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Stories is a creative writing blog that publishes new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

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 >>

Secrets of a Murdered Man by Sabrina Walls

Already the irritating fly that eluded my swatting earlier takes its vengeful residence amidst the rapidly-mounting pool of blood in which I lie; a sea of deepening red that this morning flowed warm and sustaining through my veins. Yet I do not shoo the fly away. My lifeless body is numb and unresponsive in spite of my active mind that buzzes with replays of the horror of this day, of flashbacks to the days that preceded it, and of visions of the days that would go on without me. Is this an eternal torture I am fated to endure, a perverse punishment for my supposed deceit; a fervent mind in a lifeless vessel? “This is not justice,” I scream in… Continue >>

Whisper of a River Nearby by Jeff Tannen

For the third night in a row she wakes up with stomach pains, her lower abdomen cramping up as if something were twisting her insides. She throws an arm over the side of the bed, feeling around in the darkness for the plastic wastebasket she put there before she lay down. Her hand gropes at the air, occasionally bouncing off the side of the mattress, searching for the wastebasket. She finds it lying on the floor, the contents-tissue, crumpled paper, snack wrappers and soda cans-are scattered over the carpet around the bed. One of the cats must have upset it while she was sleeping. By the time she brings it up to her mouth the pain has passed and she… Continue >>

Doves in Flight by Martin Bell

It would have been an overstatement to call it a front door. It certainly wasn’t the entrance to a home. A piece of plywood nailed on two-by-four and hung on some hinges that creaked the few times they opened all the way, with a clasp bolted on at the side that someone had hung a padlock on in a too-expectant moment of wishful thinking. There must have been a lock on the other side too because, for now, it was doing its job. Don’s right fist banged down on the cheap wood and the whole door vibrated like a broken drum, the sound echoing, booming over the cracked cement path that ran through the foot-high lawn, across the road with… Continue >>

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