Stephen King Wiki
Stephen King Wiki


"Graveyard Shift" is a short story written by Stephen King. The story was originally published in the October 1970 issue of Cavalier, and was later included in King's 1978 collection Night Shift. Posteriorly included in the 1980 anthology The 21st Pan Book of Horror Stories.


A young drifter named Hall, has been working at a decrepit textile mill in the small town of Gates Falls, Maine when his boss, a cruel taskmaster, recruits him and others to assist with a massive cleaning effort. The basement of the old mill has been abandoned for decades, and over the years, a monumental infestation of rats has taken hold. This rat empire, cut off from the rest of nature, has allowed the animals to evolve into a strange and varied combination of vicious mutant creatures. Some have even gained rudimentary flight. The men eventually come across a sub-basement, locked from the inside, that harbors something more terrifying and hideous than any of the men could have dreamed - a cow-sized mother rat with no eyes or legs, whose only purpose is to breed more mutant rats. The men are then eaten by the rat creatures. The other team on the surface wonders what has happened to them and descends into the basement.


The story was adapted into a film in 1990.

Publications History

  • Cavalier (October 1970)
  • Night Shift (February 1978)
  • The 21st Pan Book of Horror Stories (1980)