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I Know What You Need

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"I Know What You Need" is a short story written by Stephen King. The story was originally published in the September 1976 issue of Cosmopolitan, and was later included in King's own 1978 collection Night Shift.

Plot Summary

Told from the perspective of a popular, college-age girl named Elizabeth Rogan, the premise of this story concerns her sudden, unexpected attraction to a social outcast named Ed Hamner, Jr., Elizabeth's roommate, suspicious of Ed from the start, does research on him and realizes through background checks that he attended the same elementary school as did Elizabeth, and that his low-paying job at a theatre cannot pay for a sports car he owns, and warns Elizabeth, thus breaking her fascination with Ed and prompting her to investigate herself. It is revealed through the course of the tale that he has been secretly craving Elizabeth's love since childhood, and has employed a variety of black magic rituals and charms to murder her aggressive boyfriend and manipulate her emotions.

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