone," said Granny, opening the curtains.

Bleary eyed, I got out of bed, pulling on the cords and itchy socks both my sisters had worn before me.

Granny Ragwort, the locals called her, as she'd get up every morning and head out onto the cliffs to clear the invasive species.

No one was safe from the task when they stayed. At sunrise, we'd be out on the headland, getting blown away by the wind.

Story 219


by Jason

What is a home? A roof, a bed.

For me a fact, it was all in my head.

I dream, imagine my mum is apart,

Makes me feel dizzy, warm and content,

Unable to hurt, through the barrier of my head.

Keeps me safe, no uninvited plebs,

Mature, grownup and ready instead.

To share with others, the working of head,

That allows me, to continue ahead.

My family, it's mine, the future unsaid,

Because now I’m content, in my own head.

Story 220

Smashed Peach Jam

by Phoebe Tatham

Delphine jumped from her chair like a nimble, dynamite-lit frog and spun her head wildly out of her window, glancing furiously towards Madame Jacob's apartment. There on the windowsill were pots and pots of luminous peach jam, glowing in the dregs of daylight.

The ordeal was over, she thought, returning delightedly to her armchair. Not to be, it seemed... The brief hiatus of silence was abruptly followed by the occasional glassy-sounding thud. A delightful spectacle of raining jam jars had commenced.

Story 221

My Pet Hate

by Johanna McDonald

I like writing. I have submitted some of my stories to competitions and enjoy writing for themed challenges. There is, however, one thing that I cannot abide and that's a writing challenge that specifies a set number of words.

An exact word count is my pet hate. "Use this many words, no more, no less." Whatever happened to freedom of choice? It's like living in a dictatorship. Nothing stifles creativity more and I absolutely refuse to participate in such restrictive challenges.

Story 222


by Akindu Perera

"It's not real," Lucy whispered as she completed the paper butterfly. Her fingers pressed the edges of the butterfly, admiring how a piece of paper can be woven into a work of art. Ignoring it's inanimateness, she threw the masterpiece across the room, hoping it would come to life.

The glorious vision of the butterfly fluttering across the room drew a fragile smile on Lucy's face. Her smile was so delicate, that it shattered when the paper butterfly kissed the floor.

Story 223

Children Should Know Better Than To Play At The Water's Edge

by Shannon J Alger

"Mum said–"

"I know." The stone jumps twice along the water.

"But mum–"

"I said I know." No skips this time; the stone cuts quick through the lake's surface, glinting red. I inch forward, feeling the bank slip beneath my feet, the mud between my toes. There's a grasp on my neck. Cold, desperate fingers claw at my shirt, following me down to the water's edge.

My face alone looks up at me. I throw another stone at it.

Story 224


by Louise Snape

She's there. She's gone. One minute, one second, then nothingness. That's all it took. My heart burst into a million pieces, leaving my chest emptier than the void between the galaxies.

She was everything I had. And she had everything of me. In that one moment, that one second, she took all of me with her into the emptiness of death – or into the vastness of after-life. Either way, I alone am left behind on this Earth. Waiting for my turn.

Story 225

Nature Calls

by Jack Dabell

Oh boy. Another beautiful day in wherever I live.

What should I do first? I could pee. Do I need to pee?

Oh well, never mind that now, gotta go and start the day.

Where is he? Does he know I'm awake? He must know by now, after I have made all this noise. I'll make more noise, that usually works.

Now I definitely need to pee.

But the door.

The door is closed.

Quick, more noise.



Too late.

Story 226

Listen To Me

by Stefan Dimitrov

The window was shut but the cold air could still be felt. I didn't know what to do. I tried to tell the house owner but he didn't answer. He was looking at his phone and ignored everything else.

I wished with all my heart that he would trip and he did. Next time he will listen to me. If he doesn't, I will wish for this to happen again. Next time he will listen to me. I am a curtain.

Story 227

Stand Up Falls Down

by Gary McGrath

I tried to become a comedian.

But I don't know any jokes – it's a bit of a drawback.

My first thought was to walk on stage and say this, asking audience members to tell me a joke that I would then repeat.

Then I thought of Gary-Jokey.

I walked out nervously and said, "Knock, knock."

"Who's there?" responded the audience as one.

Not me.

I sprinted from the stage, out the back door and down the street.

They're not laughing now.

Story 228


by Carolyn Roden

Benjamin Sheerling loved to stroll around the lake as the moon rose over the ghostly pines. It felt so inviting.

The water lapped green and silver under the midnight moonlight as he gazed into it,  mesmerised. Images of his past flashed through his mind. Big city, big money, meaningless luxuries and stress, lots of stress.

It was a relief when it ended abruptly that November night, he thought, as he slipped back into the watery depths.

Sanctuary, sweet sanctuary at last.

Story 229

No Time Like The Present Dilemma

by Kwame M.A. McPherson


"No time like the present."

"Is it?"

"It is. That's why I'm here."

"I'm sure I said 5. It's only 4:50."

"Better early than late, you always said."

"I did?"

"You did."

"Must've been drunk?"

"Very sober, while eating breakfast."


"Ready now?"

"I've no choice."

"You do. You don't have to come but you said we should."

"You driving?"

"It's only walking distance."

"I hate walking."

"Remind me to never ask you about going out for ice cream again."

Story 230

The Hair Cut

by B. P. Garcia

I didn't really understand why my parents cried while I got my hair cut. Hearing a bzzzz and a schhhhk, I watched in amusement as the last of the golden waterfall rolled off my forehead and cascaded into the growing mane on the floor.

That was when the weeping began – oh, the weeping. I had never seen my dad cry like that before.

Cackling with childish amusement, I watched my mother sputter out to the doctor, "When does his treatment begin?"

Story 231

Patience and Pages

by Josh Leeson

Martha felt a vibration.

"Someone's coming."

Michael waited, unmoved.


"But it's been so long."

She went over her lines, ready to come alive. To be loved again.

Suddenly, a sound enveloped them.

"What was that?"

Breaking news, the President has launched missiles...

The vibration slowed. The rustling ceased.

"His attention's elsewhere."

Darkness closed in. They became rigid.

"It's not fair," Martha cried.

They clung on as the table rushed towards them.


"Will we ever be read?" Martha sobbed.


Story 232

We Do Not Read Any More

by Niina Olenbluu

The scroll drops. I pick it up and put it in my pocket. It has a glass lock on it – it is one of those fancy ones. It also has an old papery feel and it makes me think of the sandpaper they use in the factory.

Morgan did mention knowing another Ancient Text Code student somewhere. Now that I have this scroll, I can leave the Collected Data Facility for good.

I need to find you. As fast as possible.

Story 233

Nine Nines

by Martin Strike

"Nine nines," demanded Dad.

"Aw, Dad." Jake always hated it when Dad fired these impromptu multiplication questions.

"Nine nines," Dad insisted.

"But it's 2018 – we have calculators these days."

"Ah, supposing it breaks, or you lose it? Now, nine nines."

"Seventy-six?" approximated Jake, who decided against restarting the same tired argument.

"Come on," harrumphed Dad. "Think ten times nine and subtract nine."

"Ah, eighty-two," announced Jake.

Dad bit his lip. Surely a twenty-two year-old should know his times tables by now.

Story 234

Not On My Watch

by Alexio Gomes

She was sobbing uncontrollably. The incessant shrieks and gasps for air between cries sent her tiny body into a tantrum. I couldn't stand by any longer, it was time to take action. No one could get away with this kind of injustice. I placed my hands firmly and began to push and pull. Something had to give. It did.

"Here's your candy sweetie, the vending machine has met its match."

"Thank you, Daddy. You're the best."

"Anything for my little angel."

Story 235

So Should I

by T.L. Shenkin

"If the wind and the waves stand amazed, so should I.

"If mountains and valley live bountifully balanced, so should I.

"So should I.

"And trust me I’ve tried.

"You know they say that we would not recognize ourselves outside of a mirror.

"Not because we lack vision, but because we see fear.

"The fear that we are not actually who we are,

"That our identity is defined by our scars.

"After all, you resemble what you worship.

"So should I."

Story 236

Thief In The Night

by Devin Greene

Boom. Smack.

These were the sounds I heard that woke me out of my deep sleep.

I jumped up and put on clothes and sprinted downstairs. I looked for my parents but they weren't there.

I silently poked my head outside and hell was breaking loose. People vanishing into the sky. One after another, a bright light that was unbearable to look at was taking them into the sky.

"What is going on?" I asked myself.

Aliens? No.

Jesus is back.

Story 237

Grief Shared

by Angela P Googh

Amid her own tears, Racheal finally found her voice. "Come here Sweetie."

Margie flew into Racheal's arms sobbing. "I'm SO SORRY, Racheal. Please don't hate me?"

"Hush, girl. I could never hate you." Calming her young friend, Racheal said, "I know it hurts, but your dad would want you to be healthy and alive. We are your family now. You are loved and safe. And, you will be happy again, sweetie. I promise."

Margie sobbed even harder. Racheal tightened her embrace.

Story 238

A Place To Live

by Ahmad Abu Sharkh

Sitting with the obstacle of the moment, the border office agent.

"First you were kicked out to Syria…"

"First time was in 1948. We were told it would only be for a couple of days."

"And you went back?"

"Do you know anything about history? No, we didn't."


"Second time was in 2011. A revolution happened, we moved to Lebanon."


"Here... so I had enough in my life, let me in, I've only got maybe two years to live."

Story 239


by A.Gustafson

The sun slept.

The wine flowed, seemingly endless, but now the castle was settling, ready to sleep.

The waves beyond lapped gently against the shore and I watched them from the parapet.

A shadow in the sea was waiting for me.

I slipped from my dress. The water was cold as I dove into the icy waves.

Together, we dove, swam and laughed, safe within the water's embrace.

The sun woke, fading away the morning mist and my love as well.

Story 240


by Chris Tattersall

I was once so full of life. I felt healthy but, in a devastating turn, it ended too soon.

My death came quickly and, thankfully, without pain, but it saddened me that nobody cared. I grieved for my own demise with a journey through the five arduous stages of loss – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance that my life was over. Yet again.

I had to wait. Soon I would be rewarded with a new life. Candy Crush does that.

Story 241

No Win

by Max Dobb

"Sorry, dear, no win." The shopkeeper tossed the lottery ticket in the bin.

Maureen left the shop smartly, still embarrassed that she had to count out her pennies just to afford a pint of milk.


When he was sure the shop was empty, the merchant retrieved the ticket from the waste bin, picked up the phone and dialled the number on the back of the ticket.

"Good morning, lottery reception, how may I help?"

"I would like to report a win."

Story 242

I See

by Oriel Dobb

Today I am sad, it is time for me to leave.

I have seen so much these past 40 years.

I have watched the cherry blossom come to life and fall like glitter each spring.

I have seen the children laughing and playing in the snow and then returning with their own children.

Despite all I have seen, there is no one to say goodbye to me.

Tears of rain fill my face as the glazing company arrive to replace me.

Story 243

The Boxer

by Sarah Burrett

He got off. I got bruises and my baby.

'Fight for charity', the advert said. 'Make it happen for teenagers with cancer.'

I could have punched his lights out. Still could.

'Train for two months and have your day in the boxing ring.'

It's been hell. I cried the time my nose got flattened. I still wonder if it's straight anymore. But I went back into the ring. It will make me strong. Mum says it will make me not care.

Story 244


by Lisa Stone

Persistent, never-ending words spin impatiently around her busy head waiting to be chosen.  Connecting etherically from somewhere between their worlds and hers.  Dimensionally directed she acquires their place.

For some, consistent typewriting clatter or continuous computed hum efficiently serves its master.  For her, a pen quickening freely along pale blue lines offers blissful relief.

Her words compose expeditiously on pages, before being instantly forgotten.  She finds words pure simplistic joy when sentenced, paragraphed chapters generate.  A new story finished, complete – Amity.

Story 245


by Meg Gain

The crowds swept by unseeing. Wet coats flapped in her face. Small and vulnerable, she was too young to be out alone. I was just about to take her arm and speak to her when I was roughly pushed aside.

A man, his face concealed by a black hood, grabbed the child. She squealed and struggled in his arms. A few passers-by turned to look as I pulled my umbrella from my
bag and struck out. But the man escaped easily.

Story 246


by Janet Lister

The polished metal stripes carry him down, disgorging him into the depths. The grey, glistening floor guides him to a platform where he joins the tight mass of humanity. He is pushed into a carriage and, standing upright, he is transported to his destination. But, on arrival, the train door refuses to open.

Officials try, but the door resists. He quickly checks his watch. Too late, the chance is missed, the bomb will not be detonated. The underground had become aware.

Story 247

Morning Routine

by Chloe Nkomo

Water collected in her hands like a stagnant pool. She let the tap run over, sending waterfalls cascading.

With a sigh, she splashed the water over her face, rinsing the night's sleep from her eyes and sending water splashing to the floor.

The acrid smell of burning flesh soon rose into the air, whilst peels of her skin melted into the sink.

She sighed again, waiting for the sizzling to stop and for her skin to grow back.

It always did.

Story 248

Breach Of Contract

by Jade Swann

"I'm here for the firstborn," Lucinda the Lamentable hisses. Her skin gleams a garish emerald beneath the chandelier of Margaret's extravagant mansion.

"Don't lie, sister." A puff of glimmering white smoke reveals Tallulah the Terrible. "The firstborn is mine."

"No," Rosaline the Reprehensible interjects, appearing in a haze of crimson, "the child belongs to me."

Three signed contracts spill onto the expensive marble floor.

"Sounds like a family problem," Margaret murmurs, leaving the witches to bicker over her perfectly planned exploit.

Story 249


by Pat Hough

I watched as he stood, motionless on the lawn. He struck me as intent, serious. Eyes downcast, he examined the grass minutely. I could tell he was listening. To what, I was unsure. My noisy neighbours, the finches, quarrelling amongst the bushes perhaps? It was so seductive to spy like this, him so completely unaware.

Suddenly, he arched his back, pounced, and then looked around forlornly. Was it a mole he’d heard? My foxy visitor slunk off, leaving me feeling elated.

Story 250

Guilty... And There Will Be Consequences

by Ian Andrew

If he eats anything other than his restricted diet, there are consequences. These tend to be soft, brown and found in front of the cooker in the morning.

I walk into the kitchen and he is licking his lips. A stolen chocolate cake wrapper lies in front of him. A trail of crumbs crosses the table down onto the floor in front of him.

Dog drops his guilty eyes from my disapproving gaze. And we both know... there will be consequences.

Story 251

Moving South

by Alan Pattison

Recognising winter would take longer each year. Tony found it easy when the snow fell in November and even easier when the Christmas shopping began a bit later.

After he moved south to London, it all got complicated as it was rare to have snow and people started talking Christmas in August.

One year, in October, he woke, had some breakfast, went out of the front door and slipped on the icy doorstep, making him relieved that he had come south.

Story 252


by Jasmine Hunt

Dear diary,

I regret it. How could I do it? So much guilt has built up inside me from the after effects. Why did I do it?

I can't live with this pain. I'm going to end it.

I shouldn't have killed that family, they didn't do anything to me. I was there to kill Jake, and Jake only, no one else. I could't even do that. He survived. The family died. This is my last entry.

Goodbye, I'm sorry Jake.

Story 253

Bad Timing

by Matthew Kerns

He sneezed. Some snot dribbled out but he managed to catch it with the tissue he was somehow holding. That was weird in itself.

Really though, he couldn’t believe his luck. A cold, and at a time like this?

He stared down at his dead body, prone in the casket. He was floating above his own funeral and he had a dang cold.

Sure seemed stupid that spirits could get sick. What a miserable eternity this could turn out to be…

Story 254

The Scene

by Dee Tilsley

Josie's hand clutched the front of her shirt, its torn sleeve hanging limply. Why had it happened? Had Michael discovered the bag... stolen it? Should she hide it, burn it? No. She hadn't touched it, would never touch it.

She turned away, heart cold and empty.

What would her friends say? What on earth would she tell her Mother?

As she closed the door, pushed the keys through the letterbox, she decided that she simply didn't care anymore. She was free.

Story 255

The Doorbell

by Kailin Guo

I sat in my house. I was alone but I'm not a very sociable person – like many of us today – so I was happy. The house was silent, except for the occasional grunt of recognition as I flicked through Netflix. It was the start of a good day; I wouldn't move from the sofa, I wouldn't move an inch.

But then, I heard a sound that ruined my day. A sound that sparked a hate so strong. It was the doorbell...

Story 256


by Brian Johnstone

The people they were hunting were masters of duplicity. They had bred for hundreds of years, each generation moving further and further towards attaining perfection in their clan.

Outsiders were only allowed to breed after having passed strict tests, involving not physical, but mental and moral situations. To become a member of the family you had to show complete
selfishness, cold hearted ambition and a complete lack of what is normally held as moral values.

Yes they were the banker tribe.

Story 257

Syrupy Memories

by Charlie Taylor

Even on the hottest summer days it was always pleasant in the shade of the old maple tree at the farm. My brother and I spent hours under its spreading branches, engaged in all sorts of construction projects involving sticks, stones, bark, and leaves which were transformed into miniature buildings, highways, and aqueducts.

I imagine the new owners have no idea that the solitary tree in the corner of their lot was once the focal point of such a bustling civilization.

Story 258

The Equation For Time

by Rebecca Krohman

Did I just do it? Did I just figure out the mathematical equation for time?

There is an eighty two percent chance it's correct.

If it's correct, that means time travel is possible, and I just figured it out.

I need a machine now, but what do I do with the equation? It could become dangerous.

I hear something to the right and I quickly look over.

There's a man staring at me.

It's Myself.

"Don't give the equation to anyone."

Story 259

A Few Steps to Paradise

by Jeffrey H. Toney

Peering over the cliff's edge, Maui's warm breeze tickled my cheeks. Only a few steps to paradise – so the guide kept telling me, as we hiked up the rocky trail. His idiotic grin did not instill confidence. The crystal clear water 50 feet below revealed a coral reef to the left, sharp rocks to the right.


Paralysis spread towards my shaking left thigh. I might faint.

Yes, fainting towards the ocean's swell, she accepted me, battered, bloody, screaming and beaming.

Story 260

You’re Virtually Here

by Chris McLoughlin

Inside a small gallery.

Packed with patrons of all ages over 65.

The attendant stares at his computer, frowning.

Trying his best to look hard-at-work.

(Must be important.)

Secretly composing a symphony of syllables onto a hidden screen.

A world, reflecting in on itself.

An escape.

"Excuse me? Do you know how long the exhibition runs for?"

His lover’s face melts away, leaving only an unanswered question, a stain in the air, and a silence the size of a full stop.

Story 261

The Mermaid

by Marieta Maglas

She swims to the surface to see him.

He is standing on the deck, the sun's lights dim.

He is a lonely king living in a city of salt.

She carves his figure; makes a statue of cobalt.


She pays the witch to have legs and to become a woman,

Because she wants to marry this man.

The ship sinks with his loss; breaks on the floor of basalt.

She cuts her veins in the Red Sea, near her burial vault.

Story 262

Goodbye Gran

by Bruce Wyness

Mum spat on the corner of her hanky, rubbed my face with it removing something that displeased her, adjusted the twisted belt of my gabardine coat then bent and softly kissed my cheek.

I stood in silence, staring at the long wooden box that my grandmother lay in. She had been a nice gran to me, told me funny stories about dragons, sang silly songs and talked about the olden days when she was young. I wondered why she was dead.

Story 263


by David Conway

He wrote his message and watched the girl catch it as it floated down from above – 'Hi'.

She waved nervously into the lens.

Beaming, he enthusiastically scribbled another note – 'Move'.

She was excited, before something caught her attention off camera. "No, stop. Wait."

Everything sent through was spontaneously combusting in the order it arrived. She helped him up as the notes in her hand caught fire.

"I tried to tell you..."

He took her hand and held her warmly. "I know."

Story 264


by Madeleine McCabe

8 minutes.

The low, humming lights of the tube station 7.

Her hair had been red – striking auburn curls.

Not the red that spills like irrational anger as blood from porcelain skin.


more, as fear rises in your chest, you're,


face to face,


with your guilt which strangles you like innocent witnesses whose voices should,





2, now it's due

and the wind of the tunnel rushes towards you and you're at the edge and...

Story 265

Indignant Cheese

by Ash Gray

Joan looked like Swiss cheese as the caterpillar chewed a hole through her palm. She screamed softly in horror to see the many holes gaping in her body.

"Hey," Joan cried indignantly.

The caterpillar looked up, fuzzy face scowling. "What?"

"Stop eating me," Joan demanded at once. Realising the caterpillar might decide to disappear inside her, she gave a wincing smile and shrugged as she said, "Please?"

The caterpillar thought a moment. Eventually, it said, "Yeah, alright."

"Thank you," Joan sighed.

Story 266

Language Mishap

by Aleah Bingham

"Happy Birthday."

"Danke, thank you."

"I bought you a gift."

"Gift? No."


"I don't want gift. Throw it away."

"But, why not? It's for your birthday."

"Gifts are bad. Keep away. Gifts kill."

"Kill? I'm not sure you understand. I bought you a gift for your birthday. It's an American custom."

"You crazy Americans. You need to stay away."

"Do you not know what it is? Here, I'll open it."

"No, don't open."

"See, it's a book?"

"Book? Not poison?"

Story 267

Moonlight Path

by Sarah Littleton

I walked alone, waiting for a noise, any noise that would show me some sort of sign that I was, indeed, still breathing. I waited, my heart nearly thudding out of my chest, only accompanied by the sound of my frantic footsteps.

The moon glistened, casting an eerie glow over the large overhanging branches that, for some reason, terrified me and gave me a sensation that I had never experienced before. I felt a hand on my shoulder so I ran.

Story 268

A Long Road

by Cristina Bresser

In the past, I do not recognise myself, how could I?

I search the solitude of the winter during the summer, the quietude of the
autumn through the spring.

I get lost when I try to recollect the past, so many crossroads.

At present, emptiness, upside down, inside out.

In the future, I shiver, cold.

Fumes engulf me in the streets wherever I go.

Sneezing, pollen spirals.

Walking the streets is to create allergies.

Repatriate the soul is a long road.

Story 269

Now You Have Gone

by Glynis Ann Downey

What do we do now you have gone?

Always there for the short and long.

Difficult at times but with a kind heart,

We never believed that you would ever depart.

You could always solve a problem or two,

now it's time for us to become you.

Now you have gone and we have said goodbye,

we remember how you taught us to fly.

Always in our hearts and minds,

learning to heal will all come in time.

Farewell and goodbye.

Story 270

Second Bedroom

by Gillian M Seed

They painted the room sunflower yellow. Back when they still hoped, she would stand inside and imagine what the future would be like. Crayon marks on the paintwork, juice spilled on the carpet. He caught her in there once and laughed, but it was indulgent laughter. Sharing her dreams.

He paints the room magnolia. Neutral, sensible magnolia. A blank canvas, according to those interminable property programmes they watch instead of talking.

They tell themselves having a spare room will be useful.

Story 271

Grey on Grey

by Hannah Brown

He opened his eyes and stared up at an ashen sky. No, not sky. A ceiling. There was a stain in one corner that looked a bit like water damage.

Who was he? What was he doing here, in this tiny room? He had to get out. He tried the door, but it was locked and so was the window. Footsteps. He banged on the door and screamed, but no one came.

Outside his cell, the prison guards cried with laughter.

Story 272


by Jennifer Riddalls

"Grace. Fourth floor, this side." Her fluttering hand gestures to her window.

I squint up at the pebble dashed, light blocking, 12 floor monstrosity. My place is pulling the value of hers up, hers is dragging mine down. She owes me.


We smile, we shake. When I don't move she adds, "Wanna come up for a cuppa?" She's turning away, expecting a no.

"Yes, please."

"Excuse the mess," she says, as we enter.

No suspicions, just like the last lot.

Story 273

Gustavo's Last Night At The Writing Group

by William Telford

At Gustavo's last night at writing group, Lucinda read a story about a dystopian world run by psychiatric owls. She said afterwards, "I'm off the olanzapine."

Isabella-Valentina-Carina read flash fiction about a woman who murdered her husband with a ski pole. She said she and little Marina-Melody would holiday alone this year.

Yannick followed his poem about the lonesomeness of a bobcat with, "The roof of my bedsit leaks."

And Gustavo read a story about some people at a writing group.

Story 274


by Jessica Everitt

She had been travelling for days, sleeping under bushes, and in ditches; anywhere dry, warm, and away from prying eyes.

Mile blended into mile and hour bled into hour as she plodded along, one muddy, cracked sneaker in front of the other.

She had lived here once. Just over that hill, and around the bend.

It had been home. She had not merely been alive; she had lived.

She could faintly remember laughter; real laughter. She needed that, one last time.

Story 275


by Irene Banfield

"Where? Where is it?" the old woman shouts angrily. "Joan, you've moved it again."

"What are you looking for," Joan answers tenderly.

"You shouldn't touch my things, Joan. Why can't you leave them alone?"

"I haven't moved anything, whatever IT is."

The old woman swears and throws her tea.

"Don't get upset, I'll look. I'm trying my best."

"Help me find them, help me look, Joan." The old woman sobs, "Help me."

"Don't cry, please don't cry, Mum," says Trina tearfully.

Story 276


by Jonathan Hastings

I met her the first time on a bench cradling a small bottle. She handed it to me, cocking her head a little. Inside was a small letter.

She said she was too afraid to open it. It had been five years since she found it on the beach, and she didn’t want to ruin the mystery.

I said I would. She looked too tired to fight. But the bottle looked all nice and all. I couldn’t even pop the cap.

Story 277

The Moonlight Stage

by Stephanie Potts

A sanguinary hand disguised by a mask of worn leather.

A knife of steel, dimly glowing in the muted light.

A freshly painted image in the mind.

Of unaccountable crimson.

An accomplice above, creating an auditorium.

And a stage.

Prey emerging from the wings, draped in costume, preparing their soliloquy.

But don't they know? Haven't they heard?

This play is a tragedy.

Tragedies have devastating endings.

The orchestra hums, bloodless hands caressing delicate strings and keys.

And so it begins ends.

Story 278

Death Meets Us All

by Christina Burton

I wasn't expecting to meet death when I woke up that day. At work, I got the call. We all knew it was looming, but it was still a shock to hear the words, "You better come quickly, she hasn't got long."

I dropped everything and rushed over. I didn't get there in time to say goodbye. The room was silent, but distress tangible, tears visible. I looked over at you. You lay there unmoving, still. There you were, but gone.

Story 279

A Modern Day Fairy Tale

by Jessica Richard

The prince cowered in the corner as the fire blazed around them in the courtyard.

The princess stood at the ready, two hands wrapped around her gleaming greatsword.

The dragon leered at the two before crawling towards them. The princess swung out and severed the dragon's head in one clean slash.

"My princess," the prince yelled, running to her.

The princess swung out once more. Another head rolled.

"I don't need no man," she said, and walked off into the sunset.

Story 280

Bake Until Golden-Brown

by Tiarnán Murphy

"Bread," cried the dragon, "get your bread here."

The elves and dwarves all wandered through the marketplace, avoiding making eye contact with him. Nobody wanted to buy bread from a dragon. It must be filthy. After all, they walked on those hands. And how could they not burn it, with that awful fiery breath of theirs?

Sighing, the dragon went into the back, sterilised his hands with scorching fire and, ever so gently, heated the oven to bake perfect, golden-brown bread.

Story 281


by Lorraine Smith

Kathy died in March 85. Her slight frame broken and twisted, her lifeblood oozed over tarmac, creeping towards me.

Distant voices urged, "Hold her hand, ambulance on its way." An unlucky date. Wednesday's child is full of woe.

A car slowed down, the driver staring, radio blaring.

Clouds across the moon.

The car sped onwards through the darkened street, a rendezvous to make. Bushwackers and MIGs smash Kenilworth Road while Howard Jones left the scene yelling, "Things can only get better."

Story 282

Welsh Mystery

by Lindy Gibbon

"Whose coat is that jacket?"

"Our Huw's."

"Where's he to then?"

"I dunno."


"When did he go then, bach?"

"Yesterday, it was."

"Yesterday? Without his coat?"

"Well, he had his rugby shirt on him."

"Did he?"


"Duw, duw. Out without his coat in this weather."

"Since yesterday you said, Gwyn?"

"Yes, about 11 I think."

"Morning or evening?"


"11 in the morning or evening?"


"Going to the rugby I expect."

"Wales lost."

"Well, that explains it then."

Story 283

The End

by John Mark Miller

From my first breath I've dreamed of writing. My parents devoured books and, as I grew up, I knew what I would offer the world.

I would write.

Now, it’s here. The long days and sleepless nights, the effort, tears and pain – all sit before me, wrapped in a neat leather-bound volume. With trembling fingers, I hold it close. I trace the letters of my name, smell the wonderful pages.

And weep bitterly.

My life, it seems, has reached its conclusion.

Story 284

Those Special Moments in Life

by Vesper Wunderlin

Cuddling on a park bench. Kids running around the playground. Just got out of church. Paid the rent three hours ago. A new job was found after months of searching. Can start saving for kids' college. Celebratory vacation to Disneyland planned. Sun is shining. Birds are singing. All that.

Did I fall into a Norman Rockwell painting? Yanno, it was one of those moments that make you say, "I wish this moment would never end."

So I did. It came true.

Story 285

An Accident Of Birth

by Bridget Blankley

I was born, accidentally, in Nottingham. Mum's never let me forget it.

She thought I'd be born in San Paolo, like my brother, but she got her dates wrong and she blames me. I'm not sure why.

She stayed here for months, I'm not sure why. Something about passports, inoculations or insurance, I think. She wasn't specific. But it was my fault she stayed here, my fault that Dad left. Maria Costas was innocent, so was Dad. It's entirely my fault.

Story 286

The Magician

by Robert Alan Ryder

Presto was a young and inexperienced magician. His peers would encourage him to no end.

"Practice, Presto, there'll be no bounds in the success you attain. Perfection never comes easy," his father told him, again and again.

His grandfather, he was a curious sort. "Perfection, boy, is not as important as patience and skill."

"Wisdom,” his grandfather would tell him, "it's key to many a success."

His grandfather, he should know magic, for he was Houdini, of the best ever known.

Story 287

As Seen By A Moth

by Alicia McGrath

Iridescence. Sparkling, a magnet for the wind. A single ancient oak tree, weathered by time, living through the wars, peace, joyfulness, and sorrows of the people that throng beneath it every day. More than any man, woman, or child will see in a lifetime or ever will see.

Thousands of leaves on this tree. An endless attraction between wind and leaf. Not leaves, but leaf. Swaying in the gentle breeze, that single oil-stained leaf. The only movement on a still horizon.

Story 288

Cold Turkey

by Ray Sarlin

"You've taken antidepressants for years, your wife kicked you out, and you want to drop them?" She said the doctor things. I agreed to drop 75mg.


"How's 150mg?"

"Err, I've stopped."


"I dropped 75mg and nothing happened. Then another 75mg. Still nothing."


"So I stopped that, too. I took 75mg once for a bad headache. Did that twice. Next time I took Panadol."

"What about depression?"

"It's gone. Without her constant brow-beating, I've nothing to be depressed about."

Story 289

Kitty-Cat's Adventure

by Charlie Turner

"Meow, meow, meow," the furry-baby cried.

She called out for food. She stood up on her hind legs, hoping her owner would notice. He rudely ignored her and made a funny yawn sound before rolling over.

Kitty-Cat jumped up onto the table. Then onto the shelf. She tiptoed towards the big bag of cat food.

A paw pushed against the bag, trying to get the food...

Suddenly the bag fell. Food all over the floor.

Kitty-Cat got food. Owner woke up.

Story 290

The Arrow

by Paul Mastaglio

Twang. The arrow left the bow, spiralling upwards, searching for its destination. Where was it going? Was it flying true?

It could see green grass spreading out below as it continued on its way. Wouldn't be long now.

Suddenly, there in front was exactly what it was looking for. A pair of eyes stared back, then, at the last moment, one of them seemed to wink as the deer swerved to one side, leaving the arrow to plough into the ground.

Story 291

Dying For A Good Meal

by Lynne Chitty

With disgust on his face and fury in his eyes, he stared at the food on the plate in front of him.

She'd have to go.

Could no one in this God forsaken country cook?

He called her in and strangled her.

He would bury her along with the rest, in his favourite place, and begin the tedious business of writing an advert for the paper again.

‘Cook/Housekeeper wanted, to live in.’

He smiled.

Maybe it would be sixth time lucky.

Story 292

Blood Gone

by Dimiana Wassef

The Venetian sunset calls upon the undead. The angel's song leaves immortals covering their ears, revealing them in their heavenly light. The living cannot hear.

"This music is too sweet for them," I say, swaying. "We're safe."

His fangs dangle behind his smile. He pulls me in closer.

"Why are you covering them?" I ask.

Once chosen, there is no escape. Every naïve death replicates the next.

"A loud song is all, darling... Now, shall we go and grab a bite?"

Story 293

Darkness Beckons

by Aaron McDermott

What is this place? Where am I? Everything's dark. Am I dead? Is this the afterlife? Is this hell?

The last thing I remember I was in the kitchen, boiling some potatoes and peeling some carrots. I was trying to find the gravy granules in the top cupboard, then I fell, hard. I remember crawling along the floor, my eyes were blurred, the concussion was affecting me. Then did I die?

Ah, I've locked myself in the pantry again, haven't I...?

Story 294


by Justyce Solomon

"Justyce, where is it?" my mum asked me.

"I have no idea. I had switched before we went to the beach," I replied.

I began to trace my steps in the car and the resort. I am thinking to myself that I left it on the restraunt table. My heart dropped. I looked down at my ring and cried.

"Why are you so irresponsible?" I asked myself. I just sat there thinking to myself, How am I gonna get another necklace?

Story 295


by Erin Hardman

...wokka wokka wokka...

Mrs Pac Man is searching for the cherries. The cherries are so delicious. She must be careful to avoid the ghosts. Her belly is filling with white circles, but all she wants is the cherries.

...wokka wokka wokka...

A ghost appears. Mrs Pac Man whips around to avoid the ghost. She finds a big circle which makes her invincible to the ghosts. Her life is saved.

When searching for something we want, we instead find something we need.

Story 296

The Abyss

by Jordan Bahnub

I tripped and fell again. Yes, that’s right, again. Don’t get me wrong, the first time was a coincidental accident, but I thought I saw something in the Abyss, so I was curious.

Then I fell repeatedly, and I swore that what I’d seen was indeed different than the first time I had plummeted.

So now I was falling, on purpose, into the Abyss, wishing to see something besides the bland routine of everyday life, something that wouldn’t be found here.

Story 297

Here Comes The Sun

by David Guilfoyle

Blinding. Once every so often. The sun at the end of our road. Sometimes it's all you can see.  The street disappears, claimed by the dazzling horizon. The cars, the houses and the strange van outside the care home. The world lost momentarily, suspended in a powerful flood of brilliant yellow until the sun slowly moves. Normality returns. Then the local paper puts another name in the obituary column. Vanished. Gone. Taken in the winter sunshine. And we never remember anything.

Story 298

Missed Opportunity

by David Batteiger

The sun is high and hot. Through tightly squinted eyes, I stare down the dusty road at my competition. A biting wind whips past, stinging the exposed skin of anyone out. And they are all out to watch this show down.

I can feel the tips of my fingers brushing across the walnut handles, twitching to unleash fury and the absolute justice of lead.

I smile. I know I'm faster. I draw. He's finished.


Dammit, I knew I forgot something.

Story 299

The Betrayal

by Libby Batteiger

I can feel the intense pain spreading. Such agony forces me to yell out in pain. Why does this always happen to me?

I fall backward and lay on the floor, taking in the stinging torture. I can feel tears in my eyes. Why did it do this? I trusted it and this is how it repays me? How could I be so blind?

I slowly stand up and stare at it. I stubbed my toe on that stupid table again.

Story 300

The Sound Of Silence

by Jackie Batteiger

She sits, alone, just enjoying the peace and quiet. With closed eyes, she lets her breath flow in and out. She just enjoys the silence. Restorative silence. She realises that old song is true: 'You don't know what you got till it's gone.'

Gently, nodding her head, a power ballad from the 90s fills her mind. She dares not sing out loud and break the silence.

"Mummy, where are you?"

And with a deep sigh, she stands and flushes the toilet.


End Of Page Note

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

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