Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
1922 is the first of four short stories in this book
This is a first-person account by Wilfred James, the story’s unreliable narrator. He writes a lengthy confession for the murder of his wife, Arlette, in Hemingford Home, Nebraska, in 1922.
Wilfred owns eighty acres of farmland that have been in his family for generations. His wife owns an adjoining one-hundred acres willed to her by her father. Wilfred scorns the thought of living in a city, but Arlette is discontented with farm life and wants to move to Omaha. She seeks to sell her land to a livestock company for use as a pig farm and slaughterhouse. Wilfred, who strongly opposes Arlette’s plans, resorts to manipulating his teenaged son, Henry, into helping him murder his own mother.
Wow! This was a great story! I loved it.
It was scary, creepy, gross and full of horror. There’s Wilfred wanting to kill his wife over some land, of asking his son Henry to help him kill his mom, of Henry saying he’d help, and of the rats eating away at her. There’s the visions of Arlette’s ghost that wouldn’t leave him alone. Plus so many other things that I can’t write about without lots of spoilers.
It was sad too. There’s the sad fact that Wilfred would kill his wife, whom he loved, over her wanting to sell the land and move to town. It was sad that Henry agreed to help. It was sad that there was so much lost because of that act. Dreams were shattered, hearts were broken, marriages, friendships and minds were lost. And more than just the life of Arlette was cut short…so sad!
In the end, it wasn’t the murder of his wife that did Wilfred in. It was seeing her in the well with the rats, and her ghost visiting him that did it. That would do it to anyone, don’t you think?
You know when you start a King book you will “see” the story in your head for a while. You can’t get rid of the images. At least I can’t. For a while. But the story never leaves you. I’ll be remembering this book for years and years.
If you like scary, read this book!