1. Jhonathan and the Witches
2. People, Places and Things
3. In a Half-World of Terror
6. The Blue Air Compressor
7. The Cat From Hell
9. Squad D
10. The King Family & the Wicked Witch 104
11. The Night of the Tiger
13. Man With a Belly
19. An Evening at God’s
JHONATHAN AND THE WITCHES
From First Words: Earliest Writing from Favorite Contemporary Authors (1993).
King wrote this in 1956 at the age of 9 for his Aunt Gert who used to pay him a quarter per story.
Once upon a time there was a boy named Jhonathan. He was smart, handsome, and very brave. But Jhonathan was a cobbler’s son. One day his father said, “Jhonathan, you must go and seek your fortune. You are old enough.”
Jhonathan, being a smart boy, knew he better ask the king for work.
So he set out. On the way, he met a rabbit who was a fairy in disguise.
The scared thing was being pursued by hunters and jumped into Jhonathan’s arms. When the hunters came up Jhonathan pointed excitedly and shouts, “That way, that way!”
After the hunters had gone, the rabbit turned into a fairy and said,
“You have helped me. I will give you three wishes. What are they?”
But Jhonathan could not think of anything, so the fairy agreed to give him when he needed them. So Jhonathan kept walking until he made the kingdom without incident. So he went to the king and asked for work.
But, as luck would have it, the king was in a very bad mood that day. So he vented his mood on Jhonathan.
“Yes there is something you can do. On yonder Mountain there are three witches. If you can kill them, I will give you 5,000 crowns. If you cannot do it I will have your head! You have 20 days.” With this he dismissed Jhonathan.
“Now what am I to do?” thought Jhonathan. “Well I shall try.”
Then he remembered the three wishes granted him and set out for the mountain.
Now Jhonathan was at the mountain and was just going to wish for a knife to kill the witch, when he heard a voice in his ear, “The first witch cannot be pierced. The second witch cannot be pierced or smothered.
The third cannot be pierced, smothered and is invisible.”
With this knowledge Jhonathan looked about and saw no one. Then he remembered the fairy, and smiled. He then went in search of the first witch. At last he found her. She was in a cave near the foot of the mountain, and was a mean looking hag. He remembered the fairy words, and before the witch could do anything but give him an ugly look, he wished she should be smothered. And Lo! It was done. Now he went higher in search of the second witch. There was a second cave 3
higher up. There he found the second witch. He was about to wish her smothered when he remembered she could not be smothered. And the before the witch could do anything but give him an ugly look, he had wished her crushed. And Lo! It was done Now he had only to kill the third witch and he would have the 5,000 crowns. But on the way up, he was plagued with thoughts of how?
Then he hit upon a wonderful plan. Then, he saw the last cave. He waited outside the entrance until he heard the witch’s footsteps. He then picked up a couple of big rocks and wishes. He then wished the witch a normal woman and Lo! She became visible and then Jhonathan struck her head with the rocks he had. Jhonathan collected his 5,000 crowns and he and his father lived happily ever after.
PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS
Self-published book of one-page stories that King co-authored with school friend Chris Chelsey at the age of 13 (Triad Publishing 1960). The complete contents read:
Foreword – Stephen King
‘The Hotel at the End of the Road’ – Stephen King*
‘Top Forty News, Weather, and Sports’ – Chris Chelsey
‘Bloody Child’ – Chris Chelsey
“I’ve Got to Get Away!’ – Stephen King**
‘The Dimension Warp’ – Stephen King (listed in contents, now lost)
‘The Thing at the Bottom of the Well’ – Stephen King
‘The Stranger’ – Stephen King
‘A Most Unusual Thing’ – Chris Chelsey
‘They’ve Come’ – Chris Chelsey
‘I’m Falling’ – Stephen King (listed in contents, now lost)
‘The Cursed Expedition’ – Stephen King
‘The Other Side of the Fog’ – Stephen King
‘Curiosity Kills the Cat’ – Chris Chelsey
‘Never Look Behind You’ – Stephen King and Chris Chelsey
*Published in the Market Guide for Young Writers (4th Edition), by Writer’s Digest Books, this story was printed exactly as it originally appeared. In 1986, the story was slated to be published in Flip magazine, but the student literary magazine ceased publication before the story made it to press. It was finally published in 1993.
**Published in Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, No. 202, Spring ’94
under the title The Killer. The story was originally written from the main character’s point of view. In 1963, when he was 14, King rewrote the story in third person and submitted it to Spacemen magazine, a companion to Famous
Monsters, but it was rejected. It was finally published in Famous Monsters 31
THE HOTEL AT THE END OF THE ROAD
“Faster!” Tommy Riviera said. “Faster!”
“I’m hitting 85 now,” Kelso Black said.
“The cops are right behind us,” Riviera said. “Put it up to 90.” He leaned out the window. Behind the fleeing car was a police car, with siren wailing and red light flashing.
“I’m hitting the side road ahead,” Black grunted. He turned the wheel and the car turned into the winding road – spraying gravel.
The uniformed policeman scratched his head. “Where did they go?”.
His partner frowned. “I don’t know. They just – disappeared.”
“Look,” Black said. “Lights ahead.”
“It’s a hotel,” Riviera said wonderingly. “Out on this wagon track, a hotel! If that don’t beat all! The police’ll never look for us there.”
Black, unheeding of the car’s tires, stamped on the brake. Riviera reached into the back seat and got a black bag. They walked in.
The hotel looked just like a scene out of the early 1900s.
Riviera rang the bell impatiently. An old man shuffled out. “We want a room,” Black said.
The man stared at them silently.
“A room,” Black repeated.
The man turned around to go back into his office.
“Look, old man,” Tommy Riviera said. “I don’t take that from anybody.” He pulled out his thirty-eight. “Now you give us a room.”
The man looked ready to keep going, but at last he said: “Room five.
End of the hall.”
He gave them no register to sign, so they went up. The room was barren except for an iron double bed, a cracked mirror, and soiled wallpaper.
“Aah, what a crummy joint,” Black said in disgust. “I’ll bet there’s enough cockroaches here to fill a five-gallon can.”
The next morning when Riviera woke up, he couldn’t get out of bed.
He couldn’t move a muscle. He was paralyzed. Just then the old man came into view. He had a needle which he put into Black’s arms.
“So you’re awake,” he said. “My, my, you two are the first additions to my museum in twenty-five years. But you’ll be well preserved. And you won’t die. “You’ll go with the rest of my collection of living museum. Nice specimens.”
Tommy Riviera couldn’t even express his horror.
I’VE GOT TO GET AWAY
“What am I doing here?” Suddenly I wondered. I was terribly frightened. I could remember nothing, but here I was, working in an atomic factory assembly line. All I knew was that I was Denny Phillips.
It was as if I had just awakened from a slumber. The place was guarded and the guards had guns. They looked like they meant business. There were others working and they looked like zombies. They looked like they were prisoners.
But it didn’t matter. I had to find out who I was what I was doing.
I had to get away!
I started across the floor. One of the guards yelled, “Get back there!”
I ran across the room, bowled over a guard and ran out the door. I heard gun blasts and knew they were shooting at me. But the driving thought persisted:
I’ve got to get away!