Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
Ever since I can remember, the moment I fall asleep, I ‘wake up’ stuck in my body, unable to move, unable to sleep. The only thing I know that will wake my body up is my alarm clock in the morning, which is set to a ridiculously loud volume and, though I expect it to go off every morning, the noise of it scares me awake, physically. .
As you can imagine, my ‘wakeful’ life is altered. And even more so is the void which is supposed to be the life that I live ASLEEP.
When I was younger I told my parents about all this. They took me to see a doctor. A number of doctors, actually. It was, however, in vain. There were so many tests done. So many transmitters and wires that they hooked up to my head and body to monitor my brain activity as I slept. It scared me when I was little… and after some time the doctors scared me even more than what I learned was ‘chronic sleep paralysis’….. So one day when I was nine years old, I told my parents that the symptoms had gone; that I was sleeping normally. My condition seemed a burden to them in my mind, and just the simple fact that I was a young girl scared out of her pants because she couldn’t sleep, seemed to justify this huge, huge mistake. But regardless, it was the idea I got somewhere in there, that if I didn’t seek acknowledgement upon it, it would someday go away- and I would someday be able to sleep like a normal person.
Wrong. It got worse. By the time I reached fourteen, after waking in my body, as I would examine my room in the dark, my mind would play tricks on me. I expected to experience the paralysis every night, but I always woke startled, initially. After calming myself down, the fear would come back in delusional waves that made me question my sanity. I would look around the room, adjusting my eyes to the dark, and after a few moments of watching and listening to the silent hum of the house and the cars passing by on the freeway which was blocks away, I would hear something. A small creak in my room or a gust of wind from a movement near me somewhere- whispers that I could neither recognize nor understand.
Soon this started to happen, the audio hallucinations became accompanied by the visual as well. Shadows, shapes and figures of my imagination lurked in the corners of the room and on the walls.
By age fifteen, the whispers grew louder to a muffled sounding voice that I heard at least a few times during every night. At first it disturbed me terribly- the noises I heard, and the voice seemed to go together as one. I couldn’t make out very well what he was saying, but I know the voice belonged to a man. He sounded like he was having a conversation, and it was as if he were speaking through a pillow on the other side of my room. I couldn’t make out one single word. I don’t know if he was speaking English or some other language, but I couldn’t understand any of it. And even more strangely, his was the only voice I heard. So who could he be having a conversation with? I could follow the sound as he seemed to pace slowly around my room, just talking….
eventually I became very familiar with this presence and acknowledged it- at least with my mind. After a while it was almost comforting to hear the voice, to know that at least I was alive still. That I was awake- or dreaming, even if I was unsure which it was.
But as I laid there every night, I would wonder who it was that I was imagining.
By this age, my mind was just starting to develop what is now my great tendency to wonder about absolutely everything. I would ponder as I lay there until my obnoxiously loud alarm sounded, just waiting for the man to speak. I would wonder if I was dreaming- If I had really fallen asleep- If I had been asleep all of these nights and experienced the same dream every time.
The year I turned eighteen, I moved out of my home. My parents and I lacked common interest and communication skills. My mom and dad worked full time during the day, and bickered at night. The three of us were a small family, and barely a family at that, but we did love each other. We parted on good terms- I just wanted to start my own life and figure out what the point of it all was; I’d spent most of my life thinking about what went on while I was supposedly asleep… Wondering why I couldn’t fall into a normal slumber like most other people- and about the man that appeared in my room every night, speaking every so often.
By this point I had found patterns in his voice and the alien words he used, and I could follow him with my eyes as he walked around my room. He didn’t have much of a form or figure- but it was dark in the room as well. He was just a shadow- A walking, talking shadow. He would ramble a sentence or two, and then stop and wait. Then ramble more gibberish, and wait. I had the strangest feelings for him; I’d grown close to whatever he was. I was used to him being there. He peaked my curiosity. I had a strong feeling that the other noises I could hear were made by him as well.
It then hit me that he must be waiting for me to respond. He must be waiting for me to understand.
And with that idea, came the idea that he was speaking TO me. Not just around me. And then the realization came that he must not be a pigment of my imagination at all, but some form or entity or energy or PERSON trying to tell me something. But what?
An uncountable number of thoughts have rushed through my head since I realized this.
Being ‘paralyzed’, I could not respond to him. I could not call out, “hello?”
Just a few weeks after I turned twenty-three, He had been talking, just like every night. After saying another garbled sentence and pausing, he muttered something that seemed to be an actual word, which had never happened before. It sounded like “mock” pronounced like moaahhk, almost. But deeper. It could have been anything. Any word. Any suggestion. But that one word stood out to me. Moch. Moch? It was the most relatable thing that he had said to me, ever. It had some sort of meaning beyond every other sentence in the years of talking I have heard from him. Moch. And with that word came the urgency that drove me to meet him.
But how was I supposed to meet someone whom I only knew existed in a state of my own paralysis? What if he really was just a figment of my imagination? What if I was going crazy? I had to know what it was, even if it was nothing at all but myself.
I knew that I couldn’t move my physical body. But I tried to, anyway. With this, there were tensions and vibrations that I cannot explain. The most powerful feeling I have ever felt- Like being in the middle of a sound wave. Thousands of tiny ripples went through my entire body from my face to my toes. They felt like electricity. You know that feeling you get when you stand up way too fast and you have to sit down in order to avoid fainting? And regardless, your whole body feels like it is wobbling violently??
Well, imagine that, but about a hundred times more intense. Minus the feeling of fainting, because your body is already alseep. This happened to me every time I tried to move my body.
Over the course of a few months, I managed to turn my head in my sleep and view for the first time, the left side of my room- while in sleep paralysis. The rippling feeling in my body continued, and strengthened as I ‘learned’ to move my head around. It felt like lead. I seemed to weigh thousands of pounds. When I did move my head, it seemed as if I were using some super human strength. Eventually, I was able to move my head freely as I laid there every night. There was a light, strange feeling to this movement. Almost as if I was in a dream. I couldn’t feel my head moving. I just observed it happening.
I looked up the meaning of the word “moch,” just out of curiosity- and the definition of moch is: to wander around aimlessly. I thought this was interesting enough to name the man.
Business picked up when I was offered a management position in the restaurant I’d been working in for a couple of years,, and the hours had been keeping me incredibly busy. It really probably was not healthy at all how much I had been working- especially since I don’t technically sleep much.
One day I was in the kitchen at the restaurant. It was late and I had been working since 10am. The place was very busy a couple hours earlier so I stayed to help the crew close. As I was walking through the kitchen, that wobbly feeling I would get when trying to move at night happened, mid step- and I found myself plunging to the ground like a noodle. The ripples of electricity were pulsing through me stronger than ever. As I blacked out, I wondered if my body was having a seizure. I didn’t feel myself hit the ground.
Instantly, I woke up with quite a start. Wondering if I’d hit my head, I touched it. I realized I might have hit it, and very hard at that, because I could not feel myself touching it. I stood up. I could not feel myself stand up.
Everything was so strange. I looked back down at the ground, wondering if there was a sharp edge or corner I might have hit…. But that thought quickly disappeared as I saw my body lying there on the floor.
I panic and think, “Am I dead?”
But my body, though it seems completely lifeless, is breathing. “…am I actually sleeping??”
What is this body? Am I in a dream? I had no idea what was going on. I looked away from my body to examine the room and that’s when I saw him.
I instantly knew it was him. It was moch. Standing there in the corner of the kitchen beside the entrance. He looked normal. He wasn’t a shadow. He was a man, mid thirties, short brown hair, wearing a gray suit with a red tie. Pain spread across his face as soon as I saw him. As unfamiliar as he looked, I felt as if I was looking at someone I knew well. At that instant, that quick exchange, he turned and darted out of the room, seemingly angry.
Unsure of what else to do, and ecstatic that I had finally caught a glimpse of the person who has been literally haunting me all of my life, I chased after him. I saw the crew in the lobby, oblivious to the fact that I was passed out in the kitchen. I shouted at them, “hello?!” but nothing. It was clear I was in some sort of dream.
I lost track of the man as soon as I exited the diner. The worst feeling of defeat came over me. Fear and dread and curiosity had never produced such an odd mix. And then I woke up in the hospital.
By April third of that year, I had not gone to sleep since the accident, and I had not heard him once since I fell. The doctors said that when I hit my head I went directly into a deep sleep, called REM sleep. My brainwaves dropped abnormally lower than that of any regular REM stage of sleep would produce, and they treated me with low electric pulses straight to my brain, hoping it would wake me up. I was asleep- nearly in the same state as a coma- for three weeks. I don’t remember dreaming. I don’t remember any part of that. The last thing I remember is waking up out of my body and chasing Moch out of the diner. I didn’t tell anyone what happened. I just went home, and was given a week away from work to recover.
That day I was so exhausted. It had been almost week since I was released from the hospital. Almost time to get back to ‘normal’ life, or lack there of. Though I was afraid to fall asleep, I felt that I needed to in order to maintain my health-mentally and physically. I’d been staying awake through the nights and I did not hear the man.
It didn’t make sense, any of it. Why could I only hear him when my body was asleep?
I went to bed that night; let myself pass right out. It happened quickly, though I was terrified.
I instantly woke up with a jolt, and sat up. There was Moch, right at the foot of my bed. I could see him so clearly. His facial expression showed nothing but pure agony. He let out a slight moan and looked away from me.
I realized at that moment, that my body was asleep- but I was not paralyzed- I was out of body again.
Moch just looked at me, moaned again, and turned to walk away. I called out to him to wait, but he didn’t reply. He slowly walked out of my room. I heard him mumble sentences again that I couldn’t understand. I followed him down the stairs, so afraid, but so curious of what was happening. Across the house and through the front door, which he did not open but just stepped through. I tried to open the door, but my hand went straight through the doorknob. It started to come to me, that I might be dead. I might die. This might be the end. But it was only the beginning.
I joined him by walking through my front door where he stood motionless on my doorstep, staring up at the sky, which was for some reason dimly lit, as if the sun were rising. Yet, I had gone to sleep early… it didn’t make any sense. We stood there and watched the sun rise, incredibly fast. He turned to stare at me, still saddened, but he relaxed his eyes as if accepting the fact that he failed. The corners of his mouth n longer stretched down his face; they straightened, and he nearly smiled at me as I stared back into his face, my thoughts racing. In my peripheral, the sky turned to twilight again and then to night, then day, night, morning, day, night…
I watched days go by- hundreds of cars go by, dozens of people walk by, in just a matter of seconds.
And then I realized what my fate was; to be here with Moch, wandering aimlessly, waiting for the next person to join us.
Credit To: Helena Lovern