One for the Road (short story)

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"One for the Road"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Horror short story
Published in Night Shift
Publisher Doubleday
Media type Print (Paperback)
Publication date 1978
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]

This 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, although they're never mentioned), some of the town's vampires have survived and begun spreading their influence again. No one from the surrounding communities ever ventures into Jerusalem's Lot, save for a loudmouth trucker who laughed off their superstituousness, only to never be seen again. Booth admits that people in Falmouth, including himself, carry crucifixes, rosaries, or devotional medals for protection. Though no one verbally speaks of Jerusalem's Lot being filled with vampires, they silently admit they believe it.

Two years after the events of Salem's Lot, Booth and his friend, a bar owner named Herb "Tookey" Tooklander, attempt to rescue the family of a motorist named Gerard Lumley, whose vehicle had become stranded in a ferocious blizzard. At first, mildly contemptuous of Lumley for driving in such weather, both men are horrified when they realize that Lumley's vehicle is stranded near Jerusalem's Lot and reluctantly drive out 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, while Lumley himself is turned by his wife. Booth himself nearly meets the same fate by Lumley's daughter, until Tookey throws a Douay Bible at her. Tookey and Lumley manage to get into their vehicle and drive away.

The story ends with Booth saying Tookey died of myocardial infarction a couple of years previously, and that Booth must still muster his courage to go near the town border between his home and Jerusalem's Lot. He warns anyone that if they are driving on the road through Jerusalem's Lot, never stop for any reason, especially not if a cute little girl is walking atop the snow calling for help.

Connection to King's other works[edit]

This story acts as a sequel to 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]