"Sometimes They Come Back" is a short story written by Stephen King, published in Cavalier  March 1974, and included in his 1978 collection Night Shift.


In 1957, two brothers, Wayne and James, are walking to the library when they are attacked by a gang of local greasers. Wayne is beaten to death, but Jim manages to flee and the greasers vow to get him. Many years later, Jim is now a full-grown man who has moved far away from the town he grew up in and works at the local high school teaching English. He is also married to a woman named Sally, but they are childless. After the Christmas vacation is over, Jim gets word from the headmaster that a new student named Robert Lawson is now in his class, but he is not overbooked as one of his best students was killed in a hit-and-run during the break. Jim gets a feeling of deja vu seeing Lawson, but dismisses it.

Robert Lawson makes friends with Chip Osway, the class troublemaker and worst student. They target another of Jim's star pupils, a girl who falls to her death one week after Robert Lawson arrival. David Garcia then joins the class. Jim is now overcome with concern that the two new students bear resemblance to the greasers who murdered Wayne. Chip Osway, in a fit of remorse, tells Jim that David Garcia and Robert Lawson tried to murder Jim and that while he hated English class, he could never go so far as murder. Osway drops out of school and runs away to prevent from being hunted by the greasers in revenge. Jim later learns that Chip Osway made his way to California where he fell in with a hippie commune. Finally a third greaser joins the class, Vinnie Corey.

Because he deals with the powers of darkness, things turn out less well than he had hoped. The ending implies that the forces he summoned to dispatch the greasers may also be just as sinister, and difficult to get rid of as the greasers themselves were: the demon posing as his brother states "I'll be back, Jim."


The story was adapted into a film in the year 1991.

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