You may never feel as alone as you do in the middle of the night; lying in bed in your darkened room. You stare at the minimal light shining onto your ceiling through the window. Once in a while a car will pass by, its headlights briefly shining through your window to give your world a brief sense of life. But those instances are few and far between, and you feel as lonely as you ever have in your life.
Then you try to sit up, and thats when you realize youre paralyzed. You can feel your arms and legs moving, but as hard as you try you cannot sit up. Then you bring your hand up before your face, and you can feel it there as vividly as you ever have, but you see nothing. You put your phantom hand to your face, and you can feel the contact, both with your cheek as your phantom hand caresses it, and your hand as it slides across the skin of your face. But as you bring your hand before your eyes once again you see nothing there.
Remembering that age old trick, pinch yourself and find out youre dreaming, you attempt to pinch your cheek, but you feel no sting. You take it a step further, then, and slap yourself across the face, but you feel and hear nothing. Your phantom limbs are useless to rouse you from your slumber, and you begin to panic as you realize youre helpless in this darkened room--caught in the void between sleep and consciousness, at the mercy of any of your minds imaginings.
You struggle and you strain against your illusory bindings, trying with all your strength to rise to a sitting position. Your frustration grows as your phantom limbs prove useless in your plight. You become distinctly aware that youve never felt so vulnerable in your life. Mental exhaustion begins to set in as you try harder and harder to move, and exhaustion eventually gives way to despair, which quickly gives way to fear.
But suddenly you move, and before your mind can register the motion you find yourself sitting on the edge of your bed staring down at your legs. Youve struggled so much that youre out of breath, and it seems a chore to inhale, as if the very air around you has become too thick to swallow. Your head is fuzzy and your vision is blurred, as if the crust of sleep has grown so thick about your eyes that you can scarcely open them. Afraid to lie down once more--lest you be trapped within your mind, paralyzed once again--you decide you must awaken yourself fully.
You stand, struggling to maintain your balance against your sluggishness, and you start across your room. You stumble through your door and make your way to the bathroom, looking at your feet the entire time. As you reach the sink and turn the faucet, you look up into the mirror to see your reflection staring back at you, and your heart nearly stops in your chest at the sight.
Your face is scrambled like some morbid Mr. Potato Head: your nose where your mouth should be, your mouth where your eyes should be, and your eyes strewn about either side of your face. Your reflected mouth opens in a scream of revulsion as you feel yourself attempt to cry out. The noise that comes forth sounds more like a mix between a lions roar and a choking victim gasping for air.
And you awake again to find yourself back in bed--you had never really gotten up in the first place--still paralyzed. Fear, syrupy thick, envelops you as you realize youve been paralyzed here, alone, for what mustve been the past ten minutes with nowhere to go but back into sleep. You try to scream out, but nothing more than a low croak escapes your vocal chords, with no jaw or tongue movements to assist as you attempt to form words. In truth, theres no one around to hear you anyway.Or so you thought. In the corner of your vision a slight movement grabs your attention. Either your imaginations gotten the better of you or youre not alone in the room. You want to turn your head but at the same time youre glad that you cant. Do you want to see it? You can hear breathing, is that yours or someone elses? You close your eyes, hoping that you really saw nothing and that you can simply forgetbut curiosity gets the better of you and you open your eyes again.
Now you see it, and you wish you didnt. Standing in front of your door is a tall dark figure dressed in what appears to be robes, and its staring right at you. You can make out no features, no face, its no more than a silhouette and it seems to be moving closer to you ever so slowly. The breathing is heavier now, and raspy like that of a smoker or asthmatic. The sound seems to be coming from inside your head. It raises its arms as it nears your bed, long black robes whipping in some otherworldly wind, and its legs dont even move as it glides across your floor.
It climbs onto the bed on top of you, long dark hair hanging inches away from your face, and you can feel the weight on your chest. Its hard to breathe! You can still see the light on the ceiling through the silhouetted figure sitting atop you, though its face is mere inches from yours. Youre struggling again, before you realize it, trying as hard as you can to fling this spectre off of you so that you may run to your door, run outside, and scream for help. None of your limbs respond to your commands, and you begin to scream. Or better yet you begin to groan softly, for thats all that will come forth, and even that fades with the last of your strength. Darkness envelops you.
Then finally youre free. You bolt upright and cross the room, gasping for air and shivering. You get to the light switch beside the door and flick it, and the light fills the room for less than a second. Godammit! What a time for the light to blow! You take a deep breath to steady your nerves, too frightened to open the door just yet for fear of what may be on the other side. You must first steel your resolve--you must first convince yourself that it was just a dream. In the moments of silence in which youre still holding your breath you notice that you can still hear heavy raspy breathing.
Slowly and deliberately you turn from the door, fists clenched at your sides as you prepare for the inevitable. You want to cry, you want to scream, you want to claw your eyes out so that you dont have to see! You watch in terror as you see the shadow figure still kneeling on top of your bed, still on top of your chest. Youre still paralyzed. Your vision grows dim, and you begin to fall very slowly to your knees (as if gravity is all but absent now). In your last moments of semi-coherent thought you realize why youre growing so weak.