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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]

Story 642

Scream

by Sarah Jae Walsh

A girl knelt by a well. She stared at her reflection in the murky water. In silence, she examined it. Something wasn’t right. Then she realised they were completely identical in every way except one; the other girl was crying.

She saw something like a shadow move in the background. Her mirror image's tears turned to screams and, even though she couldn't hear them, she trembled.

A cold shiver ran down her spine as the words, "Don't cry," whispered behind her.

Story 643

Doubt

by Natalia Wojcik-Smith

"You can't seriously tell me you know what everyone's doing right this second. That's ridiculous."

Neil raised an eyebrow. "You want me to prove it?" He covered his eyes with one hand, facing away from his other three friends.

"Mike, put your phone down before you spill your coffee on yourself. Keith, stop chewing on your hoodie sleeves. Tom, you can't carry that many pens at once."

The doubter blinked in surprise and sighed. "Remind me not to challenge you again."

Story 644

Bluebells

by Susan Wickham

The police car stopped. She stumbled out into the vast blueness. It overwhelmed her and the tears fell. It wasn’t the cruelness that she had suffered all these months that finally broke her down, it was the compassion.

They had found him and then her. She had been in his flat all this time. She just wanted to wallow in the fragrance, the wonder of the bluebells. The colour reminded her of her mother’s eyes. She was free. She could smell.

Story 645

Inner Demons

by Sai Muthukumar

Broken, alone, shaken.

On the river Styx, the ferryman waits. A shattered soul dances with the devil, as Tchaikovsky plays. Hollow heart, weightless, left in the corpse. Demons toil, fuel the torment, words echo in the cave.

A figure stands at the gate, greetings unnecessary. The quiet goes uninterrupted.

On his own, in the darkness, a boy turns his back on the gatekeeper. The wings eclipse the black. The fallen angel shall rise once more. The flames don't accept the undefeated.

Story 646

The Enforcer

by S.E. Taylor

"Just give him up," the man shouted, yanking Mikey's head out of the bathtub.

"I haven't seen him. I swear."

"If I find out you're lying..."

The man felt a drop of moisture land on his head. Taking a step backwards, he glanced at Mikey who was unable to disguise the look of horror on his face.

As they both looked up, a second drop of sweat fell through a gap in the floorboards, past the man's face, onto the floor.

Story 647

Did You Eat My Father?

by Barbara Eustace

The crocodile watched the boy come down the path. The sweetest of meats, young, juicy, moist.

"Did you eat my father?"

"Maybe."

"He went missing last night."

"Ah yes, I ate him."

"Why?"

"Because he was drunk, it was dark, he fell in, and I was hungry."

The boy paused. "What did he taste like?"

"He tasted of anger, violence, hatred. But he was fresh, not old and rotten."

"Will you eat me?"

"Not today. But learn from your father's mistakes."

Story 648

The Elephant in the Room

by Joyce Bingham

Once upon a time there was an elephant in the room. He was not sure how he got there, but all eyes were on him. He picked up a paper cup of water with his trunk and flicked it expertly into his mouth.

The humans in the room pretended to see through the elephant. He was most perturbed. He was, after all, rather large. He picked up his trunk and trumpeted.

The chairperson sighed wearily. "We need to discuss the elephant."

Story 649

Choose Your Reward

by Michelle Compton

As Liam McCarthy stoked the fire with his bellows, his mind wandered. Although he toiled endless hours in his smithy, he was still unable to earn enough coins to provide for his large family.

"Down here, on your boot."

Liam glanced toward his boots and saw a leprechaun.

"You're an honest man, so I'm here to offer you two rewards. You will either prosper, but you'll die within a year, or live a century, but continue living in poverty. Choose now."

Story 650

Promises, Promises

by Christine Tapper

Santa dusted ash from his red outfit. "Thanks, elves, for pulling me from that chimney. So scary being stuck."

And hard work dragging you out, thought Elfin.

At home, Santa had devoured turkeys, vegetables, plum pudding and custard. While delivering toys, he'd scoffed every cake and chocolate left out for him.

Santa loosened his belt and burped. He nudged Elfin. "Next year, tell everyone I'm dieting. I can't handle all this food."

Elfin rolled his eyes. He heard this every year.

Story 651

The Abyss

by Hajra Saeed

She couldn't believe how her life had come crashing down in just a few hours. David's smiling face flashed before her eyes and his voice echoed in her ears. His last words to her before the horrible accident were, "I wouldn't miss our wedding for the world." And then he was gone.

Tears flooded her face as she screamed, "I thanked you every night for blessing me with David. Why did you take him away God? Now, how will I live?"

Story 652

Infinite

by Alice Hale

Some lights are meant to go out.

It is sad but true.

Still, always remember that no matter how many stars leave there will always be new ones. As long as the sun burns, and even beyond that, there will be stars.

People will always dream of what is out there. Humans will always look up and be filled with wonder and curiosity for the untouchable.

There will always be lights.

There will always be wishes.

There will always be hope.

Story 653

Being Ginger Baker

by Linda Lewis

The drum kit was the present to end all presents. I was overawed, scared in case I broke something.

My first attempt was timid – tap, tap, tap – but slowly, I gained confidence.

One two three four.

A clash of cymbals. A thud of bass.

I was smoking.

Then my cousin grabbed the sticks and began to play. He made those drums sing until the whole room resonated with the sound.

The next day, I swapped the drum kit for a bike.

Story 654

Accident

by Scott Parent

BANG.

The airbag exploded into my face. All I could smell and taste was the nitrogen gas it left behind. I couldn’t see through all the smoke. The side of my face stung from the scratches and burns it caused. My ears were ringing. I wasn’t sure whether I hit her or she hit me. The muscles of my shoulders and back felt sore from being thrown back against the seat.

Everything was moving in slow motion until the police arrived.

Story 655

Key, Key Ring And Freedom

by Roshna Rusiniya

The bedroom door opened with a squeak, much to Lyla’s chagrin. Her husband’s snores were still loud, resembling the growling of a predatory animal. She lifted the suitcase with her uninjured hand and glanced around the room, brightly smiling at the sight of overflowing laundry and dirty plates.

She stepped out into the warm night and pulled the hoodie of the jacket down, so her bruised cheeks were hidden. The key in her hand glowed, free from the key ring, finally.

Story 656

Roy’s Drive-Thru Funeral Home

by Paulette Pierre

Pick your casket: Oak, dark maple, or silver overlay.

Interior: Silk, satin, or cotton.

Budget items: Pine box or plain hardwood.

Flowers: Dollar extra.

Sides: Wreath with name or blank banner.

Headstones: Marble or slate.

Engraving: 15 characters. One dollar extra per character over 15.

Services offered: Prayer, non-denominational, or atheist (no charge).

Forms of payment: In God We Trust. All others pay cash.

Please proceed through the tunnel to begin your journey.

Have a nice afterlife. Please don't come again.

Story 657

Teenage Protection

by Toni Peers

"You just want to lock me away," she shrieked, stomping her studded boots out of the room.

It's true. Given the dangers out there that's exactly what I wanted to do, but apparently it's illegal.

So, I collected up the teenager trash, which prompted our current row: hoodie, chocolate wrappers, phone charger. Then I thought, bleurgh. So I sat down, switched on the telly and there was the advert.

"Virtual cages, the PC way to protect your teenager. Order now?"

Click.

Story 658

The Visit

by John Lane

After I finished my weekly visit with Aunt Shelby at Christchurch Nursing Home, I signed out at the front desk.

A scrawny, wheelchair-bound woman rolled towards me, with an icy stare that froze me.

"Billy, don't you believe in visiting your momma?"

My hands trembled. "Um. Sorry. Momma."

She darted her finger at me. "Next time, see me, son." The resident scooted away.

Sobbing, I knew the truth but left, speechless.

Billy's mother, Sylvia, spoke at his funeral six months ago.

Story 659

Unlike Father, Unlike Son

by Susan Howarth

"Has this guy ever held a bat before?" Dad is yelling at the TV. Again.

He's anchored to his La-Z-Boy with a beer in his hand, and a trail of nacho chip crumbs down the front of his shirt. For Mum's sake, I hope the Red Sox come back to win.

"Son, grab me another beer before you go."

I head out the door with a wave, my ballet shoes hidden at the bottom of my backpack. He would never understand.

Story 660

A Hyena's Happiness

by Yabo Anderson

The bee stings again, and I accept my fate. I cannot justify the frown that hangs on my snout.

I clip and cut, stitch and sew, until I am whole once again – an entire hyena. When unsightly lumps appear, I push them back and pretend it doesn't hurt. I adhere to the hyena's words, "Smile and act like us."

Do you hear the hyena in the darkness? It is me, teeth bared to the world, laughing at the choice I made.

Story 661

A Modern-Day Mona Lisa

by Toni G.

It was Mona Lisa transferred into a thin, fragile frame. That undefined look of hers, now found on this face. Her simple beauty mysteriously transported to the present day.

I looked on from inside my parked car, with the curiosity of someone amazed by a newfound treasure. It had taken me a full seven minutes to realise the object of my surveillance was a feminine 'he' and not a plain 'she'. Somehow that made him even more beautiful in my eyes.

Story 662

My Back Yard

by NT Franklin

My back yard is special to me. It merges into a field of the farm my grandparents started many years ago. As the only surviving heir, it is my back yard now. A really big back yard and my private space.

Aunt Gertrude died and was cremated. I was surprised how little ash comes from a cremated body. I sprinkled her ashes on top of the ground in my back yard today. She joins the many others there under the ground.

Story 663

Awakening

by Adam Down

A hitching rasp, like an air conditioner on its last legs. Breathing.

Light came next, not the one at the end of the tunnel, but something gloomier.

More sensations followed. The feeling of her best dress against her skin. Of being trapped.

She opened her eyes. Pine boards surrounded, hemmed her in. Her hands were clasped across her chest. Somewhere close, a eulogy ceased.

The coffin moved. Unseen flames crackled, a knot in the wood popped.

She'd asked to be cremated.

Story 664

Decluttering

by Bec Lewis

Ryan tripped over a pile of hardbacks. "Hoarder."

"Books are company when you're away."

"…and thousands of ornaments?"

"They were gifts from friends."

He grabbed his keys. "Declutter by the time I get back or I'll bin the lot."

In the post-slam silence, Deb opened the wardrobe. Clothes first, she decided.

She found the letter in Ryan’s old denim jacket.

Later, he'd find his possessions outside with a note: I've decluttered. Your mistress can put you up – if her husband agrees.

Story 665

An Average Morning

by Anastasia Mosher

William kisses his wife's cheek before sitting at the table. "Good morning." He looks perfect today; not a wrinkle on his black suit or a stray hair on his gel-caked head.

"Ready for the big meeting?" Margo sits beside him, sipping orange juice.

"Of course. This is gonna be huge for us, Margy."

It would. Too bad he'd never make it. Margo had cut his brakes lines; he’d been cheating.

"Love you." William smiles.

Love has no place here. Not anymore.

Story 666

The Donation

by Charlotte Farrell-Banks

"I thought you were only meant to take a pint? The bag looks fuller than that."

The nurse gives me a reproachful look. "A pint wouldn't go very far, now, would it? It was a catastrophic accident: they need a lot of blood." She taps the clipboard with her pen. "You did tick the box saying we could take as much as we need."

"I didn't…" I begin. The words stick in my throat. My vision glazes, then fades to black.

Story 667

The Price Of Freedom

by Mary Daurio

I'm raising baby bunnies because my dog killed their wild mother and broke Floppy's back. He can't move. Wilderness Hub recommends, "Keep him as Thumper's comfort-companion."

I caress Floppy's soft fur as he sucks warm milk from a dropper. This martyr won't taste liberty.

The rabbits represent the duality of our being, the wounded and the whole. Must we sacrifice our maimed soul to acquire freedom? Can't we have both?

Floppy accompanies me for Thumper's release. He deserves that much, surely.

Story 668

25 Minutes

by Evelyn Hawke

25 minutes.

You can do a lot in such a short time. Watch an episode of your favourite sitcom.Change over the laundry. Do two 10 minute workouts, with two breaks. A nice walk with your dog around the block.

For me, I had half a drink and straightened two lengths of my long hair.

25 minutes is all it took to change, "Mum's sick," to, "Mum's dead."

I wish I had stayed, wish I had listened to my gut. "Don't go..."

Story 669

Winner = Steak Dinner

by Karen Walker

Brian was always best in our souvenir contest. With his eye for bad, he found San Fran fog in a can and a chip-dip dish with the bugs of Oz.

Then I spied a pink shell in a Cypriot shop – ancient, sharp little horns on top. But oh the indignity done: red plastic berries, green sprigs, a loop of lace glued on. Snatched from the sea, doomed to hang on a Christmas tree.

Winner, winner, Brian bought me a steak dinner.

Story 670

Growing Up

by Valerie J Shay

Diane's life was never the same after she pulled the trigger. For three years, she tried to forget that night, tried to bury it in the recesses of her memory. She refused to talk about it. She forced herself to pretend it never happened. Diane loved Jeffrey, but she loved her freedom, her sanity, and her friends even more.

Jeffrey needed to go. She'd outgrown him. He no longer served his purpose. Mother was right, imaginary friends are not real. Mostly.

Story 671

Fertility

by Austrian Spencer

The seat is leather, my back is damp, my T-shirt sticks to my skin. I'm shaking. I see through blurred eyes, as Phil holds me to his chest and does not let go. The doctor is mumbling but I do not hear. Phil will tell me later that for him, it is a relief. That he will always have me to himself. That he wouldn't want to share me with anyone else.

All I hear is that I am to blame.

Story 672

The Cockroach Queen

by Denise Senecal

I hated cockroaches; absolutely, positively, without a doubt, despised, could not stand, threw up, ran down the hall buck-naked screaming, hated cockroaches. I was terrified of them, too.

I'm a geneticist now, with a license to do radioactive testing. Do you know that cockroaches are older than the dinosaurs? Or that cockroaches don't get cancers? Or that cockroaches withstand irradiation? Lots of irradiation. Lots and lots of irradiation. Do you know that in the lab, I'm sometimes called the Cockroach Queen?

Story 673

Red Rocket

by L.E. Daurio

Struck by an invading gaze, hypnotic and alluring, I stumble backward. Allowing first, then inviting this penetration, I reciprocate. Together, fixed and distant, we navigate, seeking depths of our humanity previously uncharted.

My body responds silently to this insensible touch. With the ferocity of discharged electricity our love materialises and generations of our combined DNA burst forth into existence. An entire lifetime dispensed in one fleeting exchange.

The familiar chime summons the doors shut, severing the connection. The train rolls on.

Story 674

Puppy Morning

by CJ Wigg

The clap of thunder startled April who groaned, pulling the covers over her head. The puppy burrowed in, slobbering his kisses on her face.

She laughed while cuddling him. "Forget dreary mornings."

April gathered the bundle of fur, and danced into the next bedroom. She plopped the dog on the bed. He squirreled in, nuzzling another victim. Giggles erupted and off they went.

Sunshine rained inside as laughter expanded. They clapped with the thunder as raindrops tapped music on the roof.

Story 675

The Groundling

by Wayne B. Chorney

Harry's whiskers trembled. Never before had he gone to the stone dwellers' realm. He heard them stomp, run and dig, right above his head. The very roots of his home shook when the 'horses', whatever they were, pounded their 'hooves' on the earth above his head.

Father told him of the horses and their hooves, but he never did describe them. Harry was most certain they were horrendous creatures with hundreds of legs to make as much noise as they did.

Story 676

Phones, Vegetables And Mashed Potatoes

by Em Daurio

Mum sang a huge sigh of disappointment at the dinner table, after observing buried faces in our phones.

"Can you not have one meal without?" she said softly in defeat. 

No one replied; we were too involved to hear. Our eyes lit up, screen induced.

I looked up when I had a second to, between videos and messages.

She was a memory. The blink of an eye – history.

Technology doesn't age like we do.

Can you not have one meal without?

Story 677

The Lift

by Umme Ammarah

She was waiting for the lift, files that she had to submit to the upper floor in her hands. She peered down, her head resting on the glass of the lift's door.

Suddenly, there was a sound and the glass broke. She fell forward, papers flying. Grasping for something, the hard steel wire of the lift came into her hand. She rolled her body around the wire and held on, her blood dripping everywhere.

Someone called the lift to third floor...

Story 678

For The Love Of A Ghost

by Veena Rah

"You did this to me," she whispers, fidgeting.

I knew this, of course. I was selfish and weak. I left.

I trace the path of her tear with my finger. Almost imperceptibly, she shudders.

She'll be angry with me forever, but it won’t matter, she'll be with me again.

"Don't worry, dear. It won't hurt," I lie as she tilts her head back and throws a handful of those little pills down her throat. "Trust me."

She'll be with me again.

Story 679

Dark Truths

by Francisca Staines

A week ago, Daddy fell off the roof of a very tall building.

Mummy was so sad, she cried and cried.

Today, we went to the cemetery. My aunt was there. So was my grandpa.

Coming home, Mummy told me we were moving.

I didn't like the news. "But all my friends are here. Besides, if we leave, Daddy won't know where to find us."

"Sweetie..." Mummy hugged me. "Daddy's with the angels now."

"Mummy, why you lie? He's behind you."

Story 680

The Proud Man

by Kavitha Yarlagadda

Jenna comes running inside.

"Mama, there's a mad man at the gate."

Kate hurries out on hearing her daughter and sees an old man with shabby clothes and a disheveled appearance standing at the gate. His eyes look intelligent and he has a proud stature, which shows that he once had a good life.

Kate takes Jenna aside and explains that he's a good person and maybe he is hungry.

Jenna takes the man's hand and leads him into their home.

Story 681

The Ice Box

by Frank Daurio

It was a good day for a hockey game. My buddies and I jumped in my dad's old van.

Dad said, "Welcome to the refrigerator, boys."

Neither of them knew the van would be colder than the ice, and a dram of whisky kept the old man warm. He wasted no money on the heater. It was snowing through the sunroof, and our teeth chattered behind blue lips. We called it the icebox, but it got us on to the ice.

Story 682

My Fault

by Michelle Cook

His control absolute, my aggressor rages.

How did this happen? From three hours' sleep to savage screams and flailing limbs, prey to unknowable whim. There'll be no comprehension, only wearing repeat. His weakness mirrors mine.

We've cleared all our thrown things, when he shrinks and whispers, "Sorry, Mummy. Is it my fault?"

Tears choke the response. A tiny key in the door that sheltered me slashes at my heart.

He's my little boy again. "Is it my fault, Mummy, or yours?"

Story 683

The Birthday Present

by Jayne Morgan

A new mini for her 18th birthday. Susie smiled to herself as she raced across town, darting in and out of traffic, ignoring the angry chorus of blasting horns around her.

Pulling out from behind a bus, she manoeuvred the mini into a space in front, quickly swerving out of the way of a speeding motorbike.

"Idiot."

Susie's car mounted the pavement. She didn't see the small child she hit. Not then. But she would forever see him in her dreams.

Story 684

Click And Bang

by Jaycee Durand

She closed the chamber. Spun it.

"Stop."

Such a shiny little revolver. Look. Her reflection... ha, crazy eyes. Same as her mother's when she ate a bullet?

"Debbie—"

Click.

"God, I'm sorry, OK?"

She cocked the hammer back. That's what she should've done. Used a blunt instrument to bash his cheating head in. No. Give him a life sentence of guilt, and she'd get to see mum again.

Candy pink lips closed over cold metal.

"Debbie, please. I really do love—"

Story 685

Just 81 Words

by Thomas O'Mara

So good to be accurate, neat and precise,

My writing a passioned explicit device.

Apt comments found where there are phrases to spare,

Hurtling and flowing with dashes of flare.

Take care with the counting; take care not to fail,

Just 81 words must my story entail.

A word hurtle train, all engine and coaches,

My work gallops on as the ending approaches.

Some final adjustments, some last minute changes,

I'm just about there by the seat of my breaches.

The—

Story 686

Fatherhood

by Bernard Muslin

I can always hear him. Why am I so afraid? This is not how it was meant to be – I have no control, he has that. Does he hear me? His footsteps echo through my head, louder and louder. His voice is my fear. Occasionally, I get a glimpse of what might have been, and I start to grieve all over again.

I can always hear him. Why am I so afraid? This is not how it was meant to be.

Story 687

Never Give Your Heart Away

by Frances Tate

"What have you done?" the young vampire's sire demands.

"He gave me his heart." She holds up the evidence.

"You know that's a figure of speech."

"You told me you loved me. It's why I let you turn me…" She blinks ruby eyes. "Was that also a figure of speech?"

"You were a simpering girl, now you're a goddess."

"I was a girl in love..." She punches through his ribcage. Withdraws a clenched, blooded fist. "I accept everything you promised me."

Story 688

The Future Is Uncertain

by Lauren J. Phillips

Naomi stared at the horizon, watching the final thruster fall away.

She and Mattias stood at the window, each holding a hand of their daughter, Skal.

"This is it," he said.

The President of The United Globe nodded, tears finally flowing.

The last shuttle from Earth, where they'd left everything behind. The weight of the decisions they'd made to arrive here. Forward was their only destination; the ships sent forward, in all directions, as Mother Nature's fires and melee closed in.

Story 689

Dinner And A Movie…

by Lumen Ros

"Would you like dinner out tonight, dear?"

"Let's eat in."

"Sure. Italian?"

"We've had that three times this week. How about Moroccan?"

"Excellent suggestion. I'll pick it up. Let's catch a movie after."

As I finished getting dressed, the front door opened.

"I’m back, love."

I was so hungry, I flew down the steps.

There he stood, dinner in hand. After 500 years, the gleam in his fangs still sent a jolt of lust to my carotid.

"Darling, this is Nadia."

Story 690

Flight

by N.B. Craven

Today was the day he would fly. He'd prepared for months, testing his wings, strengthening his skills. Nothing could stop him from achieving his goal.

The crisp air blew against his cheeks. Leaning over the edge, he peered into oblivion. Anxiety seized him; he paused. The ground spun beneath him.

A gentle push from his mother moved him closer to the edge. Heart pounding in his chest, he swallowed his fear and leaped into the nothingness.

Spreading his wings, he soared.

Story 691

Home

by Taylor Elliott

I close the truck door with my back. The original farm house I grew up in is all that remains. I travelled 800 miles to retrieve my youth. I wipe tears away.

Three of the dozen walnut trees that cast moonlit shadows into my second-storey window lord over everything. A golden leaf floats down and catches in my hair. I pluck it free. Its carcass crackles as I crush it. Inhaling citrus, I smile. Childhood adventures flood my mind.

I'm home.

Story 692

Running Away

by Elliot Cambrey

Dear Mum,

Molly stepped on my Lego castle and broke it. It's your fault, Mum. I always tell you she's NOT allowed in my room but you just won't listen so I'm running away. I packed everything I need: baseball cards, Nintendo Switch and all of my Lego. Ha. Please DO NOT come looking for me.

Liam

PS If you go to McDonald's, order pizza or get something yummy for dinner, will you come get me? I'm hiding in Molly's playhouse.

Story 693

The Office Of Santa Clause

by Jason Barbo

Dear Timmy,

We regret to inform you that we are unable to comply with your requested Christmas gifts, because:

  1. Flamethrowers are not considered toys under article 6B
  2. Game consoles have been labelled as 'not educational' by the Parental Advisory Committee
  3. With 385 counts of fussing, terrorising the dog, fighting with sister and not listening to Mum on your record, this year you are only eligible for coal

We wish you a Merry Christmas,

The Office of Santa Clause

 

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 :-)

Roshna R
Thank you so much for adding my story(no. 655). It feels great to see my name in print! :)

Chris Fielden
No problem, Roshna, thank you for submitting :-)

John L
I wanted to thank you for allowing me to submit story  number 658 ('The Visit'). This was definitely a positive exexperience and an encouragement to budding writers. It was so enjoyable, as a member of Scribophile, I shared the website with one of the groups. Thanks again.

Chris Fielden
No problem, John. Thanks for submitting.

And thanks for sharing with your Scribophile group too - much appreciated.

Toni G
Chris, thank you for publishing my story 'A Modern-Day Mona Lisa' number 661. I hope to spend more time on this site reading the interesting stories.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Toni. Thank you for submitting :-)

NT F
Toni, 'A Modern-Day Mona Lisa' is brilliant.