Stephen King

Willa – Stephen King Short Story (Just After Sunset)

The story is the first one in the collection Just After Sunset. In the endnotes in the collection called “Sunset Notes”, King writes of this story: “This probably isn’t the best story in the book, but I love it very much, because it ushered in a new period of creativity for me – as regards the short story, at least. Most of the stories in Just After Sunset were written subsequent to ‘Willa’, and in fairly quick succession (over a period of not quite two years).”

A railway station in the middle of nowhere. David is looking for his girlfriend: Willa. They were on their way to their own wedding, when an accident made them stuck at a small railway station. Now Willa is missing and none of the other fellow passengers know where she is. Although the next train is so supposed to come any minute, David leaves the railway station to search for Willa…

He encounters a wolf on the way which he scares off – making him chuckle about a new possible nickname he could have besides his “Financial Investor” status – “Wolf frightener”. He arrives into town and he finds Willa in the first bar he enters, listening to the music of a rock band called “The Derailers” (fitting name).

“I don’t know why we should bother when we can just stay here you may be a little nearsighted, David, but at least you care” I love you for that”

He then is told that he is dead, they all are, they died when the train derailed and it’s no longer 1983 but more than likely 2007. They had been dead for years and years and this was the first time he came to her – proving that love is strong, even after death.

They return to let the others know about their state, but they refuse to believe him and stay on in the train station even though it was scheduled for demolition sometimes in the next year.

“You’re dead, we’re all dead, and the longer you stay in one place, the harder it’s going to be to ever go anywhere else”

He returns with Willa to the bar where they begin to spend the rest of their afterlife together, listening to music, playing the jukebox when everyone is asleep and loving each other.


Interestingly enough, it’s had two movie adaptations:


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