The Only Logical Explanation.

I stood in the corner of her kitchen and watched.  She stood at the center island, her children on chairs by her side.  She was mixing ingredients as the children measured and poured.  It was a scene straight out of an old fashioned women’s magazine.

The woman left the children to the stirring.  She opened the refrigerator and retrieved milk and eggs.  She moved a few things around and turned back to the workspace.  Her disappointment was apparent.  She told the children she must have forgotten to buy butter and the cookies would need to wait.  The children hopped from their perches and scampered off, running right past me yet unaware of my presence.  Their mother grabbed her pocketbook from the counter and poked her head into the den.

“I have to run to the market.  I forgot to buy butter,” she announced to her husband.

She doubled back the way she came and exited through the kitchen screen door.  I watched her as she went across the wooden porch, down the stairs and down the dirt path.  Her house looked like a farm house on a prairie, similar to those I’d seen on TV.  I went outside and sat on the porch steps, watching as she walked farther away.  Her silhouette became smaller and smaller until she practically disappeared.  She walked a perfectly straight line, off towards the horizon.  I watched her until she disappeared out of sight.

I wondered where this store was because as far as the eye could see, there was nothing.  Just the path she walked, directly in front of me and in the center of my view until it met the sunset.

Time went by, but how much I could not be sure.  Days at least, maybe weeks and the woman did not return.  The cookies were never made.  Life went on.  The children grew up, their father grew older.

More time went by.  I was not a part of it.

The family that now only numbered three sat on the porch.  It was sunset and the light was fading.  The grown children were chatting with one another as the father read the paper.  From where I was sitting on the steps, I could see the date.  It was exactly 15 years to the day since the woman had disappeared, but they didn’t seem to notice the anniversary.  I watched them as they passed the evening, relaxing in the cool night air.

I turned my gaze toward the horizon.  Off in the distance, I saw the silhouette of a figure walking towards me.  As the form grew closer, I could make out the shape.  It was the woman who had once walked the opposite way down this same path.  She approached quickly, but as she did, she remained a shadow.  Her features were never clear, but I knew it was her.  In her hand she clutched a small sack.  It was the butter.

I looked behind me.  The family carried on, completely unaware of what was happening.  They chatted and laughed, just as they had been.

My attention returned to the woman and she continued to advance towards me.  She was much closer now, but still a shadow.

I darted my eyes to the family.  They were oblivious.

Quickly, I turned back to the woman.

But the landscape was no longer the prairie.  Instead, it was my bedroom and the woman had come through my door.  I was in my bed and her shadow approached.  I was too scared to move.  I tried to scream, but no sound emerged.

The woman kept walking, the bag of butter in her right hand, until she was at the side of my bed near my feet.  She never broke her stride.  Instead, she walked right through me.

When she was gone, I reached for the light on my night table.  I threw the lamp on in a hurry and scanned the room.  Everything appeared as it did when I had gone to bed earlier that evening.

This happened more than twenty years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  I can only assume that I partially woke up as the woman walked towards me and that is how the view changed from the prairie to my childhood bedroom.  At least I hope that’s what happened.  It is, after all, the only logical explanation.

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60 Responses to “The Only Logical Explanation.”

  1. Gia says:

    AHHH SOO CREEPY. I’m totes creeped out. Glad I didn’t read this at night.

  2. I was totally entranced in your story! Very spooky. Well told!

  3. christina says:

    nicely told!! i’m usually not a fan of un-named characters but it really worked with this piece.
    what a creepy story, though!

  4. IASoupMama says:

    Eek! Scary… did this really happen to you? And, if it did, how could you tell there was butter in her bag?

    • I had the dream when I was in my early teens. There were things I just knew, as often happens in dreams, making the whole thing really weird. And I swore I was awake when she came in my room, but really, how could I have been? Seems impossible and yet so real.

  5. kristin says:

    This reminded me of a YA novel from years ago about a girl who slides between present day and the 1800s (?) by singing Greensleeves/What Child is This. I with I could remember the title now! Loved it.

  6. TriGirl says:

    It’s amazing how that dream was so vivid that you remember it so clearly all these years later! Dreams are such strange mechanisms of our subconscious. Did you ever feel like it was telling you something?

    • I can’t even imagine what it meant. It scared me half to death and I don’t think I slept for a week after. I have an issue with dreams/nightmares, so I just always assumed it was one of the many and just meant I was stressed. Now you’ve got me thinking!

    • TriGirl says:

      Oh no! I didn’t want to freak you out! I just know that I remember a lot of my dreams too, and sometimes they really help me work out an issue I’m dealing with in real life. Nothing too weird though, usually I would blow up at someone who was really making me mad, then see the repercussions and feel bad. When I woke up I tended to have gotten over myself :)

  7. Pish Posh says:

    Oh my god this is amazing! I LOVEz it! Publish this Shiz Michelle! Send it off to a story collection :)

  8. Sounds like the back cover summary of a novel to me.

  9. Brenda says:

    This could be a Twilight Zone episode! So well told, Michelle!

  10. Chris Bird says:

    Dat’s shpooky. Now I have the heebie jeebies. Thanks a lot.

  11. Yikes! Funny how some dreams stay with you, even when you wish they wouldn’t.

  12. Your telling of this story is great. It was eerie and sad and scary and you did a great job setting that mood. Dreams are so insane. I have some I remember too…maybe they will appear on the grid someday.

    • I’ve had others over the years (well, duh, obviously!) but none as memorable as this one. I’ve wanted to write about it for a while, but wasn’t sure how. Most of mine don’t have a clear story – but this one was just so odd!

  13. ohhh spooky. i like it.
    …sometimes there is no logical explanation.

  14. Kathleen says:

    I loved how you built the tension and suspense. I wasn’t quite sure what was happening until the end. At first I thought you were an observer in someone else’s kitchen — a neighbor’s, maybe.

    I had total chills when the woman walked right through you. If I have a nightmare tonight, you will be hearing about it.

  15. Joe says:

    I love the weird metaphysics of dreams.

  16. Gina says:

    Thanks, Michelle! It’s 11:00pm and now I have to go upstairs to what I hoped would be a peaceful slumber. I get this because I dream vividly every night but hardly ever creepy! Yikes!

    • Oh no! I hope I didn’t give you nightmares!! I was once told by a medical professional that the frequency of my nightmares was out of hand. I never seem to turn my brain off and I often wake up creeped out.

  17. LemonadeLady says:

    Amazing how things like that can stick with you for years. This was very, very well written … captivating :)

  18. Jester Queen says:

    Woah! I wondered if she had been murdered and that was why she was only a shadow, and I wondered why she never noticed you the viewer. You did the dream reveal absolutely perfectly.

    • Thank you – I hesitated with this one because I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. I’ve always wondered what happened to her. There were so many details that I just knew, you know how dreams are like that, but that was one thing I didn’t know.

  19. Dude. I totally felt myself on the edge of my seat. Wow! I loved it!

  20. Wow that is completely creepy, i got chills when I read the last line. This is so well written, you nailed it. Hard to believe it actually happened to you!

  21. Creepy! Goosebumps! You should definitely use this as a starting point. You could make a whole novel out of this story. What great inspiration!

  22. shannon says:

    Well that is QUITE the dream. Freakydeaky.

  23. Nicely done – love how you slowly revealed it was a dream. I felt more sad than freaked out and agree it’s a great starting point for more. I’d read more!

  24. saalon says:

    Oooh, I wasn’t expecting to be creeped out. The shift into the second half of the story, from time passing, to scenes shifting, to waking up was really bloody disorienting, seriously. Awesome, awesome.

  25. Kianwi says:

    Wow, this was completely brilliant! I was entranced by your telling of the setting and story, and now I have chills. Really, really amazing.

  26. Jack says:

    Loved this because it is easy to picture happening to anyone. Still daylight here, which is good.

  27. Pippi says:

    Perfectly perfect! And she came back with the butter. I don’t want any of her dang creepy cookies. :-)

  28. I absolutely love this! I’ve read it twice now. It’s so creepy and perfect and just really, really well done.

  29. This could definitely become more than a short story!
    What a wonderfully creepy and interesting tale. Great retelling!

  30. Aww man Michelle!!! That was CREEPY, I am alone!! Shudder…

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