This short is by far and away my absolute favorite. I can’t say enough about this hidden gem. If memory serves me correctly, it was the very first short story that I read of King’s way back when I was 12 back in 1990. Wow, looking at the calendar that was 27 years ago! Anyways, back on topic here: Strawberry Spring debuted in 1968 in a mag called Ubris. Eventually this tale of terror was collected in King’s first short story collection, Night Shift.
When Strawberry Spring comes to the town signaling a false spring, the unseasonable weather brings with it a dense fog during the nights. It’s in this thick fog that a serial killer that is dubbed, Springheel Jack, lurks on a college campus and murders students. As the police scramble to indentify and stop Springheel Jack, Strawberry Spring goes away and so do the killings on New Sharon College campus. Eight years later, at New Sharon College, another Strawberry Spring comes about and so do the killings.
This story isn’t well known but it needs to be. In all of King’s work, this one stands out as one of his best short stories in his entire career. A young Stephen King paints us a truly melancholic picture of a town, specifically a small college, that is in the grip of fear as a serial killer chooses his victims at random using the thick gray fog as his cloak. This is vintage King before there was such a term.
Strawberry Spring rolls in at- 5/5 (Klassic King)