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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

Dolls Eye by Philip Berry

It’s an old memory. Too old to upset. I pressed the cool skin of her cheek with a plump, immature finger. Then traced the roots of her fixed lashes. I recalled the optimistic flourish of their application, leaning into the mirror, which itself leaned against the bedroom wall. Should I pluck one, from a tented lid? No way, I wouldn’t dare. She’ll wake. Then I peered along near perfect nostrils, rimmed red, and sore, dusted. Why so tired, Mum? I touched the dipped philtrum where she was joined, in the factory – that’s the joke we shared. Joined somewhere, with ideal symmetry. Still silent. I pushed the sheet aside, altered the balance of a limb. It reached out, fish-belly white,… Continue >>

Untitled by Becki Short

She loved to watch him. She loved to get lost in the very few, but deep, aging lines in his forehead, imagining the struggles he has had in his life, and recognizing how beautifully they had shaped a boy into this man that stood before her. She loved hearing his voice like an American audience hearing a French opera; not speaking the language but holding hopes for the day when they might understand the meaning of those so elegantly grouped together words in a tone that confirms mastery of the language. A tone that humors you as you try to keep up. His lips would quiver in a very secretive manner when he made a joke and no one could… Continue >>

A Free Spirit by Sandra Crook

Aunt Ellie had a secret past. As kids, we all instinctively recognised this from the way the family treated her. There were a lot of sidelong looks, lowered voices, and a general air of disapproval whenever her name was mentioned. We all loved her. She was so different from all the other grown-ups, with her wild grey hair caught up in a comb that never quite managed to capture those wayward curls. She wore long floating skirts, and low-cut tops showing acres of chest that crinkled like tissue paper when she folded her arms. In summer she wore sandals, and in winter, soft leather boots with a smelly old shaggy coat she called an ‘afghan’. And she walked around singing… Continue >>

A Cross to Bear by James Turner

We had been living out there for three months before I even noticed it. I remember looking up from Katy’s face as I worked away and the curtains were open. It was the middle of the day, a blue sky above and straight ahead I saw the cross atop a church steeple. I thought nothing of it at first. I carried on with Katy as she smiled up at me. Afterward, as she smoked a cigarette, I thought about Jesus up on that cross and all he had been through. I wondered if he was looking down on us as we lay there on the bed. I’m not particularly religious. My parents took me and my sister to church a… Continue >>

Being Orpha by Josepha Gutelius

Somehow or other ten years had gone by and she lost her voice. Her name, Orpha, was the last word she ever spoke out loud. Spoken in a whisper, it sounded like Alpha, a promising beginning. But perhaps creation, once it has been opened with Alpha, can only be followed by silence. Sitting in her chair on the porch she watched the empty parked cars. Frost scribbled on the windows and a small after-image froze: her fingers dangled in the air after she crossed herself three times. She often said to herself: I am the only one here. Much earlier in her life (she had come over mountains and the ocean), she had seen rivers that looked like small streams,… Continue >>

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 >>