A woman (spirit? Salamander in human form? Even she isn’t sure) who has an affinity for fire hitches a ride with Billy to a motel somewhere off the Interstate. All her talk is of fire, and Billy will see plenty of that when they reach their destination. Like King’s story, this starts with a conversation between two people and leads up to a supernatural denouement; Kiernan’s tale doesn’t quite get under the skin as much as King’s, but it has greater consistency between beginning and end, and rounds off with a neat little twist.

Rating: ***

Caitlín R. Kiernan’s website