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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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!

Warrior by Eric LeGrow

Sitting above a crossbar of steel, high above the roaring New York, so staggering a view, I knew a man, though he was not my friend. He stayed isolated from the group, working the harder jobs along the trim steel, hauling wires and jumping rails, as if he dared God to let him slip. When the boys ate their lunches hundreds of feet above the solid concrete, he drank from a small silver flask, the only sustenance we ever saw him ingest. But that man, alone atop the blaring city, rivaled the memory of Hercules. Watching him work, you could image him beating raw ore into form. A brute who a thousand years ago would have been hailed a God,… Continue >>

I Also Hate the Irish by Mark Biscan

Nancy was telling Tom about her friends who recently adopted a baby from a Russian orphanage. “The poor thing,” Nancy said over her dinner plate, “she’s been so neglected. If you play peek-a-boo with her she cries because she thinks you’ve gone away. Can you imagine? Those people put that baby in a crib and let her stare at the ceiling for 6 months. But Ginny and Brad are determined to help her developmentally. Obviously, she’s got some problems.” Tom slowly chewed his salad. “How can you tell?” he said with a mouthful. “How can I tell they are determined? Because they told me. You should see them. They are so in love with that child!” “No. I mean, how… Continue >>

Number 23 Hemlock Street by Dan Rys

“You could rip a piece of paper into a hundred thousand million pieces and you still would have no idea,” she told me on that lonely Autumn day when we both felt the first winter chill creep in. “You could burn up all the grass and all the fields of Calvin Coolidge High School into smoldering ash, and you wouldn’t have a clue.” We were lying in the biggest pile of leaves in the neighborhood, a pile we had raked ourselves (at her father’s gentle suggestion), lying head to head as she finally poured it all out. “You could pick all the most beautiful flowers, wrench them from the comfort of their homes, and throw them off the highest cliff,… Continue >>

Room for Growth By Lee Stoops

I guzzled the last beer from the mini-fridge, slammed the empty can on the bar, and crushed it with my sledge hammer. Melissa hated my man-cave. It was no surprise that, when her father died, she announced we’d be converting my only place of escape into a suite for her mother. Separate from the house, the space over our two-car garage would be perfect: it was plumbed, had heat, A/C, satellite TV. It was perfect – for me. Melissa didn’t see it that way. “My father loved that room and you know he wanted mom to live with us when he died.” “He wouldn’t want her living in the man-cave!” “Ugh. Your man-cave…there’s nowhere else.” That was the end of… Continue >>

As the Days Turn by Mandy Taggart

At the cold end of Spring, young shoots pierce the hearts of autumn flowers. You’ll be sitting out in T-shirts by the end of the month, you say, and we all pretend not to believe you, telling each other how, surely, this winter has an Arctic tenacity that surpasses any previous years. You have punctuated our time with your sayings. I could set the calendar by you, marking the seasons as surely as the virgin notes of “Once In Royal David’s City” mark the lighting of the candles on Christmas Eve. It might be the last nice day of the year, you say, admonishing those who fester indoors on glorious days. In our climate, there’s always the chance that you’re… Continue >>

Sleep Patterns by Brittany Michelson

She slept like a comma under the comforter; he slept like a corpse on top. She was open like sunflowers; he retreated like a shrinking one. They were both still young. She believed in language; he believed in numbers. Five years ago, language and numbers merged and became a unifying bridge. When he was away on business, she still slept on her side. She couldn’t move into the space that was his even when it was empty. One night, she woke up on his side of the bed. Her dream had been all mixed up that night. She dreamt of a field of headless stems, and a lone sunflower with her husband’s face in the center, smiling. When he returned… Continue >>

Diamond Rain by Basil Rosa

At a diamond in South Oxford, what we called Chaffee Field, even though it lacked an official name, I watched my mother at bat in a lady’s softball game. She was in her forties, and I’d never seen her play any sport. She worked full-time, raised six children, and had not, until that year, ever had enough time for distractions beyond church, and PTA. She hit a double that reached the fence, and it struck me as odd to see her breathing so hard as she thundered to second base and stood there, ribcage heaving up and down, hands on her hips, struggling to enjoy cheers from the bench and bleachers. No one it seemed had ever cheered for my… Continue >>

The Judgment of Venus and David by Natalie McNabb

His whisper — “This is strange.” — is so ardent that I believe him, and hers — “Yes.” — is the same. “We just grew apart.” — Cliché, but the only explanation available to him — She nods. — or her. Neither, though, realizes their error. Their exchange proves otherwise. But for their intimacy, they could never let each other go as if nothing — “It’s the only way I can…” — and yet everything — “…be happy?” — depended upon it. Their last sentence falls like a butterfly fading on wind, fluttering once more before it falls and fractures, its pieces tumbling across the earth, finding their own ends. Amidst what would otherwise be tragedy, the couple exudes the… Continue >>

Sent by Lily Fox

I read the email through five times before I clicked send. I found myself checking for grammar just to be sure I sounded the superior party. Petty, but true. Should I end with ‘sincerely’, a nasty little spike to the addressee’s heart? Oh, yes, I’m SO sincere in spitting on your twisted little face. I hate you. YOURS SINCERELY… Perhaps not. I should at least try for politeness, for civility, right? I don’t know what last shred of manners held me back. Social convention, maybe. I don’t believe in that normally. Two women, one man, the old story. And I won. I was low enough to send my victory, farewell missive by email, not even in person. I didn’t care,… Continue >>

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