Stephen King Finally Just Says the Hell with It

Forward: What is Horror and Why is it So Scary?

First off, Dear Reader, thank you for buying my book. Believe me, I can use the money; it’s amazing how fast it goes once you start using stacks of fifties as kindling.
Now, "horror" is not the same as "terror." I explore this in detail in the forward of every single horror anthology that exists and some that don’t, so forgive me if I skip right to the pseudo-academia. Horror plays on our most primal fear, the fear of the unknown. Evolutionary biologists believe that fear of the unknown dates back to when people didn’t know a whole lot and were constantly getting the shit scared out of them.
Now come, take my hand, and we’ll walk into the dark together.
Let go of my hand. That’s just the way I write.

ONE: The Clouds Gather

Sherman Puddlesby was an old man who was haunted by the memory of his late wife, and at this particular moment he was having a more-poignant-than-usual reminiscence, so it really mattered when the huge thing wearing overalls and a helicopter beanie disemboweled him with a Garden Weasel, because, you see, I’ve made you care.

TWO: The Basement in the Bookstore

There was some kind of evil Force at work, and you might be saying to yourself, "but ‘force’ isn’t a proper noun." Lighten up, you jackbooted language fascist—it’s for emphasis.
So anyway, there was this vague, undefined Malevolence that pervaded everything in the town, and I might eventually reveal some kind of structure to it, but rest assured it won’t be as cool as something Clive would come up with. Prick.

THREE: The Old Mill that Gets Mentioned a Lot and How it Relates to Stuff

Mitch and Bethany suddenly realized they were the only two non-eccentric characters and should therefore have sex.
I’m thinking there’s some initial guilt over backstory stuff but they overcome it with nipple-sucking.
And maybe when they’re done they talk about the Native American Manitou myth, which is sort of like all my antagonists and it makes it sound like I’m following in a tradition instead of just winging it.

FOUR: The Colorful Tertiary Character who Started Off as a Coward Does Something Heroic and Redeems Himself and Dies

"Hey, you’re gonna be fine," soothed Andrea, the waitress with latent artistic talent awakened in the crucible of adversity and a hot ass. "You saved us all from that unholy Thing that could take the shape of whatever the situation required to move the plot along."
Wendel spit out a mouthful of blood and the better part of his uvula. "I was just trying to impress the girls."
Everyone laughed, but joylessly. This was even more heartbreaking than when the poor but dignified old black man (who’d faced down the Klan and wasn’t about to run from no fool monster) got killed.
"Seriously, could somebody jerk me off or something? Sort of dying a virgin over here," Wendel gurgled.

EPILOGUE: The Aftermath of the Storm, Literally and Figuratively

Mitch pulled Bethany close. "I’m glad we chose to give love a shot even though my pregnant wife was killed by a drunk driver five years ago and your ex-husband used to hit you with a bowling trophy, hence our intimacy issues and other flaws that make us more three-dimensional," he cooed.
"Me too," she purred, "and I think we should adopt the little orphan girl whose blindness gives her a kind of second sight. It’d be serendipitous and plus we could run a wicked poker hustle out of the rec room."
"You got it, babe. Hey, look—the clouds are breaking."
Bethany turned her gaze upward and froze. "Wait, Mitch. That cloud there looks an awful lot like one of the many guises of the unnamable Evil which we just defeated using the talismanic power of childhood memories."
Mitch Laughed. "You’re right, Beth. It also looks like a bunny, a Paddy Wagon, and Lyndon Johnson. That blasphemous phantom from another dimension—and I’m not even sure which one of those words I’m supposed to capitalize—isn’t coming back, not after what Wendel’s balsa-wood dinosaur skeletons did to it. You don’t have to be scared anymore."

Then the cloud disemboweled them with a Garden Weasel.


Unless the straight-to-DVD of this one does okay

Readers, it’s all in your hands now! Vote for your favorite of these Ghost Stories over in our CHUDSTORIES forum on our message boards. If you’re not already a registered member, sign up (it’s free)!