I remember that it's a short story I first read one year ago. A guy in a mental hospital/prison is telling a tale. There is this guy with long hipster hair who drops out of college and then his car breaks down. He goes into a bar and meets with a beautiful girl with gray eyes. The redneck bikers in the bar start antagonizing the guy and he fights one of them. He goes into this crazy battle lust which causes him to almost kill the guy.

The girl then thanks him and they together lure a fat guy to hitch a ride with but they kill him and proceeded to kill a few other people, I think police.

He finally goes to a cemetery where the girl transforms into a horrible rat monster and jeers at him.

  • You "first read [it] one year ago", but got any more ideas when it could have been published? Also, did you read that online/in a textbook/in an anthology etc? Any recollection of the cover in that last case? – Jenayah Jan 5 '19 at 10:58
  • This question would be improved by going through the checklists here; How to ask a good story-ID question? – Valorum Jan 5 '19 at 11:38

This sounds very much like the Stephen King story Nona. It was published in the 1978 anthology Shadows and later collected in King's 1985 collection Skeleton Crew.

Nona is the story about a college dropout that hitchhikes in Maine a winter night. He encounters Nona at a bar and gets infatuated by her.

Someone tugged at my sleeve. I turned my head and there she was—she’d moved over to the empty stool. Looking at that face close up was almost blinding. I spilled some more of my coffee.

“I’m sorry.” Her voice was low, almost atonal.

“My fault. I can’t feel what I’m doing yet.”

“I—” She stopped, seemingly at a loss. I suddenly realized that she was scared. I felt my first reaction to her swim over me again—to protect her and take care of her, make her not afraid. “I need a ride,” she finished in a rush. “I didn’t dare ask any of them.” She made a barely perceptible gesture toward the truckers in the booth.

How can I make you understand that I would have given anything—anything—to be able to tell her, Sure, finish your coffee, I’m parked right outside. It sounds crazy to say I felt that way after half a dozen words out of her mouth, and the same number out of mine, but I did. Looking at her was like looking at the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo come to breathing life. And there was another feeling. It was as if a sudden, powerful light had been turned on in the confused darkness of my mind. It would make it easier if I could say she was a pickup and I was a fast man with the ladies, quick with a funny line and lots of patter, but she wasn’t and I wasn’t. All I knew was I didn’t have what she needed and it tore me up.

“I’m thumbing,” I told her. “A cop kicked me off the interstate and I only came here to get out of the cold. I’m sorry.”

“Are you from the university?”

“I was. I quit before they could fire me.”

“Are you going home?”

“No home to go to. I was a state ward. I got to school on a scholarship. I blew it. Now I don’t know where I’m going.” My life story in five sentences. I guess it made me feel depressed.

She laughed—the sound made me run hot and cold. “We’re cats out of the same bag, I guess.”

One of the truckers start to harass the dropout, but he goes berserk and nearly kills the trucker.

I straddled him, grabbed double handfuls of his greasy hair, and began to rub his face into the gravel. In the flat glare of the sodium light his blood seemed black, like beetle’s blood.

“Jesus, stop it!” somebody yelled. Hands grabbed my shoulders and pulled me off. I saw whirling faces and I struck at them. The trucker was trying to creep away. His face was a staring mask of blood from which his dazed eyes peered. I began to kick him, dodging away from the others, grunting with satisfaction each time I connected on him. He was beyond fighting back. All he knew was to try to get away. Each time I kicked him his eyes would squeeze closed, like the eyes of a tortoise, and he would halt. Then he would start to crawl again. He looked stupid. I decided I was going to kill him. I was going to kick him to death. Then I would kill the rest of them—all but Nona. I kicked him again and he flopped over on his back and looked up at me dazedly.

“Uncle,” he croaked. “I cry Uncle. Please. Please—”

I knelt down beside him, feeling the gravel bite into my knees through my thin jeans. “Here you are, handsome,” I whispered. “Here’s your uncle.” I hooked my hands onto his throat.

Three of them jumped me all at once and knocked me off him. I got up, still grinning, and started toward them. They backed away, three big men, all of them scared green. And it clicked off.

Just like that it clicked off and it was just me, standing in the parking lot of Joe’s Good Eats, breathing hard and feeling sick and horrified.

They escape the bar together and manage to get a lift with a man called Norman Blanchette. The dropout get annoyed with Norman for seemingly no reason and Nona encourage him to kill Norman by providing him with a nail file.

I got out. Nona slid across the seat, giving Norman Blanchette a final smile. I wasn’t worried. She was quarterbacking the play. Blanchette was smiling an infuriating porky smile, relieved at being rid of us.

“Well, good ni—”

“Oh my purse! Don’t drive off with my purse!”

“I’ll get it,” I told her.

I leaned back into the car. Blanchette saw what I had in my hand, and the porky smile on his face froze solid. Now lights showed on the hill, but it was too late to stop. Nothing could have stopped me. I picked up Nona’s purse with my left hand. With my right I plunged the steel nail file into Blanchette’s throat. He bleated once.

They continue hitchhiking and kill most people they encounter, including the police. In the end they reach the destination Nona claim she was heading to, which turns out to be a graveyard. Nona leads him to one of the tombs and inside he find Nona's dead body, mutilated and full of rats. The dropout and Nona embrace and she transform into a rat-creature.

I went to Nona. I went to my life. Her arms reached around my neck and I pulled her against me. That was when she began to change, to ripple and run like wax. The great dark eyes became small and beady. The hair coarsened, went brown. The nose shortened, the nostrils dilated. Her body lumped and hunched against me. I was being embraced by a rat.

“Do you love?” it squealed. “Do you love, do you love?”

Her lipless mouth stretched upward for mine. I didn’t scream. There were no screams left. I doubt if I will ever scream again.

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