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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

American Preparedness by Robert Stalker

I must be fucking cursed. God’s punishing me. He always has. That’s why things come so easy to everybody else and why I have to fight like hell to just hold on to the little I got. “You shouldn’t talk like that,” my mother says. She whispers it, like she’s afraid God might hear us. “You’re just on the pity pot,” she says. Oh fuck me. I hate when she talks like this. She started going to Al-anon years ago, when my dad was still alive. Now, she can hardly hold a slogan-free conversation. She sounds like she’s in a cult or some shit. “You know what you need?” she says. “A gratitude list.” “Mom, for chrissake.” “Okay, okay. Sorry,”… Continue >>

Blue-Eyed Girls by Kate LaDew

I watch my grandmother’s face, waiting for that faint spark of recognition that never comes, hasn’t for years. The same conversation over and over, do you know who I am? She tells me I’m a pretty girl, “Oh look at your eyes.” They told my parents all baby’s eyes are blue but mine never changed. Her daughter has a little girl with the same name as mine. “And what’s she like?” “She sings me little poems, poems she made up herself, you know. She’s my dear one.” “I write poems too.” “And do you sing them?” The nurse walks in, pats my grandmother’s hand. Her uniform is faded, like it was hung in the sun. My grandmother used to hang… Continue >>

love by Meagan Hayden

When my eyes first met yours I didn’t see the stars nor did I get lost in them like the sea. I didn’t fall in love or even have love at first sight. What I saw was pain. The pain of rejection. The pain of misery. I saw a part of a girl who was broken. I saw each individual pieces laid out inside your eyes. I saw a broke down girl so I smiled to tell you I would fix it. When I first gave you a hug you hesitated as if I would hurt you so I hugged you tighter to tell you I wouldn’t. I rested your head on my chest for the first time and reminded… Continue >>

TWERK by Isobel Blackthorn

Paco Rabanne? She leans back against the pole; hard metal cold on her skin. Yeah, Paco Rabanne. She poses, pirouette style, in her high high heels. Or Armani maybe. She isn’t sure. Whatever it is the douche in the Tom Ford suit must have taken a bath in it. She slides her butt down, nice and slow for him; pictures his face. Holds the squat, legs splayed, marks time with the music, one two three, and pushes upright. Rihanna yodels to a backbeat. It’s like muzak in a shopping mall. She’s sure she heard it in Woolworth’s the other week. She tilts her hips, eyes the guy in the chair, now with a bulge in his Tom Ford suit. She… Continue >>

Like Fire On a House by Daniel Townsend

The reason my father’s eyebrows were singed that morning, he told me, was because he and a friend had rescued a man from a burning building the night before. He’d said it so calmly it took me a moment to hear it. He’d saved a man’s life. What did this mean for me? Suddenly, my empty breakfast bowl became filled with wonder. The day unravelled before me like a sacred scroll. All who saw me would become blinded by my second-hand glory. I wondered if the lucky ones might even touch the hem of my hand-me-down garment and be healed… My father had saved a man’s life. Sunlight crowned his head with gold as Dad recounted the night’s events in… Continue >>

The Forest by Gal Nachshon

I stand alone in a forest of people. When a tree falls nobody hears it, for the foliage is in Connecticut, or Central Park, and I wake up in Brooklyn. I take the train to work, look at my cubical wall and the photographs from the vacation I took last summer, or my feet in the orange tennis shoes I was wearing that day against the dirty pavement of Broadway and the filth and the flat black-holed, dilapidated, chewing gum stuck to the earth seems like the universe beneath my toes and I’m about to fall, a permanent feeling pinned to my cubical wall. There is no work but the office is loud, I look around and see a coworker… Continue >>

Frustration by Francesca Curley

I tried to explain, but I couldn’t. You looked at me. A train careered through the cerebral station. The words, who until that point had been waiting patiently in line, were too close to the edge. Sucked into the air stream and crushed unceremoniously beneath the grinding, metallic wheels. Damn. I tried to explain, but I couldn’t. You spoke to me. I grasped at your words, snatching them from the balmy air, desperately trying to take them and assemble them for my own, personal use. But in the confusion they slipped through my fingers. Gone. Shit. I tried to explain, but I couldn’t. You touched my hand. Hazy, shimmering shoals of adjectives swam into my consciousness. Excitedly, I caught one… Continue >>

Cracked Shell by Sean Gallagher

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. “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… Continue >>

and this whole time. by Lindsey M. Brummerhop

there’s something so focused about the sound of a piano key. structured, but melodic. accurate yet soothing, somehow. “well, what kind of things make you feel better, Alice?” she looks up for a moment, pondering this honestly. “semi colons and the word simultaneously.” aliteration. “Aliteration, Alice?” absolutely. it doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as it did a month ago. “what?” everything. the ache has died down considerably. i only remember you a couple hundred times a day, instead of a few thousand. and blinking isn’t nearly as difficult as it was last week. i can take that moment now, sometimes, to breathe instead of rescanning that image of you two for any. possible. clue. of untruth. but yes, the pianos.… Continue >>

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