Dreams or Reality

For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis. If you don’t know what it is, basically you are asleep, but not, it usually only takes a few seconds but feels like hours, you can’t move, hence the name, and for me personally and many others you experience vivid and horrific hallucinations.

Its been a few years since this horrible week, and I’ve since been able to wake myself up from sleep paralysis. I was about 16 and my parents had been out-of-town, so I was home alone for a week, at first everything was normal but with each night things grew more sinister.

It was a monday afternoon, my parents had just left and I was thrilled to have the place to myself, as a 16-year-old boy, having the place to yourself for a whole week was like heaven, for pretty much the whole first day I played video games, I didn’t have a job and I knew I could get my chores done later. Around 6:30 that night, the power went out, since it was late winter I was left in almost total darkness. I didn’t think much of it at the time, just some kind of power outage due to the weather, so I went and got a flashlight and made my way around the main floor lighting candles. With the candles as my only source of light I wasn’t able to see very well, but I could have sworn I saw a shadow base by me and go up the stairs towards my room. I just assumed it was my eyes playing tricks on me….but knowing what I know now…I’m not so sure.

The rest of the evening went by pretty smoothly, the power came back around 8 and I made myself some food. It wasn’t until about 11 that things went bad. At exactly 11 o’clock every car alarm on the street block went off, causing every dog in the neighborhood to start barking like crazy, then the street lights began to flicker and the wind picked up, making that unmistakable blowing sound, but then it all stopped, all at once it just went quiet. Usually sound dies down, especially with what was making the noise, but exactly one minute later, it all stop instantly.

At this point I was a little weirded out and my heart was beginning to beat fast enough for me to hear the thumping in my ears. I went up to my room, double checking that the doors were locked, and decided to calm down by reading. I don’t remember what book it was but I know I had fallen asleep reading it. I woke up a few hours later with a jolt, I sat bolt upright and I swear, I heard someone shout my name, it was clear and loud. I looked over to my clock and saw it was 4AM, I laid back down and turned over to go back to sleep, but when I turned, I saw a silhouette of a man inches away from me, I screamed and jumped back, and then I actually woke up. Turns out I had been dreaming, and found myself on my pillow facing the opposite way, staring at my clock. The time read 3:59AM.

The rest of the night I was awake, I turned all the lights on in my house and sat up watching Netflix with a pot of tea. At 7:30 I was shaken out of my stoop by my phone alarm going off. I decided that I should get up and try to wake myself up, and get some stuff done. The day went by pretty quickly, and without any issue. At 6 I made myself dinner and then the alarms went off again, followed by the dogs and the howling wind, except this time it lasted for a solid half hour, the dogs barks became muffled, almost pained but they didn’t stop, neither did the car alarms, you would have thought that someone would have gone out to try to stop them but no one ever did. The wind was blowing with such force that the house shook and the windows rattled  finally though, at 6:30 it all stopped, just the same as before, it just immediately stopped. All of it.

Around the same time the noises stopped, I began to notice this horrible smell, It was like a mix of burning hair, and sulfur, it made no sense where it could have come from, I had been done cooking for a while, and I didn’t burn anything. The smell had gotten really bad, So bad that despite the cold weather outside, I had to open a window, I sat by the open window, letting the cold fresh air wash over me. I was there for about 5 minutes, when I started to get the feeling that I was being watched, the wind was blowing snow gently around outside so I couldn’t see much, but I could have sworn that I saw someone standing in the alley, diagonally across from my house. I closed the window and pulled down the blinds just to be safe; the smell was no longer there.

Since I had opened the window, the house had gotten really cold, so I went to turn up the heat; the control panel in my parents house was broken at the time (it still is today) so you really have to push hard in the b*****s to get them to work, I stood there for a bit trying to get the display to show the temperature so I could increase it, it was old at the time and always acted up, finally, I was able to get it to show the temperature, it was really low, only on 60, So I began to turn it up. I figured 66 would be enough, my mom always said 67 was too high. As I turned it the last notch to 66, I could have sworn it flickered and the display read 666 for half a second,I know that sounds really corny and stereotypical, but I know what I saw. As I was walking back to the living room, past the basement stairs, I felt something brush up against my heel, something cold and leathery, I flinched at the feeling, but couldn’t see anything on the ground that I would have brushed up against.

I stayed in the living room until about 11 that night, watching Netflix and letting myself forget about the weird things that had been happening, keep in mind I had never had a history of any mental illness or any other paranoia so I just chalked all this up to me imagining it all. It was almost 11 and I was getting ready to go up to read, I just wanted to finish the episode, when the TV started to go fuzzy, keep in mind this was only a couple of years ago, so this was on a flat-screen TV, the screen went completely fuzzy, it did the whole no signal, static snow, that old Tv’s used to do, the static sound picked up right away, I reached for the remote to turn it off, and then, layered into of the static sound was this low-toned siren, similar to a tornado warning. I tried to turn the TV off but the remote wasn’t working, I kept pushing the power button but nothing happened. The static began to move faster, maybe it was just my eyes but it looked like it was going faster, then, what looked like the outline of a person could be seen on the screen. It looked almost like the “person” was walking towards the screen, towards me, but then it switched off, and back on again, back to my show, like nothing happened. I switched off the TV and went upstairs.

I sat in my bed, reading for an hour or so, until I was ready to fall asleep. I remember dreaming that night, dreaming of the silhouette that was outside, watching me, and of the figure in the TV. I woke up early that morning, drenched in sweat, my sheets and blankets cold with my sweat, but as I tried to get up, I realized I couldn’t, I’ve dealt with sleep paralysis before and it always just goes away, but this was the first time I’ve ever experienced it to this degree…it wouldn’t be the last time in the week… I laid in bed, facing the ceiling, the cold damp sheets beneath me. I laid there for what seemed like hours, frozen, staring at the ceiling, then I heard the slow creaking of my door being opened, I strained to look, and sure enough I saw the door slowly being pushed open, letting in a strange orange glow from the crack, not enough to create light but enough for it to stand out. I stared at the glow for a bit, until I saw a shadow pass through my doorway, into my room, I couldn’t see more than a shadow, but I knew “it” was in the room with me. I heard my phone alarm go off, which told me the time, but I was still frozen and couldn’t turn it off. My heart was racing and my body was dripping in sweat, the constant blaring of my alarm met the cadence of my heart. I felt a hand creep it’s way up my blankets and brush against my leg. I tried to scream and to shake or do anything but I was frozen. The blankets were torn off of me and off of my bed and then I shot up, the sleep paralysis gone, I screamed out with all the force I had been trying to muster before. My blankets lay in a heap on the floor, my phone alarm still sounding, my heart beating heavily in my chest. I switched off my phone alarm. And sat, huddled on my bed. I had never experienced anything like that before, and it left me terrified, after I finally regained my composure, I got up and gathered my clothes for a shower.

To this day, that was one of the scariest things to ever happen to me…unfortunately, I would experience more in the rest if the week. I stood in the shower letting the warm water wash over me, as I cleaned myself, I noticed a dark, purple bruise on my ankle where the nightmarish “person” groped my ankle. I recoiled in fear at the sight of the bruise, it was so dark, and swollen, yet It didn’t hurt.. the water started to grow cold, So I stood up and tried turning up the heat, but it was already at max, the water quickly became painfully cold so I shut off the water and jumped out as quick as I could. I dried off and got dressed, I decided since today was warmer than usual, I should go for a walk, a bit of fresh air and space is probably what I needed and I was just getting cooped up in my house.

I found it strange, on my walk how few people I saw, during the walk, that lasted almost 2 hours I saw only one person, a man, walking down an alley a few blocks away from my house, I wanted to stay out longer but the weather started to worsen and I was getting hungry. I stopped at a convenience store on my way home, and as I was paying for my coffee, I asked the clerk if he had heard the dogs and car alarms the last two nights. He gave me a look, almost a glare and asked me what I was talking about. I awkwardly apologized and left.

That’s when I saw him. Standing across the street, staring at me. I knew it was the same person I thought was watching me last night, he was average height, I couldn’t make out any details because for some reason there was a shadow cast only over him. My instincts told me to run, or to call for help, or to do anything other than stand there, but I couldn’t.  I just stood there paralyzed in fear, at the time, I didn’t understand the fear, I shouldn’t have been afraid of this man, but I was…I now know why. After about a minute, the spell was broken and I came to my senses. I took off, running back the way I had come, back home.

When I got back inside, I immediately noticed the putrid smell from before, the sulfuric-burnt hair smell overwhelmed me and I gagged, luckily nothing more, but still the foul smell was nauseating.  I wanted to open the window again to let some air in, but something in my mind told me otherwise so I left them shut. It was around 12 when the smell finally went away, I had become used to it by that point though. I spent the rest of the day peering out the window, I had this uneasy feeling, like I was being watched, or someone was with me in the house. I didn’t get much done, hell I forgot to eat. I didn’t notice the time until it was 7 o’clock, and I only noticed because the car alarms startled me out of my paranoid state. Just like before the dogs began barking with the alarms, and then the wind picked up, the house shook with the powerful wind. The dogs and car alarms stopped shortly after, and just like before stopped all at once. The wind however kept going. Snow was being blown all over outside and the windows were howling due to the wind. I was overwhelmed with exhaustion and decided it best to go to bed. I regret sleeping that night.

The creaking of my door opening woke me, I realized, like the night before I was paralyzed, and some dark shape made it’s way in my room. I scanned the room with my eyes, and saw my clock was flashing: 11:59. When I looked back towards my door I saw him. If I could have, I would have screamed, there, Standing over my bed, watching me was the same man I’d seen before, tall and dark, only this time I could see his face. His eyes were the same orange glow that I saw last night, and his mouth sat open, rows of sharp teeth in a crude smile. My stomach clenched as he reached down towards me, his long claw-like fingers pulling down my blankets. I struggled against the paralysis but to no avail, my eyes darted around the room, searching, searching for anything, but all I could see was my clock. The time read 12:00. Then he was on me, I felt the pressure as he leaped onto my Chest, I struggled to breath as he was crushing me beneath his weight. The house shook as the wind continued to blow. In my mind, I screamed out in pain as I felt his long talons scraped against my flesh, he pushed the points of his fingers into me and torn at my chest. I couldn’t do anything against this, despite all the pain and all the fear, I was trapped, paralyzed. Then, he moved lower,I felt his hot breathe on my ear as he leaned in close. I still remember what he said. It haunts me to this day. His voice, a harsh whisper, kind of gravelly but still clear.

“I’ve been waiting to do this for awhile…watching you was fun… but hurting you…”

Then I bolted upright, I had overcome my paralysis and was fully conscious now, I screamed and cried, frantically grabbing at myself, feeling where his claws had dug into my flesh,I felt no wounds, only more bruises. I looked towards my clock and saw that it was only 11:59. I heard the creaking of my door opening again. The fear shot through me like a bullet. I screamed louder than ever before, I shook in fear of what would happen, but nothing did. The door seemed to have just opened on its own.

I don’t know what happened on those nights, or how to explain what exactly was in my room with me, but I do know the marks on my flesh are still here today. Reminders of those terrible nights and that horrible thing. I called my parents the next day and begged them to come home. They did but reluctantly. I don’t sleep for more than two hours at a time now, just as a precautionary. But every so often, I hear his voice…It echoes in my mind, and sends chills down my spine.