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There'll be peace when you are done
on 1 June 2012
A young university student finds out his mother has had a stroke and so rushes home to see her, hitch-hiking as his car is in the shop (no mention of possible buses or trains he could alternately use), and he is picked up... by a dead man.
This is standard Stephen King fare with his interest in all manner of ghosties and ghoulies, and the encounter with the dead guy isn't that great but what saves the story is the man's reminiscences of his mum. He looks back at his childhood, his mum's sacrifices being a single mother working several jobs to get him into college, and her current situation now - and it's surprisingly effective.
Maybe because it has a firm basis in reality and is something most of us will deal with in our own lives - the death of a close loved one, a parent - and what it means to contemplate our own mortality.
And, if you've got "Everything's Eventual", King writes in his introduction that the story is his way of dealing with his own mother's death. And, sentimental though it is, the sentiments and situation were real enough to make me roll a tear at the inevitable end. For that alone it's a powerful story, the added ghost is just the icing on the cake.
Speaking of "Everything's Eventual", this story is included in that book along with 13 other stories (including 1408), as well as a lengthy introduction by King and notes before each story. It's definitely worth paying a few pennies more than the price of this e-book.