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"The Reach" by Stephen King

"The Reach" by Stephen King 

This story has been published many times, originally in Yankee, under the name "Do The Dead Sing", and then later in Skeleton Crew under the name "The Reach."  I read this story in the anthology "The Dark Descent" edited by David G. Hartwell. 

An old woman, Stella Flanders, contemplates her time living on an island for her entire life.  She considers things she would say to her children and her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.  She thinks about everything that has happened on the island and all the things that she has seen.  She thinks about how the island is more of a family than just a community. 

Stella Flanders has seen her share of things and it all takes place around The Reach.  That space between the island and mainland.  Mainland where there is life outside of the small community.  Stella never found a need to go across the reach and was content to live right where she was on the island. 

Time is a funny thing.  It can pass slow for some, but fast for others.  Stella's life was flashing before her eyes.  She thought of all the different times the island came together as a family and who did what and when.  That's around the time she started to see ghosts. 

She first started to see her dead husband.  It scared her to death, but she didn't let it get to her.  She knew that it meant she was dying.  She figured that it was her time to go.  She wasn't quite ready, but she accepted the fact that was how life went.   

Eventually after accepting her fate she decides to go follow the advice her dead husband has been giving her.  It's time to go to the mainland.  So she bundles up nice and warm and head out to The Reach.  Following her dead husband she starts the trek across The Reach to mainland. 

Stephen King throws around a lot of character names in this story.  He really only keys in on a few of the characters and it's pretty easy to distinguish who's who with King's writing style.  He let's you know who's important and who you need to keep an eye on.  Take his cue. 

I am a huge Stephen King fan, so this is probably quite biased.  I loved this story.  It is a story of love and life and crossing from one life into another.  Feeling the love of friends, community, and family.  To feel the love of dead ones welcome you with open arms.  To see what the beginning was and what the future has to hold


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