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.
- Two by Two"Marcus?" his caseworker said, her hands folded on Mama's kitchen table. "Did something happen to your sneaker?" Marcus looked down at his size thirteen feet—two shoes, one old, one new. "No ma'am." "Why don't they match?" She didn't understand that matches weren't the same as pairs. Daddy never told her about arks. "They're opposites," he said. Daddy explained it better because he had more words. That was okay. Marcus was better at pairing. "Like your socks?" One foot, two foot, red foot, blue foot. Marcus smiled and nodded. "You and me, we're opposites, too." "I guess we are. Is your father still spending all his time at the hospital?"
- SpudTwo days later, I wake. I over slept, again. My first instinct is to roll over. The straps hold me back. I’m salaried. If no one’s complaining, I get paid. I consider unstrapping myself, just to roll over. Then that little voice warns me, where does it end? I unstrap myself from the hammock, and sit up. The Spud’s gravity is too weak to keep me in bed all night without straps. (“All nights,” I verbally correct my singular thought.) I hate the straps. I can’t roll over with the straps. Sometimes I sleep in the dust just to avoid the straps.
- Tom CrowThe young people living in Rose County had never seen Tom Crow on account of him living as a hermit somewhere up in the wooded hills. Everyone knew of him though; he was a legend in my growing-up time. The rumors were that he lived somewhere northeast of Culver’s Pass. When I was 12, Robby Lee and I decided to go hiking up that way and try to find his cabin, maybe get a glimpse of him, maybe steal something as a souvenir. That would sure enough give us bragging rights, that is, if anyone would believe we really did it.
- The Beast of Broken RockSeveral cycles ago my wife Carpathia went to the market to gather supplies for the long, incumbent winter, but by nightfall she had not returned. By daybreak her side of the bed was still cold, and I feared the worst. For many moons thereafter I searched the plains until my feet bled, and called her name until my throat hurt, but I neither saw her nor heard from her again. The villagers were quick to blame the Beast for my misfortune as they did for every other disappearance in the land, but I did not share their conviction. My wife was gone, but I could not seriously lay her fate at the door of a ghost. I would rather admit she had abandoned me than accept I had lost her to a myth. Even so, sometimes, despite my better judgement, I too cursed the Creature. The worst had come to pass—
- 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.
- 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.
- Jackson’s Cat VideosJackson looked up from a cat video at the sound of flopping sandals on the floor he'd just cleaned. His expressionless middle-aged face bore the slightest frown. Was she management? She looked more like a tongue depressor escaped from a gardening expo than a supervisor. However, he didn't know all the ship's managers, so he placed his device in his pocket discretely. He picked up his mop from the floor and examined her progress. She left a trail of echoing "THOP" sounds across the hall's tiled expanse.
- New GrowthMisty watched Joe pace the living room. Things had been going missing—car keys, loose change, magazines, and now his cigarettes. “That’s the second pack this week,” he growled, lifting a stack of papers off the coffee table. “Sorry, Joe,” she said from the couch. “How does this keep happening?” He stomped into the kitchen and Misty heard drawers opening and banging shut. The edge in his voice told her to stay on the couch, out of his way. He stalked back out of the kitchen and stood in the living room, fists on hips. Misty watched him take a deep breath in and out as he scanned shelves and windowsills. She supposed he was counting to ten. “Guess I need to get another pack,” he grumbled. She had to get him out of this mood. “Maybe Chelsea’s swiping them,” she said, reaching over to pet the small, rust-colored tabby curled up next to her. “Maybe kitty doesn’t like smoking in the house.” Chelsea purred and rolled over to expose her soft white belly. Misty looked up at Joe with a tentative smile. “The cat, eh?” His face was unreadable. Behind her smile, Misty clenched her teeth as he sat down next to her on the couch.
- NeedsThings tend to disappear, these days. Take the road signs, for example. Dougie lives in the old van parked on the corner of Main and Eltshire Street, and the sign had always been there, pointing the way to the cathedral or to the mall, if you wanted to go that way. Now, though, it’s gone, and Dougie swears he heard kids talking outside the night it disappeared. I told him he’s crazy; there’s no kids left on the streets now. Only the nobs and gene-hackers can afford to have kids; only their kids will survive. Jeannie used to be a nob, before the War, and she says that they have special air filters and everything. That’s why Jeannie can still run for more than a city block, but she tries not to lord it over us. She’s good like that; sometimes you can almost believe she’d been a junkhead, just like one of us, her whole life.
- House of Cards"Try again, Alfie." "I ... can't think of anything, Mama." Mama's trying to be patient. I read the cadence of her speech. I read the signs on her face: the involuntary pulsing of her facial musculature, the flicker of her eyelids. I read the truth on the page of Mama's face. This is useful because almost everything she says with her voice is a lie. But don't think badly of Mama. Lying is the keystone of human reality. On the desk are the results of my latest brain scan. She lied about them to me. "The positronic pathways are healing," she said with a smile. "You're getting much better, Alfie." I can delineate the degradation of my brain more accurately than any CAT scan. My life-span is measured in days. This will be over, soon. "I don't understand the test, Mama." "Don't worry Alfie. This test isn't important." A lie. "Try again."