I am terrified of sleep – or, more accurately, what occurs when I do.
For as long as I can remember I have seen spots when I sleep. More precisely, I see them when I close my eyes to go to sleep. Between the second I start closing my eyes and when they are entirely shut, I see two, one in each eye. It never used to bother me, and I only see them for a split second, so there is not much time to dwell on their appearance. That is, until about a month ago, when everything changed.
It was a Friday night, and I was exhausted from a long week of work. I was closing my eyes to get some shut-eye when I saw the all-too-familiar spots in my vision. It was then I began to wonder what had caused the condition for all these years, and I opened and closed my eyes several times, paying attention to when the orbs appeared each time.
I then grabbed my phone from the nightstand to do some research on my condition. I didn’t find anything specific about two spots appearing when people closed their eyes, but I did find some information about the strange shapes that can be seen when the eyes are already shut. Writing it off as a small visual oddity due to the process of closing my eyes in the dark, I decided it was nothing to be alarmed about and went to sleep.
After several nights of paying more attention to the phenomenon, it occurred to me that the spots seemed to have grown in size since I began consciously observing them. However, I was not overly concerned, as I figured it was just the anomaly continuing to be quirky.
About a week after I had first decided to research my condition in earnest, I had a realization as I closed my eyes that sent shivers down my spine. The spots that I had been thinking about for the past week had taken on the shape of eyes. Human eyes.
I snapped my eyes open again but saw nothing at all. It was just me in my room, safely locked in my apartment for the night. I told myself that as it was just a visual hallucination. It made sense that my mind would create a familiar shape for me to see. Closing my eyes once again, and trying not to notice the eye-shaped spots, I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
I went about my business the next day the same as usual. I drove to work, spent eight hours writing out menial documents for the corporate higher-ups, and then drove home. I did ask a few co-workers whether they had ever seen strangely-shaped spots in their eyes when they fell asleep, but none of them had had the same experience as me. When I got home, I ate dinner by myself, watched a few episodes of the office, and then headed to bed.
As I began to tire of scrolling through social media, I placed my phone back onto my bedside table and prepared for some much-needed rest. When I did, I saw the instantly-recognizable “eyes” staring back at me. As usual, they vanished the moment my eyes closed completely.
And then it happened.
I felt the flow of soft, warm air over my face. I quickly opened my eyes and looked around the room.
I tried to rationalize the occurrence as a random warm breeze, caused perhaps by my heater turning on unexpectedly. However, I knew that I had not heard the furnace start, nor did I have my window open that night. I know what I felt; it was exactly like a breath.
Over the next few weeks, the experience continued. The spots came closer than ever before, and every couple of nights I sensed the same unexplained gust of warmth. Then, one Tuesday night, I saw the spots wink out of existence for a fraction of a second and then return – as if they were blinking.
The day it happened, I had stayed overtime at work, with a department deadline fast approaching. When I got home, I only had the energy to make myself some toast before crawling into bed. I saw the spots staring back at me in the dark before I shut my eyes, and attempted to fall asleep despite my unease. I noticed that familiar rush of humid air moving over my face, making me all the more restless.
Then I felt it again.
In an instant, all of the things that I had once told myself to help me sleep at night were moot. I could no longer rationalize the incidents as a random breeze.
I opened my eyes.
Staring back at me through the darkness was a pair of eyes. They were humanoid in appearance, yet the creature they were attached to was decidedly alien. It had no nose, and its mouth, twisted into a vast, gaping smile, was far broader than humanly possible. Its face was only a foot from mine, right off of the edge of the bed. I was frozen in fear, unable to move or think. For a few moments I did nothing but stare at it, and it never took its eyes off me.
Then its grin widened further.
I was jolted from my fear-induced paralysis as it began to reach toward me with one of its grotesque, distorted appendages. I leaped from the bed and ran past it toward the door. As I did, it turned its head 180 degrees, like something out of the Exorcist, and followed me with its gaze.
I grabbed the keys to my car and sprinted through the front door. I took the stairs, jumping entire flights at a time to get out as quickly as possible. After making it safely to my vehicle, I drove for an hour before I finally began rational thoughts returned to my mind. I called the police and informed them that someone had broken into my apartment and had been watching me sleep. I left out the part about its monstrous, inhuman features, as I had no intention of ending up in a psych ward after what I’d experienced. I was certain of what I had seen, and it was not human.
Predictably, the police found nothing of interest in my apartment – no signs of forced entry, fingerprints, or any other evidence of the kind. They told me that I should stay out of my apartment until they finished their investigation, and I moved back in with my mother one town over.
I realized later that the intruder must have been watching me sleep for years, and that those “spots” had been it opening its eyes to look at me once I closed mine. Looking back on all the previous years, well before I ever paid attention to the spots, it dawned on me that this creature had only begun to make itself known to me after I had taken notice of its existence and started to pry.
I can still feel its breath when I sleep.
If you see spots when you close your eyes, ignore them.
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