The Road Virus Moves North is an exquisitely creepy story by Stephen King, and perhaps predictably, it made my hair curdle, my stomach stand on end, and my blood go weak.
It’s about an author who is returning to his home in Maine after attending a convention. On his way, he passes a yard sale and, on impulse, stops to look at what’s available. He finds a painting that intrigues him; he can’t resist it, so he makes the purchase.
I won’t tell you what’s on the painting, but I will say that he next stop is his aunt’s house, and she won’t let him bring it inside. She insists that he put it right back in the trunk of his car. He does so, and after leaving his aunt’s house he throws it into a ravine, but of course it doesn’t end there! That would be too easy.
I haven’t read much of King’s work before now, but I wish I had. One thing I like is the level of detail he provides. Another — in this story at least — is the fact that the ending is not precise, and the reader must use her own judgment to decide what actually happened. King is a master of suspense (duh!) and he had me going from the first paragraph. The common saying “I couldn’t put it down” was true for me (technically, since I was reading it as an ebook on the computer, it’s “I couldn’t stop reading”).
I highly recommend this story. It’s not very long, so it won’t take too much of your time. At least, until it gets dark. Then you may start to worry.