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.
- The Old Man on the GreenIf it is true that the Devil makes work for idle hands, then the Devil never met Old Joe. For as long as anyone could remember, Old Joe had been well past working age; indeed no-one in Micklethwaite could really recall his former trade. Mavis Claythorpe, who knew everyone's business and could not bear to admit to ignorance of anything, claimed her grandfather had worked with Joe as a thatcher, but Janet Armstrong, the blacksmith's widow, who had comfortably exceeded her biblical span, was prepared to swear Old Joe had already been 'Old Joe' when she was a little girl. To the best of her recollection, the fallen tree beside the duck pond on the green, into which a seat had been roughly hewn by the removal of a quarter-round section, had always been the vantage point for the graybeard's observation of the slow rhythms of village life.
- Annie’s PlanetsNico noticed the little girl as she pressed herself against the glass window of his antique store. She stared with intent but when he smiled, she didn't smile back. He returned to his work but looked up over the wire-rim of his glasses as the bell above the door tinkled. The little girl strode in, black braid swishing behind her, followed by a frazzled woman. "Annie, wait," the woman said, but the girl ignored her. Instead she stopped at the end of the counter to focus on the project in front of Nico.
- When Helpful Turns UglyCarrie fingered her reprimand collar at the library table. Her legal guardian, the house AI, kept one on her and her sister for discipline purposes. The shogi game in front of her awaited her move. She ran her fingers between her collar and the flesh of her neck, avoiding the sharp pointed electrodes that held it in place. She tried imagining not wearing it. "Any month now." Keith's voice jolted her. He whisked her away to the library for a game of shogi any time the house AI became too annoying. "I know. I'm excited to get it off." "The game. It's your turn. You know I'll have your king. No shame in resigning." "It's just not in me." "Even John the waiter couldn't save you now." "'John the waiter'?"
- Unlikely Things"Help me get convicted." "No." "You don't feel I need to go to jail?" Ruby groaned. "Being a defense attorney shouldn't be this complex." "I will die if they put me back on that ship. How would that make you feel?" Ishmael's plump face projected patience and interest, rather than fear and hope. "I know you are innocent, and if I prove you are in court I'll never forgive myself." "I agree. You can't tell them what I've told you. You have to get me convicted." She threw her pile of legal documents across the room, spreading papers and breaking tablets. "I hate you! I'll be disbarred for this! I hate you!" She glanced up to see the prison guard looking through the observation window inquisitively. Ruby discreetly wiped her eye, careful not to smear any makeup. Satisfied that he did not need to intervene, the guard disappeared from the small window. Ishmael leaned back in his aluminum chair, crossing his arms with a broad smile. "Thank you."
- The Backwards ManI remember quite distinctly the day I met him. One does not easily forget the strangest day in one’s life. It was a soggy morning, gray and overcast; fitting indeed I should think for what would soon take place. He stood at my doorstep, gripped my hand with unearned familiarity and smiling at me, attempted to enter my house. While he appeared vaguely familiar, I was quite certain I had never made his acquaintance. “Pardon, sir,” I said abruptly, blocking his path. “But I am not in the habit of allowing strangers into my home.”
- ErosionFred looked down on her burnt form. His squinting eyes bookmarked a crumpled expression and one twitching nostril that threatened to make his voluminous mustache crawl away to find a more appetizing site. Smokey smells replaced the expected morning scent of sagebrush after rain. Her right arm flung wildly above her reposed form, clawed at the scorched bark of an ancient pinyon destroyed by the previous night’s fire. He scratched his back and rubbed his fingers through the mustache to calm its twitching, then cleared his throat. He looked at the late morning sun, as if to burn the image of her scorched flesh out of his mind. She opened one eye slightly. Her voice rasp, “I must have slipped out. It won’t let me back in.” Her left fist unclenched, but the right hand kept rubbing raw burnt fingers against the remains of the pinyon.
- 3092 ADSarah languidly woke up to what she thought was the smell of chocolate. Bill rolled over in bed and looked at her. "Could we have hot chocolate for breakfast?" he asked. She took a moment to scrutinize the situation. No one was making hot chocolate. Why did they wake up wanting chocolate? "They're doing it again!" said Sarah. "What?" said Bill. "They've changed the ether," exclaimed Sarah.
- Just Up the BeachDonnie's window muffled the clank of swords and the pop of rifles as if they were being played from an old radio. He hopped from his bed, walked over his array of toy soldiers on the floor, and watched the bright display along the shore. When he woke the next morning his neck ached from sleeping with his head on the sill. The beach was calm and quiet in the dawning light. "Just a dream, Donnie," his dad said at breakfast, when Donnie told him of the battle on the beach. "This summer home is old and creaky. You're just not used to it yet." "Eat up," said his mom, pushing a plate of pancakes in front of his doubtful face. When his parents settled into their Adirondack chairs on the porch with their coffee and their books, Donnie went down to the beach. An unusual rusty odor haunted the salty air as he walked along the edge of the water, letting the waves wash over his feet. Something brushed against his ankle. Bending over, he plucked a small bullet casing from the water and rolled it his fingers, then he walked toward the fort.
- Fiddler’s TaleIvy clung to thick stone walls surrounding the cottage entry. Shade from the castle’s high turreted tower gave some relief from the summer sun. An herb patch rested to the left of the entry providing a scent to the thick muggy air. Smoke curled from the cobblestone chimney defying the summer morning’s warmth. Entertaining a fire in the cottage was unpleasant, but the baker lived in the castle. Letal and Mary lived outside the castle. Taking their cooking to the baker took a lot of time. On days when Letal entertained the king with his music, Mary took the bread out to the baker. However, with Letal home she chose to endure the heat of the fire. He was glad for it. They were still sappy newly weds, and felt near physical pain at separation. “Letal,” Mary called from the fire’s hearth laying thick her best damsel in distress tone of voice. “Yes, my wife?” Letal responded, enjoying the playful attitude of his wife. “When are you going to stop adding, ‘my wife,’ to everything you say?” “I like the sound of it. So, never, … my wife.” He smiled at her as he spoke, showing imperfect yellow teeth. However, he had all of his teeth and was proud of it. He showed his teeth whenever he smiled. “Do you have a tune in that fiddle of yours for getting rid of flies from the kitchen?” She teased Letal, knowing he hated anyone calling his viola a fiddle. “My viola? …
- Skeleton in the Closet"Dad, I'm feeding the skeleton in the closet." My seven-year-old daughter stated this. She wasn't asking permission.I had to sit up in my arm chair and set down my Kindle. "Really?" "Yes. He likes donuts."