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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

Untitled by Tyson Perry

My legs feel heavy and I want to go home. My ass is numb, and I want to go home. Alcohol and nicotine pulsing through my brain, and I want to go home. I wonder if anyone’s ever overdosed on nicotine. It seems unlikely but not impossible. I’ve been sitting on this curb for 3 hours, trying to sober up, and I want to go home. People still shuffling in and out of the house from where I’d just come, still trying to reach the mystical plateau. That tiny cliff at that top of the giant hill that is just enough but not too much. Everyone chasing the light while hanging out in the dark. Everyone on the same fabled… Continue >>

Up the Garden Path by Avis Hickman-Gibb

Janice wasn’t ready; and she’d been sure she would be. So far, she’d stuck precisely to her plan. “Make a plan, have a countdown list to check-off. Work through it steadily. You’ll do it Janice, I’m sure. I have faith in you.” Her therapist had told her that last visit. And now: Oh, God! Why is it always like this? Panic… sweaty palms. Look! Just look at my hands. Shaking like a leaf, they are… oh Christ! I’m going to be sick, I can feel it. Breathe in… one… two… three… and out…one… two… three. Wait…one… two… three. Ok, Ok, I can do this. Who can do this? I CAN. YES, I CAN. The sunny spring morning beckoned to her.… Continue >>

Jamaica Preacher Man by Jason D Hill

It is 1975. I’m sitting with my father in the sofa-like front seat of his father’s car which he’s borrowed to take me for a ride. Just the two of us. It’s a red car of some make; a 1960-something Vauxhall. I’m ten years old. My father smells of coconut oil. He always smells good—fresh, earthy and natural. We’ve just come from a long drive where he told me to just be who I want to be. “You were cut out to be a writer and a poet. Don’t get sidetracked into thinking you have to be a lawyer or any of that nonsense,” he says. He’s been on this mission to save my poetic soul. His mother has been… Continue >>

The Last Birdsong by Graham Murray

Weeks afterwards, she thought about something he had told her one day. He’d said that his mother was convinced that he could charm the birds out of the trees. She knew this was just a silly expression. And yet . . .Perhaps his mother had recognized something in him that no one else had. Her three-year old daughter had been tired all day and now lay sleeping on the sofa with her new Barbie backpack clutched tightly in her hand. On the day she received it, he had taken a photograph of her wearing it, almost as large as she was. Her first backpack.They had laughed at the image of her attending her first day of school not too many… Continue >>

The Understudy By Kelley Eberhardt

No one congratulates the understudy; the role given to the individual who could not make the cut for the lead. Just right for the part, but not as right, not as good, as the chosen actor. An acceptable backup; but not ‘the one’. Sure, while their name is printed in fancy font on the play bill it is only under the bold clear print; the main character’s name. Overlooked, overworked, over-committed; the understudy is no place to be. Being with you, is being the understudy; the girl behind the scenes. I am the lines, I play the part, I dance the dance, and I feel the feel. I give to the production as much heart as the main character, but… Continue >>

Visitation by Jennifer Walmsley

When the preachers came, they embraced you. When they entered your home, they smiled pious smiles. Then they said in reverent tones, ‘Let us pray for your forgiveness.’ But you were unable to tell them that it was your husband who had sinned. When you knelt, their fingers gripped your shoulders and their unified voices mingled with your whispered prayer for his return and they left, gratified with their godliness and you, watching their black coats recede, tied a noose around your neck and left your baby crying.

The Man-Playing Guitar and the Guitar-Playing Man by Simon Thalmann

A guitar who had learned to play the man decided he wanted to form a band. He gathered up his courage and called a guitar-playing man and asked him if he would be interested in joining him. — Hmm, said the guitar-playing man. So you’re a man playing guitar? — No, said the man-playing guitar. A man-playing guitar. It’s hyphenated. — Oh I see, said the guitar-playing man. So you’re a guitar then? — Yes, said the man-playing guitar. — If you don’t mind my asking, said the guitar-playing man, what brand of guitar are you? — To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, answered the man-playing guitar. — Hmm, said the guitar-playing man. Why don’t you look at your… Continue >>

A Land of Make-Believe by Avis Hickman-Gibb

The sun was hot. That summer was a scorcher. I remember the sweat trickling down the sides of my face. I was always sticky and grubby – I spent most of my time outdoors playing with my new friend. We went to the park, played in my back garden, and roamed the local vacant land – a very mysterious and lonely place when you’re nine years old. The little plot was quiet and still – like a forgotten, empty writing book left over from school. It was close to home – I could see the roof of my house – and yet it was so different. There was a wild tangle all over it’s surface – a strange mix of… Continue >>

Silent Companions by Jennifer Walmsley

I sit in my small, one bed roomed flat above Sebastian’s Nightclub. Below, music throbs. Outside, drunks shout and brawl. Nightly, police sirens wail, disturbing my sleep, disturbing my peace. Daily, shoppers and office workers dash to and fro unaware of the constant disturbance that occurs well after the stores have closed. On a sofa, in front of the window, two dummies sit erect. One dummy, a male, wears a fair wig. The other, a female, has brown hair, fibrous to touch. Outside, down in the puke stained street, if someone cares to look up, they will see two dummies heads through flimsy curtains and, hopefully, presume I have company. Though my companions are mute, I can tell my their… Continue >>

Sewickley by John Bruce

He couldn’t recollect her name. What he remembered was the place she told him she came from. “I’m from a wonderful town called Sewickley.” She pronounced it carefully and distinctly, as if he were a slow second-grader. Perhaps if she’d said “My name is Suuusan,” he would have remembered her name, but the town was what stuck. “It’s near Pittsburgh. It may sound like it has a funny name, but it’s a wonderful town. A wonderful town.” It was like a little lecture. What was so special about Sewickley? She wasn’t explaining. Lots of trees, he guessed, lots of single-family homes, good schools. The sort of place everyone came from. Up to then, he’d spent his life moving with his… Continue >>