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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

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 >>

Rite of Passage by Avis Hickman

I’d got the call at about six-thirty the previous evening; Sunday – during “Songs of Praise”. Not that I was watching it. “How quickly can you get down to London tonight?” “Tonight? I can’t get there tonight; the last train has gone.” “Ok, tomorrow, then?” “Err… maybe just after lunchtime?” “Ok, the job’s yours. Get there as soon as you can.” And that was it. My first job out of Uni. Mum ran around like a maniac that evening: washing, drying, ironing, packing. A blizzard of activity, looking after her chick. Early next morning, Dad took me to the train station and put me and my case onto the London train, and then I hustled him off, afraid he’d get… Continue >>

The Visitor by James A Ford

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