For the last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers. The blog is currently on an indefinite hiatus, but will continue highlighting the many pieces that have been published over this time. Please read them, enjoy and share!

Vengeance by Dylan Jones

It’s dusk. Outside, I can see the sky burning a deep red above the wasteland. The slit they call a window is a good six feet above the cool stone beneath my feet. I’d be able to look straight out of it if I weren’t restricted by the chains. I’m sitting four feet away by an old steel bed, just thinking, watching the day’s light ebbing away. I wonder for a moment if I’ve made a mistake, that maybe it’s going to take longer than I have. The walls are three feet deep, judging by the window ledge. The door is solid iron, bolted from the outside, and there are long rusty chains binding both my legs to a bracket… Continue >>

She’s A Modern Woman, Now by Nick Ostdick

And she was. She was a modern woman, and you’re not sure how you felt about it. She didn’t come over anymore, early in the morning, her hair pulled back tightly in a ponytail on the back of her head, ready to play whatever silly games you and the rest of gang concocted. No, she didn’t even cross Kimball Street anymore, going through her backyard and out onto Haden Avenue when leaving the neighborhood. You would wave to her, sometimes, when she would be getting the mail or helping her mom in the garden, and she wouldn’t wave back. Her face would drop to the ground pretending not to see you, or she would hide behind her mom or even… Continue >>

Secrets Untold Within the Deep Heart by Jane Doe

Gaze at my eyes. What do you see? The sunny amounts of happiness will first warm your heart. But then, you’ll be able to tell. Because only time will tell, shedding layers of my fake life. The dark, deep midnight of the core of my soul can be seen from where I see. Every day, I speak closer and closer to my secret and past that I’ve tried so desperately to hide. Tossing away such events isn’t so easy. When someone asks me, “how was your day?”, I smile broadly — a fake smile — and state the lie, ‘fine.’ Fibbing through my teeth. A tear drops. Falling silently to the ground. The lost pictures stare at me, glaring through… Continue >>

Summer’s Lease by James Collins

The smell of frying bacon was coming from the kitchen, but Sam stayed where he was. He glanced at his face in the mirror over the fireplace as if seeing it for the first time. Then he looked at the rest of the room, over his reflection’s shoulder; the two old armchairs, the long dining table and the sideboard, upon which rested the big mahogany wireless. Sam liked everything about that wireless. He liked its solid chunkiness, the big wooden dials and the window with its red needle, which lit up when you turned the set on. He thought of the programmes he listened to in the evening, sometimes with Keith, sometimes with all the family. There was ‘Dick Barton,… Continue >>

Because I Haven’t Got the Legs for Dancing by Mike Calahan

Why do I write? I’ve been asked to explain this on more than one occasion, often in a Yuletide forum by relatives who want only what’s best for me. These questions are presented with a roll of the eye or an unassuming furrowed brow and often contain the words ‘what’, ‘in’, ‘the’ and ‘hell’. Each time the question is posed, the more difficult I find it to answer. As time passes, the reasoning that once seemed so black and white, morphs more and more into a menagerie of Freudian color and malformations, looking less like the once straight forward presentation and more like the aftermath of a drunken war of paintbrushes between Pollock and Neiman. As a child, the stories… Continue >>

The Gift of Compassion by Jan Bianchi

As I have grown older I have come to learn compassion is something to mature into and is not readily acquired. Compassion is cultivated like the pearl that comes from an oyster. The pearl is refined in the darken womb of the oyster over time, as compassion is empathy cultivated through the exercise of lived experiences that have been overshadowed by the power and intensity that has been shaped and purified by the fire of pain. It becomes the ultimate expansion and expression of unselfish love. It is also the outreach of personal growth where adept wisdom is brought forth from the intuitive self that sheds the light of heightened awareness that directly comes from the heart. I grew up… Continue >>

Thought Wrangling by Robert Bradeen

Bob lit up a smoke, and wondered what was next. He had been sitting there all day in front of the computer, pretending to do other things, putting off actually having to be creative. Which was strange considering, the thing he desired most was to be truly creative. The problem wasn’t so much a lack of decent ideas and experience to draw from, but more the ability to cleanly extract just one of those ideas at a time. Perish the notion of actually organizing the cacophony of thoughts and images in his head into some sort of coherent story. His thoughts were a very close-knit and protective herd. If he managed to pluck one, it wasn’t long before the pack… Continue >>

Butter Mints by Adrian Lavan

I held my grandfather’s hand, and looked into his eyes, filled as they were with pain and suffering. How many times had the doctors said, “He’s going to die,” and yet he’d lived another year, another five? Yet this time, I could not bring myself to believe that they were wrong. He laid his head back down, and closed his eyes to rest. I stared at him, and realized that I had barely known my grandfather. Most of his life had passed him by before I was even born. What there was left of it, he ending up letting go in a puff of cigarette smoke. I rarely saw him without his surrounding cloud; when I was about ten, I… Continue >>

Snippet of a Peace Among Fools by Sabrina Walls

Such a shame, a brilliant mind like that. So sad he’ll never talk again. What a grand life he led, full of promise – until the accident. Damn fools. All of them. Accident indeed! Had but one of them truly paid attention, he would have known that nothing I do is by chance, just as I choose my silence now. If only one of them proved worthy of my words, I would speak. But I have you loyal little fellas now. You listen, don’t judge, understand. Morning Jenkins, Orville, Maximus. The weathered gnomes – now almost completely shrouded by the onslaught of weeds – do not move. I stroke Orville’s once snow-white beard: top to bottom, gently, slowly, over and… Continue >>

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