Read The Box by Jack Ketchum Online


The box is Jack Ketchum's 1994 Bram Stoker Award-winning story. It has been anthologized, reprinted, and now it is available for the first time in digital - along with a brand new afterword by the author....

Title : The Box
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 22613571
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 21 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Box Reviews

  • Horace Derwent
    2018-11-19 09:16

    perhaps i ain't no bad guy, but i ain't no good man for sureimagine the door of a kitchen which is with no vents just shut, the whole room getting filled up with lampblack is a matter of time loneliness is a natural-born evil which is always inside of us, it's as old as time, it looks like indifference, cuz that's when the door is not closed...until we got eaten the fuck alive in this kitchen, don't bother who shut the door. hungry hearts have nothing to eat, and nothing can ever sate them, they eat themselvesor i can tell you, maybe there's never been a door

  • Danger
    2018-12-17 08:32

    A wonderful and depressing short story about the inherent loneliness of the human condition, and how, even against our best efforts, it's impossible to not let it eat away at you.

  • Chad
    2018-11-29 07:23

    A great and disturbing story. The rest of this review is a spoiler so there's your warning!I see a lot of complaining from people who really want to know what is in the box, as Jack never tells us. But how satisfied would we really be if we knew? Isn't what is left to our own imagination much more damaging than anything he would've written? I thought the story was great, and yes...knowing what was in the box would have been cool, but I can promise you there'd be just as many people saying "Really? That was it? THAT'S what made the whole family starve themselves?" But Jack makes us face the unknown without spelling it out for us. How good of a film do you think The Blair Witch Project would have been had we ever seen the witch? (well maybe that's a bad example but I think you catch my drift).Great little short!

  • Joey LaBelle
    2018-11-19 04:11

    Short and sweet. This is how a short story should be written, with an ending that is perfection. The contents of the box really drive the story forward to it's sudden, depressing end. It begs the question; do you want to see what's in the box?

  • Tim Ouellette
    2018-12-06 07:31

    My review of THE BOX, by Jack KetchumTHE BOX was my introduction to the work of Jack Ketchum and I enjoyed it immensely. While horror writers often seek to capture the attention of the reader with prose describing horrible and horrific happenings, Ketchum captures our interest through the power of the unspoken word.Ketchum transforms the natural curiosity of a child into the source of that child's eventual destruction and has it snowball into the destruction of the entire family save one; and he does so by keeping the horror under wraps, hidden but there, the knowledge of said horror the very thing that brings about destruction.

  • Kandice
    2018-12-12 05:28

    I can see how this could be a haunting little tale. You want to know what is in the box. Ketchum doesn't tell you. Some people are driven crazy by mystery, but I am one of those that is content to not only NOT solve the mystery, but to let the questions lie fallow in the back of my mind and have solutions pop up at odd moments in life.If a possible answer to the question this tale raises DOES occur to me, I'll add it here. Having said that, I am fine with Ketchum leaving the contents unknown. WHAT doesn't matter nearly as much as the effects.

  • ADignorantium
    2018-11-30 06:04

    This is an interesting short story. It's more of a mood piece than a horror, thriller, or scary ghost story but it does tap into your emotions. A family is riding a train from New York City at the height of the Christmas season. The children spot a strange man seated across from them carrying a large wrapped box in his lap. "What's in the box?" It's an innocent question posed by the young curious boy. His pleading is rewarded with a quick peak inside the box just before the train arrives at the man's stop and he leaves the train.What's in the box?The contents of the box is a mystery but leave a permanent impression on the family.

  • J K
    2018-11-22 10:27

    A little boy looks into the titular box, carried by a mysterious man on the tube. What happens after that is puzzling and deeply disquieting, and while I had also seen the film version, this is a quick effective read that, in the surface, is tame compared to most Ketchum stories. Still, this was pretty creepy and definitely an adult fear for anyone with kids in particular. And it's the book equivalent of the video for 'Just' by Radiohead. Recommended.

  • Sue
    2018-11-21 05:10

    Well I guess you can’t love ‘em all. I just recently discovered author Jack Ketchum and the whole splatterpunk genre and instantly fell in love with the slaughter and carnage of it all. He very quickly rose to the top of my favorite authors list. I vowed to read as much Ketchum as I could get my hands on, even including the short stories. I’m now reconsidering that decision.I just wanna know what’s in the damn box, for Christ’s sake!! I always did loathe movies or shows that ended without resolution, where you had to decide for yourself what the ultimate outcome should be. Just like with the TV series “Lost” – I was an utterly devoted fan of that show for 6 long years, never missing an episode. When that series ended with the outcome left up to interpretation, I was seriously pissed off. But once I got over my initial irritation, I was at least able to formulate a final scenario that made sense to me and that allowed me some form of acceptable closure.With this story, we are never told what’s in the stupid box. I laid awake last night trying to think of something….ANYTHING….that would make sense that could POSSIBLY be in the box that would cause a young boy to want to starve himself to death just by viewing its contents. And then to cause his two sisters to follow suit just after having a conversation with their brother. It. Just. Doesn’t. Make. Sense.On the bright side, I only spent about 20 minutes on this short story (it’s only 21 pages), so I guess I shouldn’t be too angry. I spent much more time lying awake thinking about it than I did actually reading it. Maybe that’s what’s in the box – those 20 minutes of each of our lives that none of us will ever get back. Ketchum is probably laughing his ass off over that one.But then again, this story did win the 2004 Bram Stoker award from the Horror Writers Association, and there’s a whole lot of 5-star reviews out there calling the story “perfection”, so maybe I’m just out of touch. The story is well-written, and it did keep my attention for the entire 20 minutes, so I’m ultimately giving it 3 stars instead of the 2 stars I really wanted to give it for pissing me off. I’m definitely not giving up on Jack Ketchum, but I think I’ll stick to his full length novels from now on and leave the short stories for the HWA. Now hurry up and give me some good old-fashioned blood and guts so I can forget about this story and move on!

  • Deyth Banger
    2018-11-29 06:11

    And what's in the box?.............Suspense and mystery

  • Tom Simon
    2018-11-28 04:25

    Well-Written But Ultimately Emptyif you want to know what was in the box, you won't find out in this story. Scary, sad story leaves you hanging wishing more was explained.

  • Sean
    2018-11-19 12:25

    The Box is a psychological horror story about a man whose son knows something that he doesn't. After an encounter with a stranger on the train, the narrator's son - Danny - is given a glimpse into an innocuous gift box. We don't see it with him, and are left to wonder what horror could have been contained within. But seeing it causes Danny to stop eating, and puts the family on a tragic path. After his son shares the knowledge of what he saw in the box with his sisters and his mother, they join him in his inexplicable suicide by starvation - all the while refusing to say what was in the box or what Danny has shared with them except that it was "nothing". One by one, they proceed to starve to death until only the father is left alive. The story ends with him riding the train again and again, hoping to see the stranger one more time, hungry to know what was in the box. Some readers will be put off by the lack of resolution to the plot or its central mystery. We don't learn what was in the box, or why it had the effect it did on the family. Although no answer could possibly be good enough to drive this unbelievable plot, the total absence of any explanation does beg the question: why bother telling the story at all? And we don't learn the fate of the narrator, as the story stops just as it seems to be picking up. And at that moment, you are left to realize that you've wasted your own time on a half-finished idea of a campfire tale that the author didn't have the imagination to flesh out any further.Good authors take advantage of their reader's imagination, and that is certainly what Ketchum tries to do here. But he relies too much on the reader to fill in the blanks, to the point where this feels more like a writing prompt than an actual short story (or a parody of his critics that people somehow didn't get). He provides so few details and so little in the way of explanation that The Box just doesn't stand on its own. It's a silly little story about an intentionally obtuse mystery that teases the reader with the very idea of knowing. It's a prank in the form of a short story.

  • Leigh Grover
    2018-12-04 11:12

    I enjoyed this short story, and to me, the horror seemed to be about the isolation that comes with feeling disconnected to your life and family. The main character and myself wonder throughout the story, what was in the box? However, knowing what was in the box is not the point of the story, and the author leaving out that information is a great psychological maneuver for the reader. It's the gaping absence of this unknown thing that the main character feels, which also interferes in his already crippled ability to connect with his family. Even though it is something dark and harmful, the main character yearns to get close to it, even at the expense of his own health. Creepy.

  • Thomas Joyce
    2018-12-01 10:25

    What's in the box?What a suspenseful story and (forgive the pun), in such a small package! The mystery of the box, the detailed description of the characters, even the seemingly happy and normal owner of the box. The loneliness the narrator feels, even when surrounded by his family, is a very familiar feeling. And Ketchum builds the dread in such a compelling way. My first exposure to Ketchum's work, it won't be my last. I'm only sorry I waited this long.

  • Morgan
    2018-12-16 10:21

    Good short readSaw the movie XX and decided I should give this a read since it was as short as it was. I actually found the idea of the POV being written from a male side (in XX it's a female POV) quite interesting. It didn't occur to me until he mentions his wife that this was a male and not a female. I would have liked it to be a little longer but I guess that's the charm of the short story.

  • Christopher Roberts
    2018-11-30 11:27

    This is a nice creepy little story. It is Ketchum's most famous.

  • Chad
    2018-12-16 11:21

    Sad and well written.

  • Chris Hughes
    2018-12-18 04:04

    A little long for my taste.

  • Angela Maher
    2018-12-06 07:33

    Dark, creepy and intriguing.

  • Jessica Brake
    2018-11-26 10:33

    Wanted answers..."The Box" by Jack Ketchum is an oddball of a short story. I am the kind of person who craves answers--a reason/the reasons why--but I didn't get them in this tale. In a way, I like that he left it open to interpretation, though if I were to venture a guess as to what the box contains, I would say it is fate. Fate is what is in the box. Maybe the man was not meant to have a family, or perhaps he did not appreciate his family like he should have. So fate was in the box, and that is why the man's son, Danny, looked scared upon viewing the box's contents. Danny could have feared his and his family's mortality, but, I think he really feared his father's loneliness once they were gone. It happened slowly--the starvation of his family--I believe, to give him an opportunity to change, but he only became angry. So, "nothing" was in the box, and now he is left with "nothing". At the end, the man says he is "hungry". It is the exact opposite of how his family felt. So it drives them--and keeps them--apart. Thus, they will never reunite.

  • Shoy L Mohr
    2018-12-05 07:08

    A Fatal Yearning Of The UnknownI find Mr. Ketchum to be a visceral type of writer. His stories can be brutal, but usually great horror stories. This was recommended to me and I'm very happy they did. Subtle, creepy writing that will stay with you long after you read it. Hits the heart and mind without gore, without violence, just an eerie kind of dread.

  • Mike Driver
    2018-12-04 09:29

    What makes horror frightening?For me its the overwhelming normality of the initial set-up, easily recognised people and situations - why it could be you and your family the author is talking about. Jack Ketchum is an expert in delivering normalcy and then twisting the screws tighter and tighter so that the horror creeps in as much in your imagination as the text and The Box is a perfect example of this.The story begins with a simple train journey; a father and his children are seated opposite a man with a mysterious brightly wrapped box. The box intrigues the youngest boy who asks to see the contents. The man shows him and a couple of days later the boy stops eating. It's that simple but the horror and tragedy that ensues is heartbreaking.If you've read my other reviews you'll know I'm a fan and this is one of his finest.

  • Anastasia
    2018-11-19 05:32

    Somehow Jack Ketchum's story sticks with me for a long time...It is very thought provoking and haunting...Everyone wants to know what was in the box but you have to figure it out your self...It happens during good times..The father has a good job at a brokerage firm making good money..All the presents are bought and are already wrapped under the Christmas tree...But something goes awry for the family after his younger son Danny looks in to a strangers Christmas box on their way back from NY..It then spreads rapidly like a disease throughout the household....Leaving the father confused and the only one not touch....So the morale of the story is left to your imagination or your own interpretation.

  • Brian
    2018-12-12 07:28

    Mheh. I'm not sure why people wonder what is in the box. The story very clearly states there was nothing in the box. You can get the point of the story by looking at the setting (time frame) and by contrasting the children's desire to not eat versus the father's hunger at the end. It's an OK story, quick and to the point, but it doesn't really make me think that much. Just OK.

  • Kimberly van Pinxteren
    2018-12-14 05:20

    What IS in that box? Mr. Ketchum told me a few years ago through his website that the clue was actualy revealed at the very beginning of the story. I guess I am just too stupid, but I still haven't figured it out.

  • Jeffrey W Brigham
    2018-11-21 12:26

    Good short storyWhat's in the box? This is a decent short story with room for interpretation. Read between the lines to find out.

  • Christine
    2018-12-06 10:11

    Totally disappointed. Would have really liked to have known what was in the box. It was also dull and boring. Jack Ketchum is one of my favorite writers but I did not care for this at all.

  • Monica Go
    2018-11-22 07:18

    Not much to say about it other that it was an intriguing subject that would be nice to see developped more. It's my first Ketchum also.

  • Euthimia
    2018-12-04 07:23

    Nice story,well written,strong emotions, but the ending was like a lukewarm coffee.

  • Ryan Johnson
    2018-11-21 04:09

    Great creepy quick read.