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The Night Flier

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The Night Flier is a short story by Stephen King, first published in the anthology 1988 Prime Evil: New Stories by the Masters of Modern Horror, and then in King's own 1993 Nightmares and Dreamscapes collection.

The story was made into a 1997 film of the same title.

Spoiler
King says you decide.

Plot summary

The story concerns a deeply cynical and jaded reporter and photographer named Richard Dees, who works for a fictional tabloid magazine called The Inside View. Dees' current subject of investigation is the Night Flier, an individual who travels between small airports in a Cessna Skymaster, gruesomely killing people in a way that leads Dees to think the man is a lunatic who believes himself to be a vampire. After only a few days of interviewing witnesses and following the killer's trail in his own plane, Dees overtakes the Night Flier during a violent thunderstorm, and quickly learns that he is badly mistaken about his would-be quarry: it is, indeed, a quite-real vampire that is doing the killings. After Dees watches the Night Flier casually empty the bloody contents of his bladder into an airport urinal (or as much of this act as he can see reflected in a mirror), the creature warns off his "would-be biographer", destroys his photographic evidence, and leaves the mortally-shaken reporter amidst a scene of carnage to be arrested by the police.

The movie adaptation follows the original plot fairly closely (and maintains Dees' deeply unsympathetic nature), except for adding a rival in the form of an up-and-coming female reporter, and changing Dees' ultimate fate.

Characters

Victims

Audiobook

The audiobook version of this story, in the Nightmares and Dreamscapes collection, is read by Frank Muller, who had read most of the Dark Tower books before suffering a motorcycle crash which proved to be fatal in 2001.

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