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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

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 >>

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 >>