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Stephen King is certainly no stranger to revisiting his old stories. Over the course of his lengthy career, the Master of Horror has written direct sequels to everything from The Shining to The Outsider, and has set many of his tales in the same shared universe, much of it revolving around the fictional Maine towns of Castle Rock and Derry. To read Stephen King is to see constant connections, and find surprising follow-ups where you least expect them.
In a new interview on The Losers' Club podcast this week, King revealed that another surprising follow-up is on the way, in the form of a sequel to his 1981 novel Cujo. During the hourlong interview, which you can check out over on Bloody Disgusting, King offered a brief reference to a new story, then revealed its a follow-up to the legendary story of a mother and son terrorized by a rabid St. Bernard.
“I just wrote a long story called Rattlesnakes. And it involves, at one part, twins who are only four years old… falling into a rattlesnake pit. And the snakes get ’em. It’s a terrible scene.” King said. “This novella that I’ve just written, Rattlesnakes… is actually a sequel to Cujo.”
Sadly, that's all the information we have about Rattlesnakes at this point, so we don't know exactly how it connects to Cujo, whether it's a more spiritual follow-up with similar circumstances to the original novel or a direct continuation of the story of some of its characters. There are a number of ways it could go, especially when you remember that Cujo actually has quite a few loose ends that could be explored.
At its core, Cujo is interesting because it's the first King novel (not counting the books he was secretly releasing as Richard Bachman early in his career) that doesn't deal with any major supernatural scares. It's all about what happens when a well-meaning dog catches rabies and starts brutalizing the area around his home, culminating in a standoff with Donna Trenton and her son Tad, who are trapped in their stalled car outside the mechanic shop that belonged to Cujo's now-dead owner. Donna ultimately kills Cujo, but Tad dies of dehydration in the process, leaving her to try and repair her marriage with her husband Vic and move on. (Tad survives in the 1983 film adaptation of the book.) Then there's the Camber family, who lost patriarch Joe to Cujo's reign of terror but ends up getting a new dog by the end of the story. There's also, of course, the reminder at the end of the novel that the hole where Cujo contracted rabies in the woods is never found, which means that something rabid still lurks out in the woods around Castle Rock...
So, there are many places to take the story, including far away from Castle Rock and into a new locale entirely (perhaps the American Southwest, where rattlesnakes famously roam?). We have no idea where Rattlesnakes will head, but we can't wait to find out how King chose to follow-up one of his best-remembered novels.