I have been a lifelong Stephen King fan ever since I was first exposed to his literary work Misery. From then on, I made it a mission to eventually read every single work Stephen King’s shown the world. Since that period in middle school, I have read about 10 other novels of his, but I haven’t quite yet scratched the surface. Feeling inspired from watching the one stage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) come to a close, and shortly after IT: Chapter 2 was released; I finally decided to embark on my nerdy dream of reading every Stephen King work. Although not everything he’s written is included in this multiverse, I figured the best place to start was the multiverse in order so I can fill in the blanks when I (hopefully) finish this possibly grueling yet satisfying feat! I decided to start in the chronological order of Stephen King’s multiverse as the inspiration of this series I’m currently writing. This brings us to: Jerusalem’s Lot, an abandoned early Pilgrim town for mysterious reasons, and one no one in the neighboring town of Preacher’s Corners will tell you about. This is where Stephen King’s frightening multi-universe begins.
Jerusalem’s Lot is a short story set in
1850’s Preachers Corners, Maine, making it the very first chronological event in Stephen King’s multiverse timeline. Our narrator is Mr. Charles Boone, who is writing a dear friend by the nickname of “Bones” and informing him of his move to his family home Chapelwaite. Charles is known to be the last heir of the family after the former occupant, his estranged cousin Stephen, died. Charles also brings his loyal servant and friend Calvin McCann to watch over his needs. It is a house and family most people in the town feared almost as much as the neighboring town they pretend doesn’t even exist. Charles’ curiosity keeps intensifying as he aims to learn everything he can about the town, discovering the true nature of the various loud sounds in the house, and the family mystery he slowly and horrifically unravels. Mrs. Cloris, a maid who used to look after Chapelwaite, insists the dead don’t actually die at the house, tells of two lives who were already lost in the house, and how much she fears The Worm and tells him essentially to leave town and that him and his family are dangerous.
After Mrs. Cloris told Charles about a family feud between brothers Robert and Phillip Boone, Charles and Calvin journey out into the woods to find Jerusalem’s Lot, ignoring her warnings. Upon finding a completely abandoned town for about 50 years, it puzzled Charles that no one has even come to steal or vandalize anything. It was simply deserted, not even disturbances from any animals, which amplified both their curiosity and fear. They continue and find the church at the heart of town, described as having black windows, and the aura that “any Godliness or sanctity had departed from it long ago.” Ignoring every instinct to run away, they walk inside the church and almost immediately regret that choice. Amidst the dust and odor of death, they were clearly able to see a complete redecoration of the church that answered why the people were so fearful of Jerusalem’s Lot. The large cross overlooking the pews was inverted, and the artwork of a Madonna and child was recreated disturbingly sacrilegious. Charles, refusing to walk away without more answers, walks up to the pulpit and finds a Latin book titled “De Vermis Mysteriis – The Mysteries of the Worm”.
Charles hears and sees many more things in the house as his investigation gains more evidence and intrigue after visiting the church in Jerusalem’s Lot. The town’s people notice, as well as him, that Charles is going down some sort of rabbit hole, and he is physically looking worse for wear, which even concerns Calvin. Calvin also finds different notes and clue around Chapelwaite pertaining to the past Boone brothers feud and of the evil things that were happening in Jerusalem’s Lot. Searching for the truth, Charles slowly loses friends, his health deteriorating at different instances, and his mental state, if he is getting caught up in a fantasy or not. Desperate for lucidity, he visits Mrs. Cloris to ask again about his family, specifically Phillip Boone, who apparently was branded with the Mark of the Beast. She nearly faints after he tells her of his visit to the deserted town, and his knowledge of the book of the Worm.
This short story REALLY takes such an interesting turn here as Charles keeps suffering and I have to say, I was so enthralled reading this story almost like no other. I genuinely want more to the story and to know more about the people involved that survive. It shocked me. It had me on the edge of my seat, and it is an exciting beginning to the horrifying multiverse we know and love. This is easily one of my favorite pieces I’ve EVER read by him already and I genuinely didn’t expect that. That was such a pleasant surprise on the beginning of my journey to truly understanding his expansive, terrifying multiverse. The foundation of Stephen King’s works is always so strong and so thorough, and I know that is how he’s so successful at tapping into our minds and scaring us. Stephen King has always been ahead of his time as well. I somehow didn’t expect it to be so Satanic and have action-packed horror, almost like you see on a newer horror TV show. I highly suggest you read this in your copy of Night Shift. If you love reading or books, Stephen King, or horror, you are going to LOVE this short story, and you may even be inspired to read along in order with me!
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