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.
- One Night in the TrenchGerald saw the shadowy figure twice before; drifting between corpses in no-man's-land, wavering in the dark. Nerves, he convinced himself. But this time, as it stood in the trench only feet away, there was no easy explanation. His rifle leveled on the intruder. "Identify yourself!" Behind the folds of hood topping the black-robed figure, an even voice answered: "So, you can see me."
- Nobody for ChristmasI didn't want her to hear me. I didn't want to disturb her. Jayleen was kneeling with her back to me. This was the wrong setting for her. I'd tried to make the house look cheerful for Christmas. Tinsel braided the mantle. The few cards I'd received were displayed—robin and holly bright. But Jayleen should've be kneeling on a rush mat, she should have been screened by paper doors as she worked on her shodō. I'd met Jayleen just a few months after Mother's death. In that grey hopeless fog she'd reached out to me. She was so different from any woman I'd ever known. I could spend hours just watching her. "I can sense you, Dave," she said.
- At the Edge“Well there’s your proof.” Riley slapped Gus on the shoulder. “The Earth is flat.” Gus stumbled back away from the edge, overcompensating for Riley’s slap. “I told you he was smarter than you,” Violet chimed in with her hands on her hips. Her parka’s drab green somehow looked feminine despite its bulk. Riley shook his head and gave his attention back to the chasm. Gus approached the edge again, cautiously. He got onto all fours, then on his stomach, and leaned his head out over the cliff of ice edging the world. Gus kept the bulk of his body firmly touching the snow and ice—as far back as possible from the infinite drop. Only his head hung out over the edge of the world. He pulled out his phone and started snapping pics of everything in sight. Riley picked up a couple of handfuls of snow, molding them in his hands. He stepped up to the edge without taking precautions and dropped the snowball, watching it disappear into the sky-blue nothingness. “I was expecting something more spectacular,” Riley admitted. “It’s just like looking up, ... except you’re not.”
- 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.
- Tail"You won't burn my wedding pictures." I extended my hand, demanding the memory stick back. "Naiomi, you plugged this into your work computer?" Carter ground his teeth while taking a deep breath, following it with a sigh. "I'll have to run a full scan to see what kind of virus you've given it. You know the security policies. Your memory stick is now company property. You signed the same NDA we all signed. I'm throwing this memory stick into the incinerator." "They're the only copy of my wedding pictures, and I need to get them off that stick." I tossed my single, long, blond braid over my shoulder for effect. I doubted tossing my braid looked terrifying. Perhaps if I swung my head around and whipped him across the face with it.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.