Stephen King
Richard Bachman
& other short stories



I'm still not sure who sent him the package?

An assassin receives a package in the post from his mom. Inside is a game of toy soldiers, only the soldiers are alive. Does he survive the attack?  

Graveyard Shift

Warwick is the foreman of an old mill in the process of a revamp. One of the workers 'Hall' bears the brunt of Warwick's bullying. Hard faced rats make an appearance and Warwick orders Hall to investigate the basement. Do any of them get out alive?

Well worth a read for the shiver down the back, cringe factor. The cherry on top is the 'haha'.

To find out why, read the story!

Gray Matter


Memorable for the gross factor. If, like me, you visualise what you're reading, keep a bucket to hand. Not so much scary as barf-worthy, but definitely original. A man drinks bad beer and it turns him into something else. To find out what? Read the story. 

I Know What You Need


I'm really not sure what's wrong with a boyfriend who can grant wishes? Ed just wants to give the girl of his dreams everything of hers. Unfortunately for Ed his way of giving her what she needs is paranormal. Not King's best, but not his worst either. A bit predictable. 

Jerusalem's Lot


I had thought this was a precursor to Salem's Lot, but I'm not so sure. The dead man and his niece in the basement were called "Nosferatu" but I still don't see how they were vampires. The story raised more questions than it answered, and I just couldn't get into it. Four out of ten is stretching it and I'm more inclined to three. A whole load of people love the story, but I'm not one of them. That's not to say you won't be. Read it and see. 

Night Surf


Set in the post-apocalyptic world of The Stand. After the virus A6 AKA "Captain Trips" has wiped out most of humanity. A bunch of kids believe they are immune because they all had A2. Then they find a man with the A6 virus. Instead of putting him out of his misery in a humane way, they burn him to death. Captain Trips puts in an appearance.

Anyone who has read The Stand will get this. You need to read the big book first before this short story.  

Quitters Inc


Are you looking for motivation to quit smokng?

Then join Quitters Inc.

For a full run down of the treatment, read the story.

You won't be disappointed.

You'll never smoke again.

They guarantee it. 



This book was not a horror, if anything it is immensely sad. The story is about Barton Dawes. The city have decided to build a road firstly right through Bart's workplace (a commercial laundry) and then through his home. When he refuses to find a relocation for the laundry and everyone loses their jobs, everyone turns on him and his wife leaves him. But it's his house that is the clincher. In his mind he intends to try to stop the road from progressing through the home where he lived  and made memories with his little boy Charley who has died of a brain tumour. Bart does everything in his power to stop the city from tearing his house down. Will he succeed? You will have to read to find out. 

Sometimes They Come Back

Jim Norman relives the murder of his kid brother over and over in his dreams, even sixteen years on. As a teacher he takes over a class of dropouts. One by one the drop outs form the group that murdered his brother Wayne. The bullies have returned from the grave to get the one that got away. But, will they?

Fantastic premise, but for me the story fell a bit short. I wasn't as invested in the main character as I usually get. It might have something to do with the subject matter and detachment. Most other people who have read this story love it so, as always, please read the story.

Strawberry Spring


This story is scary as hell because it can and does happen. A guy is telling the story of a serial killer by the name of "Springheel Jack". That's all I'm saying. You should read the story. But, if you're a lady, not on your own at night. 

The Boogeyman


Lester Billings attends a psychiatrists office to unload the tale of how The Boogeyman murdered his children. Billings is not a particularly nice man. He has little care for any of the deceased children except for one-Andy. Therefore, it's easy to assume that Billings killed his kids. But did he? Or does The Boogeyman really exist?

This short story is part of the Stephen King collection Night Shift.

The Last Rung on the Ladder


This is sad rather than horrific. A man recounts saving his sister from death when a ladder breaks from under her when they were children. His sister tells him she knows he will always be there to save her. 

**Spoiler alert** Only then he isn't.

You need to read this for the 'Hits You in the Feels' factor. 

The Lawnmower Man

I have no idea how King thinks these things up, but this one is brilliant. Harold Parquet hires a guy to take care of his lawn after a mishap with the neighbours cat. Unfortunately, he doesn't like the way the guy mows his lawn.

I can't even tell you why I laughed out loud. 
To find out why, read the story!

The Ledge


Another one that (to me) didn't fit in the horror trope. A guy falls in love with a mobster's wife. He has to walk a ledge 48 stories above the ground. He succeeds only to find the woman is dead. Driven by anger he seeks revenge. 

The Long Walk

I hated it. I saw it coming and somehow was still surprised.
So, you're probably wondering why I gave the book an 8 out of 10 when I hated it? Because King hit my "ick" factor. I don't scare easy. In fact most people would say I don't scare at all. But, I do have an "ick" factor and this is it. Needless, senseless violence is my 'ick'.

Ray Garraty and ninety-nine other boys sign up for The Long Walk. The prize is anything you want for the rest of your life. The winner is the last man standing. The rule is you have to maintain a steady four miles an hour. If you drop behind, you get a warning. If you get three warnings the soldiers shoot you dead.

The Man Who Loved Flowers


I didn't get this from the off and it's only that it's King that I knew the ending would be horrific. It did not make sense. I get that something happened in his past, but I'm still clueless as to what. Unless you're reading the King collection you might want to give this a miss. 

The Running Man

I hated it. In all honesty I might be in the minority here and as there's a movie about the book I probably am, but I truly hated it. The Long Walk was bad enough but inhumanity to a man who is just trying to pay doctor's bills and get medicine for his daughter absolutely knocks me sick. 

The worst of it was that I read it in October 2023! The month after it was set, right in the middle of a terrorist attack on civilians.

It's King. It's well written. It's so full of suspense that it gave me bouts of anxiety on Richard's behalf. I hated it. It's not horror as in frightening, it's horror as in horrific. If I hadn't read some of King's later work in my youth I would right here, right now shelve reading the King collection. I had to give it 5/10 because it is the master of suspense and to give it any less would be a misnomer. I can't give it any more because it's not my general reading matter of choice and if I never read anything like it ever again, it will be too soon.
King, if you intended to make me sick to my stomach with worry, you did your job well.

The Woman in the Room

Yes the story is horrific. More so because no one wants to see a loved one suffer.
Johnny contemplates putting his mother out of her misery with painkillers. This story is critically told. My heart bled for Johnny as he argues with himself over the morals of committing matricide and the fear of the repercussions.
Does he do the deed? Well, you have to read to find out, and it's well worth the read. The only thing that could have made it a ten was it being told in the first person.