The story is the account of an unnamed man being held in prison, recounting his life as a college dropout who had met and fallen in love with a beautiful girl named Nona while aimlessly hitchhiking on a snowy winter's night in Maine. That night, the narrator is seduced by Nona into murdering several innocent bystanders. Somewhere near King's fictional town of Castle Rock, Nona lures the narrator to a graveyard, and, when asking the repeated question 'Do you love?' morphs into a hideously large rat and laughs at him. It is not immediately clear whether or not the narrator has encountered a supernatural force, or if Nona is a figment of insanity. Later, the narrator is found alone by the authorities, taken into custody and sent to prison where he now writes his tale, preparing to commit suicide as he contemplates hearing strange sounds in the walls (not unlike H. P. Lovecraft's short story "The Rats in the Walls", or King's own earlier work, "Jerusalem's Lot").
In Hearts In Atlantis there is a character called Ronnie Malenfant, the same surname as the character Betsy Malenfant which appears in the story. In Hearts In Atlantis, Ronnie refers to having a sister.
Ace Merrill and Vern Tessio, who first appeared in The Body, appear in flashback in this story. Ace later played a major role in Needful Things.