Home Delivery (short story)
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (February 2013)|
|Genre(s)||Science fiction horror comedy short story|
|Published in||The Book of the Dead (1st release),
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
"Home Delivery" is a short story by Stephen King. It was first published in the zombie anthology Book Of The Dead (1989) and later included in King's short story collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993).
The protagonist of the story is Maddie Pace, a timid and indecisive young woman who lives on a small island named Gennesault (or "Jenny"), off the coast of Maine. Maddie is both pregnant and a widow, having recently lost her husband in a fishing boat accident.
After a scattering of initial outbreaks, dead bodies all over the world begin to reanimate en masse and attack the living. The source of the phenomenon is eventually traced to a bizarre, presumably alien, construct in orbit high above the Earth's south pole (more precisely "above the hole in the ozone layer".) A space shuttle under joint American-Chinese authority visits the site and promptly meets with disaster. One of the crew survives just long enough to report that the target object appears to be a giant ball of seething worms which attack and rip open the shuttle. He reports that the crew's mangled remains are still alive. "Ching-Ling Soong--or rather, Ching-Ling Soong's severed head, one means to say-- just floated past me, and her eyes were open and blinking. She appeared to recognize me, and to--". The Shuttle exploded three seconds later. Further attempts to destroy the ball fail, the zombie plague spreads, and civilization collapses.
All of this is witnessed by Maddie and Jenny's other inhabitants. They gather up all the available firearms to prepare for their own attack, which all too soon erupts from the island's small cemetery. The island's men are forced to destroy the zombies of their dead loved ones as they crawl out of their graves. The still-moving pieces of the reanimated corpses are then burned with kerosene and the remains plowed underground by a bulldozer. Frank Daggett, the elderly man who did most of the organizing of the successful defense, suffers a fatal heart attack and has himself blasted to pieces so he won't reanimate.
While she is hearing about the battle at the cemetery from her neighbor, Maddie recalls her own confrontation with the animated corpse of her husband, come back to get her from the bottom of the sea. She succeeds in singlehandedly destroying him/it and faces the future, however grim, with renewed confidence and hope.
There are some differences between the versions published in The Book of the Dead and Nightmares and Dreamscapes, none of which are significant to the plot. Most notably, the space expedition in the original publication was U.S.-Soviet; the change in the later publication reflects the end of the Cold War.
In September 2009, the story was optioned as a theatrical release and was in pre-production. No release date has been set at this time.
|This article is outdated. (March 2014)|
George Beahm said that the story is "quintessential King" and that King writes the characters with "considerable skill and sympathy".
- This scenario is impossible outside of fiction; an object could not physically sit stationary above the Pole while in the type of low Earth orbit that the Space Shuttle could access.
- "Home delivery: Servicio a domicilio". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
- "Ryuhei Kitamura and Stephen King Making a Home Delivery". Dread Central. 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
- Beahm, George (1998). Stephen King from A to Z: An Encyclopedia of His Life and Work. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 97. ISBN 9780836269147.