Best Stephen King Short Stories (Audio) For Halloween

Happy Halloween for those of you celebrating. the fears around the pandemic and lockdown restrictions means that there are probably going to be no children trick or treating this year, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to avoid the spooky feeling yourself.

I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks over the last few months and I wanted to share some of my favourites that you can enjoy yourself over the next few days / weeks. Most of them last 30 mins to two hours so you can get down quite a few during the day. Pop one on during your daily commute, or when you are cleaning the house – you’ll be surprised at how quick the time passes!

This list is in no particular order, and with Stephen King having such a large back catalogue, there was no shortage to choose from, but these are some of the ones I’ve listened to recently and enjoyed the most.

I’ll try to avoid spoilers. If you hunt around on YouTube, all these stories can be found and listened to there…

Rainy Season

Image from IMDB.com

First published in 1989 and later included in the short story collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Rainy season tells the story of a couple who rent a house in a small town in Maine, but who are repeatedly advised against staying overnight for the first night, as it is ‘rainy season’.

The couple ignore the warnings (of course) and instantly regret it as the first night rolls around, and the ‘rain’ starts.

I had read this a long time ago and had forgotten how quickly this story ramps up to its final climax, and at just over 45 mins, it can be listened to in the time it takes to clean the kitchen.

The House on Maple Street

Image from Goodreads.com

Another story finding a home in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, This tells the story of 3 children who find something unusual growing within the walls of their house, the tension being heightened when they discover a clock counting down towards some cataclysmic event.

The children see this as an opportunity to rid themselves of their tyrannical stepfather and conspire to trap him in the house as the countdown hits zero.

I have written a story similar to this (currently editing) as the idea that something familiar is not what it seems is intriguing to me.

This one runs for 70 mins, which is enough for a good session at the gym.

Stationary Bike

Image from Goodreads.com

Originally published in 2003, this was included in the collection Just after Sunset. It is the story of RICHARD SIFKITZ who is an overweight artist. His doctor recommends exercise, and he acquires a stationary bike (no surprise there) which he uses to exercise every day in his basement.

He imagines himself riding all over the country and pictures a group of workmen clearing ‘fat-laden’ roads (his arteries) as his cholesterol and weight drops.

One day he has a nightmarish vision of one of these workers committing suicide as there is less work to do as Sikitz own health improves. Unable to shake this vision, Sifkitz eventually has a ‘conversation’ with this team of workers and they reach an agreement.

Almost 90 mins, which is enough time to walk to somewhere that is an hour and a half away.

A Very Tight Place

Image from IMDB.com

Also appearing in Just After Sunset, this is the story of a man that is tricked into getting trapped in a portable toilet. In Florida.

Sounds strange, right? What would you do if the toilet was tipped over, door side down, and with no hope of discovery? Becomes a bit more stressful then, right?

The protagonist has to escapee or risk death. I can’t say any more then that. Just listen.

This one comes in at just over 2 hours. Who’d have thought a portable toilet could create so much story?

N

Image from Deadline.com

Another story that can be found in Just After Sunset, this story was the inspiration for my own short story The Book, in that it tells the tale of a man who is. in turn, telling his own story to a psychiatrist.

It boils down to his OCD telling him he has to touch and count things to ‘lock’ them in place. He tells his therapist about a set of standing stones that is troubling him – seven who looked at with the naked eye and eight when looked at through a lens.

He believes he has to ‘lock’ these stones in place to stop some cosmic horror breaking through into this world by counting and touching them.

Probably my fave out of this short list at a whopping 2hrs 15 minutes, you could listen to this in the time it takes to drive to the coast from somewhere that is just over 2hrs away.

The Jaunt

Image from Bloody-Disgusting.com

Published in 1981 and collected in Skeleton Crew (1985), Jaunt starts off as science fiction, a father telling the story of how teleportation was discovered to his children as they prepare fo their first ‘Jaunt’ (teleport).

He explains how the process was accidentally discovered and the failed experiments on the way until today, when mass teleportation is commonplace.

It starts as science fiction, but make no mistakes; this is horror, the final climax being so shocking it almost demands a second listening to.

It comes in under the 60 minutes mark and can be listened to while you have a long bath.

The Dune

Image from Pixabay.com

Published in 2011 and more recently collected in The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams, this was my fave for a long time, until I re-listened to N again.

This tells us the story of an old guy recounting his earlier years, where he discovered an island with a sand dune that would have names written in the side of it from time to time, the names of people that were about to die.

He is telling this story to a lawyer, getting his will ready, and he ends by asking the lawyer if he now sees why he has asked him to do this.

At just 32 minutes, you can listen to this during the adverts of a 2 hour film.

Well, that’s plenty to be going on with tomorrow night. There shouldn’t be many trick or treaters around so you have no excuse not to listen to all of them.

person thinking

My question to you:

What’s your favourite short horror story?

7 thoughts on “Best Stephen King Short Stories (Audio) For Halloween

      1. I must have read it! I’ve certainly read Shawshank and Stand by Me. I’ve just looked at the Wiki, but it rings no bells! I’m going to blame my neurological condition (MS) and age and say that I will have to read it now, because it sounds good!

        Liked by 1 person

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