A character comes to a building, town, ship, or some setting expecting people to be there—but there isn't.
This can take place in two ways:
- The person expects people s/he recognizes to be there (If a meeting was arranged, this is Stood Up).
- The person expects someone, anyone to be there.
This is not
about the setting being abandoned—and sometimes the setting isn't
(especially type one). This is about the person's reaction
, and the reaction can range from annoyance to full-blown horror
See also The Aloner
, Late to the Party
and Slept Through the Apocalypse
Definitely overlaps with Ghost Town
, Ghost City
, and even Ghost Planet
, but this trope is the "ghost" part coming as a surprise.
- In a cartoon Moral Alternative to The Far Side (most likely Reverend Fun), a group of students are shown playing a prank on their Sunday School teacher by hiding in the closet of a classroom, after writing "Rapture" on the chalkboard with the end of the word trailing up off the top of the chalkboard.
- In The Langoliers, most of the aircraft's passengers vanish, and the rest go through the plane, looking for the missing passengers.
- The Alone in the Dark (2005) film has the final scene, in which Carnby and Aline wander into a city and find it abandoned. A helpful subtitle informs the viewer that the city was magically evacuated in a single night, Carnby's final narration contradicts that and declares humanity is being wiped out just like the Precursors.
- At the start of 28 Days Later, Jim awakens in a hospital and is bewildered to find the hospital—and later all of London—almost completely abandoned. Aside from the rage zombies.
- In The Pearls of Lutra, Emperor Ublaz comes aboard the Waveworm, which had been sent to retrieve the titular pearls. His confusion turns to horror when he finds no-one aboard, but blood everywhere. The pirate crew and the moniters have killed each other and the kidnapped Abbot Durral, who was locked in his room and thus the last living person aboard the ship, had buried everyone at sea.
- Dean Koontz's novel Phantoms. Two sisters return to their home town and find it almost completely empty of people. All that's left are the bodies of a few murdered victims.
- In the Warrior Cats novel Dawn, Brambleclaw and Squirrelpaw return home, but the camp is entirely deserted, and they have no idea where the Clan is; there's no sign of a fight or anything. Their medicine cat, Cinderpelt, happens to come back to retrieve some herbs from her den, and she explains that the Clan has relocated to Sunningrocks because the humans' deforestation activities had come too close to the camp.
- Similarly, in the graphic novel trilogy featuring Graystripe, he finally escapes from the humans and finds ThunderClan's territory and camp again, but is shocked to find that all the Clans seem to be gone, as they left for new territory without him.
- There's a Goosebumps story called Be Careful What You Wish For, where a girl gets three wishes from an old woman in exchange for helping her. Her second wish is for her rival to disappear. The next morning she wakes up and finds that everyone has vanished apart from her (and the old woman).
- There was a story about a young boy during the Russian Revolution where he comes to his uncle's house, only to discover that strangers are living there. It turns out his uncle was taken away by the Bolsheviks.
- The Twilight Zone TOS did this a few times.
- The first episode, appropriately titled "Where is Everybody?": A man finds himself walking along a road. He comes across a diner and later a town: both are completely empty of people. The Twilight Zone Twist is that he's taking part in an experiment that has caused him to hallucinate.
- "The Arrival". An airliner lands at an airfield. When the airfield personnel go to unload it, the plane is completely empty of people: no pilots, no passengers.
- In a flashback to 2000 on My Name Is Earl, Earl, Randy, Joy and Donny think that everyone in the world except for them has been somehow destroyed by Y2K, but they're just at a New Year's Day parade.
- The Prisoner TOS episode "Many Happy Returns". One morning Number Six wakes up and finds the entire Village deserted except for a cat.
- In the Ripping Yarns episode "Escape from Stalag Luft 112B", Major Phipps works on elaborate plans of escape, while all the other prisoners try to talk him out of it. Then one day he wakes up and discovers himself alone. All the other prisoners have escaped. The German soldiers all guard him. and then, one morning the German Drill Sergeant Nasty breaks into Phipps' barracks and demands to know what Phipps did with all the guards. They "escaped", too. And the commandant. Now Phipps can finally work on his escape plan in peace! He becomes the only man to ever fail to escape Stalag Luft 112B.
- Supernatural: After receiving a distress call from Rufus in the episode "Good God, Y'All", Sam and Dean arrive at the location looking for the people in danger, only to find a town with signs of recent activity (an overturned car still playing music, blood spatters, signs of a struggle, etc.), but where the streets are strangely empty.
- Babylon 5: In "And the Sky, Full of Stars", Commander Sinclair wakes and finds himself the only person left on the station. It proves to be a virtual reality simulation.
- In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Remember Me", Dr. Crusher finds herself being gradually abandoned by the crew of the Enterprise, as the result of being trapped in a Negative Space Wedgie. Each disappearance only heightens her horror as nobody else on the ship remembers the missing crewmen. Taken Up to Eleven when she eventually finds herself alone on the Enterprise, and the computer tells her that she is and always has been the only crewmember of a ship that shouldn't be possible to run without a crew in the triple digits.
- The two types are combined in The Mighty Mighty Boss Tones' song "Where Did You Go?". A guy comes home and finds that the person to whom he's singing isn't home—and, apparently, isn't going to come home. The lyrics describe him waiting, wondering "Where did you go?" and finally leaving.
- At the beginning of Knights of the Old Republic II, you wake up on an abandoned mining facility. Save for an old woman whom you find in the morgue and a man in a prison cell, the station is devoid of life. You must piece together what happened as you explore the station.
- In BlazBlue, the NOL branch office is usually mysteriously empty when characters show up there in story mode.
- A frequent trope in the Silent Hill series. Silent Hill is a resort town with scenic woods, a beautiful lake, and an amusement park. Its victims find themselves wandering alone through constant fog and frequent snow/ash fall.
- On the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Gone", SpongeBob wakes up and finds all of Bikini Bottom deserted. Turns out there's an annual "Get Away from SpongeBob" day, but they got carried away and made it a week.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, episode "Bridle Gossip", Twilight and Spike head into town, but find it deserted. Eventually they figure out that everyone is hiding because their newest neighbor, Zecora, scares them.