Sleep paralysis: a fiction

The human brain is unique in many ways. It can show us many beautiful thoughts and allow us to express emotion that other animals can’t. However, even the calmest mind has the darkest thoughts. What you remember as something innocent can be remade into your worst nightmare ever.

My name is Richard Johnson. I’m an 18-year-old about to graduate high school and I have two siblings that mean the world to me. Sometimes, I fear what might happen to me if I wasn’t around to watch over them. I’m trying my best to get those thoughts out of my head. At least that is what I think I am doing. Despite me trying to hide away the horrible thoughts my brain gives me, they still happen, things where I can’t tell what is real and what’s not. They begin to creep on me when I sleep, almost as cold air, crawling up on my back: where you can do nothing but accept it. I couldn’t do that, but it was already too late for me.

I remember it, the night where I couldn’t move. I just finished my homework and my mind was exhausted from the amount of work there was. I felt weak and it feel like I could have fainted at any moment. As I tried my best to get in bed, the last I remember before going to sleep was seeing the moon at its fullest. Before I knew it, it was gone. My eyes had shut and I was sleeping. It wasn’t much longer before I woke up in the middle of the night.

I opened my eyes to see nothing. It was all dark, except for the part of the room being lit by the moon. I was confused of what had awoken me. As I shifted on back, something odd began to happen. I started to get stiff, not as my bones needed to be crack, I mean stiff as a board. My movements started to slow down, until I couldn’t move. My body was stuck, just laying down on my back. I did nothing but stare at the ceiling. I was confused, so many questions were going through my mind: “Was this all a dream?” “Is this real,” “Why can’t I move,” too many questions were being asked, I couldn’t even come up with a primary question. As I struggled to move, I noticed something, at the corner of my room crouching by my door, a black figure. It did nothing but stare at me. It was black, almost like coal. It looked very tall and lanky and it looked like it was starving. I could see its ribs and its thin stomach. How could someone or SOMETHING get in my house and not make any noise?

It started to move. I saw it shifting around on the ground, picking itself up and standing. It was tall, just like I predicted, but not for the right reason. It didn’t stand at human height. It was nine-feet-tall, its head was touching the ceiling, grazing it with its black head. It began to move towards me. Instead of just using its long legs to reach me in an instant, it walked in a gentle way.

I looked down and see that my sister’s toys were still on the ground. I couldn’t tell if this creature was trying not to hurt its own feet or not break my sister’s stuff, it even looked nervous just trying to avoid the obstacles. It finally reached me, standing in front of the window and bathing in the moon’s light. What I saw scarred me.

Everything I said about the body was true, but I hadn’t seen the face, only the head of the figure looking at me—until it peered down at me. When I saw that face, it was the most grotesque thing I have ever witnessed, just trying to describe it will be impossible. The worst part about it is that I couldn’t look away, I just looked at that face and got every detail I didn’t want to know. It stared back at me for some reason, reasons that I can’t even come up with. It doesn’t even breathe, I feel no heat coming from its body, is it a zombie and ghost, I don’t know.

I’m alone, I’m scared, I’m sad. Tears begin to fall from my eyes, but no sound came from me. I was afraid that day would be the day I die. Just as I said, it began to move, with its hand, moving slowly toward me. Everything I knew, love, cherish will be gone. I couldn’t accept this as my fate, but what could I do? Nothing.

Every inch that hand approached me, the more I saw death. I saw death coming for me, trying to invite me as a friend, but I knew that death was no friend of mine for I still had many things to do in this world. As I tried so hard to move, I felt something: something painful, unbearable. It was my heart. My god, this pain, the pain I was feeling was devastating, was it a heart burn or worse, a heart attack? I didn’t know but it was literally killing me.

I didn’t know what I should fear more, the creature or my heart, but all I knew that both were terrible. As the hand got closer, I started to succumb to pain in my chest. Everything started to fade to black and the very last thing I saw was the hand about to touch my face.

I was later awoken to the sound of my alarm clock. When I woke up, I made sure to move every inch of my body, starting from my fingers and toes to my arms and legs. Nothing was wrong with me, everything was fine. I decided to get dressed, fast as possible, and ran to school. As I got there, I immediately went to the nurse to tell her what had happened to me.

The nurse has a psychology background, so it’s not uncommon for a student with mental health concerns to go to her for help. When I got there, I told her everything that happened to me and asked what the reason could be. She told me I had sleep paralysis.

Apparently, it’s a condition where the brain is awake, but not the body. She said that figure was nothing more than a hallucination: to think that my own brain could create something so terrifying. She also said that I might have some form of heart disease and should get checked out by a specialist. Can’t blame her, I have really unhealthy eating habits. Beside the heart disease, she told me that there is nothing else to worry about, but all I did was imagine what else that could have happened to me.

I almost gave myself a heart attack. She even told me I’m lucky I hadn’t been lying on my face or I might have suffocated. That night was the most horrible moment of my life. It even caused me to change my sleeping habit. I started to sleep on my back all the time and if my body ever goes stiff again, I will make to close my eyes so I will never see the nightmares I have created.

However, sometimes I hear things, voices trying to make me open my eyes, but the worst one that I remember was this, “No matter what you do, we are always with you, part of your mind. After all you made us, the only person that is hurting you, is yourself.”

Stephon Michaels is a student at West Chester University. SM888586@wcupa.edu

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