Backhand Stories is a creative writing blog that publishes new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers. Submit your own short story!

Build a Memory. Build a Bear. by Bryan Currie

There’s a copper-toned Queen in New York Harbor who, until recently, happily greeted visitors to the shores of our promised land. She now sits on Ellis Island politely checking green cards and work visas, reminding the huddled masses to wipe their feet on the way in, worried they might stay too long. One of my roommates, Eimear, arrived in America three weeks ago from Ireland. She didn’t arrive by boat and has yet to visit Lady Liberty. In fact, Eimear isn’t even planning to say long, but would like to work while she’s here. In order to work in the United Sates, however, non-citizens need three things: 1. Valid identification 2. Work visa 3. United States social security number Even… Continue >>

The I of the Storm by Randy Kohl

The blizzard commenced in earnest sometime between the appetizer and desert. My wife and I emerged into a snow-globe world where the flakes came down in clots as large as rabbit tails. The fresh snow erased the imperfections in a still-transforming area of the south Loop, painting the cracked sidewalks and vacant lots with a coat of temporary innocence. We leaned together in a human teepee for support, Jill because she was wearing high-heel boots and was five months pregnant and me because of the bottle of wine. Jill had wet her lips with the Zinfandel to toast our anniversary and I had felt compelled to finish the remaining four and a half glasses before the check. The result was… Continue >>

Fort Collins by Scott Jensen

Waiting at a bus stop on a redbrick pedestrian walkway, flanked by street lamps, surrounding a bubbling fountain that a flock of geese call their playground, where early morning risers throw away their pennies in exchange for loathly dreams, where a little girl is asking her grandmother what “cobblestones” are, a group of students and businessmen are boarding the mid-day bus system that operates several routes throughout the city of Fort Collins, Colorado. Others, who search for more viable means of transportation, are riding their bikes through downtown, across the Foothills trail, by an out-door venue where a band playing Bill Evan’s Autumn Leaves is tinting everyone’s moods with the saccharine modesty of a mid-Summer’s day, beneath a 19th century… Continue >>

The Blizzard by Karl Thomas Smith

She sipped at her coffee. Black. No sugar. Sour. Lipstick mark: Red; Number 58 – Dark Wine. The taste barely registered. A creak in the floorboards: her husbands’ feet. Size nine shoes. Black. Heavily polished. Tightly laced. “How long have you been up?” She stared through the blinds. The scent of her perfume filled his nostrils: Nina by Nina Ricci. Light. Two sprays. “You can’t leave” He straightened his tie: Two tone. Black on silver. Soft sheen; Next Department store. “There’s too much snow. They’ve closed the roads” He untied the knot – perfect Windsor – and laid the tie down on the kitchen table. He put his hand to his face. Clean-shaven. Fresh. Aftershave: Calvin Klein. Three Sprays. He… Continue >>

Goodnight Robin by Jake Wickenhofer

The wind drafted through the old house perched at the hill’s summit. Surrounding trees lost leaves to the harsh gusts; all forms of life scattered for shelter. The sky was ready to cry, filled with gray clouds that engulfed all of Twyla Forrest. The hills that once basked in sunlight looked as if they could now touch the low skyline. James sat by Robin’s beside. Every few minutes he entered a state of unconsciousness, awoken by his young daughter’s violent shrieks. Robin had been tormented with unbearable fits of pain for six months, and despite her father’s best efforts, he could not obtain the remedy. A cry of anguish rang out, bringing him to full attention. He held her hand… Continue >>

The Hotel Window by Piper Davenport

I. His hands touched her breasts but they weren’t really there. See, she believed that the human touch could evaporate without reason and beyond the possibilities of eternity. But, when she told this to others, they refused to look at the marks on her breasts. But didn’t want you want to touch her? Didn’t you want to see inside her head and wonder how God made naked bodies that hide behind foggy windows? And believed that if she had pushed herself hard enough, she might have floated away to Neverland and never had to do anything imagined. II. His eyes made her cry but they didn’t speak at all. See, she believed that if we could make words from not… Continue >>

Bipolar, Lithium, Suicide and The Lost Years of My Life by Jason D. Hill

When things are illuminated, life is beautiful. Luminosity is, indeed, a wonderful thing. You are anchored in your body and that body is easy to please. You only have to honor the integrity of your senses. The bad smells bad, and the good is to be luxuriated in. You feel your senses acutely and realize you were blessed with them because they make you into a deep participant in life. Others have their senses too and you share yours with them. Social intercourse is your way into earthly heaven. You are not alone. Life belongs to you. Life can be shaped according to your vision and by the grace of its better possibilities. You love life and intend to affirm… Continue >>

I Saw My Mother Holding a Baby Corpse by Jason D. Hill

I watched my mother, once, holding a corpse the size of a honey baked ham. Late evening. Corner of our old street. From my seat on a cloud I recognized its form; watched its tissues dissolve like blood sausage on her just-manicured nails; the spoils of its bloody clots lingering over her lacquered loveliness. Eyes dry. Cheeks sucked in, she buffed her nails, turned on heels that hurt the pavement as the ignoble puddle sizzled, frothed, burped and then congealed into her story. This, of course, is a dream. But most of my ghost stories, which are often nightmares, occur inside my head. I’ve never been afraid of the real ghosts because they are shy and scurry away as soon… Continue >>

Chamber of Echoes by David Schembri

With his head bowed, and the pit of his stomach boiling with unrest, Hector stood within the gloom of his master’s chamber. “It is done,” Graymar’s voice echoed. “You have rid the world of the savage who killed your precious Alice. Now, it is time for other matters.” Graymar held out a small piece of parchment, hoping it would attract his servants eyes – it didn’t, they were still fixed on the floor and far from the present. “Hector? Please, this is of the utmost importance. The name on the parchment is of a local villager who has been in debt to me for far too long, and I-” “It is not over, master,” Hector said through the thicket of… Continue >>

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