One for the Road (short story)

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"One for the Road"
AuthorStephen King
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Horror short story
Published inNight Shift
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Publication date1978
Preceded by"'Salem's Lot"

"One for the Road" is a short story by Stephen King, first published in the March/April 1977 issue of Maine, and later collected in King's 1978 collection Night Shift.

Plot summary[edit]

The tale is narrated in the first person by Booth, an elderly resident of Falmouth, Maine, a small town which neighbors Jerusalem's Lot. Although things got quiet after Jerusalem's Lot was consumed by a brush fire (set by the protagonists in 'Salem's Lot, though they are never mentioned by name), some of the vampires have survived. Residents of Falmouth and other communities neighboring Jerusalem's Lot know that the place is full of vampires, but never speak of it. Booth admits that people in Falmouth, including himself (a non-Catholic), carry crucifixes, rosaries, or devotional medals for protection. No one from any of the neighboring communities ever ventures near Jerusalem's Lot, save a loudmouthed trucker who derides it all as nonsense in a fit of drunken bravado one night and goes into the area, only to never be seen again.

Three years after the events of Salem's Lot, Booth and his friend, bar owner Herb "Tookey" Tooklander, attempt to rescue the family of a motorist named Gerard Lumley, whose vehicle had become stranded in a ferocious blizzard at night. 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, and reluctantly drive out in an International Scout in an attempt to save his family. Instead, they barely manage to save themselves from Lumley's wife and daughter, who have been turned into vampires. Lumley falls victim to his wife. Booth himself nearly falls victim to Lumley's daughter. Only Tookey’s swift action of throwing a Douay Bible at her saves him, driving her off when it hits her. The two men manage to get into their vehicle and drive away.

Booth concludes the story by saying Tookey died of a myocardial infarction a couple of years after the incident. He mentions that he has nightmares about that night, and Lumley’s daughter in particular. At the very end, he warns the reader that if they are in the area, to never go up the road to Jerusalem's Lot for any reason, especially at night, lest they encounter Lumley’s daughter, the little girl who is "still waiting for her goodnight kiss".

Connection to King's other works[edit]

This story acts as a sequel to King's 1975 novel 'Salem's Lot, and is also connected to the story of "Jerusalem's Lot", which is a prequel to both, while also appearing in Night Shift. Both stories were later collected in the 2005 Salem's Lot Illustrated Edition.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]