31 Days Of King – Day 5: The Fifth Quarter

Image courtesy of StephenKing.com

Not all of King’s forays into darkness come from his love of H.P. Lovecraft. Though horror may have kicked off King’s love of reading and writing, his love of hard-boiled crime fiction has permeated his work quite often.

Enter ‘The Fifth Quarter’ (published in Nightmares & Dreamscapes), a quick, brutal yarn about 5 low-lives battling over a treasure map. The story begins with the narrator finding an old prison buddy near death on a boat off the coast of Maine. With his last breaths, the friend tells the narrator of a deadly bank heist, a buried score and a treasure map split into quarters. But, his quarter of the map is missing, and all he has to show for it is a bullet in his gut.

Image courtesy of StephenKing.com

What happens next is a short tale of revenge, deception and a bloody standoff over the treasure map that’s as tense as any nail-biter you’ve seen at the movies or on TV. It’s almost too short, as though it were part of a longer story that was never finished, but functions as a snapshot of what can happen on any day in the life of a hoodlum. I hope the night is dark and damp when you read this.

Trey Wydysh is The Geekiverse’s resident Stephen King superfan. You can find all of our 31 Days Of Stephen King posts here. Got a King question? Looking for a recommendation? Feel free to ask Trey on Twitter.

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