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.
- 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."
- Conscience"Nothing says good morning, Monday, like a cup of boiling hot cocoa with crunchy marshmallows." Joshua spoke between gentle slurps. He sat on an ice-cold concrete bench wrapped in layers of coats and sweaters, accessorized by a scarf and tie. Lucy examined Joshua's perpetual scowl for any hint of humor. Steam drifted off the cup warming his hands. She rewrapped her scarf for the hundredth time and resumed pacing in an attempt to keep warm. "Joshua, I never know when you're being serious." He sipped his cocoa audibly crunching down on a marshmallow and almost managed a smile, but reverted back to pure scowl as his gaze fell on the concrete chess tables across the park. The tables started filling this time of the morning, and stayed somewhat full most daylight hours. "Our murderer is here."
- I Had Enough SilverI had enough silver to hire the turnip farmer as a guide, but did he speak the truth? “You can believe it, Gregory. It lives in the western wilderness, the most fearsome serpent I've ever seen.” Mud from baiting a hook stained his hands but did not reach the sleeves of his yellow shirt. No dragon had been seen in the region during the reigns of the last four kings, and most disappeared within a generation after the settlers drained the swamps. “How many dragons have you seen?” I inquired. He chuckled. “Um, well, I've seen plenty of brown rock snakes.” “You compare rock snakes to dragons?” “I'm telling you it stood bigger than a bear. Came upon my sister as she dug turnips.” “She cried out?” “No, my sister neither hears nor speaks, but you never met a kindlier girl. She ran back to find me mending the plow. Never too early to start preparing for sowing, you know. Pale as a corpse, she moved her mouth in vain and pointed.” “What did you do?” “As soon as I saw it, I took my father's spear from above the fireplace. He served as a spearman, a great one, in the king's army, and he taught me a little.” A woman's voice piped up from atop a small boulder that sat against the riverside. “Ralph, you've never seen a dragon, and I've never known you to miss a chance to back down from a fight.” The voice belonged to a …
- Sidewalk Sorcery“Stop it, TJ, you’re doin’ it wrong!” “Shut up, Alex, I am not.” Chalk staining his fingers, TJ drew a double inverted arrow, piercing the center of the circle. “Are, too!” Alex crouched beside his brother, careful not to smudge the lines. “That’s not the way Mom showed us—”
- The Fog LightThese days, Grant Buglass of the Cumbrian Constabulary dislikes going to the coast. The mere sight of the ocean waves is enough to trigger deep, clammy discomfort in him, and the feelings only become worse on days when the Irish Sea is wreathed in impenetrable mist. If only he hadn't taken up the case of Edward Smith, and if only he hadn't read that damned man's diary. If only he had never seen the light in the fog. He had been called to the beach near St. Bee's head just a scant three weeks ago, a simple report of someone having drowned being his call to action. Grim things, drownings; he had never liked the way they left a body looking, and even though they were rare enough the waters near that coastline could be unpredictable and violent when the weather had a mind to whip them up. Wincing as the cold autumn air struck his head and neck, the policeman gritted his teeth and strode out into the icy world outside, making his way up the valley roads from the comfortable yet small station in Whitehaven up to the shelterless heights of St. Bees, the village from which the cliff head gathered its name. It didn't take him long to reach the beach, nor to discover the body. The locals had done their best to keep what few tourists were around away from it, and as he approached one of them ran to meet him, a sturdy woman of …
- 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.
- The Artist, Perfect in His CraftArtatra stormed down the five hundred black marble steps to his laboratories and warrens. It was utterly intolerable, the restrictions under which he worked. That a mind such as his should be yoked to an unimaginative, plodding, stupid . . . well, not stupid, exactly. That was the problem! If the Presence in the Throne was stupid, it could be worked around. The mind behind that mask was sly, it was well-ordered, and it knew far more than it rightly ought. It was unimaginably worse than stupid—it was a functioning mind that lacked vision.
- InterventionMost parents impose on their grown children by asking them to run to the store and buy green beans at a quarter past midnight. The dutiful adult child having just begun a restful doze is awakened by the cell they did not dare turn off, and the request is made among reminders of how much labor the parent suffered on the child's behalf. My father puts all these parental units to shame. You see, he's been a widower for years, and feels the need to make up for the missing parent's requests. So, when he makes a request it isn't by vocalization but by outrageous, though terse, 140 character commands. "Matt joined the crew of a space liner. Go get your brother back." My father's text implied the unwritten, "Or, don't come back, either." So here I stood, facing this close-to-light ship floating in the bay along side normal sea freighters wondering how I'd find Matt on a ship that size.
- 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.
- In the Alley"They found the body in the alley at the bottom of the fire escape." "The one outside my bedroom?" Henry rolled his wide eyes at his cousin. "You're full of it." "All the witnesses said he jumped for the ladder three times before they caught him. He died still reaching up grabbing at anything that came in reach." A couch pillow hit Laveral hard enough to snap his head back and stop his story. Henry smiled at his mother. She didn't notice. She glared at Laveral. He had all her attention.