Stephen King's New Novella Rattlesnakes Is A Sequel To Cujo

They say to let sleeping dogs lie, but then again, Stephen King has never been one for following cliches. The prolific horror author stopped by Bloody Disgusting's The Losers' Club podcast this week, where he apparently let slip some exciting details about one of his upcoming stories. Namely, that he just wrote a sequel to "Cujo."

The story, which is apparently a novella, already has one of the most striking King titles in years: "Rattlesnakes." Though the novelist didn't explain exactly how "Rattlesnakes" will connect to "Cujo," he did describe a scene from what he calls a "long story" in some detail. "It involves, at one part, twins who are only four years old falling into a rattlesnake pit," he explained when asked about how to keep innovating in the horror genre.

King's killing fictional four-year-olds again

Lest we forget which author we're dealing with and assume these toddler twins end up okay, King reveals that "the snakes get 'em" in what he describes as "a terrible scene." Though this doesn't immediately sound like a "Cujo" tie-in, King's 1981 novel about a mother and son stalked by a rabid dog shattered long-standing taboos around the idea that a parent's love is enough to protect their child from harm. The book's stunning ending saw poor four-year-old Tad die from dehydration and overheating after hiding out in a car with his mother, Donna.

"Rattlesnakes" sounds just as bleak, although, as with every King story, it likely won't be bleak without a purpose. The author has often allowed children to end up in perilous situations in his works, in part to lend voice to the ever-present fears of parents, and in part, because he — more than most writers — imagines children as actual people. Often, kids are the heroes of King's stories who battle evil and still come out standing. It's only reasonable, then, that kids would sometimes end up the victims, too.

This isn't the first time King has written a sequel to one of his classics years after the fact. "Black House" serves as a sequel to "The Talisman," while "Doctor Sleep" continued the saga of Danny Torrance 36 years after King first wrote "The Shining." If the two stories do have a through-line that goes beyond themes of children in peril, I wonder if "Rattlesnakes" will touch upon the supernatural element at play in "Cujo." In the novel, the rabid dog might actually be possessed by serial killer Frank Dodd. Maybe the titular snakes are also some malevolent influence.

There's no word yet on when "Rattlesnakes" will be available, but King's next book, "Fairy Tale," hits shelves on September 6, 2022.