It’s 1:35 am in the morning and it’s finally time to go to sleep. You’re the only one home. You left a light on because – well – you have narcolepsy, and all the fun-filled vivid hallucinations, night terrors, and other terrifying effects that go with it.
But, tonight, you’re relaxed. Everything’s fine.
It’s 1:59 am and you just stopped shaking from a cataplectic seizure. Only moments ago, music was blaring in your ears, people screaming and yelling, but – you told yourself it was just a dream and made it through – this time. But, you’re still paralyzed from the seizure. You can feel the fuzziness that’s bearing down on you and forcibly shutting your eyelids.
And then – you hear it…
It’s the sound of your door handle being turned. The door creaks as it opens. Terrified, you want to call out, move, do something! But, you can’t. And, just like that – it stops.
Suddenly, your eyes begin to close tighter and you can barely force them open feeling the horrible pain in your limbs from fighting the cataplectic/REM paralysis. Then, it occurs to you – it’s your son! Thank goodness, for a moment there, you were terrified. Relaxing, your seizure calms down and you’re able to get some movement back in your body – enough to call out to your little boy who has stood in the open doorway around the corner for an inordinately long amount of time.
“Son, what’s up, buddy? You okay?”
But, there’s no answer. You stare at the light peering around the corner. A chill runs up your spine.
Your son’s not home. You were alone tonight.
As the tears fill your eyes, your seizures strike twice as hard. Your skeletal muscles are losing all control and your turning into a lifeless meat-bag. It takes more energy and strength than you’ve ever mustered in your life just to keep your eyes and throat open –
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that in your helplessness, your chin is sinking down, cutting off your airway and you’re struggling to breath – desperately afraid of taking your last breath?
But – it’s not over. There are footsteps – little ones. And, you can hear them getting closer … one by one..
Inch by inch…
You stare at the light … whatever it is … whoever it is … they should be casting a shadow. You’re frozen with horrified anticipation, imagining the worst …
But nothing happens. The footsteps … stop.
You suck in some air, gasping for breath and call out:
“Son – what’s wrong? Come HERE!”
But – he’s not there. Then, you remember something – your door wasn’t shut. Your door doesn’t creak. Is this all a dream?
And, in an instant, you begin to relax. One part of you is still frozen in terror – but the massive struggle against paralyzation has worn you out and you’re willing to accept whatever it is – nightmare or reality. Having been afraid to turn away from the light so that you could breath, you finally find some courage to roll over onto your side. The air begins to rush in and the burning sensation in your head cools down. The tears streaming down your cheeks still burn, but you haven’t the strength to wipe them away.
It’s 2:35 am – and now, maybe you can sleep. … Or … so you thought. …
“Dad!” A voice whispers in your ear – and it’s only inches away………..
Terror grips you. You freeze. Your narcolepsy begins its work – you’re now becoming so tired, so rapidly, that your eyes are shutting – and there’s no stopping them – and you’re scared to death of not being able to see whatever it is as you can feel it drawing closer. Your breathing is being cut off and you can’t lift your chest high enough to take in air – you’re going to die.
And – there’s someone … or something … standing right above you – close enough that you felt the wind from their whisper as it glances off your ear.
These things cannot describe what is happening to you. In a brief moment of last hope, fighting off the paralysis, the loss of oxygen, and the terrifying images your imagination has cast, letting you envision something standing right above you – you whip back around and into an upright position – ready to fight – ready to survive – and scared enough that your vision is doubled, your head is burning and pounding, and you can feel every vein in your body pulsating.
Finally, you have your strength back – albeit weak. You can barely wipe your face clean of tears.
It’s done. You’re awake – at last. Nothing’s there.
Everything’s quiet. You’re too tired and in too much pain now to care if anything that just happened was real. If something’s going to get you – then fine – just let it happen. You’re parched, you need to use the restroom, and frankly, you don’t want to sleep ever again.
Walking around the house, you’re reminded – you were alone tonight. It’s not any different than the nights you weren’t alone, but this time, the realization that you were alone after it started, only made things worse. You double check all of the locks and windows – for the fourth time since you first went to bed.
As you lay back down, too exhausted for the terror to control you any further, you can’t help but think – it sucks to be home alone …