The man had left his keys or something in the upstairs(?) bedroom(?) in the back of the house.

He went out the front door to go with someone (wife, colleague?) and it was a bright sunny day. He suddenly remembered his keys, ran back into the house,upstairs to the back bedroom to retrieve them and...out the bedroom window he saw an all encompassing dark cloudy heavy ass rain storm. Hmmm? Back downstairs and out the front door, bright and sunny. (Even when he walked around back?) this is when he realized that he was the only real person in the universe. Everyone and everything else were spirits, robots, ghosts, machines or whatever but not people.

I'd love to read it again. What please is the title? How well did I remember it? It was probably from some old annual(?) sci-fi and/or fantasy anthology.

  • I've answered it below, but it's a well known story to any Heinlein fan -- see the duplicate link for more details.
    – K-H-W
    Feb 16, 2014 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


Nope; it's Heinlein. They.

You have the details a little off, but not badly: It was raining outside, but sunny outside his window. We are never really told the nature of the other beings, it's just hinted at.

A quote to see if it jar's your memory:

"Why did you try to stop me from going back upstairs that day?"

She managed to smile, although her eyes were already spilling over with tears. "I didn't know it really mattered to you. I didn't want us to miss the train."

It had been a small thing, an unimportant thing. For some reason not clear to him he had insisted on going back upstairs to his study when they were about to leave the house for a short vacation. It was raining, and she had pointed out that there was barely enough time to get to the station. He had surprised himself and her, too, by insisting on his own way in circumstances in which he had never been known to be stubborn.

He had actually pushed her to one side and forced his way up the stairs. Even then nothing might have come of it had he not quite unnecessarily raised the shade of the window that faced toward the rear of the house.

It was a very small matter. It had been raining, hard, out in front. From this window the weather was clear and sunny, with no sign of rain.

He had stood there quite a long while, gazing out at the impossible sunshine and rearranging his cosmos in his mind. He re-examined long-suppressed doubts in the light of this one small but totally unexplainable discrepancy. Then he had turned and had found that she was standing behind him.

  • Yes, that is it. Thank you. I have searched through many PKD short story synopsis with failure. I do now conclude that Heinlein had inspired PKD with this story. Also I am about to google "They" vs. "The Truman Show" I really do like Heinlein. His stories that have been made into movies, I'd like to see a movie bases on "The Roads Must Roll". Thx again!
    – Gorgo
    Feb 16, 2014 at 17:02

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