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Strawberry Spring is a horror short story by Stephen King. It was originally published in the Fall 1968 issue of Ubris magazine, and collected in King's Night Shift in 1978. It employs a twist ending.

Synopsis

An unnamed narrator sees the words "Springheel Jack" in a newspaper, which leads him to recount a time, about eight years ago, when he was at New Sharon College. His recollections are nostalgic, almost melancholy. It was March 16, 1968 when the strawberry spring, a ‘false’ spring, much like an Indian summer, broke. It brought a thick fog, which covered the campus at nighttime, providing perfect cover for a serial killer called ‘Springheel Jack.’

The body of a girl was found in a parking lot, the first murder in a series. Several more students are murdered during the strawberry spring, and the narrator describes the reactions of the college community throughout this time; the contradicting rumors that are spread about the victims. Mid way through the story the narrator's roommate barges into the room claiming that the police caught the serial killer.

The accused murderer was Gale Cerman's boyfriend Carl Amalara, the police found a seven inch hunting knife under his bed. But after another murder was committed the very next night, the police were forced to let Carl go without pressing charges. The investigation is made even more difficult by the blind panic of police and security guards (including a humorous anecdote about a student who passed out in the parking lot, only to be taken to the morgue by the security guard who found him) and the feelings of suspicions among students. No reliable suspects are found.

Eight years later, a new strawberry spring has arrived again, and so has "Springheel Jack", who took another victim at New Sharon College the previous night. The narrator can’t remember where he was last night - the last thing he remembers is that he was on his way home from work, turning on his headlights to find his way through "lovely creeping fog".

By the end of the story the narrator shows fear in looking into his trunk, as he believes there may be a body within. The story ends with the narrator's wife being concerned that he had been with another woman the previous night, to which the narrator closes the story, "And oh dear God, I think so too."

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