Read the start of Stephen King's “Cujo” sequel in excerpt from story collection, “You Like It Darker”

The legendary horror author's latest short story anthology hits bookshelves May 21, 2024.

Are you rabid for more Stephen King? Then fear not or maybe fear plenty.

The author's new collection of short stories, You Like It Darker, will be published by Scribner on May 21, 2024. The book features 12 tales from the Carrie author, many never-before-published. Included in the new stories is "Rattlesnakes," a sequel to King's 1981 novel Cujo, in which a grieving widower travels to Florida for respite and instead receives an unexpected inheritance — with major strings attached. And you can read an excerpt from the story below.

The other tales include "Two Talented Bastids," which explores the long-hidden secret of how the eponymous gentlemen got their skills, and "Danny Coughlin's Bad Dream," about a brief and unprecedented psychic flash that upends dozens of lives. In "The Dreamers," a taciturn Vietnam vet answers a job ad and learns that there are some corners of the universe best left unexplored while "The Answer Man" asks if prescience is good luck or bad and reminds us that a life marked by unbearable tragedy can still be meaningful.

You can check out a complete list of tales featured in You Like It Darker, read an excerpt from "Rattlesnakes," and see the full spread of the book's cover below.

Scribner 'You Like It Darker' by Stephen King
Scribner 'You Like It Darker' by Stephen King

Complete list of titles in You Like It Darker

  • "Two Talented Bastids"

  • "The Fifth Step"

  • "Willie the Weirdo"

  • "Danny Coughlin's Bad Dream"

  • "Finn"

  • "On Slide Inn Road"

  • "Red Screen"

  • "The Turbulence Expert"

  • "Laurie"

  • "Rattlesnakes"

  • "The Dreamers"

  • "The Answer Man"

Excerpt from "Rattlesnakes," included in You Like It Darker, by Stephen King

July–August 2020

I wasn't surprised when I saw the elderly woman pushing the double stroller with the empty seats; I had been forewarned. This was on Rattlesnake Road, which winds the four-mile length of Rattlesnake Key on the Florida Gulf Coast. Houses and condos to the south; a few McMansions at the north end.

There's a blind curve half a mile from Greg Ackerman's McMansion, where I was staying that summer, bouncing around like the last pea in an oversized can. Tangled undergrowth higher than my head (and I'm six-four) flanked the road, seeming to press in and make what was narrow to begin with even narrower. The curve was marked on either side by fluorescent green plastic kids, each bearing the warning SLOW! CHILDREN AT PLAY. I was walking, and at the age of seventy-two, in the simmering heat of a July morning, I was going plenty slow. My plan was to walk to the swing gate which divides the private part of the road from the part the county maintains, then go back to Greg's house. I was already wondering if I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

I hadn't been entirely sure Greg wasn't putting me on about Mrs. Bell, but here she was, and pushing her oversized stroller toward me. One of the wheels had a squeak and could have used some oil. She was wearing baggy shorts, sandals with knee-length socks, and a big blue sunhat. She stopped, and I remembered Greg asking me if her problem—that's what he called it—would give me a problem. I said it wouldn't, but now I wondered.

"Hello. I think you must be Mrs. Bell. My name is Vic Trenton. I'm staying at Greg's house for awhile."

"A friend of Greg's? How nice! An old friend?"

"We worked in the same Boston ad agency. I was a copywriter and he—"

"Pictures and layout, I know. Before he made the big bucks." She pushed the double pram closer, but not too close. "Any friend of Greg's, so on and so forth. It's a pleasure to meet you. Since we're going to be neighbors for as long as you'll be here, please call me Alita. Or Allie, if you like. Are you okay? No sign of this new flu?"

"I'm okay. No cough, no fever. I assume you are, too."

"I am. Which is good, as old as I am, and with a few of the usual old-person medical issues. One of the few nice things about being herein the summer is how most people clear out. I saw on the news this morning that Dr. Fauci is saying there could be a hundred thousandnew cases every day. Can you believe that?"

I told her I had seen the same thing.

"Did you come here to get away from it?"

"No. I needed some time off and the place was offered to me, so I took it." That was far from the whole story.

"I think you're a little crazy to be vacationing in this part of the world during the summer, Mr. Trenton."

According to Greg, you're the one who's crazy, I thought. And judging by the stroller you're wheeling around, he wasn't wrong.

"Vic, please," I said. "Since we're neighbors."

Excerpted from YOU LIKE IT DARKER by Stephen King. Copyright © 2024 by Stephen King. Reprinted with permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Scribner 'You Like It Darker'
Scribner 'You Like It Darker'

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