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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

The Boy in the Road by James Collins

‘You are my sunshine, my only sunshine You make me happy when skies are gray You’ll never know dear, how much I love you Please don’t take my sunshine away’ Jimmie Davis 1940 He lay in the road and squinted up at the sun. The tar surface was hot and soft to the touch, and he liked the smell of it. There were no cars on the road. Only three people in the whole street owned a car, and they were away somewhere, probably at work, he supposed. He closed his eyes, and the world became orange. He thought of his dog, Bonzo, who was orange and white. The dog had a way of trotting at an angle, which the… Continue >>

A Poem For The Lovely Miss Jessica: Whose Passion For Black Rock City Inspired It, And Whose Last Name I Do Not Know by Johnny Eponymous

Have you been to Burning Man? My fears: the scents favored by those who dance for twelve hours straight on the playa to stay warm while listening to the freeze Nightdesert. I don’t shy from Daydesert’s heat, the stinging rash that makes an umbrella penicillin, nor the glowing eyes of men on tricks I could not fathom, but the wafting tinge of mélange should send me to places where I could never open my eyes. I can’t really describe it…it’s like taking ecstasy. I’ve never taken ecstasy, powders that you melt or sniff were my preference in the days when I gave my young mouth to words of stillborn suburban boredom. I knew you meant a feeling that is not… Continue >>

The Man With Gray Hair by Mark Stewart Cassidy

The first day I saw him, others were ignoring him and, perhaps, the rest of the world meant little to him at this point. Certainly this part of the world, a bus stop near a doughnut-and-coffee place, its walls sticky red in the sun, with its pool tables and Pacheco. It was where T.V judges passing sentence inaudibly in the background made sense. In front, trucks roared by and grit lay in little heaps at the side of the road. There was nothing for the eye to rest on, and therefore, few places for the mind to find peace. The man was talking to himself, or perhaps, to someone I couldn’t see. I couldn’t make out the language, perhaps it… Continue >>

.redruM by Martin Bell

Nothing. Darkness. Cold darkness. From the nothingness light congeals like a snake around a speck above my eyes, a foam of light, almost smoke. Then it rushes towards me, carrying brightness and electric pain. Light is everywhere, is everything, taking me as blind as before. It crushes by head with pain, and fills my ears with a scream. My throat roars. I feel my hands on my face, their growing strength pushing on my cheeks, my lips and my teeth. My hands are wet. The light forms meaning, focuses into a street lamp far in the darkness above my head, its yellow harshness raining pain. I feel cold, crashing, total coldness and notice the rest of my body lying before… Continue >>

Scraping Craters by Nancy Callahan

No matter how many times the hygienist interrupts her Rod and Gun Club wedding reception story to adjust the chair lamp, it keeps tilting back and blinding me. The torn utensil package lies caul-like, contorted on the metal tray. The white walls are saturated with the charred smell of old drilling. She peppers her story with warnings like “Not flossing when you brush is like not washing your armpits when you shower” while clamping my tongue down with a nickel-sized mirror and grazing a pick along my gum line in deft arcs. Electric red wires splay from the corners of her eyes. I think she is smiling under that mask. I want to tell her that the orange cheese puffs… Continue >>

In Bed, Before by Martin Bell

You smell good, she had said. Mmm, she had said as she had nibbled his ear, and rubbed her hand over his chest and down his arm. He’d said nothing. I like the warmth of cuddling you in bed, she had said. I wanna hold you forever, she had said. Wouldn’t you just want to stay like this? She had said. He’d lay there, staring at the ceiling, wondering what he was going to say next. Just typical of you men, she had said. What you gonna do? She had said. Kiss me, she had said. He’d put his arm around her, kissed her head, burrowed his nose in the waves of her hair. He’d placed his fingertip under her… Continue >>

It’s Safer Not to Love by BoBisa

He had his head in his hands. I leaned against the door frame in the bathroom; the desperately open display of human emotion on the floor before me seeped into my eyes as smoothly and coolly as the chill air ran up my bare legs and under my cotton nightshirt. I shifted my weight to expel and extinguish the motherly concern in my stance that would only incense him. I’d never seen my brother like this. He’d dropped by the bar after work, as he usually did, then had driven home with what must have been even the slightest swerve. I must assume, for I wasn’t there, but I do know alcohol isn’t so forgiving as to allow linear thought,… Continue >>

Once There Was Jordan by Artuta

Jordan leans back against the grey-bricked ledge, shivering, and takes a drag on her cigarette. Her hair, stirring in the wind, runs over her bare shoulders. I want to put my arm around her but that’s not how we are. Perhaps I would if we were boyfriend-girlfriend, not best friends. The full moon makes Jordan appear washed-out, her blonde hair a shocking shade of white. Her cheekbones seem to jut out worse than usual, giving her a skeletal fashion. I know I look just as bad – nobody looks good at night.

Not Waving Goodbye, Saying Hello by Martin Bell

They found the baby in the alleyway, next to the back door of Charlie’s. Everyone knows that the only time that door’s opened is when there’s a raid, or a fight, or both. So when the nurse – oh God, she had such tired eyes – so when she spoke on the TV, and said that it was just luck that there’d been anyone there, without even knowing about any of the fights, I told Charlie that it was better to think of the whole situation as fate, not luck. He just turned around, glanced at the dusty TV above the cash register, squinted a little, and told me that he didn’t consider them things, and never did. He said… Continue >>

But Why The Man by Martin Bell

He’d never bothered to learn her name, knew it was supposed to be easier that way but, of course, it wasn’t. Not that it was meant to be a hard job anyway. Get in, wave the armor about, scare her into giving over what she didn’t really have; then out, down the street, in the pub necking back a pint or three by ten. But then he’d fallen upon her face; bright in the moonlight that splashed across the boards the squat wore in place of windows, where red and black graffiti fought in light and dark. He’d rapped hard on a board and shouted until she’d appeared behind what passed as a front door, trying to pull the heavy… Continue >>