"Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut" is a short story by Stephen King. It was collected in King's Skeleton Crew in 1985.
David, a friend of a caretaker named Homer, is an older man who is spending his later years hanging out at the local gas station in a small town. He narrates a tale of Mrs. Todd, who is obsessed with finding shortcuts. Homer admires her persistence but begins to have doubts, as there are only so many shortcuts someone can find. Mrs. Todd's habit of resetting her odometer shows remarkable evidence that something strange is going on. He also discovers evidence that her shortcuts are taking fewer miles than are in a straight line between the trip origin and its destination, something that would be impossible in reality. Mrs. Todd compares the shortcuts to folding a map to bring two points closer together, suggesting she has discovered a warped version of reality, akin to a wormhole.
Mrs. Todd finally convinces Homer to take one of the special 'shortcuts'. Homer loses his hat to the grasping arms of a living tree and sees road signs and strange, unnatural animals that he cannot explain. Frightened, Homer does not wish to take any more rides. Nonetheless, Mrs. Todd is changing and growing younger with each trip she takes, and the appeal of this overwhelms Homer, despite his having found a smashed, horrifying rodent-like creature on the grill of her car. She brushes this off, seeing the creature as an unfortunate yet normal animal. In the end, Homer, who is looking younger himself, gets into Mrs. Todd's car in front of his friend. It is implied that Mrs. Todd (who by this time is considered to be a missing person together with her car) will now take him into whatever new world to which she has found a shortcut.
This is teaching materials for a short story that would be considered untraditional. The assessments included vocabulary acquisition, critical thinking questions, and recall or comprehension questions on one sheet. These questions come in the forms of a mixture of matching, short answer, and multiple-choice. By completing this sheet the student will demonstrate an understanding of the material on multiple levels.
The other assessment is a creative art sheet. The creative art sheet asks the student to use the details from the story and their own knowledge, experiences, and imagination to synthesize a totally new work, this is a picture that is a visual representation that recreates of a scene, character or maybe the student's use or view of an aspect of the story. Along with this picture the student will explain their work with a short explanation.
The materials provided
1 Short story worksheet
1 Creative Art Sheet
1 Answer Key