Category Archives: Short Story

Tall Tale TV: The Baboons of Mars

“The Baboons of Mars” is now on Tall Tale TV! Check it out! (It’s free!)

Don’t you love the narration? Thanks Chris! Make sure to subscribe to Tall Tale TV on Youtube or sign up for his weekly mailing list.

Esther Davis writes family-friendly science fiction and fantasy. You can find more short stories in A Dog, 3 Cats, and a Dragon and on her blog.

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Filed under Short Story

The Ivory Maiden

by Esther Davis

Download PDF here

I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


“You will not change my answer.”


Morgan turned toward the ceiling-high window, letting her red hair fall like a fiery wall between her and her sister. “I do what’s best for the city.”

“You can’t stop the townsfolk, you know,” Glenda said. “Barring her from the city means nothing. We’ll seek out the Ivory Maiden and present our wishes.”


“Yes, Colwyn and I, and anyone else who wishes to join.”

Morgan kept her back turned, her gaze on the snow-coated courtyard outside. Frost crystals obscured the view, as if the horse drawn sleighs and ice coated Ever-Bearing Tree belonged on some moth-eaten tapestry. “I’ll have you arrested.”

“And break your nephew’s heart?” Glenda demanded.

“Better to crush his dreams while he’s young, before they’ve had time to embed themselves. This selfish wish-asking needs to end.” The words came out numb, as if they’d sat in the chilly air all morning before marching through Morgan’s mouth.

“Selfish? He’s asking the Maiden to heal his sick kitten!”

Morgan didn’t reply. Her lips felt heavy, frozen shut. Silence drafted through the room, its stillness broken only by the ticking of the grandfather clock. When she spoke, her voice seemed too loud, echoing off the vaulted ceiling. “The royal ambassador comes tomorrow. If we are to gain the king’s favor, his representative is to hear nothing of the Maiden or this wish making.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That you better keep your visit to the witch silent enough that I have no grounds to order your arrest.”

Morgan felt her sister’s gaze laying siege on the fiery wall of hair flowing down her back. She needn’t look to see the vast room separating her and Glenda nor the oaken desk barricading them from one another.

“Ever since you took father’s place…” Glenda’s voice drifted off. The doorknob turned—groaning. “I don’t recognize you anymore.”

Morgan watched the fluttering snowfall long after the study door thudded shut. Through the window she watched Glenda, wrapped in a thick overcoat, exit the manor into the snowy courtyard. Colwyn, Glenda’s seven-year-old son, clung to her arm, trotting to keep up with his mother’s stride. He looked upward, saying something to his mother. Glenda shook her head.

Glenda handed money to a sleigh driver, then she and Colwyn boarded and disappear into the clutter of huts and brick-built businesses beyond the manor’s outer hedge.

A militiaman entered the room. “You called for horse rider, ma’am?”

“Follow my sister’s sleigh from afar,” Morgan said. “Don’t let her spot you, and tell no one what you see. No arrests are to be made. Just keep her safe from the bandits, and send a messenger to me once they’ve returned safely home.” Continue reading

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The Unmarked Headstone

Arya’s lonely Chevy pickup rumbled through the forest roads, the last of the autumn leaves still clinging to bare branches. She had no guides save John’s journal, filled with ink stained maps and a single name: Saint Joseph’s Cemetery.

She’d left behind no note. Who would read it? Her blind grandmother? An unconscious husband?

Besides, Arya had no time for notes, not after what she read in John’s journal.

It had to be tonight, on Hallows’ Eve.

Read the rest of “The Unmarked Headstone” on Amazon Kindle. 



Welcome to October, fellow ghouls! …though it has been October for a while, hasn’t it? Anyway, this month’s story is a Amazon Kindle ebook. It includes my new story The Unmarked Headstone as well as one of my previously published works as bonus material. Check it out, and if you like it make sure to share with a fellow fiend–friend–jack-o-latern? Okay, I’m done with the lame puns for now.

For reminders and more stories subscribe above (below for you mobile users) or follow me on Twitter / Facebook / Instagram. If you liked to offer support, check out my page. Thanks for reading!


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A Tale of Two Planets

by Esther Davis


“Observation” by Jason Levien

“Girl, you really need to stop growing so much greenery. It only attracts more vermin, you know.”

Earth floated in silence, with more dignity than Mars ever mustered in the face of Venus’s taunts.

“How about another meteor? It took out your lizard problem. Or maybe widen your orbit a bit and freeze them. That worked for Mars.”

Mars felt his core trembling. The roots, the fishes, the pattering feet—it had felt so…alive.

Venus’s scoff still rang in his mind. Planets shouldn’t be alive.

If only he had ignored Venus. If only Mars were more like Earth.

“Earth, honey, you look horrendous. Even worse than poor Mars did. Those stone tumors can’t be healthy.”

“They’re cities!” Mars snapped before he could hold back the words.

“Cities?” Venus’s voice dropped to a venomous tone. “You let them get intelligent? You know what happens next, sweetie?” Venus asked Earth. “They fly off you and come to infect me!”

Earth continued orbiting in silence.

“I swear, the year I see vermin buzzing off of you, I’ll have Sun burn them up. Every last one.”

An infection? Mars studied Earth for a moment, letting Venus’s words weigh on his mind.

Earth caught his gaze, suspicion radiating from her globe. Mars jerked away, pretending to scrutinize his moons instead while containing his excitement.

Mars could have life again. Continue reading

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Filed under Sketch

Tall Tale TV: Scars

Artwork by Mohammad H. Attaran –

Thank you Chris Herron for the fantastic narration! Make sure to subscribe to Tall Tale TV on Youtube or sign up for his weekly mailing list.

Thanks for watching! If you enjoyed “Scars” check out my book, A Dog, 3 Cats, and a Dragon, publishing next week. You can also subscribe above (or below for you mobile users) and follow me on Twitter / Facebook / Instagram.

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Within Paper and Ink

by Esther Davis

Amid the raging battle, the book—not the carnage—captivated my mind.

For years, I’d trained in the ancient art of incantations. I’d conquered armies with a conjured tiger fighting at my side. Father entrusted the enchantment of the Imperial Guard’s armor to my care. Yet never had I created an item so powerful as this book.

It terrified me.

That morning, I’d slid the paper doors shut around me, boxing myself in with our family shrine. Heart pounding, mind racing, I fell to me knees on the bamboo matting. The weaved mat dug into my bare shins.

I spoke not, for fear Father would hear my words. If my ancestors truly cared, they’d read the pleas through my tears.

Help me, my heart begged. This sacrifice…I can’t. Show me another way.

I knelt in silence, already knowing my answer. I must finish what I’d started.

I must defeat the Shadows. Continue reading

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Filed under Japan, Short Story

The Baboons of Mars

by Esther Davis

No one ever wanted to play catch on Mars.

Nine-year-old Jasper trudged across the red sandscape, grumbling under his breath about boring adults and stupid baby sisters. Dad promised a game of catch. Why’d the colony’s generators have to break down today?

Katy couldn’t play, ‘cause she wasn’t even a year old. Nibbles the Hamster couldn’t play, because he got loose and chewed through the generator’s main electrical wire. Dad said they could cremate the hamster tomorrow, after he fixed the colony’s power supply.

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Servant of the Tiger

by Esther Davis

“Can I see your scar?”

Makoto’s slender fingers brushed his palm. Outwardly, Ichirou remained calm, gaze still fixed on the white and orange coy fish drifting in the shallow pond below. But Ichirou’s breath caught in his throat. Electricity built on the flesh of his excited heart. This energy could’ve cast a dangerous spell in battle.

Ichirou turned to face her while his free hand fell in his pocket. His fingers grasped the cold ring hidden inside. “I call it a scar, but it’s a bit more than that.” Continue reading


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by Esther Davis

"Risen From The Skies" by Mohammad Hossein Attaran

artwork by Mohammad Hossein Attaran


Klon’s voice rasped as he shouted to his wife. But she didn’t duck beneath the stone table or make for the cellar. Instead, Jini stepped next to him at the window, cradling their child in her arm. “They broke through the defenses, didn’t they?” she asked, emotionless.

High above, violet lightning flashed across the billowing fumes of poisonous clouds.

“Let’s go.” Continue reading

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by Esther Davis


The vending machine whined. Dr. Jordynn Chambers snatched the deposited vial from the rusting slot and held it up to eye level. Silky white strands floated in the ethanol. DNA.

Stickers had once labeled the machine, but they faded away long ago. The genetic code could be from any plant. Or animal or bacterium for that matter. Honestly, Jordynn was shocked that the machine even ran. It was old enough to take physical quarters, and Jordynn was old enough to still carry them. She wondered if any of the other professors knew this rusted hunk still existed. Doubtful. The storage room held centuries of discarded—excuse her, archived—student projects. They’d probably hidden her thesis design  down here too, where gathered dust for the past sixty-three years… Continue reading

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