Another night – going to bed late. *Sigh* It’s already 2:30 am in the morning …
At least you’re tired enough to fall asleep – quickly.
You reach out your arm and hold your partner closely, comforted by the fact that at least you’re not alone.
As you lay there, running your hands through their brittle, frail hair, your eyes closed, dreaming of what may be, and you realize…
You don’t have a partner.
You can feel the pounding of your heart in your ears. Your head is burning. Tears have begun streaming down your cheeks. Why? WHY? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? What’s going on?
You can’t pull away – because if this is real – whatever’s laying there in bed with you will know. It will know that you know that it’s not supposed to be there. And, then what?
Slowly, you feel around with your fingers. You’re careful not to be too obvious. But, it’s weight is too much. You can’t just ‘slip’ your arm free. You have to do something … you have to be prepared. You devise a plan – a plan to bring your other arm up slowly until it’s just far enough that you can thrust it forward – knock yourself free – and fight! You want to live! You ….
Are paralyzed. Your arms won’t move. Your breathing becomes labored … oh no … not again. You’re starting to lose the ability to breath. Your seizures are stealing away control of your muscles. You can’t lift your chest high enough. The air is becoming thin. You’re going to die.
You open your eyes. But, there are no words to describe how you feel now. The cold, lifeless corpse that’s laying next to you doesn’t move. You can see every feature, every detail, and every horrifying aspect of it’s deathly visage. Now you know why its hair was so brittle. And, all you can do is wonder – is it going to kill me? Is it alive? What’s happening.
Then – it turns its head. Sadly, the stronger your emotions – the stronger the paralyzation. And – your fear has reached such a maximum height that you’re okay with the fact you stopped breathing a minute ago and have no way to breath again – because one way or another – you’re going to die.
In a moment – it moves for you.
The rush in your head, the pounding in your ears, and the pain in your limbs causes your vision to swirl. You scream – silently – and …
You’re laying alone in bed; it’s only 2:35 am. A few minutes pass by and you can finally rest at ease. Of all the nightmares – that one is the worst. You hate it when the hallucinations are so close. After a while longer, you can get up. You’re head is still burning and you need a glass of water to cool down. So, heading around the corner to your door, you flip on the light switch…
But – nothing happens.
So, you click it down and up again. Did the light burn out? No … no it didn’t. Why? Because you can feel the breath of the thing standing behind you.
There was no time – no warning. You couldn’t even turn around before it reached up and you felt its painfully powerful grasp on your left shoulder as you’re thrust to the floor …
*GASP* You suck in a deep breath and sit up … you’re still in bed. It’s now 2:56 am. Now your head is really pounding. Cram! You were only dreaming! Hearing the static from the television, you reach for the remote …
But – whatever was under the bed – whatever darkness lurks in the corners of your nightmares – was waiting for you. It’s cold, slimy grasp of your wrist stops your hand. There was no pulling away. There was no fighting. And, you just realized – you never turned on the television.
The room that you were vanishes – and now – somehow – without realizing you ever left – you’re back home – and in bed –
And something has you.
It pulls you down.
Helpless, you cry out as your body lunges over the side of the bed. Your other arm grabs hold of the dresser as you fight back, looking down to see your would-be killer – tears flinging from your face, back twisting in wretched pain …
Something cracks you on the back of the head – like a baseball bat at full swing. It didn’t “hurt” per se – but the sound, the light, the feeling of it was all so real that it somehow feels painful.
You’re still in bed — and now it’s 3:02 am. This time, you’re sitting up. You hold your head tightly. It’s really throbbing. You run your hands through your hair, trying to feel for the wound – for the blood – something. Meanwhile, you look down at your wrist and feel the impressions of those cold, slimy fingers as they pulled you down … Now, you really need water. But, there’s no way you’re moving. There’s no way you’re doing anything.
You look to the empty side of the bed – terrified to see what’s there.
You pull together your courage and look over the edge of the bed.
The whole dang thing – all of it. One dream after another. The television’s not on. Nothing weird is happening, and now, you have to go to the restroom. You’re still shaking and terrified to move – but your bowels won’t wait. At least, the nightmares are over.
After doing your business, you head to the refrigerator to get a cold glass of milk. Your head is not only throbbing – it’s burning! You can feel the sweat rolling down your skin. Inside the fridge, you reach out for the milk – and stop.
You don’t want to move. You don’t want to make it obvious that you know.
But, you can see them – the two feet below the refrigerator door. Someone’s standing there, behind the door – watching … waiting.
What do you do? You can’t shut the door …
You have to run.
But – just like before – your body is not responding. And then, it occurs to you – the seizures are coming back. As the cataplexy grows stronger, you’ll lose the ability to stand – and to fight back. But … it’s too late.
You start to shake – fighting off the paralysis. Your eyes are filled with tears as you fight to keep them open. Please … please don’t let the darkness come …
But it does.
The refrigerator door is slammed shut! Not by you – but by it. The wind whips back your hair as you’re thrown into the counter behind you. You can feel the sharp, overwhelming pain of the counter cutting into your spine. It’s too much.
But – it doesn’t care. You feel your face fall forward into its hands as it grabs you tightly and you can’t help but imagine that finally – this is it. This isn’t a dream or a nightmare …
You are really, going – to – die.
*GASP* With tears in your eyes – a body wrenched in pain and drenched in sweat, you RIP yourself up off the bed …
It was a nightmare … again.
You’re so tired. It’s only 3:18 am. How long will this keep going? How LONG WILL I HAVE TO ENDURE!
But – you have no time to think about that now – because that impending feeling of doom is upon you.
And … one after another … they keep coming …
Nightmares empowered with the creative, hallucinatory power of the brain, and the terrifying strength of the imagination. Nightmares – that are not nightmares.
Because – you’re not supposed to feel nightmares. Your nose still hurts from being smashed by a hand – and that’s not supposed to happen. You can steel feel the dead corpse’s hair in between your fingers – and that’s not supposed to happen. you can still feel the pain in your shoulder and the blood trickling down from the knife that was thrust into you – and that’s NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!
Every time you look at the clock – it’s like time is mocking you. These aren’t nightmares – these aren’t hallucinations. Time and space itself has twisted out of place – and you’re trapped.
NO – that’s NOT RIGHT! NOTHING’S THERE! You KNOW THIS! You’ve LIVED this! But never – never have you woken from one nightmare into the next – non stop – for SO LONG!!
How many times? How many times has it been? 10? 14? 20?
You lose count around 26.
It’s only shortly after that, that you look over at the clock, and now it’s 5:50 am. Ten minutes. You have to get up in 10 minutes. Did you even sleep at all? How unfair is it for someone with a sleep disorder to not be able to EVEN FRICKIN’ SLEEP?!
But – anger will do no good – what’s there to be angry at? You’re the only one who saw … anything. Besides, even if you could get angry – you haven’t the strength.
It takes the full ten minutes to get out of bed. You reach over and hit the snooze button, wishing you had just a little longer. Closing your eyes, it occurs to you –
Are you awake, yet?
The chills run through you like daggers. Your eyes shoot open, and somehow, without any sleep or strength, you sit straight up. Yeah, it sucks to be awake, but there’s no way you’re going back to sleep. No more nightmares … not tonight, anyways.
And, no matter how hard you try – for the rest of that day – every time you get that chill – every time you hear a noise or see a shadow, you can’t help but wonder …
Am I still dreaming?