Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
Dusk will find me in fits.
A pinching feeling of dread washes over me as my eyes sweep across this room. Soft, low lights etch out details of a crew of sweet stuffed animals entrusted with the task of keeping watch over me as I sleep. The purity and nostalgia they represent are to serve as comfort so that I can drift away into slumber nary a care.
My gaze then shifts beyond my bed and toward my bedroom door that is open wide, inviting the lamplight from the living room as well. I have done all that I know how to incorporate as much soothing light to illuminate the very dark corners that could harbor secrets in this heavy, black night air. If I bring everything that could be hidden to to the light, then there will be no occasion for surprise, and I will surely be safe.
And I know, I know this to be true. I know I am safe, that nothing I fear is reality. There isn’t such hogwash as the Bogeyman, and truly young adults should no longer fear such ridiculous fables. The things that go bump in the night are nothing more than a collection of what children fear the most. I am not a child. By that logic, I am showing myself to be oh so very pathetic. I pay rent here. I own this room.
I didn’t invite anyone else to stay the night. Therefore, I know that I am alone. I am safe. I am safe, and now I choose to close my eyes and go to sleep. When I wake up, I shall roll out of bed and carry out a brand new day whilst feeling the sting of quiet humiliation as sunlight replaces the need for night lights and outshines the wimpy light that these 60 watt bulbs give off.
Just as last night, and the night before…
But all I am doing this to keep her away from me always. And I have done all I can do. So by the time I am done saying good night to each member of my plush army I will be sound asleep….
…my eyelids flutter open and my chest dips as if it had caved in. I cannot inhale as easily as I could upon achieving slumber. My mind fumbles groggily, spinning out of urgency; out of panic.
“Get up!” I try to whisper. I hope to rouse myself into action, calming myself and settling into a new position, for I am sure that I am simply recovering from a nightmare…
But my body continues to lie still, and my voice lurks trapped still within my throat.
“Get Up!” I attempt to plea. I cannot turn my head. My shoulders are pinned heavily to this mattress. I am wide awake, my heart quickens itself readying to flee in search of safety. I can see my bedroom door, still open. The door has not moved at all and nothing has been touched. I know the effort to be futile, so I attempt to shut my eyes and wait for this nightmare to pass. Because that’s what is happening. It’s just my mind playing tricks, and nothing more than that.
I shut my eyes in search of calm and rest; but alas, they cannot be found.
I cannot breathe.
My heart is rallying against its confinement in this ribcage. I am certain that my chest wall may explode from all the pressure. I can feel the weight bear down further and further still, mocking me. She rests gleefully in her folklore, but I am very familiar with her presence. The hag comes to visit at the worst of times; an unwelcome acquaintance sharing my bed and stealing precious moments where I could be sleeping if I weren’t fighting for control of my mind while silently begging for freedom to move about on my own free will.
I desperately attempt to move the right side of my hip or force my right shoulder to rise as the weight intensifies. I blink as hot tears of agony stream steadily down the corners of my eyes. Shadows dance in the corners — a taunting marionette — where the light cannot tread.
I hear steady breathing against my own shallow gasps. I become dizzy and the room begins to twirl…
…Did my sheets just hiss?
My body is frozen, stiff, and it is no longer mine.
The hag has settled in to pay me a visit again. This sickening void of terror and isolation is the gift that she comes bearing, for no one will ever be able to grasp what I am going through. Most people cannot and will not ever believe that something so strange can ever truly happen.
The back of my skull digs further into to pillow and my neck constricts to that my belabored breathing becomes even more difficult. I try desperately to let out even just one sound. A single sound can then lead the way for the smallest of movement. If one or the other can be achieved, then I can free myself from the spell and I can then return to safety.
The clock records what an onlooker would judge only to be a young woman fast asleep in her bed. The rhythm taps out the minutes that slide away from me as Nothing happens.
Nothing has eyes all on me as the hag lets her chin rest atop mine like a jilted lover who has come to visit in the shadows the night affords. We share the same breath, nose touching mine, eyes preying upon my deepest thoughts and ripping my soul to shreds. These tears are an offering unto her. Soon, if I am lucky, the salty liquid will dampen my hair and loose the bond that my head has entered pact with my bedsheets.
Upholding an agreement that the rest of me did not ever recall striking.
The hag shakily cups her hands gently behind my neck slithers upward, taking gentle hold of my head. Her hands offer no comfort that human contact would give. There is no reassurance in this all consuming grasp. These familiar eyes gazing into my own are a most hideous sight, as a child of Nothing cannot contain a soul. All warmth is gone as I peer into those blackened and vacant orbs — the birthplace of my nightmares. My body begins to fall completely numb, and a crooked, unnatural, other worldly grin spreads deliberately across the hag’s face just as all other times before.
If I only understood what she wanted…
I would give her absolutely anything if it meant she would never come and visit me again.
She curls her feet underneath her pelvis, pushing down on my stomach and causing my diaphragm to constrict. All hope fades away. Those listless, ravenous eyes recognize something in mine, something they desperately long for. Her pitted and rotting cheeks moving closer to mine, my nose fills with the stench of musty Earth and decaying flesh. Head tilting and neck cracking in twisting and jerking motions, lacking the fluidity of those of the Land of the Living, she attempts — my deepest horrors realized right then — to hold onto me in search of what she so greedily seeks.
One simple kiss, solidifying my exit from this life and sinking instead to the oddly tempting promise of Nothing…
One simple night in which Nothing can belong with Someone.
Frenetically I keep demanding — over and over — of my right shoulder to buck her off of my torso, push her away, break her captivating embrace — her hypnotizing, awful intent. Such inhuman strength — an eerily tantalizing thought of just giving up and agreeing to stay, because why keep fighting? — could suggest that I will never be free so long as this oppressive darkness ensues.
But this has happened in times passed, and I know if I just want it badly enough I can end what is sure to happen.
Suddenly space and time rip apart from each other. Flashes of light strike and fill my vision, and the powerful force behind it quakes — consuming my entire body. The shriek that had been held back for now several hours finally releases itself.
All that exists is that silent scream, now given its brief chance to speak. The only thing that can be heard is weak and shrill…but it is just enough to bring me back from the throne room to Nowhere and slam me back into my own bed.
My right shoulder moves ever so slightly from its position, and I escape from under this weight. The hag will not have me tonight.
4:37 A.M. and I am free.
I shudder as I wail. These nights occur often and without mercy. I cast a glance at my little army of teddy bears and other stuffed animals. I lean against them as my eyes continue relentlessly leaking. My body is wracked with sobs as I know there exists not a single person who can help me. There is not a person, pill, or potion in this world who can make all of the nights filled with fear of never returning from Nowhere end.
All who can know of the confusion, terror, and wonder of what happens is no one at all.
*The phenomena that causes these sensations and visualizations is called sleep paralysis, a commonly misunderstood event that mainly occurs at least once in a person’s life. However, due to my own neurological complications, I experience sleep paralysis very frequently and may go months having Ordinary Nights such as this, and often times opt to choose not to sleep at all, which has induced atypical psychosis from sleep deprivation in the past. There is no treatment for this or any form of sleep paralysis. The experience detailed uses descriptive language for interest. The account itself is 100% authentic.
Credit To – Danielle Nicole