Sunday 5 September 2010

Vampire Stories from Stephen King's Night Shift

Hello Everyone!!!  As you all know, I'm taking an extended break from blogging while I sort a few things in my personal life.  However, I wanted to take a break from my blogging break and come back to tell you about a few short stories I've read recently (nothing takes your mind off your own problems like reading about people dodging evil towns and vampires, right?! ;-).

Stephen King's Night Shift.  First of all, I didn't realize he wrote the short story Kitty, a bit of which shows up in the relationship between my brother-sister protagonists, Cray and Miranda.  In Kitty, the sister is hanging from a rickety ladder on the hayloft in a barn -- the rung she's holding onto is about to break, and when her brother tells her to "let go", she does, not even turning her head to see what's below her.  She trusted him that much.  I won't divulge the rest of the story, but I was touched early on by that brother-sister trust, and it's neat to remember that King did the story which influenced a small part of my own work.

Okay, now, the vampire stories.  There are two of them in Night Shift:  Jerusalem's Lot, and One For the Road.  Both deal with the town featured in 'Salem's Lot, one predating (by about 100 years) the Ben Mears story, while the other takes place a year or two after.

Both are excellent examples of writing. King really has a way of getting into a character's voice, using older American English for Jerusalem's Lot, while taking things to a more modern, folksy level in Road.  It's also interesting to note that both horror stories are written in the first person -- usually you see horror tales in the third, but I actually like first person -- I can connect with the narrator more, and in horror, well that's certainly a plus if you like to scare the bejeezus out of yourself!

A thing I noticed (and ended up doing a bit of research on) -- in Jerusalem's Lot, the mystery revolves around a Latin book with the word "Worm" in the title.  That, as well as events in the book, reminded me of that 80's movie, Lair of the White Worm.  I researched the movie, and you know what -- it's based upon a Bram Stoker story.  Way!  Looks like King was influenced by Stoker in more ways than just Dracula!!!  Apparently Stoker got his idea for his own story from English folklore involving the Lambton Worm.  The similarities are a bit striking, right down to the curse being inherited by family members.

If Jerusalem's Lot explains why the town in 'Salem's Lot is cursed (and why Barlow was attracted to it in the first place -- and remember that weird chapter where Straker makes the sacrifice of the first child?  Yeah, this short story explains that a bit more) -- One For the Road is a nice epilogue to 'Salem's Lot, which doesn't really have a solid resolution at its ending.  It's downright creepy.  Of course, you, the reader, know what's going on, but the confrontations are done so well -- again, a testament to King's writing style -- the last line is definitely spine-tingling!!  Awesome!!

So, if you've got some downtime and want to nestle down with a few good short, scary stories, I do recommend Jerusalem's Lot and One For the Road -- just read them early in the day so you won't be too scared at night!!

By all, and I hope to talk with you guys again soon!


  1. Nicole, it's great to hear from you. You know, I bet I haven't read half of the short stories in the collections that I have purchased over the years from Uncle Stevie. There's just so many! This post of your's makes me want to comb through my library and see what I have that I may have missed or simply forgotten.
    Thanks for posting.
    Take care,

  2. Both stories are also in the illustrated Salem's Lot edition - a lovely volume, it has to be said. I think Jerusalem's Lot was also done as an audio at some point as well but can't remember where I noticed that one.

  3. Great post. It is such a long time ago that I read Night Shift and must try to do it again. For me there is only one King and it is not Elvis!