The Mist

The Mist

by Stephen King

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King’s terrifying novella about a town engulfed in a dense, mysterious mist as humanity makes its last stand against unholy destruction—originally published in the acclaimed short story collection Skeleton Crew and made into a TV series, as well as a feature film starring Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden.

In the wake of a summer storm, terror descends...David Drayton, his son Billy, and their neighbor Brent Norton join dozens of others and head to the local grocery store to replenish supplies following a freak storm. Once there, they become trapped by a strange mist that has enveloped the town. As the confinement takes its toll on their nerves, a religious zealot, Mrs. Carmody, begins to play on their fears to convince them that this is God’s vengeance for their sins. She insists a sacrifice must be made and two groups—those for and those against—are aligned. Clearly, staying in the store may prove fatal, and the Draytons, along with store employee Ollie Weeks, Amanda Dumfries, Irene Reppler, and Dan Miller, attempt to make their escape. But what’s out there may be worse than what they left behind.

This exhilarating novella explores the horror in both the enemy you know—and the one you can only imagine.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982103521
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 15,538
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.37(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and an AT&T Audience Network original television series). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Hometown:

Bangor, Maine

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1947

Place of Birth:

Portland, Maine

Education:

B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

Read an Excerpt

The Mist


  • This is what happened. On the night that the worst heat wave in northern New England history finally broke—the night of July 19—the entire western Maine region was lashed with the most vicious thunderstorms I have ever seen.

    We lived on Long Lake, and we saw the first of the storms beating its way across the water toward us just before dark. For an hour before, the air had been utterly still. The American flag that my father put up on our boathouse in 1936 lay limp against its pole. Not even its hem fluttered. The heat was like a solid thing, and it seemed as deep as sullen quarry-water. That afternoon the three of us had gone swimming, but the water was no relief unless you went out deep. Neither Steffy nor I wanted to go deep because Billy couldn’t. Billy is five.

    We ate a cold supper at five-thirty, picking listlessly at ham sandwiches and potato salad out on the deck that faces the lake. Nobody seemed to want anything but Pepsi, which was in a steel bucket of ice cubes.

    After supper Billy went out back to play on his monkey bars for a while. Steff and I sat without talking much, smoking and looking across the sullen flat mirror of the lake to Harrison on the far side. A few powerboats droned back and forth. The evergreens over there looked dusty and beaten. In the west, great purple thunderheads were slowly building up, massing like an army. Lightning flashed inside them. Next door, Brent Norton’s radio, tuned to that classical-music station that broadcasts from the top of Mount Washington, sent out a loud bray of static each time the lightning flashed. Norton was a lawyer from New Jersey and his place on Long Lake was only a summer cottage with no furnace or insulation. Two years before, we had a boundary dispute that finally wound up in county court. I won. Norton claimed I won because he was an out-of-towner. There was no love lost between us.

    Steff sighed and fanned the top of her breasts with the edge of her halter. I doubted if it cooled her off much but it improved the view a lot.

    “I don’t want to scare you,” I said, “but there’s a bad storm on the way, I think.”

    She looked at me doubtfully. “There were thunderheads last night and the night before, David. They just broke up.”

    “They won’t do that tonight.”

    “No?”

    “If it gets bad enough, we’re going to go downstairs.”

    “How bad do you think it can get?”

    My dad was the first to build a year-round home on this side of the lake. When he was hardly more than a kid he and his brothers put up a summer place where the house now stood, and in 1938 a summer storm knocked it flat, stone walls and all. Only the boathouse escaped. A year later he started the big house. It’s the trees that do the damage in a bad blow. They get old, and the wind knocks them over. It’s mother nature’s way of cleaning house periodically.

    “I don’t really know,” I said, truthfully enough. I had only heard stories about the great storm of thirty-eight. “But the wind can come off the lake like an express train.”

    Billy came back a while later, complaining that the monkey bars were no fun because he was “all sweated up.” I ruffled his hair and gave him another Pepsi. More work for the dentist.

    The thunderheads were getting closer, pushing away the blue. There was no doubt now that a storm was coming. Norton had turned off his radio. Billy sat between his mother and me, watching the sky, fascinated. Thunder boomed, rolling slowly across the lake and then echoing back again. The clouds twisted and rolled, now black, now purple, now veined, now black again. They gradually overspread the lake, and I could see a delicate caul of rain extending down from them. It was still a distance away. As we watched, it was probably raining on Bolster’s Mills, or maybe even Norway.

    The air began to move, jerkily at first, lifting the flag and then dropping it again. It began to freshen and grew steady, first cooling the perspiration on our bodies and then seeming to freeze it.

    That was when I saw the silver veil rolling across the lake. It blotted out Harrison in seconds and then came straight at us. The powerboats had vacated the scene.

    Billy stood up from his chair, which was a miniature replica of our director’s chairs, complete with his name printed on the back. “Daddy! Look!”

    “Let’s go in,” I said. I stood up and put my arm around his shoulders.

    “But do you see it? Dad, what is it?”

    “A water-cyclone. Let’s go in.”

    Steff threw a quick, startled glance at my face and then said, “Come on, Billy. Do what your father says.”

    We went in through the sliding glass doors that give on the living room. I slid the door shut on its track and paused for another look out. The silver veil was three-quarters of the way across the lake. It had resolved itself into a crazily spinning teacup between the lowering black sky and the surface of the water, which had gone the color of lead streaked with white chrome. The lake had begun to look eerily like the ocean, with high waves rolling in and sending spume up from the docks and breakwaters. Out in the middle, big whitecaps were tossing their heads back and forth.

    Watching the water-cyclone was hypnotic. It was nearly on top of us when lightning flashed so brightly that it printed everything on my eyes in negative for thirty seconds afterward. The telephone gave out a startled ting! and I turned to see my wife and son standing directly in front of the big picture window that gives us a panoramic view of the lake to the northwest.

    One of those terrible visions came to me—I think they are reserved exclusively for husbands and fathers—of the picture window blowing in with a low hard coughing sound and sending jagged arrows of glass into my wife’s bare stomach, into my boy’s face and neck. The horrors of the Inquisition are nothing compared to the fates your mind can imagine for your loved ones.

    I grabbed them both hard and jerked them away. “What the hell are you doing? Get away from there!”

    Steff gave me a startled glance. Billy only looked at me as if he had been partially awakened from a deep dream. I led them into the kitchen and hit the light switch. The phone ting-a-linged again.

    Then the wind came. It was as if the house had taken off like a 747. It was a high, breathless whistling, sometimes deepening to a bass roar before glissading up to a whooping scream.

    “Go downstairs,” I told Steff, and now I had to shout to make myself heard. Directly over the house thunder whacked mammoth planks together and Billy shrank against my leg.

    “You come too!” Steff yelled back.

    I nodded and made shooing gestures. I had to pry Billy off my leg. “Go with your mother. I want to get some candles in case the lights go off.”

    He went with her, and I started opening cabinets. Candles are funny things, you know. You lay them by every spring, knowing that a summer storm may knock out the power. And when the time comes, they hide.

    I was pawing through the fourth cabinet, past the half-ounce of grass that Steff and I bought four years ago and had still not smoked much of, past Billy’s wind-up set of chattering teeth from the Auburn Novelty Shop, past the drifts of photos Steffy kept forgetting to glue in our album. I looked under a Sears catalogue and behind a Kewpie doll from Taiwan that I had won at the Fryeburg Fair knocking over wooden milk bottles with tennis balls.

    I found the candles behind the Kewpie doll with its glazed dead man’s eyes. They were still wrapped in their cellophane. As my hand closed around them the lights went out and the only electricity was the stuff in the sky. The dining room was lit in a series of shutterflashes that were white and purple. Downstairs I heard Billy start to cry and the low murmur of Steff soothing him.

    I had to have one more look at the storm.

    The water-cyclone had either passed us or broken up when it reached the shoreline, but I still couldn’t see twenty yards out onto the lake. The water was in complete turmoil. I saw someone’s dock—the Jassers’, maybe—hurry by with its main supports alternately turned up to the sky and buried in the churning water.

    I went downstairs. Billy ran to me and clung to my legs. I lifted him up and gave him a hug. Then I lit the candles. We sat in the guest room down the hall from my little studio and looked at each other’s faces in the flickering yellow glow and listened to the storm roar and bash at our house. About twenty minutes later we heard a ripping, rending crash as one of the big pines went down nearby. Then there was a lull.

    “Is it over?” Steff asked.

    “Maybe,” I said. “Maybe only for a while.”

    We went upstairs, each of us carrying a candle, like monks going to vespers. Billy carried his proudly and carefully. Carrying a candle, carrying the fire, was a very big deal for him. It helped him forget about being afraid.

    It was too dark to see what damage had been done around the house. It was past Billy’s bedtime, but neither of us suggested putting him in. We sat in the living room, listened to the wind, and looked at the lightning.

    About an hour later it began to crank up again. For three weeks the temperature had been over ninety, and on six of those twenty-one days the National Weather Service station at the Portland Jetport had reported temperatures of over one hundred degrees. Queer weather. Coupled with the grueling winter we had come through and the late spring, some people had dragged out that old chestnut about the long-range results of the fifties A-bomb tests again. That, and of course, the end of the world. The oldest chestnut of them all.

    The second squall wasn’t so hard, but we heard the crash of several trees weakened by the first onslaught. As the wind began to die down again, one thudded heavily on the roof, like a fist dropped on a coffin lid. Billy jumped and looked apprehensively upward.

    “It’ll hold, champ,” I said.

    Billy smiled nervously.

    Around ten o’clock the last squall came. It was bad. The wind howled almost as loudly as it had the first time, and lightning seemed to be flashing all around us. More trees fell, and there was a splintering crash down by the water that made Steff utter a low cry. Billy had gone to sleep on her lap.

    “David, what was that?”

    “I think it was the boathouse.”

    “Oh. Oh, Jesus.”

    “Steffy, I want us to go downstairs again.” I took Billy in my arms and stood up with him. Steff’s eyes were big and frightened.

    “David, are we going to be all right?”

    “Yes.”

    “Really?”

    “Yes.”

    We went downstairs. Ten minutes later, as the final squall peaked, there was a splintering crash from upstairs—the picture window. So maybe my vision earlier hadn’t been so crazy after all. Steff, who had been dozing, woke up with a little shriek, and Billy stirred uneasily in the guest bed.

    “The rain will come in,” she said. “It’ll ruin the furniture.”

    “If it does, it does. It’s insured.”

    “That doesn’t make it any better,” she said in an upset, scolding voice. “Your mother’s dresser . . . our new sofa . . . the color TV . . .”

    “Shhh,” I said. “Go to sleep.”

    “I can’t,” she said, and five minutes later she had.

    I stayed awake for another half hour with one lit candle for company, listening to the thunder walk and talk outside. I had a feeling that there were going to be a lot of people from the lakefront communities calling their insurance agents in the morning, a lot of chainsaws burring as cottage owners cut up the trees that had fallen on their roofs and battered through their windows, and a lot of orange CMP trucks on the road.

    The storm was fading now, with no sign of a new squall coming in. I went back upstairs, leaving Steff and Billy on the bed, and looked into the living room. The sliding glass door had held. But where the picture window had been there was now a jagged hole stuffed with birch leaves. It was the top of the old tree that had stood by our outside basement access for as long as I could remember. Looking at its top, now visiting in our living room, I could understand what Steff had meant by saying insurance didn’t make it any better. I had loved that tree. It had been a hard campaigner of many winters, the one tree on the lakeside of the house that was exempt from my own chainsaw. Big chunks of glass on the rug reflected my candle-flame over and over. I reminded myself to warn Steff and Billy. They would want to wear their slippers in here. Both of them liked to slop around barefoot in the morning.

    I went downstairs again. All three of us slept together in the guest bed, Billy between Steff and me. I had a dream that I saw God walking across Harrison on the far side of the lake, a God so gigantic that above the waist He was lost in a clear blue sky. In the dream I could hear the rending crack and splinter of breaking trees as God stamped the woods into the shape of His footsteps. He was circling the lake, coming toward the Bridgton side, toward us, and all the houses and cottages and summer places were bursting into purple-white flame like lightning, and soon the smoke covered everything. The smoke covered everything like a mist.

  • What People are Saying About This

    From the Publisher

    “King is a master storyteller.”—The Seattle Times

    “The master of the macabre.”—The Columbia State

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    See All Customer Reviews

    The Mist 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 286 reviews.
    songcatchers More than 1 year ago
    Imagine this: you are stranded in a grocery store with a bunch of other people, some sane and some not so sane, while a fog-like mist surrounds the store and is enshrouding a mass of creatures that seem from a different dimension. Sound like a creepy story line? It's better than that. Stephen King, the "Master of the Macabre", creates some truly out-of-this-world creatures that lurk in the mist. But....he makes the atmosphere inside the store almost as dangerous as the outside by adding in some human pandemonium. It's all about adaptability. Some people don't cope well and start to lose it. The most fearsome by far is the witch-like Mrs. Carmody preaching the end times and expiation. She believed in a biblical reason for the mist. Others suggested The Arrowhead project, a government preserve outside of town. Whatever is behind the mist, it's classic King!
    GRANThths More than 1 year ago
    In the book, a father and son go to the local grocery store after the worst storm that there city has seen in a long time. While at the grocery store a mysterious thick mist comes over the city, but the mist is not what they are concerned about it is the creatures that lurk in this mist. As the story progresses it shows how the must try to survive and defended the grocery story from this horrible creatures that are out to kill them. Will they survive this horrible event read and find out. The Mist by Stephen King was a 5 star action packed horror novel that just keeps on getting more interesting the more you read. This book is great if you enjoy scary, creepy, or just plan weird events. This book kept me guessing as to what would happen next, the whole time I was reading it. There is never a slow part in the whole story. This book deals with how people will react to post-apocalyptic events, it shows how people will pick a leader in that type of situation no matter how silly this leader maybe. I thought that it was interesting the way he show how people begin to go crazy without civilization. This book was one of the best that I have ever read and I highly recommend it.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    If you think the movie was great, you haven't read the book. I saw The Mist when it first came out and loved it so much, that I purchased it on dvd as soon as it was released. Though I was horrified each and every time I saw it, I loved it time and time again. I didn't think it got better, until I read the book. It gets better. It gets more real. It gets you peeking out the windows at night wondering what that noise was. It just plain gets you. Excellent! What I always expect from Stephen King, and what he never fails to deliver to me, a sense of comfort knowing my favorite author still enjoys making us scared, and I love him for the endless hours of fear, anxiety and the unexpected laughs he has given to me. You, Mr. King, are WINNING. Eat your heart out Charlie Sheen. King is simply wonderful.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Stephen King is the master of horror this book caught my eye and the stroy still terrifies me when ever I think about it. When the movie came out I just had to go seee it. Both of witch are extremely terrifying I would recomend anyone that likes to be scared out of their socks.
    Lou Fisher More than 1 year ago
    the mist was a terrifying story, captivating, consuming all my attention, taking me to the where and when. how can a story feel so real, I found it hard to sleep with both eyes closed after reading this sortie, yet I've read it more times then I'd like to admit. wow what a story!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Not his best,but good reading
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I saw the movie before i read the book. I have got to say that the movie is exactly like the book, except for the ending. It was waaaayy too different. But the book was originally a short story in one of Kings short story collections. Truelly entertaining!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    To the person who keeps referring to this work, I don't see how King lifted anything, except for the fact that he wrote about a mist enveloping a town. That is all. Did you read the book at all?? There are no other similarities at all. "The Mist" is a story about a fog enveloping parts of a town due to the errors of the military who open up a portal and horrible creatures come through. If you had your way, no writer would ever be able to write on any subject for fear of being accused of plagerism. I guess the people who wrote "Mighty Joe Young" should be accused of plagerism since they wrote about a large ape in love with a girl which sounds so much like "King Kong". Get real!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Im just a little kid and i loved the movie of it but at the end i cried it was sad
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    As I said it is short and a quick. and if your a fast reader like me you could probably get it done in a couple of days. but it is very good.
    A-Money More than 1 year ago
    This book is not very long. However, it gets right to the point! Steven King provides just enough back-story to keep you interested while he slowly lets the mist come. Great book for an airport or anytime you want a quick read!
    souljaboy More than 1 year ago
    Great read. It creates a mental picture in your head on whats going on. not a single dissapointment. lots of great deaths. although the ending could've been better.besides the ending, everything was awesome.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    The mist is a novella from skeleton crew, extended and made into a short book. I loved this book, it was actually the first king book i had ever read, it slows down in parts and just when u get bored it picks right back up and gets ur heart pounding. GREAT book...HORRIBLE movie(the ending was the worst i had ever seen)
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    The Mist was pure King...aside from being a master of character development King is the only one atop the throne of pure horror as exemplified in The Mist.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    Wow! i thoght this book was incredible. It was really crazy with the supermarket and everything. I love this book man and i didn't even see the movie. Good thing i didn't cause thos book made me feel like i was really in it.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    I loved 'The Mist', sleepness nights for sure!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A good plot and loved the drama
    anterastilis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Idyllic town. Quirky and lovable characters. A calm day after a storm, a casual trip to the store. Cute child accompanies adoring father.in the store oh my god WHATTHEHELLISGOINGON - readfast - readfast - readfast - panic terror AGGHHHH!!!!! - what's worse? The thing out there, or what we IMAGINE is out there? - Crazy people - losing minds - cute child is still cute - people become desperate - AGGGHHHHH!!!! What the HELL IS GOING ON!!!!!*pages turn fast, anterastilis skims scary parts, book finished and returned.*End of story. Will probably not try again anytime soon. Too nervewracking for this wimp.
    RuthiesBookReviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Wonderful book by a fabulous author. But we all know that. Stephen King has been writing for years and years. He's got lots of books and a lot of his books have been made into moves.Because this has been out for so long now. I'm pretty sure most of us, know what it's about. Now basically if you have seen the movie. The movie goes right along with the book, well.....right up until the end!!!!!! But this mist comes across the water after a nasty storm and it brings with it these strange creatures who attack people and stuff. I have always been a huge fan of Stephen King, so when I read this I didn't expect anything less than his usual. I give this book (and movie) two thumbs up!!!
    moonight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This is really a page turner! The story is about a father and son trapped in a supermarket and fighting together with other residents in town to find a way out of the mist and the monsters around them. I couldn't put in down after a few pages in the book. The story doesn't start slow and picks up the pace really quickly. It is suitable for all ages. the mystery and horror create great suspense that kept me awake at night to finish the book.
    WillyMammoth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    In Stephen King's "The Mist," a strange mist encroaches upon a small lake town in Maine. The mist knocks out all radio signals and telecommunication, but even more disturbing, monstrous beings emerge from the mist as well and begin feasting upon the locals. David Drayton and his son Billy find themselves trapped in a local grocery store with a large group of townsfolk. The bulk of the story focuses on this band of survivors trying to... well, survive, really. King's story telling is impeccable, and his characters are amazingly realistic. The story concept is rich and entertaining and full of possibilities. But after about 150 pages of riveting reading, the story just stops. There's an attempt at an ending, of course, but it amounts to an author hand-wave--you don't need a real ending, you weren't looking for one anyway, move along now. It was as if King wrote himself into a corner and didn't want to put the time into fixing it. He seems to have a habit of doing that, as "The Colorado Kid" has a similar problem. But I ranted about that enough in my Colorado Kid review, so I'll refrain from rehashing old gripes.I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars because, for the most part, it really is a good story. But the lack of a real conclusion prevented it from receiving a better rating.
    mausergem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    The Mist is a story of a father and a son who are trapped in a departmental store with other people trying to fight against strange creatures hidden in a mist. The mist is a product of an government project called the Arrowhead Project.Stephen King is a master at playing with peoples deepest darkest fears. The tension is maintained throughout the book and is thoroughly enjoyable.
    francomega on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I really liked the movie--one of those great sleepers--and thought it was time to read the original. I usually don't do this way, but let's see how it holds up. As with all King, fast, fun read (it's a novella). Ending is different from the movie, but both work (I liked the movie's better).
    PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Another great story of why man should not try and interfere with nature and man's willingness to turn on their fellow man from the master story teller of the Twentieth Century. A lot of credit to the effectiveness of the story must go to Frank Mueller's superlative narration in this version. King is at the top of his form, supplying rich images that help bring this story to life in your mind.An absolute Must Have for your audio bookshelf and a Should Have for your collection of Stephen King.Today we are spoiled with video games and movies supplying not only action but sound effects as well. Often, the stories presented rely on these special effects to succeed. Take away the effects and the story, the acting, or both, fall flat. Frank Mueller's voice, and his voice alone, without any special effects, elevates the tension of this story to a point where it is almost unbearable.While "The Mist" follows one of King's favorite themes, man made things having unintended consequences, the real story, and the real horror, is how quickly people will turn on each other, rather than help one another in time of crisis.
    dawsong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Leave it to Stephen King to make a grocery store a place of horror. Unbelievably cinematic and experiential. You can see every shade of grey hinted at and feel the moisture cloying the air. People become as squashable as ants in the face of mounting and monumental ominousness. A trip to the grocery store will never be boring again after you add The Mist to your memory bank.