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"Mile 81" is a novella written exclusively for the Amazon Kindle that was released on 1 September 2011. The ebook also included an excerpt from King's upcoming novel 11/22/63. An audiobook edition of the story, read by Thomas Sadowski, was released on 10 January 2012, and included a reading of another King story, "The Dune." The story will also be included in the forthcoming collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

Summary

At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded-up rest stop, a place where high school kids drink and get into trouble. Pete Simmons sneaks away from his older brother and arrives there, where he finds a bottle of vodka and pornographic magazines. He drinks enough to pass out.

A mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadn't been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says "closed, no services." The driver's door opens but nobody gets out.

Doug Clayton, an insurance man from Bangor, is driving his Prius to a conference in Portland. On the backseat are his briefcase and suitcase and in the passenger bucket is a King James Bible, what Doug calls "the ultimate insurance manual," but it isn't going to save Doug when he decides to be the Good Samaritan and help the guy in the broken down wagon. He pulls up behind it, puts on his four-ways, and then notices that the wagon has no plates. He is then eaten by the wagon.

Other characters drive up, stop and are eaten by the wagon until Pete wakes up and burns it with his magnifying glass, sending it back to wherever it came from.

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References

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