23. "The Reaper’s Image" (Short Story)

Original publication date: 1969
Included in: Skeleton Crew (1985)

There’s something wonderfully simple about “The Reaper’s Image,” one of King’s always welcome straight-to-the-point horror stories. Clearly influenced by the classic works of macabre writers like M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe, King’s yarn about a creepy antique mirror is a subversion of the old “Bloody Mary” game we all played as kids. According to a museum curator, the mirror in question houses the Grim Reaper, and whomever has the misfortune of seeing Death’s reflection immediately croaks. And, foregoing ambiguities, King delivers upon that promise. Simple, yet as effective as any spine-tingling campfire tale.