NOTE: No submissions will be accepted until the current anthology is published.
Science fiction stories. Fantasy stories. Horror stories. All for adults, but of the family-friendly persuasion.
T. Gene Davis’s Speculative Blog posts free science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories–mostly by guest authors. Subscribe (on the left) for the free sci-fi, horror and fantasy stories newsletter delivered when new stories post. The stories accepted are for adults (sometimes with mature themes), but safe to leave open on a tablet at the kitchen table where kids can get ahold of it. I currently pay $100 (US) for the right to publish your story on the blog and in the anthology. Check out the submission guidelines for more information.
Here are a few stories chosen at random to read, or check out the archives for more.
- A Way OutThe corridor mimicked the Martian landscape; linoleum flecked with rusty reds and dusky pinks, and the color on the walls a dull yellow like the alien sky. Mikhail’s boots, gray like the studded metal doors flanking him on either side, sent echoes ahead of him as he marched. Tiny green lights blinked at him from the security cameras in the ceiling, and his breathing shuddered loud in his ears. Beneath a wool jacket and nylon shirt, his back prickled with sweat. Not because of the ever-watchful green-eyed guardians; he was used to those. It was the uncertainty of whether or not they’d believe his performance.
- The Wren and the Clockwork ManWhen the wren first heard the clockwork man's symphony of pipes in the blooming days of springtime, she was hesitant—his constant whirring and clanking set her feathers on edge—but the music emanating from his metal chest proved too strong a lure. She settled on his window-ledge and joined in the chorus. He smiled from his workbench, silver eyes gleaming. They spent hours together, his full-bodied tones a perfect counterpoint to her own coloratura. Over time, he took to leaving her daily offerings of string, twigs, or tasty seeds. Now, months later, autumn glazed the city with frost. The wren had already delayed her departure far longer than she should. Today would have to be her last visit. She would miss their duets, but she took solace in knowing he'd be waiting when she returned with the spring rains.
- Jack Twice-Caught and the PushermanNo one in Bridge could remember exactly when the legend of the Pusherman began. As folk began to go missing, the stories just appeared, fully formed, as if they had fallen from the sky. Some in Bridge whispered that the Pusherman was an old graybeard who hunted children playing along the Edge because he was envious of their youth. Others said he was a jealous husband who pushed his cheating wife over the Edge and came to enjoy the taste of murder.
- Pest ControlSETI Report March 23rd, 2049 Broadband transmission received at 09h38 Estimated distance of origin: 58,416 Light Years Host: ...does your solar system have a pest problem? Are your lush, verdant planets overrun by a bipedal scourge? Not to worry, because HumaneX is guaranteed to get rid of your Homo sapien infestation.
- Moon RoadMy mother taught me how to walk the moon road. We find it with the tips of our toes, sliding them along the slick bottom of the river. If I close my eyes, I can feel the slightest edge. I ease the ball joint, the sole, the heel up out of the water. The foot that emerges is not human with its short dark nails and tufts of fur. My nose elongates, protrudes. Whiskers tickle my cheeks. My ears swivel, seeking the sounds of night. It is a gentle transformation. Mother and I walk the moon road, swishing our tails. We bound over the water, chase meteors, pounce on constellations. We grin at each other the way dogs do—it’s said they learned that from people. Maybe they learned it from people like us.
- Flutter“Mommy?” “Yes, my child?” Her back bristled with chitinous spines, gathering microscopic dew in the rapidly cooling eventide. “I can’t sleep.” “But you must sleep. A child grows faster when they rest. Besides, breakfast is being made.” The mother was bundling a parcel, spinning it into the loom of her abdomen as the toxins turned the victim to stone. “But I can’t sleep,” the cotton orb stirred, a fluttering inside the pliable strands, woven tight. “Are you hungry, child?”
- Self ServiceBefore pregnancy became extinct and babies stopped being born, the greasing of death's once firm grip caused a lot of worry about the potential of the revived. Would they turn vicious? Could they be restored to a responsive state? How much humanity do we ascribe to an animated cadaver? I stayed apart from it all. I had my farm, my family. Cora was marrying age, but once it became clear there wouldn't be any grandchildren forthcoming, Ma stopped needling her. When the corpses wandered through, stinking, twitching, chattering, Bub and I ushered them off our land, gently, respectfully. Then we went back to work. Outside, the world clashed and gnashed its collective teeth. I had less use for it than ever. Cora got sick first. I drove her into the city, threading my way past thickening crowds of the dead. She wheezed from the passenger seat of my pickup; pressed her fingers against the side window as if she were reaching for those grim mannequins. "When did there get to be so many of them?"
- In the Company of Shadows"Child, keep out of gravestone shadows." Wendy gave Aiden's hand a slight tug, dragging him farther from an elongated shadow in the grass. "I don't want to die." "No one dies in here. Just don't step in any shadows. The sun's getting higher. See. The shadows are already disappearing." "Will they follow us then?" Aiden stumbled on a root hidden in the uncut weeds. "The shadows?" "Those men."
- Triumph of the SkiesStars above shatter and rain down as glittering dust. Sima peers from her window at the shining dark sky to watch the snow sprinkle down. The tip of her nose grows cold where it presses the glass. Frost forms where she breathes. She scratches a star into the ice with her finger nail. Every snowflake is different, her mother told her once. The house breathes quiet. In the basement the furnace rumbles like a purring cat.
- ValedictionGreetings fellow graduates, parents, and faculty. No one is more surprised than me that I am speaking to you tonight. When we first walked through the big glass doors of Happy Valley High four years ago, did anyone imagine that this budding goth girl might one day be valedictorian of the class of 2014? So many students studied more than me. So many worked harder than me. So many were smarter than me. Yet somehow none of them survived the high school gauntlet, so here I am. I didn’t even take any AP classes. In hindsight, that was probably lucky. Otherwise I might have suffocated on the chlorine gas Mary Llewellyn mixed from those mislabeled ingredients in chemistry lab. Or perhaps I would have suffered acute radiation sickness in AP Physics after that unfortunate typo on the laboratory supply form. You probably wouldn’t have found me in AP Biology though. My strict vegetarian principals made me uncomfortable dissecting fetal pigs. Who could have guessed that my squeamishness would save me from contracting flesh-eating bacteria? There’s a lesson about the importance of sticking to one’s principles in there somewhere.