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|Published in||Night Shift|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
"Strawberry Spring" is a horror short story by Stephen King. It was originally published in the Fall 1968 issue of Ubris magazine, and collected in King's Night Shift in 1978. It employs a twist ending.
"Strawberry Spring" takes place at a fictional New England college, New Sharon College. The main setting for the story is March 1968, specifically starting on March 16, 1968.
An unnamed narrator sees the words "Springheel Jack" in a newspaper. It rekindles memories of a time about eight years ago when he was at New Sharon College. His recollections are nostalgic, almost melancholy.
It was March 16, 1968 when the strawberry spring, a "false" spring much like an Indian summer, arrived. It brought a thick fog that covered the campus at nighttime, providing perfect cover for a serial killer called "Springheel Jack". The body of a girl was found in a parking lot, the first murder in a series. Several more students were murdered during the strawberry spring. The narrator describes the reactions of the college community throughout this time, and the contradicting rumors that spread about the victims. The police arrested Gale Cerman's boyfriend Carl Amalara for the crimes. Another murder was committed while Amalara was in custody and the police were forced to release him. The investigation was made more difficult by the fearful panic of police officers, security guards (an incident is recounted in which an unconscious student is misidentified as a corpse and sent to the morgue by a terrified security guard), and the students. No legitimate suspects were found.
Eight years later, a new strawberry spring arrives, and so does "Springheel Jack", who has taken another victim at New Sharon College. The narrator can’t remember where he was the night of the murder; the last thing he remembers is that he was on his way home from work, turning on his headlights to find his way through the fog. The narrator's wife is concerned that he had been with another woman that night. The narrator fears that he was, and that her corpse is in the trunk of his car.