I was hoping someone could help me remember this book of scary stories I read as a child. It was a collection of short scary stories.

One was about a family living with an abusive father or stepfather in a house. The children found a clock counting down in the walls of the house, and it was counting down for a few days later. So they tried to get everyone out of the house, except the father was still in the house, and the house turned out to be a rocket/spaceship that took the father into outer space, never to be seen again.

1 Answer 1


The story you describe sounds like The House on Maple Street, by Stephen King.

Here's a summary of the story from Wikipedia:

After a summer spent abroad, the four Bradbury children return to their home on Maple Street and discover that something is growing upwards through the house's walls from below, replacing wood and plaster with metal and machinery, counting down to some cataclysmic event. Although somewhat afraid of what this was, Trent, the eldest of the four, realizes they have an opportunity to rid both themselves and their beleaguered mother of the tyrannical Lewis "Lew" Evans, their hated and feared stepfather. As the countdown approaches its final minutes, they contrive to lock Lew in his study and leave him to his fate, escaping the house just in time to watch as it raises itself from its foundations and blasts away into the clouds. The story ends with the children waiting on the curb for their mother to return, shaken but glad to be free from Lew's oppressive rule.

It's got all the elements you mentioned: an abusive stepfather, a countdown, everyone escaping from the house except the stepfather, and the house blasting off into space.

According to StephenKing.com, the story is included in two collections of Stephen King stories: Nightmares & Dreamscapes, and The Chronicles of Harris Burdick. Goodreads also shows an audio-book entitled The House on Maple Street: and Other Stories.

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