This is one of the most fascinating short stories that I can recall reading, and one that also represents a reviewing challenge, since I can’t talk about it in depth without fully revealing the intriguing core concept. But I will try anyway…
Kate is a police detective and a new mother: she’s been back at work for two weeks and is still trying to settle again into the old routine when she receives a call about what looks like a murder/suicide case, in which a father and two daughters have been stabbed to death and the mother is missing. In the course of the investigation Kate discovers that the mother left the house with the family car, which she later abandoned, and from the retrieved GPS information she seems to have been moving erratically around the city; a few images from surveillance cameras reveal further indications of the woman’s weird behavior after the horrible murders perpetrated in the house.
Returning home after her busy day in search of clues for the woman’s whereabouts, Kate finds some comfort in the warmth and closeness of her small family, but it’s a very brief respite because when she wakes up the next morning she finds herself plunged straight into a nightmare, one where reality seems to have been changed overnight, with no logical explanations whatsoever.
Kate’s journey from that moment on is one that’s carried out on the razor-thin border between sanity and madness, because she – and with her the readers – is not certain whether what looks like madness is in her mind or in the behavior of the people surrounding her. And even once the mystery is solved – if it really is – the doubt remains, which is the most spellbinding element of the story.