Triptych: Three Short Plays
This short collection compiles three plays. The first, Kill: A Confession for the Stage – is the final stage play Ketchum ever wrote…inspired by the Boston Strangler Case – it is powerful, and eerie. Also included in this are Drive-In Movie – which Ketchum also penned for theathre, and a short piece titled Olivia: A Monologue.
In 1984, the legendary Night Visions series was conceived by Dark Harvest Press as a showcase for the outstanding short fiction being produced by the best of the established authors and the most talented of the new writers in the fields of horror and dark fantasy.
In 2001, the series was resurrected by Subterranean Press with Night Visions 10, featuring original novellas by Jack Ketchum and John Shirley, and five stories by David B. Silva.
Jack’s contribution, The Passenger, follows the story of a woman who gets a flat tire, leading to a stretch of bad luck as she becomes a passenger in a car bound for Hell.
It’s 1969, and the Vietnam War is raging. A rough time for most kids. You either work like hell to stay in school or hightail it to Canada or else Uncle Sam comes knocking at your door and the next thing you know you’re slogging through the rice paddies and trying not to think about all those body bags shipping back to the World every day.
Not so for Ray and Tim. They’ve slipped through the cracks. They’re neither college kids nor grunts. They’re undraftable.
But Ray and Tim have their own problems.
Murder, for one.
A murder Ray committed four years ago because he felt like it. A murder to which Tim, along with Ray’s sometime-girlfriend Jennifer, are accomplices. A murder which — for at least one world-weary cop — simply won’t go away. He knows Ray did it but can’t prove it. Now, on the verge of quitting his job, with nothing much to lose, he decides to have one last shot at goading Ray into blowing his arrogant cool, into doing something really stupid.
Which Ray’s already doing, just by being who he is.
He’s a possessive, egotistical, compulsive liar. He’s dealing drugs. But mostly he’s chasing skirts. He’s all but dumped Jennifer and is courting not one new girl but two, doing anything and everything he can to impress them. One girl finds his weird posturing repulsive, but Ray refuses to hear that. The other’s playing with him — and might be just as dangerous as he is, moving him further and further into waters way over his head. It doesn’t help that both girls are college-bound and Ray isn’t, or that one of them’s the cop’s best friend’s secret lover. It doesn’t help that Jennifer’s turning into a drugged-out booze-hound in front of his very eyes. It doesn’t help that Tim sees this as a pretty good time to make his move on Jennifer. And it sure doesn’t help that Ray’s got a rage inside him that could make a cyclone look like a breezy summer day.
Things are converging. Something’s going to crack. Something’s going to break loose into a world of pain.
And who will be The Lost?