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Web Original / What Happens When The Stars Go Out

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"You're made up of the stars, kid. Now go light up the world."

''What Happens When the Stars Go Out" is a short story/Creepypasta written by Jesse Clark. It premiered on Reddit's Nosleep forum in August 2017.

It takes the form of a non-linear narrative in which our protagonist, Brian, meets and falls in love with Robin, and the fateful night that changes their lives and relationship forever. It contains themes such as the nature of love, the acceptance of death, and how people react to drastic changes in their lives.

It has been noted as one of the few Creepypastas that is not intended to frighten the audience but rather present them with a melancholic tale of doomed love that still manages to have a hopeful ending.

Read the original version here, which was voted best story of the month and which won various end of the year accolades. Alternativley, listen to The Nosleep Podcast's adaption here, which was nominated for the Best Short Form Audio Drama award at the 2018 Parsec Awards.


This story contains examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: The story jumps around from different times in the couple's relationship, the events leading up to and the car crash that killed Robin, and Brian in the hospital after his Bungled Suicide attempt.
  • Back from the Dead: Brian succumbs to his overdose for about five minutes before his heart starts up again.
  • Big Storm Episode: Brian and Robin have their fateful fight on the night of a torrential rainstorm. It's this storm that causes the car accident that results in the latter's death.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Robin perishes in a car accident and Brian loses the girl he loved most. However, he was able to see her in heaven and ends the story with a newfound determination for life.
  • Bungled Suicide: Brian tries to kill himself by overdosing on sleeping pills after finding out Robin died in the car accident. It doesn't work and he wakes up in the hospital at the end of the story.
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  • Celestial Body: After Robin kisses and says goodbye to Brian in the afterlife, she dissolves into stars.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: On one of their first dates, Brian and Robin go to the carnival and ride one of these.
  • Flowers of Romance: Brian tries to patch things up with Robin by brining her flowers. Unfortunately, she's already dead by that point.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: A pair of Brian and Robin's friends get married even though they've only known each other for a year. It's Brian's controversial opinions on this matter that later causes Robin to break up with him.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: In the afterlife, Brian sees the many different ways his life could go depending on how he decides to take Robin's death.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Brian's dad is deeply religious; Brian himself is not. This is a major reason why they haven't spoke to each other in a while.
  • Love at First Sight: Rachel, one of the EMT's that try to save Brian, ends up falling in love with him while he's passed out. In that afterlife, Robin shows him what his life will be like if he decides to marry her.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Brian goes through this when he realizes his rant about the fleeting, short-lived nature of true love has caused Robin great emotional pain and desperately tries to backpedal. It doesn't work and they break up.
  • The One That Got Away: Robin breaks off her surprise proposal to Brian after he makes cynical, negative comments about their future. He realizes his mistake and tries to patch things up, but she leaves him that night. This is exemplified tenfold when she dies a car accident a few hours later.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Uttered by Brian after finding out that the car crash he sees on the road involved Robin.
  • We Really Do Care: In the afterlife, Robin shows Brian all the people that love and care about him in his life. His roommate Dylan calls the ambulance when he discovers his body and sits with him on the way to the hospital. Rachel, one of the EMT's, becomes determined to save his life. His father, whom he hasn't really been on good terms with in years, is bawling in his car and praying that his son will be okay.


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