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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

A Cross to Bear by James Turner

We had been living out there for three months before I even noticed it. I remember looking up from Katy’s face as I worked away and the curtains were open. It was the middle of the day, a blue sky above and straight ahead I saw the cross atop a church steeple. I thought nothing of it at first. I carried on with Katy as she smiled up at me. Afterward, as she smoked a cigarette, I thought about Jesus up on that cross and all he had been through. I wondered if he was looking down on us as we lay there on the bed. I’m not particularly religious. My parents took me and my sister to church a… Continue >>

Being Orpha by Josepha Gutelius

Somehow or other ten years had gone by and she lost her voice. Her name, Orpha, was the last word she ever spoke out loud. Spoken in a whisper, it sounded like Alpha, a promising beginning. But perhaps creation, once it has been opened with Alpha, can only be followed by silence. Sitting in her chair on the porch she watched the empty parked cars. Frost scribbled on the windows and a small after-image froze: her fingers dangled in the air after she crossed herself three times. She often said to herself: I am the only one here. Much earlier in her life (she had come over mountains and the ocean), she had seen rivers that looked like small streams,… Continue >>

The Waiting Game By Tom McMillan

When the door clicks shut, his mouth starts running. Outside there is only snow, a pale sheet stretching three miles in all directions. Sunset turns the sky into an aging bruise. From the glass, this reflected father looks healthier, thicker, less translucent. He’s lost in her hair now, the way it fell in tangled strands. A briar patch of red curls. They met at an engineering conference in Jersey. Things devolved quickly. I wipe juice from the dying forest of his beard while a stranger watches through diluted eyes. A steady voice. I‘d never, I’d never, I’d never. Dying lungs wheeze. Urine stink fills the room. Reaching for my book, I try imagining how he sees me. Still wearing his… Continue >>

or snake charming by Lindsey M. Brummerhop

there were once three pretty cowards. i fell in love with each, and every, one. of. them. and then they ran. as i waved, then walked back into my house & wrote the stories they’d read years later and think to themselves, “fuck.” or, “of course.” but mostly, “as loud as she was, as childish and inappropriate. at least she made me laugh.” because everyone needs someone, even some stranger, to love them unconditionally for a little while. i loved you unconditionally, for a little while. the thing is: cliff diving is a very dangerous hobby. terrifying. but then you get to say you dove off a cliff; and people will nod at you like, “whoa. impressive.” i bet that… Continue >>

free cab ride for a broken heart by Heather Schutmaat

Twenty-four hours of travel. She is across the world and for him, it isn’t love. Standing on the steps of a small restaurant, on a crowded street in Chinatown. Watching the car drive away. If it were her in that car, she would trace the raindrops on the window with the tip of her index finger. Following their path. No. If it were her in that car, she wouldn’t have left. She began crying before he said goodbye and now, now she’s sobbing uncontrollably. Really, she’s still just a little girl. Eighteen years old is not a woman. She is a child, alone and across the world. For him. It isn’t love. For him it isn’t love. She hasn’t cried… Continue >>

Flower Duet by Jennifer Walmsley

From around a dense bramble choked bend, a lone swan emerged from dawn’s mist, dipping its head between reeds. ‘Where’s your mate?’ Fern asked. ‘Don’t swans stay with their partners until one of them dies?’ Tears stung at her own question. Behind her, from inside her car, the strains of the Flower Duet floated out to blend with amber hues and stagnant scents of early autumn. When they’d first met, James had encouraged her to listen to classical music. Took her to concerts. She, in turn, had introduced him to jazz. A cloud passed over the wavering sun, obliterating murky reflections at the canal’s edge but enhanced four grey chimneys that stood belching out industrial smoke beyond waste ground. The… Continue >>

For Sale: Dorothy’s Shoes By Natascha Tallowin

She arrived on the eve of the carnival, weaving her way amongst the crowds of flushed faces. She hovered for the briefest of moments, casting a dark curious eye across the cacophony of sugar coated confectionary, before stopping slowly to pin a small hand-penned notice to the trunk of the grand copper birch that stood, naked of its leaves in the centre of the small town. For Sale One pair of shoes, heel trodden, curled up and wrinkled like owners face. Condition of shoes put down to weight of expectation and over use. Any price accepted, and can deliver. However near, however far away. The writing was looped and faded grey, as though it had been written some time ago,… Continue >>

American Society by Joseph Christiana

“Harry Johnson. Harry Wang. Just Wang. You know, wang. The little soldier. Willie. Captain Winkie, One eyed monster. Of course, Cock. That’s obvious, but he gives me the—whuddayuh call it, the genealogy of it. Says, ‘Roosters is known for getting up in the morning.’ Wink wink, he does, like I’m in on some big fucking secret with him. What else? Morning Wood, that’s another one. Summer Sausage. The wild bologna pony. The head that thinks for me. My little pony.” “Never heard a that one.” “Yeah, well. There you go. Guy’s a dick thesaurus.” Scalisi fumbled through his suit pocket and came up with a small notebook. He downed the rest of his now watery scotch on rocks, signaled the… Continue >>

The Night Bus by Erin Lawless

He normally got the N155 to Elephant back home, but on that night his feet were hurting more than usual, the drizzle lying hoary on his hair, turning him to grey. The N333 is sat in the bay as he approaches, indicators flashing and doors closing as it goes to pull away. Rory hammers with the side of his fist on the damp red flank of the bus and, luckily, the driver pauses to let him on. It is the older style of bus; the fabric on the seats is orange, shot through with geometrical shapes in a mustard yellow. The paint on the hold bar flecks off in his palm as he grabs the pole to steady himself as… Continue >>

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