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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Spiders by Anna Potts

The spiders died that night. I saw them in my dreams – a tangle of black spreading across the hills, punctuated by jointed legs, flexing slowly in the heat. I found them in the bath tub, legs given way under the weight of their bodies. I moved to turn the tap on, rid myself of this nightmare, but as my hand touched the metal a spasm of pain shot through my arm. They seemed to disintegrate in front of me, a child’s scribble done in reverse as layer after layer of the messy black lines were removed. My eyes flickered open to the alarm clock shining 04:48 in angular red numerals. I moved quietly across the hallway and touched open… Continue >>

The Thing About Naps by Cassander L. Smith

What I always forget about long naps is that when I wake up, I feel disoriented, heavy, impatient, groggy, mean, and sick. I yawn, stretch my arms into a Village People “Y,” and I feel tired, except I just slept three hours. When I’m like that, the photo of me on the T.V. stand, the one where I’m wearing the oversized Florida sweatshirt, makes me look like an elephant. Or I hang up the phone on Jay because he’s singing into the receiver. I am impatient and heavy and groggy, mean, sick. Today, I hate that I napped at all like I hate having taken that photograph of me swallowed up in faded blue and orange cotton. I should have… Continue >>

Retreat by Oonah V Joslin

The retreat was high in the hills and hundreds of years away. Here they rose with the Sun and slept with its setting, under low eaves, on rows of futons head to toe, occasionally visited by field mice. They took tea, chanted mantras, shared the daily tasks with few words and drank from cold springs of water and wisdom. Clarity filled the air. Bai thought that if any place could do her good, this would. But after many days her heart was still heavy and her belly light. The elderly priest, Hui noticed her absence from the morning meditation and crept from the hall silently to seek her. His deep saffron robes caught the rising Sun and turned his skin… Continue >>

Matters of the Heart by Avis Hickman-Gibb

“I walked her down the aisle today – happiest day of my life so far. It doesn’t seem so long ago that she was climbing up onto my knee to make a nest with her special blanket, ready for a bedtime story. “Time flies – doesn’t it? You blink and twenty years have passed, like that. Just look at her now; she’s a beautiful young woman. “Always was the apple of her Daddy’s eye. “I said to my wife when we found out the news – I’ll do anything to be able to see her married. Well, you do – don’t you? “And it’s been worth it. Oh yes! All the operations, and the tugging around; the waiting to hear… Continue >>

The Child Bride by Adam Moorad

The banquet room was dark and crowded. The walls stood dim and abyssal, wrapped in waves of glossy fabric cascading across the rippled periphery, ocean blue and glacial, like the walls of ice box covered in cold satin, glazed in indigo. Maggie, noticing that her reception was enjoyable for all in attendance, and having just arrived from the ceremony, made herself look in the direction of Paul, who since the service had been sitting in the corner of the clubhouse’s dining room at a table draped in power blue tablecloth. He was talking to a girl with blonde hair, her breast welled-up tight and cleaved taut above a push-up bra, like twin canned hams, catching the errant attentions of several… Continue >>

Five Billion Kilometers Closer to Heaven by Joshua Scully

When John Jurrjens finally sat down at the table, his knees felt brittle, and his extremities were numb. During the previous sixteen hours, he had painstakingly replaced the elevator motor, repaired damage done to the elevator shed by a recent ice floe, bored a four foot hole into the surface, and made some repairs to the deteriorating survey equipment. Without a doubt, John was emotionally and physically exhausted when his wife sat a container of broth in front of him. He thought back to the hole he had made and filled on the surface. Two of the drill augers were ruined during the project. When the second one broke in the rigid ice, he had lost his temper, stepped down… Continue >>

Our Favorite and Most Sad Season by Leyna Inburg

That night we drink until we forget the cold. “I can’t feel my feet anymore,” we say while passing the water bottle full of cold, clear gin between our mittens. “I can’t feel my nose anymore.” “I can’t feel my face anymore.” “I can’t feel anything anymore.” From her front stoop the neighborhood is a vague canvas of snow and streetlight. “You want to walk?” I stand up and dust the snow off my pants. “Ok.” We drain the last of the liquor and begin crunching down the driveway. I walk slowly while she barrels ahead into the street. “Leyna!” In the silence of winter, her voice seems cumbersome, especially loud. “Yea?” “Look how beautiful!” I step and sink into… Continue >>

White Walls by Varsha Vijay

The smoke curled out of the cigarette as he lay naked on the bed, muscles curling into each other. Delete. He walked like poetry, the slow grace of his movements rushing through her until all she could do was gasp. Delete. He sat on the porch, cheeks stained with tears, and the slow progression of time was marked only by the call of the birds in the trees. Delete. He walked out the door, as I stopped running and looked at him in the semi-darkness. Delete. He kissed me softly as I sunk into the softness of the bed, feeling it strain as I slowly gave in. When he kissed me, I thought “Capture this”. Take a picture. Run the… 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 >>

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 >>