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The Things They Left Behind

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"The Things They Left Behind" is a 30-page short story originally published in the Ed McBain-edited anthology Transgressons as well as in the audiobook Terror's Echo: Three Novellas from Transgressions on 21 April 2005, and in a paperback edition along with John Farris' "The Ransome Women" on 29 Augsut 2006, and was later included in King's own 2008 collection Just After Sunset.

Summary

Scott Staley, employee of Light and Bell Insurance, wasn't in his office on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center when the buildings were destroyed in the Nine-Eleven attack. Nearly a year later, Scott is still riddled with survivor guilt when things belonging to his late colleagues begin to appear in his apartment. He can identify each of them, as well as their former owners; after convincing himself that they are real, he tries vainly to dispose of them before finding them back in his apartment. He further confides in Paula Robeson, a neighbor, who offers to stow away one of the items, which triggers the most horrible nightmare of Paula's life by recreating the last minutes of its owner's life. Paula immediately returns the object, but makes Scott understand his mission: he must returns the items to the victims' families, and in doing so, he may earn relief from his own guilt.

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