Backhand Stories: The Creative Writing Blog

“My home,” she said, indicating the contents of the plywood shack with a delicate sweep of her hand.

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“It’s nice,” I lied, knowing she knew it wasn’t but not wanting to give offense.

“Sit,” she said, pointing to an ancient sofa with springs poking through the dirty brown fabric. I sat avoiding the sharp metal springs and the worst of the dirt. I acted as if I were sitting in a mansion, my smile as ever disarming.

“How long?”I asked. She flashed a smile and corrected an errant strand of dark brown hair.

“Not long enough,” She answered, ” I’m sure you’ve heard that before.”

“Many times,” I agreed. We sat for a moment in silence. Then she looked up.

“What do I get?” She was all business this one, there must not have been much time left.

“What do you need?”

“My daughter… she only has me to look after her.”

“She will be cared for.” I smiled, “I will see to it personally.”

“You won’t… my daughter I mean, no catches?”

“No, you need not worry. I realize my reputation is poor but that is the doing of others. I assure you I am an honest… man.”

She seemed comforted, I continued.

“As for you, there is no denying it won’t be pleasant but you will have the knowledge that your daughter is safe and her future her own. That is more than most. No strings. No tricks.”

“When… when will it happen to me.” She asked, bravely.

“Sometime within the next three days.”

“I would have thought you more precise, timed to the exact minute.”

“Oh it is,” I said, “but… better for you if you don’t know.”

“I see,” she said and smiled.

She then stood and held out her small thin hand. I took it gently and turned to leave. I moved slowly to give her a chance to change her mind. She didn’t. We had a deal. So many others had seemed strong until this final point then faltered. This one was strong. I stepped out into the fresh night air and started off towards my next visit without looking back.

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  • jennifer walmsley

    CREEPY. ENJOYED.

  • A Curiouse Person

    its interesting, but the lack of detail, or description, while it gives the mood a nice edge, i think a little bit more would have been better, its as if the story had not ended. But i do like the feeling of strength the women gives, and the fact that the man really belives in her stregth, for however long he stayed with her, he saw it, he trusted that she was, and then he moved on.

  • I have to disagree with Curiouse Person.

    I found the subtle, ambiguous, tone powerful.

    The fact that it gives no detail that would pin it down to an era or place makes it possible for it to be now and here right beside us, which makes the situation all more the eerie.

    Out of 5 stars: *****

  • katie miller

    i agree with Curiouse Person, i understand the fact that mystery is well wonderful but too much is just confusing. i could see how like blueseaurchin it is great to have a bit of curiousity on the place and even time but you do need to have some sort of story line or details to show what the heck is going on!

  • Maria

    Another set of five stars from me. Yes, I would’ve liked to know more details, but not knowing them is what will actually make me remember this story. I will always wonder!

  • CV Smy

    I think this is beautifully written. I particularly like the description of ‘her small thin hand’, it contrasts with the strength of her convictions and the power of what she is about to do (whatever it is!)
    At first I felt this left too much unanswered, but a second reading reveals clues I didn’t notice first time round. It has made me stop and think, and that is unusual with a lot of short stories.
    I do not agree that the time, place etc need to be more obvious. I had a definite time and place in my head as I read. This comes from my prior experience, which means I am involing myself in the story.
    Well done and thanks for posting.

  • Is this alluding to the Grim Reaper?