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81words - Stories Page 10

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 – 901 to 1,000

Stories 901 to 1,000 are published below in the order they were received.

Story 901

No Release

by Natalie Marshall

"Sorry, you have been unsuccessful."

I had no reply.

I needed the tears and doubt blown away. Find a new course. Beginning again, starting from scratch. Painful and heart-breaking – these words just don't cut it.

I know the breeze and the sea are not people. But they are the most comfort. They embrace me and listen. All that can be done for me at the moment. All that will help to fix me.

Then, the beach was deemed out of bounds.

Story 902

It's What I Do

by Phil Thomas

"Why are you waiting at the bus stop, George?"

"It's what I do. Every day. The 96A into town. Wait at the stop for an hour and get the bus back. It's the only chance I get to talk to anyone."

"But haven't you heard? They've cancelled the service. Nobody uses it anymore. The last bus was yesterday."

"Yeah. I heard."

"So… why are you waiting, George?"

"Like I said… it's what I do."

"Ah well… same time tomorrow?"

"I reckon."

Story 903

Making Friends Can Be Scary

by Rosie Arcane

Freddy always makes me laugh and says I should dream big.

Jason reminds me to call my mum.

Michael gets me excited for Halloween, and reminds me I should really learn to drive.

My little friend with orange hair and a foul mouth is incredibly childish sometimes.

One is really sweet, but I have to say his name at least five times before he listens to me.

Another is a fan of piercings, puzzles, and is a bit of a hellraiser.

Story 904

Mouse Or Mars?

by David Lowis

"After tonight, Mars won't shine as brightly again until the year 2035," I told my family during an afternoon walk in the woods.

My daughter held up her hand. "Shhh."

Rustling leaves heralded a mouse. It scurried from the undergrowth, then froze. We crouched, close enough to see its twitching nose and whiskers.

That night, we gazed at the sky, transfixed by the red planet's sparkle. We asked ourselves:  What was more astounding? Which was more humbling? The mouse or Mars?

Story 905

A Mystery

by Lim Swee Kim

Alas it is a mystery.

We thought learning,

Is safe, is social,

A normal part of life,

For the young and  youthful,

And with continual learning,

For the middle-aged and seniors,

We would be on the right track.

Many would say boring,

Somewhat unexciting,

Unlike DH Lawrence's Mystery,

Where the tall slim votaress,

Glimmers to fulfill the mystery,

And brain exercises give good mental health,

Especially with fun and friends.

Did we weave a tangled web?

Alas it is a mystery.

Story 906

Our Happy Place

by Cheah Yin Mee

"Now, pick one place where you have been the happiest."

Her mind races off like a startled pigeon. Kyoto? No, Istanbul.

Frantically, she searches for that magical place. Finally, aha. Smugly, she looks across at her husband.

He smiles serenely. "All ready?"

"Yes, Machu Pichu; we married there." She looks to her husband for affirmation. "And you?"

"It's home," he says simply.

She felt the air sucked out of her lungs. Once again, she had let her head rule her heart.

Story 907


by Christina M. Y. Chow

In the Corpse Pose, she takes a slow long breath.

"Now hold for four," intones the yoga tutor.

She recalls her father's last breath, gasping into water's blackness.

And the midwife's calm voice, "Now pant quickly."

At night, peering into the Moses basket, she would listen intently to her newborn's soft breathing.

Years later, a breath's spaciousness coaxed her lower back to surrender its custodial spasms.

Breathing out, she counts to six very slowly.

Birth, Life, Death – cradled by Breath's hyphen.

Story 908


by Shahnaz Ali

"One spoonful please." Masala tea was never good without sugar.

"Monica, you must tell me how to make Punjabi masala chai," I said. In India, we had our variations to masala tea, and the Punjabis were best at it.

"Well, you grate in some ginger, add cardamom, clove and, of course, tealeaves to the mix of water and milk. Boil. Strain. Drink. Easy peasy." Monica smiled while handing me my cup.

I could smell the spices as I took a sip.

Story 909


by Jasmine Tan Chin Chwee

"How many teaspoons of garlic do we put in the pan to sautè, Mum?"

"Watch, don't keep asking.”

"But what if I put too much, or too little?"

Mum gave me a look that warned me to stop talking.

Is cooking instinctive or intuitive?

The finely chopped garlic took forever to brown. But take your eyes off the sizzling suspension for a second and suddenly, all will be black and bitter.

YouTube videos make cooking seem easy, but Mum's reality bites.

Story 910

Team Meeting

by Jennifer P. L. Leong

Boss: Everyone, get ready to play your part.

RL: Monumental task ahead, Boss.

LL: Really tough with team members like RL, RA and LA.

RA: Look who's talking.

LA: We are all of one body, we can surely work together.

Boss: Check with the others before you move a muscle.

Boss (AKA Brain), RL (AKA Right Leg), LL (AKA Left Leg), RA (AKA Right Arm), and LA (AKA Left Arm): Co-ordination is the key to success.

All exit for dance class…

Story 911


by Olatz Irigarai

The night is falling and the birds are quiet.

Shhhh… Listen, Ander, can you hear Kilikili? He is flying to you again. Look, today he went first to Leire, Oier and Aamir's houses. All of your friends are already sleeping deeply on Kilikili's multicolour carpet, can you see them? Yes, they are approaching quickly to your window. Are you ready to hold the rope and get on? Soon they will be close to you.

Good evening mum.

Good evening my love.

Story 912

The Dog Void

by Emma Nokes

No wagging or rolling.

No playing fetch.

No slobbering or salivating because you opened the fridge.

No hair on the carpet, sofa or armchair; no need for lint rollers.

No bin lorry barking or hailstorm howling.

No reason for mud all through the hallway or splattered on the walls.

No wet nosed sloppy kisses to gently push away from your face.

No click-clack sound from a yawn.

No sigh of content from a pre-circled resting patch.

No dogs?

No, thank you.

Story 913

Done With The Commute

by Rachel Wood

I reach my front door and let out a sigh of relief.


The 17:35 train from London was always grim, but someone had been hit on the line (read: jumped), and while it was obviously devastating, I am having a hard time remembering that in the cold November night.

I eventually locate my keys, turn the lock and trudge over the threshold to lock eyes with a perfect stranger.

"Who are—"

But the gun fires before I can finish.

Story 914

The Championships

by Rob Vogt

As a child in an American suburb, he watched Breakfast at Wimbledon on his family's hulking Magnavox: Borg's Nordic grace, McEnroe's precocious artistry, Connors' double-fisted fury.

Today, he and a buddy have quaffed a few pints and slipped past a Centre Court usher into third-row seats. There he cheers for an Eastern European pixie wearing a tight skirt smoothed over her tight bum. She does not immediately fit into the montage of his youth, but he finds her image pleasing nonetheless.

Story 915

Cliff Hanger

by Janet L Davies

Ella walked to the edge of the cliff, looking at the view. She heard rocks fall and turned to walk back. The ground beneath her crumbled.

She screamed, grabbing rocks in her hands, nothing to rest her feet on. Ella looked down, wishing she hadn't. She was so high above the beach.

Time passed and she could hold on no longer. She prayed death would be quick. There was a great splash. The tide had come in. She swam to safety.

Story 916

She Knows Me

by Jane Fell

Leaning forward. Not touching. My mask covering my face. My muffled voice escapes. Can she hear me?  Does she recognise my eyes, my voice?

Anxious, talking fast, agitated. I laugh. I sing. She smiles. Her shoulders relax. She hums.

"Who is this Joy?"

"This is the lady who looks after me," says mum. 

She knows I care. That I love her. She knows that feeling. She knows me.

I mentally hug her, my arms wrapping around her.

"I love you mum."

Story 917

The Age Of Fear

by Catrin Rutland

The lake seemed a little deeper now. As the years progressed, I watched my children swimming and the sense of foreboding grew. I'd splash around carefree in that water as a kid, but now it was more dangerous. Come to think of it, most things were. From skating along the sidewalk through to rides at the fair, they had lost their innocence.

Is this what being a parent was, continuous fear? I think I'll ask my husband if we can move.

Story 918

Child's Play

by Annie Francis

"Shut the door."

"Yeah, quick."

Click. Then I heard murmuring only.

Small in size but not in spirit, the room soon couldn't hold them. They spilled out, shouting. The game complex, my part unknown, I watched them stream past me, up the stairs, smothering their barely suppressed glee.

"Careful," I said.

No reply.

"Who wants ice-cream?" I called.

"Ice-cream," echoed back. Then a thundering storm of feet on a new quest. Energy unabated, they braved the cavernous cold for sweet bounty.

Story 919


by Marie Arbon

"Mummy, why do I have two mummies?" whispers Sebastian.

"Seb, Emily and I love each other and you, so very much."

"I know, I love you both too, but why do I have another you, Mummy?"

"You don't, silly. Come on, time for bed."

Mummy turns on the nightlight and closes the door. "Sweet dreams."

A shuffle. Mummy Shadow appears from underneath the bed.

She grips his hand tightly. "Remember, Mummy will love you forever."

Sebastian shivers, closes his eyes tightly.

Story 920

Blowing Away The Cobwebs

by Andrew Dawkins

The wind tussled my hair as I stepped outside. The damp, dark evenings were setting in, however all my worries had disappeared and I was at peace with myself. The wind seemed to be blowing them away, stronger and gustier as I moved into the night.

It was strange how all the background noises of the day disappeared into the night, the transition from grey to black. The wind was really howling now as I fell forever faster towards the inevitable.

Story 921

Swimming In November

by Ali Clarke

It's cold, but that's how I like it. The autumnal orange and red trees surround the lake. The sun reflects on the surface of the water. I take off my dryrobe and step in. It takes my breath away.

Immediately, I find myself immersed in this water world. Nothing else matters. I've heard we are capable of one conscious thought at a time. For once, my mind is firmly in the same place as I am. I feel part of nature.

Story 922

Where the Wild Ones Swim

by Liz Howard

The fog hung low in the air, blurring the border between lake and sky. The mist enveloped everything in its path.

The swimmer stood on the shoreline.  Excitement and apprehension filled her heart. She stepped into the cold, clear water, took a breath, filling her lungs with the cold, claggy air.

Not yet, she thought, tasting the deliciousness of the peace she knew she'd find.

Finally, she launched herself into the water, screaming profanities and giggling as she swam, finally, free.

Story 923


by Shobha Wilson

So, there I was, swinging my legs, waiting for my mum and dad to come and collect me. How does a child get lost in Marks & Spencer on her 7th birthday?

Worst of it was, I had been described over the Tannoy system as a little boy. Did they not see both my ears had earrings in them?

I was thinking, What will happen if they don't come. The shop would be shutting soon.

Finally (about time) they arrived. Relief.

Story 924

A Home Ed Mum's Morning

by Ceris Brewis

6:03am: Zub zub.

Mad scrabble to mute alarm. Carefully disentangle myself from bedsheet and several night-time visitors. Tiptoe out of bedroom. Creak. Hold breath. (Note: remind husband to oil bedroom door again.) Breathe. Creep downstairs, yawning. Fill kettle, make tea, lean back into the sofa. Bliss.


Look up to see the four year old silhouetted in the doorway, dino tucked under one arm, a science book clutched in his hands.

"Mummy, how does gravity work?"


7:15am: Drink cold tea.

Story 925


by Kay Sandry

I suck on gas and air.

You draw vile substance through hollow cheeks.

I pant – shallow, quick.

You pant – quick, shallow – junk suffuses your brain.

I grip an unknown hand, crush it with my own.

You punch a hole in the nursery door, tear at pictures hung on the wall. Slap down the mobile hanging over the cot and then you start to kick.

Our son is born in a slippery slithering of liquids and excrement.

You slump, spent.

Labour complete.

Story 926

Seasonal Dreams

by Jodi Novak

Skin as pale as the fresh glistening snow that leisurely drifts onto her slim shoulders.

Cheeks that flush with a magnificent pink blush as the flowers bloom around her.

Heart as warming as the golden summer sun as it stands proudly against the blue sky.

Hair as fiery as the chestnut leaves that cascade and pirouette in the cool breeze.

She'll haunt my dreams again tonight, I know she will.

There she'll stay, frozen in my mind's eye for ever more.

Story 927

Tuna Casserole

by Tamsin Partington

It was one of those arguments that's like a little hangnail.

You take it between your teeth and tug. It's satisfying, you pull more. Then the whole, painful strip of skin comes off. You shouldn't have done it.

The door had been slammed, leaving a bellowing silence in its wake. I stared at the bowl, the remains that were left, contemplating what we had become.

Just because I hadn't eaten it yet, didn't mean he could.

Cats are obnoxious like that.

Story 928


by David Brewis

It is hot cocoa on a cold day, warmth radiating into the coldest pits, filling tummy and heart with joy inexplicable.

The sunrise, pouring its light, like oil onto my skin, eases aches and worries while every nerve relishes the sensation of its soothing influence.

A celebration, making my heart pound, pulling the corners of my mouth so I cannot help but smile with foolish elation.

Sadness, now gladness. Fear, now freedom. Ashes, now beauty.

It is good to be loved.

Story 929

Lava Run

by Maya Barnett

I bolted through the trees, the wind whipping in my hair. The heat from the volcano scorched every inch of me. I cradled my child close to my chest.

I made the mistake of turning around. I saw my house crumbling to the ground and all the memories with it. She squirmed in my arms. I held on to her for dear life.

I finally made it to safety. I collapsed into the fireman's arms, and then everything went pitch black.

Story 930


by Claire Schön

You put your dreams on hold.

"Best mistake I ever made," you'd lovingly say. "I'm still young."

Then time left your mind, or your mind left before its time.

Some call it role reversal, but I call it merging. My daughter is me long ago, I am you from the past, you've been her, you've been me, and now you don't always know who you are.

But sometimes you resurface.

"Don't you worry – you two have been my dream come true."

Story 931

The Once Great Athlete

by Danielle Linsey

"On your marks..."

Adrenaline rushes through me as I take a deep breath, preparing myself.

I place my right foot onto the block, shaking out my left, setting it down. My fingers hugging, but not crossing the line.

"Get set..."

I lift up my body, all my energy pushing into the blocks.

I feel a tightness in my calf and start to wonder, can I even win anymore?

There is only one way to know... I just have to run.


Story 932

Resisting Temptation

by Lena MacDonald

My humans come in from the kitchen.

I smell meat and my nose twitches, identifying the scent.

I watch them quietly, waiting.

I sit close to them, closer still, my paw on their knee, big brown eyes pleading.

"You've already had your dinner," they say, smiling at me lovingly.

I sigh loudly, making my disappointment known.

A stroke on the head, a tickle behind my ears that I like and lean into.

I dribble on the carpet and wait for bacon.

Story 933

No Mercy

by Jenny Drury

He glared at the crouching man before him – there could be no mercy. Once again the advantage was his, but this time he would break him.

Drawing breath deep into his heaving chest, he turned his eyes heavenward, a mighty gladiator preparing his final blow. With a roar, he swung his arm, channelling the power that remained in his aching body, yet helpless as his adversary’s stinging reply wrong-footed him, grazing his tortured face.

"Deuce," called the umpire.

Damn. Not again.

Story 934

Climate Crisis

by Dorothy Francis

I sit in sweltering heat, watching the rocket take-off, loaded with the first global refugees.

Ugh, icy droplets start falling. Everyone pulls out umbrellas and jumpers. It's normal now; the threat of human extinction wasn't enough to fix our climate change incompetence. Giant puddles form rapidly around me. Everyone inflates their emergency lifeboats. Here comes the sweltering heat and water evaporates in clouds.

My ticket number is called. I board the ship, embarking on a journey to find our new home.

Story 935

The Singer

by Duane L. Herrmann

She sang, damnit, and wouldn't stop. The ringing keeps going in my brain. I wish that she was dead.


She is dead. I still forget that. It's something I cannot quite believe. She's been part of my life all of my life. How can she be gone now? She is, and yet, her voice is still ringing in my mind.

It's not singing. It's screaming. Her screaming. She can't stop, because she has stopped. It's my brain that can't stop.

Story 936

The Message

by Colleen Hue

Dear mum,

I just wanted to say sorry for yesterday so i actually wrote this letter because you say you're fed up with only ever getting texts, i even went to the post office… that was scary at first i didn’t understand the queue but people were helpful and smiley… *where’s emojis when you need one? anyway i didn’t mean to come over all possessive and i am really glad that helen’s going to be my step-mum.

Big love, jesse x

Story 937

Room At The End Of The Hall

by Michele Kelly

I am about to walk into the room of my life's accomplishments.

I turn the metal knob, scorchingly cold, of a heavy wooden door. I expect a packed room. Like a hard-core hoarder in winter.

Scenes flash. Three children. The one man I ever loved. Words written. A business.

The door breathes a skinny whine.

The room is empty. Dead air.

"Have I done nothing?" I ask Him.

"The room is not empty."

"It is," I say defeatedly.

"You are here."

Story 938

High Stakes

by Pamela Hibbert

Jodie flipped into the backstroke turn. Length fifteen.

Her father pounded the pool's edge, stopwatch in hand, clickety-clicking at every turn.

"Pull, Jodie."

Flip, twist, push, kick.

Her father's dream was at stake.

The final length.

And touch.

Jodie climbed out for the verdict.

"You need to focus, Jodie. We've only got one more year."

"What's this 'we'?"

Hot chocolate in the café.

"More commitment is needed, Jodie. It's the Olympics or bust, sweetheart."

Jodie stared him down.

"It's bust then."

Story 939


by Marci Girton

She always caught household spiders and released them outside. "They are good," she admonished her phobic friends. "They look scary, but they kill bad bugs. They deserve to live."

Until the Brown Recluse infestation. They were everywhere: basement, bathroom, bedroom.

Sinister violin, spindly legs, dreadful poison.

"You are supposed to be reclusive," she cried, smashing the latest invader. She watched the threadlike legs wave slowly, then curl inward, and still.

Her heart no longer raced.

She regarded it sadly.

"I'm sorry."

Story 940

The End Of Imagination

by Ixai Salvo

The traveller got lost in a sea of imagination and came out being something else.

On the backs of whales he flew, and mountains he climbed as he went beyond sky.

Running back to fields of anthracite grass and forests of ash, the traveller discovered the end of imagination.

Thoughts of despair danced around the edge, waiting to jump and conquer.

Turning back, he looked, and decided everything was good; to try again.

Leaving, he continued, never giving hopelessness a chance.

Story 941

Lucky Number Nine

by Jennifer Hankin

You put down the phone and inhale deeply. Pick it up, dial, and listen.

Ring ring, ring ring.

Nine times it rings. It's always nine times, never eight or ten.

You sigh and down goes the phone. You're never sure why you keep trying. You spin the dial again, for the ninth time. Maybe you'll be lucky.

"Thank you for calling Company Nine. Your call is very important to us. Please hold the line, you are number nine in the queue."

Story 942

Dreams Do Come True

by Jake Cosmos Aller

In 1974, Sam had a dream that changed his life forever.

He fell asleep in a class and saw the most beautiful woman in the universe talking to him. She haunted his life for years. He went to the ends of the world to find her.

Then, one day in 1982, she walked off the bus, out of his dreams and into his life, to become his wife three months later. That is the beginning of the rest of the story.

Story 943

A Mother's Life

by Sarah Engeham

"Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, please can I—"

"Sweetheart, I'm a bit busy right now."

"Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, please can we—"

"Sweetheart, can you not see that I'm trying to sort the laundry?"

"Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, what can I do?"

"Sweetheart, what is your brother doing?"

"He's reading his book."

"Well what is your daddy doing?"

"He's busy, he said, ‘Not now.’"

"Give me 5 minutes, sweetheart."


"OK, what would you like to do?"

"I'm OK now, thanks Mummy."


Story 944

Scientific Mantra

by David Vargas Alfonso

Every sign looked insufficient. Even some messengers had died. Then, the cabildo called and the younger ranger took the floor.

"Today, I am a mediator. The orchids researcher asks permission to use the names we gave them."

The taitas concluded, after hours, the requirement was according to Komuya's will, a goddess hidden in the flowers. She answers health to contemplation and destruction to profanation.

'Orchidaceae Komuya', the common look to Nature’s claim, new dialogue between theirs and the rest of humanity.

Story 945

Where? Who? What?

by Sarah Hoad

The streets were packed and Ivy needed to catch the bus to work. She squeezed through floods of people tripping and pushing. She was already late and didn't have any time to waste. She jarred into a lady who came tumbling down.

Ivy reached out her hand to help but the lady didn't acknowledge she was there. Instead, she was looking around for the person who shoved her. The lady got up and walked straight through Ivy, still not noticing her.

Story 946

Lost In Words

by Alison Reese

Authors often say their characters take on a life of their own, dictating their own story. "Rubbish," I scoffed, "I'm writing it, I decide."

Apparently, my characters disagreed, as I find myself trapped within my words, a hostage to the characters I created. All attempts to break free have failed.

"What did you expect?" laughed my main protagonist. "You're the one who insisted that the author writes the story."

I pondered this. "But, if I'm here, then who's writing it now?"

Story 947

The Enclosed

by Katie Singer

Suddenly, she awoke, her face dripping with sweat. She frantically looked around, pondering where she was and when she'd arrived there. The room had cracked floorboards that were as black as coal. This is not my house, she anxiously thought. I've got to quietly escape.

Soundlessly, she crept, her heart beating wildly. She tried opening the ancient, hazel door, but the rusty lock didn't open. Worriedly, she searched for a key on the floor, when an idea filled her whole mind.

Story 948

Our Final Thoughts

by Julia Graves

His eulogy was perfect, just like the man himself. Always there with a pint or pound for someone down on their luck. Respected by us all, he loved the bookies, the horses and latterly the scratch card. He had a smile for everyone – even the wife. She had never cried once, just looked stern as he rolled into the fires.

"You try balancing the books when there's nothing to balance," she told us in the pub afterwards. "Great man, my arse."

Story 949

Deafening Silences

by Sam May

The sensation of Kikuko’s motionless heart sent me back to the years of our childhood that we would spend together playing with our mother in the garden. We would all talk back to our eerie echoes down the well that we found when we first arrived at our house all those decades ago.

My eyes swiftly shot to my father, moments before he hit the ground with a soft thud.

He too, I thought, will succumb to the fugu’s deadly poison.


End Of Page Note

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

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Your comments:

Phil T
Thanks for adding my story, Chris (902). I look forward to the book when the 1000 mark is reached. Phil.

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

Rosie A
Hi Chris, thanks so much for including my story (903). Not far off that 1000 mark now, I can't wait to see the book when it's published. Rosie.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Rosie, thanks for submitting :-)

Emma N
Hi Chris, thank you so much for including my story in your challenge. I really appreciate it and can't wait to read the finished book.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Emma. Thank you for submitting - very much appreciated :-)

Catrin R
Thank you so much for publishing my work, I am enjoying reading the stories.

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

Colleen H
I felt quite thrilled that you included my story (936), Chris.  Thank you so much, and I eagerly await the finished book.

Chris Fielden
No problem at all, Colleen - thank you for submitting :-)