The Mist, by Stephen King

Eight stars

I have always found that Stephen King can pull a reader in with his writing, no matter the length. I needed something to fill my time and turned to this novella, which showcases some of the greatness I have come to expect from the author. David Drayton and his family live in rural Maine, watching as a storm rolls across the sky, closer to them. The fork lightning excites young Billy, who wants to stay up as things seem to be falling apart around him. In the morning, the storm’s destruction is apparent, with felled power lines and trees having smashed into houses and vehicles alike. David is tasked with getting some things at the store, an activity that he and Billy will do together. However, before they depart, both notice an odd mist hovering over the water, something David can only surmise must be an odd meteorological aberration. As they make their way to town, Billy and David review the list given to them, noticing that the mist seems to be here as well. Once inside, it would seem others had the same idea about grabbing a few things, as David and Billy queue up with other townsfolk. The mist thickens, almost enveloping the store, as many ask about it and what it could mean. Some venture outside, not seen again, but their piercing screams fill the air. Worried now, David and some others try to determine what this mist could be, witnessing a grotesque tentacle emerge and pull someone into its centre. This is no longer a low cloud, but something with a mind of its own. How anyone will get out is left to be seen in this King classic novella. Sharp, with a mix of spine-chilling actions, Stephen King keeps the reader on edge throughout. Recommended to those who enjoy the work of Stephen King, as well as those readers who find pleasure in stories about the weather.

I find that Stephen King is able to come up with some many varied ideas in his writing, pulling from his vast experiences. This piece, which begins as a simple nighttime storm, soon becomes a horrifying story about a seemingly innocuous weather system. David Drayton plays the wonderful protagonist in this piece, mixing a laidback nature with a passion to get to the root of the issue. He leads his family in being as safe as possible, but tries to downplay some of the worries his wife exhibits throughout the story. When it comes down to it, David exerts a leadership role that the reader will discover throughout, particularly when things get especially problematic within the store. Other characters offer interesting flavouring to an already hyped-up story, giving King much to work with as he spins this tale effectively. The piece itself is full of wonderful imagery, from the powerful storm to this sinister ‘thing’ floating over the water, which will eventually eject its slimy arms to pull unsuspecting people inside it, as though feeding off the fear that the townspeople have of what’s going on. King never shies away from this detail, which is balanced out by some of the climactic writing that divides the chapters. Anyone looking for some suspenseful work with not too much in the way of gory description need look no further. At a time when some feel they are ‘living in a Stephen King’ novel, I am left to wonder if I would prefer isolation from COVID-19, or from this mist!

Kudos, Mr. King, for a wonderful short piece that kept my heart pumping throughout. I will keep finding and devouring these great stories of yours.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons