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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

Three Years by Katya AaltoTanssija

Things were so very, very different. I was so much more than three years and thirteen days younger. I was a decade younger, perhaps two, neck-deep in a world of money, privilege, international travel and blissful ignorance of so many things. My older brother was invincible, good at everything, impeccable in every way. He was what we all wanted to be, an example forever shining before us. Sometimes I wanted to kick him in the shins, for being so impossible to stack up next to. No matter how hard I trained, how many hours I sunk into my sailing, into anything – he would always come out on top, graceful and un-phased. As if it were all nothing, nothing at… Continue >>

A Fonder Heart by Erin G. Ellia

My husband’s making me nuts. Don’t get me wrong. I’m making him nuts, too. But since I’m the one writing this essay, I get to do the talking. And I say I want him to disappear. Not forever, just for a week or so. Ten days, maybe. Two weeks? See, every winter since before Johnny and I met, I’ve visited a friend in California (or Georgia, Florida, Arizona – wherever she happens to be living at the time). And every fall, Johnny’s gone to Ireland to see his mum. But Johnny’s mum died last year, and my friend is in the throes of finishing her PhD. Neither Johnny nor I have anyone to visit and, as he would say, we’ve… Continue >>

Deadly Nightshade by Owen Knowles

“Right mum, we’re off,” said Dylan. “You be careful now. Have you got lunch and all you need?” asked his mum. “Of course we’ve got everything. I’m not five, I’m almost eleven!” replied Dylan. “I know you are but there are still things you need to careful of. There are snakes, giant wasps, eels, water scorpions; even some of the plants are deadly. Whatever you do don’t eat anything. You could die if you do. Watch out for ‘Deadly Nightshade’, there’s enough poison in one of them to kill 500 mice!” she explained. “But we’re not MICE!” exclaimed Dylan. “We know Auntie Joy, and we will be careful. We’ll be back for seven. Don’t worry. We’re not going too far”… Continue >>

Thanks to my Cancer by Jan Bianchi

My heart would not have migrated so deeply within me if it had not been for my breast cancer. The experience of having gone through a mastectomy and breast reconstruction shaped me in ways that would change my life forever more. My heart fell into a free fall much like an autumn leaf that is released from the branch it had grown upon after my initial diagnosis. The leaf descends to the ground graciously and without much effort. My heart’s perspective twirled and changed colors in its descent moving more deeply into my true heart where the deepest gift of heart lives resoundingly by the strong presence of my tenacious spirit. I discovered many inner treasures yet to be revealed.… Continue >>

An Obligation in Kalamazoo by Piper Davenport

“Where are you headed, sir?” That’s what the train conductor said to the man. He turned and looked away. The day was turning into night, but still there was just enough daylight that he could see his reflection in the spit-shined windowpane. With his hair combed back, with a slight part down the middle, he asked himself, Will she like my undulating nose and small mouth? He wore his best trousers, with a bow tie and button-down cotton shirt and moccasin shoes that he had ordered through Woolworth’s. “Kalamazoo, Michigan.” He turned and faced the conductor, who nodded his navy-blue cap in his direction, and turned to take tickets from the rest of the passengers, most of them men, most… Continue >>

Good Writing. No Good For This Writer by Nancy Hatten

Read. Read a lot. Read award winning fiction, critically praised non-fiction, the best in whatever genre you wish to write yourself. These suggestions abound in writing magazines, and are dispensed by people who know something about the craft of writing. The intention is to flood your brain with wonderful word choices and beautiful phrasing in the hopes that your own writing will follow suit. Initially I embraced this advice. I was glad to have any excuse to indulge myself in more time spent reading. The more I read the more I wanted to read, and I even began to read books in genres I had formerly avoided in order to stretch my writing in new directions. I had not yet… Continue >>

Five Minute Escapade by Fiona K

Shall I share with you my deepest, darkest secrets or unburden to you my most daring confession, reveal a shockingly gruesome personal transgression? Never mind, I don’t have time. Constrained by the New York rhythm of life, waltzing between pillar and pillar of social obligations, hiding from Miss B what Mister A must under no circumstances find out until next Wednesday, the most I can offer you, dear reader, in for three – no, make that five – five whole minutes snatched from the jaws of my daily routine. It feels deliciously like a midnight tryst (does it not?), all the more furtive by its innocuous midday incubation. And now, with this comparative eternity stretching before us, my whispering narrative… Continue >>

How God Works by Arthur Shuey

Start at early summer dawn on the Georgia coast, behind the Sea Islands, and drive toward Memphis. Take secondary roads and look around as you pass through towns that seem to vary in time placement, back and forth over the past six decades, depending on how close to real cities they are and whether the developers have gotten to them yet. Go into the hill country that threatens to throw the sticky, red clay embankments beside the road over your car and keep you there forever, stuck in 1966 under a crude, peeling billboard beckoning you to the salvation from inoculation and integration promised by an equally crude and peeling church that is an exclamation mark for the gray, gray… Continue >>

Vengeance by Dylan Jones

It’s dusk. Outside, I can see the sky burning a deep red above the wasteland. The slit they call a window is a good six feet above the cool stone beneath my feet. I’d be able to look straight out of it if I weren’t restricted by the chains. I’m sitting four feet away by an old steel bed, just thinking, watching the day’s light ebbing away. I wonder for a moment if I’ve made a mistake, that maybe it’s going to take longer than I have. The walls are three feet deep, judging by the window ledge. The door is solid iron, bolted from the outside, and there are long rusty chains binding both my legs to a bracket… Continue >>

She’s A Modern Woman, Now by Nick Ostdick

And she was. She was a modern woman, and you’re not sure how you felt about it. She didn’t come over anymore, early in the morning, her hair pulled back tightly in a ponytail on the back of her head, ready to play whatever silly games you and the rest of gang concocted. No, she didn’t even cross Kimball Street anymore, going through her backyard and out onto Haden Avenue when leaving the neighborhood. You would wave to her, sometimes, when she would be getting the mail or helping her mom in the garden, and she wouldn’t wave back. Her face would drop to the ground pretending not to see you, or she would hide behind her mom or even… Continue >>