It was back in May 2022 that Stephen King first revealed that he was writing a sequel to Cujo, but details were kept to a minimum. It's called "Rattlesnakes," and the author described a particular scene that plays out in the story, but he didn't reveal exactly how the sequel connects to his beloved 1981 novel. Finally, that question now has an answer, as a preview of King's upcoming collection You Like It Darker has been published, and it reveals that "Rattlesnakes" is told from the perspective of Vic Trenton – the husband of Donna Trenton and father of Tad Trenton from Cujo.
An excerpt from "Rattlesnakes" is now available for Constant Readers to consume over on Entertainment Weekly – as it's been announced that You Like It Darker will be published next spring (pre-orders are now open). The paragraphs, told from the first person, reveal that the story takes place in 2020 on Rattlesnake Key on the Florida Gulf Coast, and the protagonist is staying at the "McMansion" of his old business partner, Greg Ackerman. Vic, now 72-years-old, has an encounter with an elderly woman named Mrs. Bell, who he spots pushing an empty double stroller, and he engages her in conversation.
Those who have either read Cujo or seen director Lewis Teague's 1983 adaptation (one of the all-time best Stephen King movies) will remember that Vic Trenton was in advertising and dealing with a problem involving a cereal client in the novel/movie. It was because of this business crisis that he was out of town when his wife and son got trapped inside of a broken-down car and terrorized by a rabies-infected dog.
Learning that "Rattlesnakes" is told from Vic's perspective is significant given that it means that the story will surely deal with the trauma the character experiences at the end of Cujo. While the excellent film adaptation has a relatively happy ending, the source material is much darker, as Donna Trenton survives the siege of the titular diseased canine, but young Tad does not. This horrific past is seemingly referenced in the excerpt via Mrs. Bell's empty stroller and Vic musing on Greg asking if "her problem" would present an issue for him (her specific "problem" is not identified).
Stephen King has previously teased a horrifying sequence in the story that involves a pair of four-year-old twins who get trapped in a rattlesnake pit, and I'm willing to bet that the stroller is connected to them, and that the events end up being devastatingly triggering for Vic Trenton.
The author revealed in early August that You Like It Darker would be published in 2024, and now we have an official date, with Scribner planning to have the omnibus available to readers on May 21, 2024. Stay tuned for more details about the book here on CinemaBlend and in my weekly King Beat column (published every Thursday), and you can keep track of all the adaptations currently in the works with our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide.