As a great fan of Stephen (the) King I absolutely loved this novel. Some might say it ain’t a apocalyptic story and more of a normal horror story, but it has every ingredient for a great (post) apocalypse story. It was first published as the first and longest story of the 1980 horror anthology Dark Forces. A slightly edited version was included in King’s 1985 collection Skeleton Crew. The story is the longest entry in Skeleton Crew and occupies the first 134 pages. To coincide with the theatrical release of the film based on the novella, The Mist was republished as a stand-alone paperback book by Signet on October 2, 2007.
The bulk of the story details the plight of a large group of people who become trapped while shopping in the town supermarket, among them a commercial artist named David Drayton (the protagonist and narrator), David’s young son Billy, and their estranged neighbor Brent Norton who accompanied them into town after Brent’s car was smashed by a tree. Amongst others trapped in the market are a young woman named Amanda Dumfries and two soldiers from a nearby military installation, home to what is referred to as “The Arrowhead Project”. The two soldiers’ eventual joint suicide lends some credence to the theory of this Project being the source of the disaster.
Soon after the mist comes, something plugs the store generator’s exhaust vent. When a young bag boy named Norm steps outside to fix the problem, he is pulled into the mist by a swarm of tentacles. David and Ollie Weeks, the store’s assistant manager, witness Norm’s death and try to convince the remaining survivors of the danger lurking outside. Norton and a small group of others refuse to believe, accusing David of lying. They venture out into the mist to seek help, where they are killed by a huge, unseen creature. This, along with a deadly incursion into the store by a pterosaur-like creature and a disastrous expedition to the pharmacy next door, lead to paranoia and panic consuming the remaining survivors.