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Popsy

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"Popsy" is a short story written by Stephen King. It was first published in the 1987 anthology Masques II, and later included in King's own 1993 collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

Summary

Sheridan, a gambling addict, has taken to abducting children for a man known as Mr. Wizard in order to pay off his enormous debts to a mobster who has threatened Sheridan with grievous bodily harm. While lurking in a mall parking lot in his modified van, Sheridan spots his newest probable target of opportunity - a child standing near the entrance, obviously separated from his parents and distressed. Sheridan approaches him, convincing him that he has seen the child's Popsy (as the boy calls him).

After luring him into the van, Sheridan handcuffs him and drives off to make his delivery. On his way to the drop-off point, the boy shows unusual strength, biting the main character hard enough to leave two deep marks on his hand, as well as nearly ripping out the steel bar he is handcuffed to. In addition to these demonstrations of strength, the boy makes odd comments about his Popsy, such as his ability to find him and his ability to fly. By the time they are nearing their destination, night has fallen, and Sheridan sees an odd shape swoop by. The boy claims this is his Popsy, and although Sheridan doesn't immediately believe it, he becomes nervous. Moments later, a wing covers the windshield and the door is ripped off, revealing a horrific, bat-like creature which slits Sheridan's throat and feeds the blood to the child.

(In the notes section of the book, King reveals that "Popsy" is none other than the same vampire from "The Night Flier .")

Audiobook

The audiobook version of this story, in the Nightmares and Dreamscapes collection, is read by Joe Mantegna, who had read the audiobook for Thinner, and also played the part of Richie Ginelli in the novel's film adaptation.

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