Backhand Stories: The Creative Writing Blog

The man took a slow drag on his cigarette. The ember winked life-red against the warm evening backdrop. He exhaled, thinking about what he had just heard, what she had just told him, breathing out in time with his thoughts. The smoke floated up towards the dim porch light.

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“So you’re not coming back.” Flat voice.

The woman shook her head. He glanced down at the floor and rubbed the back of his head with a calloused hand. The small glass table was the only witness to their conversation, the deck devoid of other furniture.

He grunted softly and continued. “Well, okay.”

“Okay?” She shifted her weight from one leg to the other.

“Yes, okay.”

She turned to leave, aged boards creaking beneath her slight frame. Just outside the threshold of the room she hesitated, pale fingers caressing the doorframe.

“I can’t, I just can’t.” His gaze rose to the back of her head. She turned, still holding the frame, but couldn’t look at him. “I…” She stopped. “You understand.”

He said nothing. Her eyes flitted towards his but fell short of a reunion. She exited the porch, skirt hurrying after her, and the man turned to face the shore. He rested his elbows on the weathered wooden railing and stared. Blank eyes took in nothing.

A sudden splash in the water demanded his recognition. A sea otter, shell on its belly, rock in its hands, preparing supper. He watched the diligent animal fix itself a meal. Who would crack his oysters now?

He finished his cigarette, flicked it over the rail. The butt glowed warm on the sand and he studied at it as he drew another from his breast pocket. He realized that he needed to pee, but instead closed his eyes. He visualized the house, his house, walked through every room noting every detail and committing it to memory. He opened his eyes and sighed. Sticking the cigarette between his lips and pausing briefly to light, he then hopped over the rail onto the sand. His left foot landed on the first smoldering butt and he picked it up in surprise. It burned him a little as he held it on his hand. Discarding the useless filter, he kicked sand over it and began to walk to the water while unbuttoning his shirt. He removed his blue jeans and underwear and piled them with his shirt about ten feet from the water’s edge. His second cigarette dropped to the sand. The man waded naked into the surf and let the water push him. He felt one with the swelling and receding of the waves. He looked around for the otter, but couldn’t find it.

Dripping, carrying his clothes away from his body to keep them dry, he walked back up the beach to the house. He placed his clothing over the railing and pulled himself over the rail in a surprisingly nimble fashion for a man with his frame. He left his clothes on the porch and went into the house. He spent the rest of his night destroying all of her things.

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  • What in interesting story! I like its slow meandering pace, like a river. Going somewhere, but taking its time. It was intriguing, yet somehow relaxing. Thank you for such a literary treat.

  • GR Oliver

    A vignette, nothing more. A shot in the dark moment. Is there more? It seems to me that it requires something else. Why was the otter in the picture? Did the couple just have a meal that wasn’t finished? If so, the symbolism of the otter having a meal would have been nice. The story read well, flowed nicely—a nice little moment in time—but not a complete story.

  • James

    I like the abrupt ending! The feeling of anger. I read another story with an abrupt love story called, “lonely dreams.” I wish I could know more about why these two people are parting ways.

    Oh link for the “lonely Dreams”,

  • This story speaks much more than the sum of the words that compose it. Thank you.

  • A delicious little sip of something that is much more.

  • Ali Noble

    Really good work! I liked it a lot but I’ve always found otters to be funny creatures and just personally, the use of that specific animal took away from the moment. But only for me, just a purely personal bias. On a more humorous note, “The butt glowed warm on the sand and he studied at it as he drew another from his breast pocket” has both butt and breast in it. Indubitably, it is my favourite sentence.

  • lily

    this was really good.

  • gin

    Even though it is something of a shot in the dark, it was tasteful. Stories with details left to be desired are sometimes so much more interesting. I don’t think it’s necessarily incomplete as it is curious and succinct. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Hayley

    Wow this story really spoke to me, thankyou so much.

  • David

    Short and strong. The block of text towards the end drained a little of my curiosity, but the last sentence saved it.
    A powerful punch in a few well thought-out words. This is the best part.

  • Cate

    Impressive, I like this a lot. I love the last statement it’s deliciously dark and comedic.

  • Something about it makes me feel reluctant to leave the page. A craving for more perhaps. I like the slow swing with a direction. Reminds me of the Mystic falls:

  • I like the fact that his reaction to her leaving seems almost mechanical. I picture him completely stone faced, yet reacting pretty dramatically.

  • I enjoyed this and would love to read more. While the ending was fitting, I’d love to read more with these characters

  • Anastasia Hatzigeorgiou

    I enjoyed this one. Nice and slow. Direct. Good ending too!

  • Excellent. I want to read the rest.

  • Where is Sean Gallagher? I need to find this dude. I want more.

  • I’m a writer with a collection of – I hope – decent stuff to share and I came across this piece whilst looking for a place to upload mine!
    This is excellent writing. Simple, but strong imagery, palpable atmosphere, instant connection with believable characters and thank God! Faultless grammar and syntax. Great page turner! I’m left hooked and wanting more! Thank you for this unexpected treat!

  • Tee Jay Generalao

    I like the abrupt ending! The feeling of anger. I read another story with an abrupt love story called, “lonely dreams.” I wish I could know more about why these two people are parting ways.

    Oh link for the “lonely Dreams”,