"Autopsy Room Four
" is a short story by Stephen King
. It was first published in the anthology Robert Bloch's Psychos
in 1997 and appeared in King's limited-edition collection Six Stories
the same year. In 2002, it was collected in King's collection Everything's Eventual
. It was adapted into a short film in 2003. It was also part of TNT's From the Stories of Stephen King
series in the summer of 2006.
The plot is based on the set-up of classic short-story "Breakdown" by Louis Pollock, originally published in Collier's Magazine
in 1947, in which the protagonist is paralyzed in an auto accident, and must prove that he is alive. At one point in the King story, the protagonist explicitly thinks about the television version of "Breakdown". "Breakdown" appeared on television twice, in 1955 and 1985, both times on Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Howard Cottrell awakes from some form of unconsciousness to find himself laid out in an autopsy
room. As the doctor
prepare to begin, Howard struggles to come to grips with what is happening.
After realizing that he is not dead, he deduces that he is in a paralysed
state, and struggles to somehow inform the doctors of this fact before they cut into him.
While prepping Cottrell's body, the doctor in charge, Katie Arlen, finds shrapnel
wounds around his nether regions. While she is absent-mindedly examining these, another doctor rushes into the room to inform them that Howard is still... Read More