Path to insanity

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you are fearful, faint-hearted, or easily frightened, it is advised you stop reading at this point. Otherwise, continue at your own risk.

It started out as just another day in Charlotte’s life. She arose, fed her cat, Smiley, fixed coffee (two sugar, one cream) and ate toast with grape jelly. It being Thursday, she got into her silver 2005 Honda Civic and drove to the grocery store. It was a beautiful day.

Returning, she pulled into her rocked driveway, as she’d done every Thursday for 10 years. There, where she usually parked, was a silver 2005 Honda Civic.

“Odd,” she thought. “I must have visitors.”

Stepping to the front door, she unlocked the deadbolt and heard the television. Walking into the living room, there sat a lady — in her chair, no less — stroking Smiley. The cat was strangely content.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” replied Charlotte, trying not to be rude.

“May I help you?” the lady asked.

“May I ask what you are doing in my house?” asked Charlotte.

“Your house? I believe you are mistaken!”

Charlotte looked around. There was her chair beside her lamp with her family pictures on the wall. What was happening? Who was this woman?

“I suggest we call the authorities!” commanded Charlotte.

“Indeed we should!” was the reply.

Ten minutes later, two uniformed officers knocked on the door.

“What seems to be the problem?”

“This woman invaded my house!” proclaimed Charlotte, trembling with emotion.

She grabbed a family photo off the wall and shoved it into the officer’s hands.

“There!” she said. “That’s my family!”

The two officers looked at the picture, looked at Charlotte and smiled. Charlotte grabbed the frame and stared. There was her husband, son and daughter. In the midst of them was the other woman. Charlotte stared around in disbelief. All the other pictures were the same. The woman sat back in the chair, a slight smile on her face. Smiley jumped in her lap, looking at Charlotte as a stranger.

“You’d better come along with us, ma’am.”

They say Charlotte went crazy that night.

They say she spent six months in a mental ward.

They say she now wanders around a small town in southeast Virginia — I forget the name — peering in windows trying to find her home.

If you happen to hear her outside your window tonight, don’t be frightened. They say she’ll go away after awhile.

Rex Alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is