The Things They Left Behind
|"The Things They Left Behind"|
|Published in||Transgressions: Volume Two,
Transgressions: Terror's Echo (audiobook),
Just After Sunset
"The Things They Left Behind" is short story by Stephen King, originally published in the compilation Transgressions: Volume Two edited by Ed McBain and published by Forge Books. It is one of three stories that is also available on audiobook compilation, in the "Transgressions" series, titled Terror's Echo and read by John Bedford Lloyd. It was later included in King's own 2008 collection Just After Sunset.
Almost a year after 9/11, strange things start happening to narrator Scott Staley, who—at the time of the attacks—is employed at 'Light and Bell Insurance' on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center. Not only is Scott unable to get rid of his survivor's guilt (on 9/11 he followed an inner voice that told him to take a day off to enjoy the sun), but things belonging to his late colleagues start to appear in his apartment. A pair of sunglasses, a baseball bat, a farting cushion – Scott can easily identify them all. After convincing himself that they are no delusion and that others can see them, he tries throwing them away, yet they reappear after his return home.
He confides in Paula, a neighbor, who offers to stow away one of the things. It triggers the most horrible nightmare of Paula's life, recreating in her mind the last minutes of its proprietor. Paula immediately returns the object, but makes Scott understand his mission: he must give the things to the victims' immediate family – and on seeing the joy on their faces, he feels his guilt slowly fade away.
Adaptations in other media
The story has been adapted into an extended short film by filmmaker Pablo Macho Maysonet IV, produced by Shattered Dreams Productions.
A new adaptation of the short story directed by Guillaume Heulard and Stéphane Valette is currently in film festivals.
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