“The Road Virus Heads North" is a short story by Stephen King, it was collected in written form as a story in King's 2002 collection Everything's Eventual.
The story follows a successful horror writer named Richard Kinnell as he drives back from Boston to his home in Derry, Maine. Along the way, he comes across a yard sale, where he notices and is captivated by a bizarre painting of a sinister-looking man with filed teeth driving his car on Boston's Tobin Bridge. The painting, which is apparently titled "The Road Virus Heads North," was painted by a tortured genius who had burned all his other paintings prior to killing himself, leaving a cryptic note that he couldn't stand what was happening to him. Kinnell, a collector of such oddities, has no hesitation in buying the painting from the woman running the sale.
As Kinnell travels north, he stops at his aunt's house to show her the painting and notices that some of the details in the painting have changed. At first, he dismisses this by assuming he hadn't examined it closely, but he soon realizes that the painting is continuing to change. Deeply unsettled by this fact, he discards the painting at a rest stop.
When he arrives at his home, he finds to his horror that the painting has somehow followed him, and hangs from his wall. It has changed again, this time depicting a bloody aftermath at the yard sale where he had purchased it. He hears on the news that the woman running the yard sale was brutally murdered. He realizes that the man in the painting somehow really exists, and the ever-changing painting shows him getting closer and closer to his home. Kinnell lights a fire in the fireplace, and tosses in the painting. Confident this will destroy it once and for all, he decides to take a shower, where he passes out and has a nightmare about the various things he's encountered that day.
When he awakens, he realizes that the artist who created The Road Virus burned all his paintings, including this one, which means that the painting survived his attempt to burn it, and the man in the painting has arrived and is walking through the house. Kinnell tries to escape but ultimately fails, and the painting gets him as well; the book's final passage describes Kinnell seeing the latest change to the painting, with fresh blood on the driver's seat of the car, and realizing that the painting is showing what is about to happen to him. (Wikipedia)
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
NOTE: I have decided to include the Word Documents that the PDFs are created from so that if you would like to customize the unit for your classroom you can. However, I have used formatting and custom fonts that are not standard with many versions of Microsoft office. This may mean that opening them with a different version of office or without the same fonts installed will throw the formatting off. If so it may take some work to adapt them in your class. I am including them as an extra and would ask that I am not rated on the usability of the Word Docs. Since they are not the finished product, but an extra.