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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

Room for Growth By Lee Stoops

I guzzled the last beer from the mini-fridge, slammed the empty can on the bar, and crushed it with my sledge hammer. Melissa hated my man-cave. It was no surprise that, when her father died, she announced we’d be converting my only place of escape into a suite for her mother. Separate from the house, the space over our two-car garage would be perfect: it was plumbed, had heat, A/C, satellite TV. It was perfect – for me. Melissa didn’t see it that way. “My father loved that room and you know he wanted mom to live with us when he died.” “He wouldn’t want her living in the man-cave!” “Ugh. Your man-cave…there’s nowhere else.” That was the end of… Continue >>

As the Days Turn by Mandy Taggart

At the cold end of Spring, young shoots pierce the hearts of autumn flowers. You’ll be sitting out in T-shirts by the end of the month, you say, and we all pretend not to believe you, telling each other how, surely, this winter has an Arctic tenacity that surpasses any previous years. You have punctuated our time with your sayings. I could set the calendar by you, marking the seasons as surely as the virgin notes of “Once In Royal David’s City” mark the lighting of the candles on Christmas Eve. It might be the last nice day of the year, you say, admonishing those who fester indoors on glorious days. In our climate, there’s always the chance that you’re… Continue >>

Sleep Patterns by Brittany Michelson

She slept like a comma under the comforter; he slept like a corpse on top. She was open like sunflowers; he retreated like a shrinking one. They were both still young. She believed in language; he believed in numbers. Five years ago, language and numbers merged and became a unifying bridge. When he was away on business, she still slept on her side. She couldn’t move into the space that was his even when it was empty. One night, she woke up on his side of the bed. Her dream had been all mixed up that night. She dreamt of a field of headless stems, and a lone sunflower with her husband’s face in the center, smiling. When he returned… Continue >>

Diamond Rain by Basil Rosa

At a diamond in South Oxford, what we called Chaffee Field, even though it lacked an official name, I watched my mother at bat in a lady’s softball game. She was in her forties, and I’d never seen her play any sport. She worked full-time, raised six children, and had not, until that year, ever had enough time for distractions beyond church, and PTA. She hit a double that reached the fence, and it struck me as odd to see her breathing so hard as she thundered to second base and stood there, ribcage heaving up and down, hands on her hips, struggling to enjoy cheers from the bench and bleachers. No one it seemed had ever cheered for my… Continue >>

The Judgment of Venus and David by Natalie McNabb

His whisper — “This is strange.” — is so ardent that I believe him, and hers — “Yes.” — is the same. “We just grew apart.” — Cliché, but the only explanation available to him — She nods. — or her. Neither, though, realizes their error. Their exchange proves otherwise. But for their intimacy, they could never let each other go as if nothing — “It’s the only way I can…” — and yet everything — “…be happy?” — depended upon it. Their last sentence falls like a butterfly fading on wind, fluttering once more before it falls and fractures, its pieces tumbling across the earth, finding their own ends. Amidst what would otherwise be tragedy, the couple exudes the… Continue >>

Sent by Lily Fox

I read the email through five times before I clicked send. I found myself checking for grammar just to be sure I sounded the superior party. Petty, but true. Should I end with ‘sincerely’, a nasty little spike to the addressee’s heart? Oh, yes, I’m SO sincere in spitting on your twisted little face. I hate you. YOURS SINCERELY… Perhaps not. I should at least try for politeness, for civility, right? I don’t know what last shred of manners held me back. Social convention, maybe. I don’t believe in that normally. Two women, one man, the old story. And I won. I was low enough to send my victory, farewell missive by email, not even in person. I didn’t care,… Continue >>

See You With The Sun By Meghan McDonald

I hated my funeral. Everyone was all sad and quiet. Dad was like a statue. Mom was the opposite. She wouldn’t stop moving and there were tissues everywhere. She had on a dress with no sleeves so she couldn’t stick Kleenex up her sleeves like she usually does. And it was hot. I’m dead and even I was sweaty. Sarah didn’t look up the whole time. But that was normal for her. It was either that or her giant brown eyes staring at me all evil-like. That’s the only way she looked at me when I was alive. I kind of deserved it though. I liked to pick on her a lot. One time I threw all her stuffed animals… Continue >>

The U Turn by Chukwudum Okwudarue

“Mommy, look at his big head!” Nothing was held sacred, not even the head of a chief judge on a Sunday morning. The judge was going bald; sprinkles of white salted his temples dotting their way round to the tips where the hair stopped just short of his crown. “I like your head, it’s shiny at the top” the child retorted to the judge’s stare. “It wasn’t always like this.” the judge managed out in between fits of laughter. “Age and wear have taken their share I’m afraid” he said, looking at her mother. The mother smiled sheepishly, too embarrassed to speak. She sought someone who would accompany her to the back of the church and help shoot the girl.… Continue >>

Not Just Professor 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 a French opera to an American audience; they didn’t speak the language, but had hopes for the day when they might understand the meaning of those so elegantly grouped together words, in a tone that confirms its mastery of the language. A tone that humors you as you try to keep up, in a non-degrading way. His lips would quiver in a very secretive manner when he made… Continue >>

Spitting and Crying on a Marriage in Turmoil by Nic Whitaker

It was one of those days in the middle of spring that come along to humble you and remind you that Mother Nature is the ultimate ego; spitting and crying at once, soaking you and freezing you and making you walk with your shoulders up around your ears and the coat you’ve all but forgotten about pulled tightly across your back. One of those bitter half-green half-grey days where ice piled up and fell over chunks of wild onions and yellow wildflowers. There was snow falling inside the frozen rain but it was so outnumbered I couldn’t help but feel sorry for it. The poor weather looked like the invisible riot that takes place between good and bad, and today,… Continue >>