One for the road * Stephen King

Do you remember the creepy vampire – infested Salem’s Lot? This is a side story of what can happen if you detour and end up in it.

This tale is narrated in the first person by Booth, an elderly resident of a small town that neighbors Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine.

“What’s this town, Jerusalem’s Lot?” he asked. “Why was the road drifted in? And no lights on anywhere?”

I said, “Jerusalem’s Lot burned out two years back.”

“And they never rebuilt?” He looked like he didn’t believe it.

Booth states that things in town got quiet after the great fire that burned at the lot. Though Mark and Ben are never directly mentioned or known to residents outside the town or Booth, it hints they accomplished killing some vampires. But Booth goes on to explain that the peacefulness didn’t last long, hinting that some did survive and the vampires spread again.

Booth admits that people of his town now live with religious superstition and are wary at night.

It even had a movie adaptation too
It even had a movie adaptation too

Though no one verbally speaks of Jerusalem’s Lot being filled with vampires, they silently admit they believe in it. Booth describes a winter’s night years ago, when he and his friend, a bar owner named Herb “Tookey” Tooklander, attempted to rescue the family of a motorist named Gerard Lumley, whose vehicle had become stranded in a ferocious blizzard. At first mildly contemptuous of Lumley for driving in such weather, both men are horrified when they realize that Lumley’s vehicle is stranded in Jerusalem’s Lot. Though they know “the Lot” has gone bad, they reluctantly still decide to drive out in Tookey’s Scout and attempt to save Lumley’s family.

The snow comes flying so thick and fine that it looks like sand and sounds like that, beating on the sides of your car or pickup. You don’t want to use your high beams because they reflect off the snow and you can’t see ten feet in front of you. With the low beams on, you can see maybe fifteen feet. But I can live with the snow. It’s the wind I don’t like, when it picks up and begins to howl, driving the snow into a hundred weird flying shapes and sounding like all the hate and pain and fear in the world. There’s death in the throat of a snowstorm wind, white death-and maybe something beyond death. That’s no sound to hear when you’re tucked up all cozy in your own bed with the shutters bolted and the doors locked. It’s that much worse if you’re driving. And we were driving smack into ‘Salem’s Lot.

Instead, they barely manage to save themselves from the man’s wife and daughter, who have been turned into vampires, while Lumley himself ends up being vampirized by his wife.

I still have bad dreams about that stormy night we went out there. Not about the woman so much as the little girl, and the way she smiled when she held her arms up so I could pick her up. So she could give me a kiss. But I’m an old man and the time comes soon when dreams are done.

You may have an occasion to be traveling in southern Maine yourself one of these days. Pretty part of the countryside. You may even stop by Tookey’s Bar for a drink. Nice place. They kept the name just the same. So have your drink, and then my advice to you is to keep right on moving north. Whatever you do, don’t go up that road to Jerusalem’s Lot.

Especially not after dark.

There’s a little girl somewhere out there. And I think she’s still waiting for her good-night kiss.

girl_by_the_carRead the whole story here:


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