7 Short Stories By Stephen King You Need To Read (Right Now, Like Immediately)
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7 Short Stories By Stephen King You Need To Read (Right Now, Like Immediately)

I'm serious -- right now. Go on.

7 Short Stories By Stephen King You Need To Read (Right Now, Like Immediately)

Stephen King has published 54 novels, more than 200 short stories, five books of non-fiction, five e-books, 11 collections of stories, also some movies and plays and poetry and God knows what else. His first professional short story was published in 1967. He’d been publishing his own work in one way or another since, I sh*t you not, 1959. His most recent book of short stories was released on November 3rd, 2015. Literally last week. The man is a machine. He hasn’t taken a break in 50 years. I had to take a break yesterday after writing a single email.

Out of all of these publications, most of them are famous or moderately famous. I’m not going to waste my time telling you how important Stephen King is, because if you don’t know, there’s no hope for you. Novels like "The Shining" and "Carrie" have been adapted into films that became classics in their own right, and short stories like "Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Body" (aka "Stand By Me") have been adapted into films that everyone is really surprised to hear were written by Stephen King.

I love talking about Stephen King. I love thinking about Stephen King. He’s the reason why I write. The dude inspires me on the daily. I want him to inspire you.

Just look at him. Aww.

If you haven’t read any of the classic Stephen King novels I mentioned above, or "It" or "The Green Mile" or "Pet Sematary" or "The Stand" or anything else, please do. I’m not here to tell you that his popular stuff isn’t as good as his deep cuts. That’s dumb, and also, all of his stuff is equally dope. Except for the nonfiction about baseball because I do not give an F about baseball.

But. There are a lot of stories that aren’t as well known as the ones that literally everybody knows about but are still worth reading. As your resident Stephen King scholar, I have complied a helpful list for you.

Prepare yourself. These stories are intense. They are masterfully crafted. They are dope. They are cool. They are spooky.

Yeah, like that spooky.

1. The Raft

First published in 1982 in Gallery magazine, "The Raft" is a cautionary tale about the dangers of swimming in lakes during autumn. Okay, not really. It’s just about college kids who go swimming in a lake during autumn when no one’s around and all the horrible, terrible things that happen to them there.

You can find it here or in "Skeleton Crew," King’s 1985 collection of short stories.

2. Gramma

I am scared by many things. "Gramma" is one of them. Actually, it is probably the #1 of them. "Gramma" is one of the few stories that makes me jump when I read it. Like, I read a sentence and it physically startles me. It’s really weird. This is a story about a young boy left home alone one night with his sick grandmother. I am literally too freaked out to write any more about it.

You can find it here or in "Skeleton Crew." You should probably just buy "Skeleton Crew."

3. You Know They Got a Hell of a Band

This is my favorite story by Stephen King. My first time really reading it and being old enough to truly comprehend it, it made me laugh and cry and like, literally do that thing where you hold your hand over your mouth and yell into it. I was late to my shift at Hot Topic because I was reading it super intensely in my car in the mall parking lot. I considered dropping out of my whole life and riding the rails with just this story so I never had to stop reading it. I love this story. It is everything I have ever wanted in a story. If you like old rock stars, tense marriages, action, adventure, Twilight Zone-y small towns, purgatory, alternate dimensions, and everything in between, this is the story for you. This is the story for you anyway. Just read it. Please.

You can find it in "Nightmares and Dreamscapes," King’s 1993 collection of short stories.

4. Crouch End

If you like Lovecraftian nonsense, you’ll like this one. It’s supremely weird and absolutely horrific, with lots of monsters and incompetent police. So basically just like normal life. Sigh. Anyway, this is about an American couple on vacation in London who get hopelessly lost in a neighborhood called Crouch End, which is a real place, and then hopelessly lost inside a monster straight from Cthulu mythos, which is also very real.

You can find it in "Nightmares and Dreamscapes," which you should also just buy.

5. All That You Love Will Be Carried Away

I have read this countless times in my personal life and one time in my academic life. Every time, the haunting beauty of this piece floors me. It’s hard to pick my heart off of the floor. It’s the story of Alfie Zimmer, a lonely door-to-door salesman with a penchant for truck stop bathroom graffiti. One especially lonely night, Alfie finds himself considering suicide.

You can find it here or in "Everything’s Eventual," King’s 2002 collection of short stories.

6. The Road Virus Heads North

This story is about a freaky-ass painting of a guy with fangs driving his car on a bridge. A man buys the painting at a garage sale because he likes freaky things, but then the painting starts changing. Moving. Following even. It was evidently inspired by a painting King kept in his own home that his family hated. Yikes.

You can find it here or in "Everything’s Eventual." Oh, just friggin' buy it.

7. A Very Tight Place

Ahem. I do not, repeat, do not, recommend this to those who are faint of heart or have weak stomachs. This is one of the few things I’ve ever been genuinely grossed out by, and that’s mostly because it’s not drenched in blood and guts. It is drenched in another bodily…substance. Yuch. I’m sorry.

You can find it in "Just After Sunset," King’s 2008 collection of short stories.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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