And on the lighter side


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BANGOR, ME—Admitting their investigation was at a standstill, local law enforcement officials told reporters Wednesday they had enlisted the help of bestselling author Stephen King to track down a demonic automobile accused of killing an area woman.

Authorities made the decision to contact the award-winning writer after failing to develop any significant leads in the case, according to a spokesperson for the Bangor Police Department. Though they say the 70-year-old’s often arrogant and prickly demeanor makes him difficult to work with, detectives confirmed they are hoping King’s specialized insight will help them locate the bloodthirsty and allegedly homicidal vehicle.

“Let me guess: It looks like a classic hit-and-run, but the car that mowed her down didn’t leave a trace of physical evidence,” King said as he arrived at the crime scene, lifting the caution tape with his cane and hobbling toward a group of officers. “The victim has a boyfriend, but you already talked to him, and he’s got an airtight alibi for the night in question and no record of criminal history. So you’ve got no means, no motive, and no opportunity—all of which means you’re screwed, even before you take into account the fact that you’re dealing with the insatiable appetite for murder that inhabits the souls of the damned.”

“I take it from the stupid blank looks on everyone’s faces that I’m right so far,” he added.

Openly scoffing at the detectives’ working theory that a shape-shifting poltergeist had assumed the form of a car, King reportedly explained to officers that the clinical efficiency of the attack suggested instead a corporeal vehicle possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

Bangor police chief Alex Ingraham acknowledged that the celebrated novelist and longtime Maine resident has assisted with a number of high-profile cases over the years, including one in which a telekinetic teenager destroyed a local high school gym and another in which a bloodsucking undead being and his elderly caretaker conspired to turn all the residents of a nearby town into vampires.

Sources said that while inspecting the scene of the hit-and-run, King cleared away some brush near a bend in the road and revealed a tire tread the forensics team had overlooked.

“These tracks were made by Firestone whitewalls, and considering how long ago those went out of fashion, I’d say we’re looking for a vintage automobile being driven by the deranged ghost of its former owner,” King said to the investigators gathering around him. “Now that this entity has gotten a taste for blood, it’s going to start seeking revenge on anyone it feels may have wronged it. That means the clock’s ticking if we want to prevent another murder.”

“Start pulling files on any unusual or mysterious deaths that took place in a car 60 or 70 years ago,” he continued. “And put out an APB for anyone driving a Plymouth Fury or an antique Buick Roadmaster who appears agitated and is dressed like a 1950s-era greaser.”

While Ingraham has said he appreciates King’s uncanny ability to get inside the head of unknowably dark and malevolent forces to reconstruct the events at a crime scene, the police chief has privately expressed concern that prolonged exposure to the blood-soaked handiwork of evil spirits has taken an emotional toll on the author. Sources close to King have stated that his gruff exterior is a façade that masks a sensitive persona still racked with guilt by the one crime he was never able to solve: The grisly stabbing deaths of a family serving as caretakers for a haunted ski lodge.

“I’m only going to say this once, so try to get it through that thick skull of yours,” King said to a lieutenant after being informed that a search of the police database hadn’t yielded any results for the car in question. “The vengeful specter inhabiting this old car will have transformed the vehicle back to its brand-new, original state, so unless you’re running plates from the Eisenhower administration, nothing’s going to show up.”

“Now while I’m over here doing your job and actually stopping people from getting murdered by a four-wheeled demon, why don’t you make yourself useful and grab me a cup of coffee?” he added.

At press time, after learning the suspected vehicle had last been registered to one Randall Flagg, an ashen-faced King was overheard mumbling to himself that all his past cases might somehow be connected.