A man inherits a “sinister” looking mansion from a distant relative – this is exactly the kind of story we need for Halloween. “Jerusalem’s Lot” is the first story in “Night Shift,” a collection from Stephen King.
I like the way King tells the story – main character “Charles” writes a narrative in a series of letters to friends. Starting out bright and cheerful, happy with his new home, but under the surface a strange tingling – right away, he admits he’s heard rats behind the walls – “and big ones they must be, from the sound they make – almost like people walking there.”
He’s excited about the house, describing it in detail through his letters, in all it’s Victorian creepiness. “Yes, the house is quite as fine as I had been led to believe by my cousin’s executors, but rather more sinister.” Overgrown with vines and hedges, full of overbearing furniture and ugly art, yet, it’s his family home, and he feels comfortable at once.
Even when his assistant returns from town with the local gossip: “that anyone who would live in Chapelwaite must be either a lunatic or run the risk of becoming one.”
He brushes that off “None of this has bothered me much; we know how rustics dearly love to enrich their lives with the smell of scandal and myth…” Although, he admits, ” I suppose poor Stephen and his side of the family are fair game…” referring to the cousin who had left him the house. We don’t know why Stephen and the rest of the family would be fair game, I assume that will come up shortly.
The first page has me drawn in, I know I’m going to enjoy this tale. Hope you will join me here: