Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Just After Sunset

Go To
Original cover

Just After Sunset is Stephen King's fifth collection of short stories, published in 2008. It contains many stories that appeared in magazines before, and some previously unpublished ones.

Stories in Just After Sunset:

  • Willa: A man goes to great lengths to find his missing fiancée after an apparent train crash.
  • The Gingerbread Girl: After her baby daughter dies, a woman takes up running to deal with her pain.
  • Harvey's Dream: A middle aged married couple discuss a dream the husband had which seems to be coming true.
  • Rest Stop: An author overhears a fight between a man and a woman in a rest stop.
  • Stationary Bike: A man desperate to lose weight sets up a stationary bike in his basement, which seems to transport him to alternative realities.
  • The Things They Left Behind: An insurance salesman who worked in the Twin Towers but was absent on 9/11 is shocked to find various items from his dead colleagues turning up in his apartment.
  • Advertisement:
  • Graduation Afternoon: A young girl enjoying her high school graduation in Connecticut sees the destruction of New York City by an atomic bomb.
  • N.: Takes the form of an email/doctor's notes. A man suffering from OCD believes he has found a gateway to another reality in a field in Maine.
  • The Cat from Hell: A professional hitman is offered $12,000 to take out an unusual target — a cat. This story was adapted in the anthology Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.
  • The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates: A widows receives a phone call from her husband who died two days before in a plane crash.
  • Mute: A middle-aged salesman vents his frustration at his wife's infidelity to a sleeping deaf mute hitch-hiker he has picked up.
  • Ayana: A man recounts his father's battle with pancreatic cancer and the miraculous intervention of a blind seven-year-old girl named Ayana.
  • Advertisement:
  • A Very Tight Place: A man is trapped inside a portable toilet by his neighbour, with whom he is having a legal dispute.

Just After Sunset contains examples of:

  • Animal Testing: In The Cat from Hell a guy got rich testing a human heart medication on cats. So many died that a cat has come to avenge this.
  • Attack the Mouth: The cat in The Cat From Hell eventually takes out the hitman, who was sent to kill the cat, by leaping into the hitman's mouth, jamming itself in the hitman's throat, and causing him to choke to death.
  • Bench Breaker: The Gingerbread Girl features a version of this. Emily is duct taped to a chair by a psycho who will return in a little while to kill her. She's unable to get free of the tape, so she ends up breaking the chair instead to free herself. This later comes in handy when the psycho returns, as she's able to use the splintered remains of the chair to fight him off.
  • Cats Are Mean: The Cat from Hell has a cat driven by vengeance. A pharmaceutical company did drug testing that killed a lot of its fellow felines, so it's going after the president of that company, killing anyone in his way, such as the president's sister, her best friend, his servant, and even the hitman the president hires.
  • Chest Burster: After the cat in The Cat from Hell forces itself into the body of one of its victims, it claws out a hole in the stomach to get out.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: "N" has one in a field which an OCD man thinks is a gateway to another world.
  • Curse Relay: In N, a psychiatrist is visited by a patient who started suffering from Super OCD and delusional beliefs about an Eldritch Abomination after visiting the Ackerman's field. Soon after that, the patient commits suicide, the doctor decides to go to that place to investigate, and starts manifesting exactly the same symptoms. He also kills himself, so his sister begins her own investigation, and the cycle starts all over again.
  • Dead All Along: The protagonists of Willa.
  • Downer Beginning: The Gingerbread Girl begins with Emily's grief over her baby daughter's cot death.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Curtis in A Very Tight Place uses this trope when he confronts Grunwald, tossing an electric hair-dryer into the man's lap while he's sitting in his jacuzzi. It turns out to be just a psychological attack, as the dryer's not plugged in.
  • Eldritch Location: The standing stones on Ackermann's field in N.
  • Groin Attack: The cat in The Cat from Hell goes after a hitman's crotch with its claws as its penultimate attack (in that the hitman screaming left his mouth wide open for attack).
  • Hellgate: Ackerman's field in N., which keeps back a terrifying monster called Cthun.
  • Once Is Not Enough: Touched on The Gingerbread Girl, when the protagonist has to make a split-second decision after managing to batter the serial killer to the ground using the chair as a club: with the chair now smashed to bits, does she try and get the knife he's carrying to finish him off, or run for it. She runs.
  • Orifice Invasion: In The Cat from Hell the cat leaps into the mouth of a hitman. It then crawls further into the mouth until the hitman starts to choke. Once the hitman dies from that, the cat then crawls all the way inside.
  • Overturned Outhouse: In A Very Tight Place, Curtis Johnson is locked up in a tipped over portable toilet by his neighbor Tim Grunwald, and left trapped there in the heat of a Florida summer day to die.
  • Phone Call from the Dead: This is the premise of The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates. A husband who died in a plane crash was trying to call his wife just before impact; she gets the call two days later, and gets to talk to him in the afterlife (which, apparently, is a bus station). She gets to say goodbye, and he warns her about a future disaster, which she manages to avoid.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: A Very Tight Place — The room? A steel-plated, overturned, and uncleaned port-a-toilet located on a long-abandoned construction site.
  • Serial Killer:
    • Jim Pickering in The Gingerbread Girl.
    • The cat in The Cat from Hell is effectively one, despite having only one deliberate target. It just takes everyone else out before finally going after that person.
  • Slap Yourself Awake: In The Gingerbread Girl, Emily bites down on her injured lip to keep herself from passing out when she should be trying to untie herself.
  • Straight Gay: Curtis from A Very Tight Place seems to be.
  • Survivor Guilt: In The Things They Left Behind, Scott is unable to shake his guilt at having called in sick and survived 9/11. He is able to start overcoming this guilt by returning the supernatural items of his dead coworkers (which keep appearing in his apartment) to their families.
  • Super OCD: The eponymous character in N..
    • His doctor, Johnny Bonsaint eventually becomes like this as well, due to the influence of the field.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts : The protagonist in "Mute," as a result of his wife's addiction. This is combined with Never Win the Lottery, and she embezzled over 120,000 dollars in total, buying expensive lingerie with the first half of it and then scratch tickets with the second half, trying to win the jackpot and pay it all back. The back story is Very Loosely Based on a True Story.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: