The following stories deal with 9/11 in some way. Stories about other terrorist activities are in a separate section at the bottom.
Short Stories About 9/11
“There’s a Hole in the City” by Richard Bowes
On September 12th, the narrator waits at a barricade for his friend, Mags, who’s coming from Soho. To the south, pillars of smoke can still be seen. Police officers are limiting traffic and ID is needed to cross the barricade. A family approaches and wants to pass simply to show their kids Ground Zero, but they’re turned away. The narrator and Mags go have lunch. He tells her about Mrs. Pirelli who had a heart attack watching the report on TV, because her son worked in the World Trade Center. Mags saw someone outside her place last night, someone who was injured and looked out of place.
This story can be read in the preview of In the Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Fiction in a Post-9/11 World. (28% in)
“My Eyes, Your Ears” by Ray Vukcevich
The narrator has troubling recognizing people because he sees black bars over their eyes. He’s standing in blood, and hopes it’s not Caroline’s. He remembers how he first got her attention in high school by pranking her.
This story can also be read in the preview of In the Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Fiction in a Post-9/11 World. (72% in)
The following 3 stories can be found in the anthology 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11. This volume is full of very short selections.
“Circumference” by Humera Afridi
A woman lives less than a mile from all the destruction. The past four days she’s been confined to a five square block area but the barricade has been raised. She’s going to get a paper and some sugar. She’s preoccupied with a man she was with a week ago, but she knows he won’t call.
“The Sky Was So Blue” by Roberta Allen
Irina calls her friend and tells her the world is ending. She turns on the TV and finds out what’s happening. She walks to the corner of Sixteenth and Fifth avenue. When she gets to Twelfth street, the first tower falls.
“Gelato is Gelato” by Jennifer Belle
A woman who’s just come from a therapy session is at a Weight Watchers meeting on September 18. The women take turns saying how much they’ve gained in the past week. The long-time group leader, Estelle, is over seventy and is unusually serious. She gives the group some surprising advice.
“The Things They Left Behind” by Stephen King
Scott Staley, a researcher, remembers a day from August 2002 when he helped a fellow tenant, Paula Robeson, with her air conditioner. It marked the unusual occurrences that began shortly after. About a week later, he returns to his suite after picking up some material for a job. On his table in the foyer, he sees something that takes his strength away—a pair of distinctive sunglasses that can’t possibly be there. Looking over into a corner, he also sees a familiar baseball bat. Feeling he’s going crazy, he takes the sunglasses and goes looking for the doorman.
“The Mutants” by Joyce Carol Oates
A beautiful blond New York woman lives a charmed life. She lives in a Manhattan apartment with her fiancé, an editor at a distinguished publishing house. One morning while walking home after running an errand, she hears a droning sound. She sees a large airplane flying unusually low. It disappears behind some buildings, and then she hears a huge explosion. The shock knocks her to the pavement. Recovering, she starts for the safety of her building.
“Ground Zero” by Patrick McGrath
The narrator, a psychiatrist, tells the story of one of her patients, Danny Silver. They’ve talked twice a week for seven years, and he’s like a son to her. He struggles with intimacy issues stemming from a suffocating mother, making it impossible for him to sustain a healthy relationship. Danny was in New York during the terrorist attacks, and the trauma has sidetracked his therapy. The tragedy has renewed old feelings of grief, anger and despair. In the aftermath, he gets involved with a woman who has also been emotionally effected by the experience.
This is a longer story.
“The Last Day of Muhammad Atta” by Martin Amis
In the early morning of September 11, 2001, Muhammad Atta wakes up in a Repose Inn, a cheap hotel in Portland, Maine. He and his associates are living frugally during this final stretch; they have recently wired their surplus funds back to Dubai. He makes contact with his confederate, Abdulaziz, in the next room, and then gets ready for the day. He doesn’t like looking at his face while he shaves. He’s surprised he’s even allowed on a plane. In the past ten years, only the Sheikh ever looked at him with pleasure. His first flight leaves soon. He thinks about his beliefs and the task at hand.
Other Terrorism Stories
“Fast (A Kathryn Dance Story)” by Jeffrey Deaver
Kathryn and her young daughter are about to see the octopus exhibit when she gets an urgent text from work. Monitoring has picked up news of an impending terrorist attack in about two and a half hours. The location isn’t known, but the number of potential victims is—about two hundred. They have the make on a car and a last-seen location.
Most of this story can be read in the preview of Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories. (9% in)
“57 Gatwick” by Patrick Hicks
George McCourt, the County Coroner, speaks at a press conference about the recent tragedy. Debris started falling from the night sky, including plane parts, personal belongings and dead bodies. They’ve recovered 139 bodies so far. There’s property damage in Duluth and fourteen residents were killed by falling objects.
This story can be read in the preview of The Collector of Names: Stories.
“The Corpse Exhibition” by Hassan Blasim
A handler explains the job requirements to a recruit. A client is studied and then the agent must submit a proposal on how the person will be killed and how their body will be displayed. Each body is to be treated as a work of art, and imagination is prized.
Almost all of this story can be read in the preview of The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq. (46% into Kindle preview)
“The Interrogator” by David Morrell
Andrew Durrand learned spy craft from his father, who was recruited by the CIA as a graduate student. Andrew is called in to interrogate a man who was apprehended in Paris and is being held in Uzbekistan. He says he can have the information they need in four days at the most. A small pox attack is being planned at a major subway system.
This story can be read in the preview of The Interrogator and Other Criminally Good Fiction. (47% in)
“The Management of Grief” by Bharati Mukherjee
Shaila Bhave is an Indian Canadian woman mourning the loss of her husband and two sons from the bombing of Air India Flight 182. She is in a daze, and everything seems to remind her of her loss.