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Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
Did you know that, once introduced to routine, our brains are capable of accepting it to the extent that when something changes, it doesn’t notice? The change could be small and harmless, an object there that wasn’t, or something moved to another room that you would normally duck around on your way out.
You’d still duck around it, grabbing your coat in an expertly practiced movement of routine, never thinking twice. Most people never think twice, they have more important things to think about and do.
And then there’s us. The unfortunate ones who “wake up.”
Waking up isn’t pleasant, and it’s not something you would ever want to experience. It isn’t being imbued with special knowledge, or given important details. It simply is, and it’s simply awful. Let me explain, in the best way I can, in hopes of helping you accept your natural defenses against what is.
I’ve always been a terrible sleeper. I wake up often, from vivid dream worlds that I sometimes wish I could return to. My life is nothing special, I’m unemployed and disabled, and bored out of my mind most of the time. Anxiety induced insomnia is a dance I’ve danced since childhood, when I would stay up for days at a time with little better to do than stare out my window all night.
But it wasn’t until I turned 25 that I started waking up.
The night was just like any other night, I made myself dinner and settled down on my mattress, placed on the floor of the living room. YouTube played in the background, my eyes were trained on the bowl of food and my phone, its eyes were trained on me.
It’s eyes were trained on me.
I knew something was wrong when I felt a lump in my throat and my pulse sped up considerably. But even though I could see the shape of a body in my peripheral vision, at the end of the dark hallway right in front of me, my eyes remained on my phone and food.
My brain was fighting hard to censor this knowledge. Unacceptable to my nightly routine, unfathomable to any human.
When it was suddenly morning and I had only foggy memories of the night previous, I was left confused. My body felt sick, as if it had experienced a trauma I wasn’t privy to. As the day went on, my memories pieced together what I couldn’t recall.
I made dinner, I sat down, YouTube was on in the background. My eyes were on my phone and my food. The hallway was empty. It’s eyes were on me.
It’s eyes were on me.
The figure moved. Sweat beaded my brow. My eyes still didn’t look up but I knew it was there now. It wasn’t just moving, no, it was moving towards me in a way that was simply unnatural. It was bent at the waist, and it’s torso twisted sideways, with frail legs that took stiff and loud steps.
From it’s mouth came a droning croaking noise, rising in volume as it’s anger grew. It’s arms were out at its sides, stretched towards me.
I’ve never been able to look directly at it, if I do, I know I’ll see something I was never meant to comprehend. I’m afraid that looking at it will cause damage that can never be reversed. A funny notion, considering we both know I’m done for.
If you ever during your daily routine feel like something is wrong, or suddenly become tense and anxious, keep going through with it. Go about your day and think nothing of it. You will sincerely regret doing otherwise, and waking up like some of us do.
The hallway was never empty.
And each night, it comes closer.