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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

Whisper of a River Nearby by Jeff Tannen

For the third night in a row she wakes up with stomach pains, her lower abdomen cramping up as if something were twisting her insides. She throws an arm over the side of the bed, feeling around in the darkness for the plastic wastebasket she put there before she lay down. Her hand gropes at the air, occasionally bouncing off the side of the mattress, searching for the wastebasket. She finds it lying on the floor, the contents-tissue, crumpled paper, snack wrappers and soda cans-are scattered over the carpet around the bed. One of the cats must have upset it while she was sleeping. By the time she brings it up to her mouth the pain has passed and she… Continue >>

Doves in Flight by Martin Bell

It would have been an overstatement to call it a front door. It certainly wasn’t the entrance to a home. A piece of plywood nailed on two-by-four and hung on some hinges that creaked the few times they opened all the way, with a clasp bolted on at the side that someone had hung a padlock on in a too-expectant moment of wishful thinking. There must have been a lock on the other side too because, for now, it was doing its job. Don’s right fist banged down on the cheap wood and the whole door vibrated like a broken drum, the sound echoing, booming over the cracked cement path that ran through the foot-high lawn, across the road with… Continue >>

The Little Brass Bowl by Vera Searles

North Street was lined with boutiques, rare book dealers, and antique shops. Laura walked along slowly, looking in each window, savoring the moment. It was like a street of dreams, filled with oddities and beautiful things from the past. The clock on the bank building across the street said 9 AM. When she saw the little brass bowl in the curio shop window, Laura knew immediately that she wanted it. Since James left her last month, she hadn’t treated herself to anything, and the shiny brass bowl would liven up the apartment. A small white card placed next to the bowl read: Circa l400.

No Ending by Vera Searles

When the dinger went off, Jerome took the meal from the micro and rushed back into the living room. The Perry Mason rerun was almost over, and Jerome was sure he had the killer nailed. The phone rang but Jerome didn’t answer. He let the machine take the message. “Jerome, this is Amelia. I’m pregnant.” Jerome looked over at his mother. She didn’t say anything. Her old faded housecoat was pulled around her like a shroud. “Who do you think the killer is, Ma?” Jerome asked. Perry was wrapping it up. Jerome slid to the edge of his chair, feeling all excited inside. Perry revealed the killer. “Right, right!” Jerome squealed, pointing at the screen. “I knew it. It was… Continue >>

Paprika by Martin Bell

The scent of paprika drifted to her seat at the table across the restaurant, mingled in with a peppery lemon flavor that reminded her of Indian meals she’d finished with John, when he’d pushed the last scrap of naan around the thick sauce in the balti dish and offered it to her mouth. She’d said no, of course. Shook her head, leant back, giggled. He’d always wanted to give her more – would have given her his last… his last anything, she supposed. Just to make her happy. If she was pushed, if she was honest with herself, that was one of the reasons why she’d done it. He was just too goddamn eager to give of himself, until after… Continue >>

A Life is Worth a Thousand Words by Brian G Ross

He is born in the city; seven pounds, eight ounces. Unemployed, alcoholic father; downtrodden, dependable mother. They name him Tony; Anthony on his birth certificate. He learns to talk at six months; learns to walk three months later. His first word is car. Dad owns a Ford. He drives sober; he drives drunk. It makes no difference to him. Not then. They move to the suburbs when his dad gets a job; move back to the city when he loses it two months later. Pre-school comes along and so does his sister. Helen, they call her. She is cute. Fifth birthday party. Clowns and balloons. Sixth birthday party. More of the same. Long, hot summers; three of them. Friends, lemonade,… Continue >>

Fisting for Julie By W.A Coleman

She never told me her name but she told me lot about Julie. Unlike most of the people that came to us because they had no choice, she did and yet she still came. As for why, well, I really couldn’t tell you why, and at the time I never thought to ask her. Maybe I should’ve. Or maybe it was the obvious. Maybe it was because she looked at me or my guys as a part of her tribe, just another bunch a crazy fuck-ups, like her that just so happened to have some medical training. Maybe she thought she wouldn’t be judged or looked down upon as much as say some south side “white bread” M.D. Who knows.… Continue >>

Flowers For Ruth by Rob

I wake in the middle of the night to find my wife missing from our bed. I slide out from the sheets. Step into my slippers. Walk softly down the stairs. We live alone. The sound of Ruth talking makes the back of my neck tingle. I prod the living room door ajar. There she is. Sitting in her usual armchair. Her back to the door. Chattering away. I wonder who she’s talking to and push the door open wide. Ruth is alone. I walk slowly into the room. Across her field of view. Sink into the sofa and look at Ruth. Deep in conversation with someone only she can see. “Ruth,” I say, calmly. “Ruth, it’s me. What are… Continue >>

The Tomboy by Memphis Saltos

It is the vegetation-engorged green of June, just an hours before the cicadas start up their grating cries. The sun tilts across a girl’s shoulders, making her shadow and the shadows of shrubs around her grow long and wide. She imagines that she has grown taller, into a monstrous shape. The squishiness of the mud beneath her, the heady fragrance of decay in the air, the steady and pleasant hum of the insects — all these things she will remember and miss when she is a woman, but for now she just feels and soaks it into memory. She girl is too skinny, scab-legged and wearing cut-off jean shorts with a Goofy Dog tank top. On her bullet proof feet… Continue >>

The Saxophone Man by Roy L. Pickering Jr

What am I going to say to Ellen? How will she react when I tell her I’ve been fired? I suppose there’s no point in asking myself rhetorical questions. I know exactly what she’s going to say. “Howard, how could you let this happen? How are we going to pay our bills? I’m extremely disappointed in you. You’ve always been such an underachiever. You always settle for second best from yourself. I bet you’ve been daydreaming, or hallucinating, or whatever you want to call it, instead of focusing on your work. Didn’t any of what Dr. Seagram had to say sink in? I suppose not. To think of what I gave up for you. I could be married to Barry… Continue >>