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81words - Stories Page 7

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 – 601 to 700

Stories 601 to 700 are published below in the order they were received.

Story 601

The Right Ingredient

by Kent Raddatz

"Life isn't all pop tarts and gravy, ya know."

As he imagined that horrible combination of flavors in his mouth, she went on.

"Sometimes you need some spice to make the magic."

"I just wanted to know if I should ask her out."

"I know what you wanted."

"Well then, is she the pop tart or the gravy? Please don't say both."

"She's the spice."

"So I'm like gravy – boring?"

"Call her."

He shrugged. He called. And nothing was tasteless again.

Story 602

Impossible Escape?

by Annika Franke

He awoke and had neither an idea how he had ended up in this cage nor a functioning plan how he could get out of it. People ignored his calls. Bending the bars in front of him didn’t work – just as little as picking the lock. The ground was too solid to dig. No way out...

If he had turned around, he would have seen the thin curtain that was the only thing separating him from the rest of the world.

Story 603

Bad Day

by Andy Langdale

Nobody wakes up thinking they are going to die today.

At least I didn't that morning. But there I lay, flat on my back, staring at the ceiling after being stabbed in the back.

The wound was throbbing with pain but it seemed distant compared to the panic I felt. I tried to look around, eyes darting back and forth. I couldn't move my neck, but just as things faded to black, I saw them.

Oh, it was you... I thought.

Story 604

What’s Worse, A Slip Of The Hand Or A Slip Of The Tongue?

by Reha Tanör

I shooed the bee out the window, only to knock out my wife's laptop as well. Down below, it grazed a woman's head and smashed into pieces.

The woman froze, as did I; if it'd fallen a second earlier, I’d be looking at time in the big house.

"Here's Apple's latest model, courtesy of Steve on high," I almost said, following the shock.

I can't help a slip of the hand, but I can a slip of the tongue, at least.

Story 605

The Inevitable

by Lynn Morcombe

The shop was crowded.

My heart raced. What had I done?

"Excuse me, miss."

I turned,  nervously. "Yes?" I hadn't thought it through. I was caught.

"This way." The security guard ushered me along.

I could make a break for it, it wasn't too late... yet. Get lost in the throng of shoppers.

He opened the door at the back. I walked through, jelly legged, resigned.

They had me and I was swallowed up... as he handed me my new uniform.

Story 606

Shoo Fly

by Judy Reeves

Dad's behaviour had been rather odd since Mum's death.

No wonder, he was the one that found her on the floor.

One day, about six months after she'd died, I saw him kneeling.

"Are you OK, Dad? Have you dropped something?" I asked.

I heard him mutter something. He seemed distressed.

"What did you say, Dad?"

"She wouldn't shut up, nag, nag, nag. I silenced her, but she's still buzzzzz, buzzzzing in my blooming head."

Then I saw the crushed fly.

Story 607

The Nine Day Queen

by Maggie Elliott

10th July.

I, Lady Jane Grey, succeed Edward VI to the throne.

His will prevents half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from succession on account of their illegitimacy.

Awaiting coronation in the Tower of London, word has reached me Mary is gathering support to oust me.

19th July.

The Privy Council of England denounce me, proclaiming Mary as queen.

Viewed as a threat to the Crown, my husband and I are to be executed.

Hereafter, I'll be remembered as the Nine Day Queen.

Story 608

Desire

by Lorna Stewart

His hands run over the sleek body, wet with soap suds.

Gently, with a soft towel, he begins to dry her off. 

His pupils dilate with longing. He takes in her curves, her smell.

He wishes she was his. That he could afford her for his own.

Sighing, he turns to the guy in the suit who is impatiently counting out cash in his hands.

"That's 15 pounds for the car wash," he says, handing the guy back his car keys.

Story 609

A Silent Crime

by Katherine Kogoy

A little boy ran through the streets, his hands in his pockets. A man was chasing him, screaming words that the boy couldn't hear.

Eventually, the boy rounded a corner, and the man cornered him. The only way out was a 10 foot jump into the air, so the man had won. However, before the man could apprehend the boy, the boy looked up, smirked, and pulled something out of his pocket.

They say the man died with no physical injuries.

Story 610

Monsters

by Ava Groth

She came into my room tonight, declaring monsters in her closet. She crawled in next to me, promising sleep. Later, I was awoken by her tiny hands shaking me awake.

"Mummy? Can you hear it breathing?"

I stiffen. Not now. It hasn't been long enough.

"Please," I whisper. "I'm not ready."

"Now," says the voice, sending chills down my back.

Reluctantly, I take my pillow into both shaking hands. I place it over the little girl's head, press down, and wait.

Story 611

Words Unsaid

by Alan Ridley

He woke before dawn. After a breakfast of porridge and a mug of tea laced with rum, he quietly smoked a cigarette. He considered writing home, telling his mother how much he missed her cooking and that he loved her; something he had never done before. He decided to do it later that day. When the order came to go over the top he was the first of many to fall.

His final thought, When will I write that letter now?

Story 612

Travel Guide to the Netherlands: Dutch Pop Ups

by Ava Groth

The Dutch love 'pop-up' stores. Everywhere you go, you'll see little shops spring up in once empty plazas. At Christmas, ice-skating rinks and oliebollen stands appear in every square. In spring it's ice cream stores and bike parking lots. Some businesses only last a few hours, then disappear overnight.

Today, two Dutch birds took down the nest they'd built outside my window last spring. They dismantled it in two hours. I assume they rebuilt it in a more centrally located tree.

Story 613

Sleep

by Claire Gee

"Why is it hard to sleep?"

"What?"

"Why can I never sleep without waking up and feeling a pit in my stomach, certain someone is there in the shadows watching me?"

"Well. I am. I am always there, waiting for your sleep to be deep enough to finally win and have a body of my own instead of lurking in dark corners."

"Great. Now I am talking to the voice in my head. Please stop so I can finally rest."

"Never."

Story 614

Mr True-Blue

by Sagar Jadhav

I run towards the door. Keys jingle, the door flies open, and in comes my favourite person. Seems like she is making sure no one, other than me, is at home.

I sniff some unfamiliar scent on her. Definitely not Derek's. I must alert him, though, for it seems his companion has been fooling around behind his back. Not just cocaine, I can sniff out infidelity, too.

How, you ask? Well, they don't call me 'the best sniffer dog' for nothing.

Story 615

Aisle Meet Again

by Peter Stanton

She shouldn't have felt nervous. For goodness sake, she was a grown woman. People were staring at her. Perhaps if she avoided eye-contact... Now she could feel herself growing red, her cheeks burning hot and a thin bead of perspiration was forming on her top lip.

She looked down at the console. The button with the red light was right in front of her hand. She pressed it and the silence was broken.

"Dear customer, we are opening till number five."

Story 616

1,000 Words

by Cathi Radner

One thousand authors wrote one word apiece and dropped them all in a jar, in the form of a computer. Biting their nails, they waited for the artificial intelligence to magically transform their clever nouns and adjectives into a literary masterpiece. It would be a ground breaking, first of its kind feat.

The computer smoked and churned. After a few moments the words were revealed. They had created a nonsensical word omelet. No one had added the a and or if.

Story 617

When Tomatoes Kill

by Natalie Wu

When Tomatoes Kill, announces the TV guide. Sounds exciting… alarming even.

I wonder how. Allergies? Colliding grocery vans? Freak accidents involving dislodged eyes? Drownings, in tomato juice? Extreme lachanophobia?

"Put the darts on, will ya?"

I ignore the fat fart in the armchair. Wish he'd choke on one of their spidery stalks. Now that would be worth watching.

I click view.

Oklahoma; rural towns, rampaging whirlwinds, total carnage… no sign of any tomatoes though.

I click guide.

Oh, When Tornadoes Kill.

Story 618

Gap-Toothed Treasure

by R.A. Krueger

His heart sank as he pulled an empty beer can from the ground. He knew treasure maps weren't real, but he'd gotten his hopes up anyway.

"Darn it."

He tipped it over. At first, only dirt poured from the opening, but slowly, almost begrudgingly, a stream of thick smoke oozed out. A woman wearing cut-off shorts appeared in the smoke before him.

"A genie."

"Jenny." She smacked her gum and examined her nails. "You want Jeanie, you got the wrong can."

Story 619

Everything Comes Full Circle If You Wait Long Enough

by Gail Everett

Susan came out of her garden shed, wheeling her rusty bicycle onto the path. The nearside pedal flew off onto the lawn as she mounted the ancient vehicle and, on looking for it, she discovered something glinting in the grass – her wedding ring, which she'd hurled at her husband on the day he left her.

Throwing it into the pond, she saw it being swallowed by a toad, and thought, That's appropriate – given by one opportunistic toad, and taken by another.

Story 620

A Totally Together Person

by Kenneth Cahall

I don't mind being remotely controlled. Could be Woody Allen, Joe Pesci or Bjork controlling me, I don't care if I don't have to think.

Some folks complain about it; not me. I don't mind getting a paycheque for just meditating in my mind all day while my body goes to work and I don't even sweat. I'm a totally together person; relaxed, calm. Trouble is, I play clarinet and Woody Allen keeps trying to keep the royalties to my songs.

Story 621

Au Revoir

by Vivienne O'Boyle

Abraham Riley's mother was both proud and anxious, as he stood to attention, before her and his seven siblings. Barely 19, kitted out in his Khaki uniform, bearing the Sherwood Foresters' emblem. 

Like his father before, Abraham was about to embark on an unpredictable journey, to the Somme.

"Be sure to write," said his fearful mother, as he bade farewell from the small mining town of Eastwood, where he'd lived forever. A courageous young man departed.

They never saw him again.

Story 622

Forgiven

by Linda Foy

Sebastian took his motorbike along to the park exit. He had promised to wait for her there. She had to go by a longer route because of the double buggy.

With nobody in sight at the exit, Sebastian decided to move on to search the nearby precinct.

"Sebastian, Sebastian." She called out his name loudly, repeatedly. Surely he was nearby. Somewhere?

Face tearstained, dragging a stick by his side, in the distance a small boy appeared. Sebastian's mother embraced him thankfully.

Story 623

Love Letters

by Tiffany Williams

They wrote their first letters like elementary language students. I am well, my mother is well, my brother is well. Then, sickened with loneliness, Anna told Fritz, 'Your letters make life worth living.'

Maybe it was just their isolation, or maybe it was the irresistible luxury of having the 'you' of their most private imagination finally take on a name.

By the fourth round of letters, though, they were afraid to use the word itself. They knew they were in love.

Story 624

Grandma's Friend

by Lynn Zeleski

"Grandma." I grabbed her hand and ran to the playroom.

"Wait, what's that? No, no. Run, Grandma, run. No go there."

"What is it, sweetie?"

"A moke dedekdor."

"It's OK, Luka."

"No, Grandma, scary."

"Oh, sweetie, my friend's not scary. You just need to be properly introduced."

"Luka, meet my friend, smoke detector. Smoke detector, this is my grandson, Luka. Will you promise to only yell to keep us safe? He promises, Luka, except for when Grandpa cooks. He has to."

Story 625

She Smiled

by Heather Stuart Primbs

She opened her eyes and looked around the room. She'd never seen it before, but knew she'd been here for a long time. Now it was silent. No beeps or voices – she was glad.

Her mind clear; an unfamiliar sensation. She wondered where her family were, but found she was grateful for solitude. They didn’t know she could hear everything during it all.

She knew they would be sad, but not her. She looked down at her body and smiled.

Free.

Story 626

Roman

by Rafe Bellers

Roman dashed through the dark trail. Just as he looked over his shoulder, a root reached up and tripped him. He fell off the trail and down a hill. His body slammed into ageless trees as his momentum carried him down the slope, through heavy brush, and over a cliff.

I deserve this. A thief deserves this.

Roman splashed into chilling water. His hope faded as his broken body helplessly sank.

Suddenly, the man he’d robbed, pulled him from his death.

Story 627

A Love Like Cherry Blossoms

by Jessica Bowden

A gentle breeze rustled the cherry blossoms. Sakura stood in front of the tree, her heart-shaped face the same colour as the flowers. She was cuter than usual, with her black hair down, her hazel eyes shining with emotion behind her rectangular glasses.

"I like you, Haruki."

A flower floated down onto the ground before him. Haruki bent over to pick it up and closed the distance between them, blushing as he handed it to her.

"I like you, too, Sakura."

Story 628

Extraordinary Event

by David John Griffin

The moon cast a ghostly light over the snow on the plain. The woods stood hushed in the chill air.

A tiger, its stripes pulsing as if made of neon, padded slowly across the whiteness towards the shack in the middle of the field. Condensation emitted from its snorting nostrils.

Inside the shack, Angus looked through binoculars to track the progress of the animal. He turned hurriedly, shook his wife by the shoulder and said, "Wake up, Joan, you're dreaming again."

Story 629

Her

by Brinkinfield

"Look," Janine says, "I'm sure it's her."

Maria glances across the café, over the heads of the seated and towards those seeking free tables, trays balanced in their hands.

"I wonder what she's doing in here."

"Who? Where are you looking?" Inconspicuously, Maria scans each female face. "Who am I supposed to recognise?"

"Over there – she's got her back to us now."

"All I see are people getting breakfast and coffee."

"Wait, you'll see who I mean when she turns around."

Story 630

Chequered Flag Freedom

by Micky Rowe

Three hours driving with Doris the Dragon, man-hater and mother-in-law.

Current route + four hours. Reroute?

"Ignore," roars Godzilla in her 40 a day, dulcet tones. Her tongue clicks, lifting false teeth out of her mouth. I gag, click 'yes'. Tuts echo, nostrils flare and swell.

A sweet... toffees?

"If y' skee, ee's not ood en'gh for 'er." Spittle flies. Flinching, I will the chequered flag to appear.

With any luck, she'll be too hungover to speak on the return journey.

Story 631

Holding Out Against The Zombie Apocalypse

by Stephen P. Thompson

"Sir, the zombie apocalypse shows no sign of abating. I'm not sure how much longer we'll be able to hold out here. We're surrounded."

"Is there a problem with the electric fence?"

"No, it's working fine, nothing's got through."

"Are we low on fuel for the generator?"

"No, plenty of fuel."

"Food, we're running out of food?"

"No, there's loads of food, several years' worth in fact."

"Water?"

"Bucketful's."

"Then what, exactly, is the problem?"

"We forgot to get loo roll."

Story 632

48 Days

by Raymond E. Strawn III

My soul chained inside their cage. My innocence locked away. Hope consumed by lies. Rights stripped away. Embarrassment and dread entangled my guts. Trapped in a prism. Forgotten to the world. Death lurked the halls. Threatened, my life erased. Until those words shattered glass.

After 48 days, freedom. Escaped the tainted system. Inhaled winter air. Tasted homemade food, lay on my bed. I escaped the corrupted cage's nightmare. Yet my soul remained. Lost forever. Replaced with terrors. The nightmare never sleeps.

Story 633

Jump

by Ashley Vohrer

Eyes close. Breath in. Breath out. Wind swirls my body, rush of blood thunders in my ears. Ground far below, my eyes shut. Voices scream, "Jump."

On edge. Calm before the final step. I want this to be over without pain. Jump. Time slows the closer I reach my destination. Slide show plays short clips, my life. Head crashes the surface, slide show ends. Water swallows me without a ripple. Reach the bottom, kick towards air.

Perfect scores from the judges.

Story 634

Fireflies

by Kaitlin Ellis

I tossed and turned in my bed, struggling to sleep. I knew that only one thing could calm me down: my garden.

Discreetly, I crept downstairs and slipped out of the back door. I sat on the garden swing and waited.

Brightness appeared from nowhere by my side. Fireflies flitted around me, enchanting me, performing a dance, advising me, calming me.

I relaxed, went back indoors, climbed up the stairs and slept like a baby, knowing that I had my fireflies.

Story 635

It's Coming Home

by Dinesh Shihantha De Silva

"It's coming home," The Queen said.

Her husband was fed up, hearing that famous phrase everywhere. "Definitely not. It's in France now."

The Queen gasped. "But Kane phoned and assured me."

"Is he captain of lies now, instead of footie?"

The Queen was perplexed.

Later, the doorbell rang. The Queen answered and was overjoyed when her neighbour, Mr Kane, handed it over and left. "It's come home."

Her husband was astonished. "The Soccer World Cup Trophy?"

"No, silly. My missing dog."

Story 636

Becoming An Unbeliever

by Adele Evershed

I try homespun stardust to ease his suffering, summoning the crookback witch with her story, charms and potions. She varnishes his brow with an uncool hand. I spy a sooty spot in the valley of her thumb.  Fear like acid burbles up gently, burning my throat.

I noisily pray, "Please let him live," but there is no clemency for my porous soul. He will not wake from his midnight sleep. So prayer is a tinker's dam I will no longer build.

Story 637

The Oracle

by Parzival Sattva

Diaphanous silks swirl as her dancing body undulates in ecstatic trance. The petitioner, crowned, refuses to prostrate himself. Attending priests mutter but don't intervene.

Strange sounds erupt from the oracle, scribes take notes. They translate:

  • A board
  • Aboard
  • Abort

Rage flashes across his face. "Tell that bitch her brother commands victory."

She collapses and whispers, "Pride will be his ruin. He cannot command the future. His disregard of me has been noted by the gods. He shall reap what's been sown."

Story 638

Only Memories

by Sarthak Das

Tonight, a moonless night. I look around. There's no one except me. I open the door and enter.

Like always, she is asleep. I kiss her forehead softly. She stumbles awake. For a moment, our eyes meet. Like always, she screams in horror and faints. Like always, I sigh; I return to the world of the dead.

With the arrival of dawn, the sun rises. I remember. There was a time I was alive, a time she used to love me.

Story 639

Recipe For A Family

by Richard Freeman

Flour, water and eggs, well mixed and rolled into little balls. From grandmother to mother and from daughter to granddaughter, this family recipe binds the generations together.

Add mashed potato and enough grated Parmesan cheese, so I can feel where I come from and where I belong. Spoon the mixture into little hand formed pastry shells. It's a work of love that takes ages.

They are all gone in minutes – delicious bourekas, baked today and also already hundreds of years old.

Story 640

Prodigal's Regret

by Ginger Marcinkowski

Anguished fingers stroked birch skins, scraping fog from lessons learned. Feet away, grandfather's ghost mines trees in dwindling light. He tears branches, clipping limbs, readying pines for death, scent of forest thick.

"Respect nature," whispers ghost.

"Take only what sustains." Bows head. Motions me to stillness. Puts ear to craggy bark. Listens. Mark is tall. Straight. Strong. Ax hammers. Rhythmic strokes echo lessons.

Trees fall, graceful dancers, slamming forest floor, rising again, settling softly amidst needle swirls. In haste, I'd forgotten.

Story 641

Lost In Transmission

by Charles Bonkowsky

Timestamp: 0.81.66.15

It’s funny. I saw this radio tower on the hill and dragged myself here, thinking if I was going to die, I might as well tell the world, and now I don’t have anything to say. No pithy last words to redeem me.

Maybe that’s what I deserve. 'Cause if anybody's listening, you might remember why you hated me in the first place. Better you forget, better I die here abandoned and let you rebuild the world.

[end broadcast]

 

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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Peter S
Thanks Chris, I enjoyed reading through some of the other stories. Your website is easy to use, and inspirational. Very many thanks.

Chris Fielden
That’s great to hear, thanks Peter :-)

Stephen PT
Hi, thank you for publishing my story 'Holding Out Against The Zombie Apocalypse' (number 631). Is always a thrill to see your name in print! However, can you correct the small typo on the first line? "abatin.," should read "abating,"

Chris Fielden
Sorry about that, Stephen - my bad.

Fixed for you :-)

Jessica B
Hello, Chris! Thank you so much for adding my story to the list! I'll definitely be buying this book, too, once it's published.

Chris Fielden
Fab stuff, thanks Jessica :-)