Drive through an empty town on a blustery fall evening, when the leaves are blowing as if in a vortex, and unearthly howls fill the air as the wind whips; encircling the bare limbs of the blackened trees. You will undoubtedly come across a building that looks particularly foreboding. One whose windows stare blankly out at the passing cars, as if protecting the terror that lurks within. I found myself in such a building one desolate October evening.
During the day the building, an old general store, was a fitting location for my antique shop, and the upstairs which had housed the store’s proprietors in a long-gone age now served as additional display. Tonight, thanks to a small fire at my house, that apartment was going to be my dwelling for the evening.
As I entered the building there was an eerie stillness, as if all the inhabitants who had passed through the doors before me were collectively holding their breath. The silence was broken by the creaking of the decrepit steps as I ascended into the darkened apartment. Hesitantly, I walked through the kitchen into the dining room. The windows that looked blankly out to the world, viewed from the inside, showcased the shadows of bending trees, lit by a full moon, giving an even more unsettling feeling to the interior.
Deciding to make the best of the situation, I wandered into the bedroom turning on the light by the bed, having decided to read a bit before going to sleep. Regrettably, the book I had chosen was not appropriate reading for the hour, and the location, so after a few minutes I decided that sleep was the best course for my evening activity.
I may have been asleep for only a matter of minutes when something or someone snapped me awake. The silence was impenetrable except for the ticking of the clock in the living room, seconds ticked by. I sat upright, frozen, unable to breath. Then it happened. Looking through the bedroom doorway, to the dining room doorway that led to the kitchen; a silhouette crossed from the side of the kitchen obscured from my view to the sink, where the moon light was gleaming into the room from the window above. The otherworldly apparition glided as if on wheels, pausing as if looking out to enjoy the view. Then from the living room beyond the dining room came a hum as if someone were using a drill. I remembered leaving the drill in the room that afternoon after installing new blinds, but now there was only me in the apartment, and it was after midnight; could the drill just start by itself? The humming continued while the apparition in the kitchen dissolved into the air, still I sat motionless.
I’m not sure what happened after that. I awoke to the sum streaming in the bedroom window. The noises of traffic outside made a comforting ruckus. I got up and pulled on my clothes as quickly as I could, running down the stairs into the welcoming feel of my shop.
By afternoon I had recovered from the experience of the night before and although I was not quite ready to again face the apartment, I had begun to think that the whole incident had been the result of an over active imagination;, that is, until a customer came by.
Actually, Mrs. Gerard was more than just a customer; she was a friend who had been in the apartment many times; joining me for coffee after I closed the store for the day. Today she seemed upset and immediately launched into what was on her mind. It seemed that she had to pass through town very late the night before. As she drove past the store she of course looked at the building as she always did. This time something was different, a woman was standing at the window looking out.
My first thought was that is impossible! I had just put blinds in the front windows of the apartment the day before and the blinds were down. Mrs. Gerard was certain that she had seen into the apartment the night before. Agreeing to go up to ease her mind, we walked up the steps to the now sun filled apartment, through the kitchen, into the dining room and through the archway into the living room. What we saw next took both of our breaths away. The windows where I had hung the blinds the day before, no longer had blinds. The blinds now lay on the floor under the windows.
Is there an explanation for what happened? You decide.