"Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" is a short story written by Stephen King. It was original published in the May 1984 issue of Redbook, and later included in King's own 1985 collection Skeleton Crew.


The story is detailed to a friend of Homer, an older man who likes spending time at the gas station.

The plot concerns Mrs. Todd, who is obsessed with finding shortcuts. Homer admires her persistence but begins to have doubts, as there are only so many shortcuts someone can find. Mrs. Todd's habit of resetting her odometer shows remarkable evidence that something weird is going on. He also discovers evidence that her shortcuts are using up less miles than are in a straight line from one destination to another; something that would be impossible anyway. Mrs. Todd compares the shortcuts to folding a map, suggesting she has discovered a warped version of reality, like a worm hole.

Mrs. Todd finally convinces Homer to take one of the special 'shortcuts'. Homer loses his hat to the grasping arms of a tree and sees road signs and strange, unnatural animals that he cannot explain. Frightened, Homer does not wish to take any more rides. Nonetheless, Mrs. Todd is changing and growing younger with each trip she takes, and the appeal of this overwhelms Homer, despite his having found a smashed, horrifying rodent-like creature on the grill of her car. She brushes this off, seeing the creature as an unfortunate yet normal animal.

The story ends with Homer, who is looking younger himself, getting into Mrs. Todd's car in front of his friend. It is implied that Mrs. Todd (who by this time is considered missing together with her car) will now take him into whatever new world that she has found a shortcut to.

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