Waking Nightmare

by Sean Cody

June 17, 2019; 2:00 AM

My eyelids slide up and open, but only barely. Around me the room is a dark haze. I can make out the bedroom around me. The television secured to the wall. My dresser off to the left, covered in the clutter that I have still neglected to clean off. Curtain fluttering from the wind of the open window. It’s still a blur though; almost as if there is some kind of film over my eyes. If I wasn’t in the same place where I’d fallen asleep, I’d assume that I was just dreaming. I certainly don’t feel awake. And why am I awake anyway? Don’t need to use the bathroom. Can’t hear anything. I try to sit up only to find that I can’t move. Not an inch. I strain and I push but it’s as if I’m made of metal and my bed is a magnet. I can’t wiggle my toes. Can’t even lift my head an inch off the pillow. I try to scream, but my lips won’t move either. What in god’s name is happening to me? As though I’m packaged in saran wrap. Trapped in cement. Panic begins to set in. Am I dying? Am I dead? That’s it isn’t it? I’ve heard about how the brain keeps functioning for a little bit after you die. That’s what this is. I died in my sleep and these are my last few minutes before I shuffle off. I would cry, but I don’t think I could do that right now. All I can do is lie here and wait.

And I see it...standing over in the corner. Someone. Something. Completely surrounded in shadows. Made of them it seems. I can’t even make out any features of it. No nose. No mouth. No hair. Almost as if it’s a full size version of the stick figure outside a men’s room. Except for its eyes. Somehow through the blackness of his body, two even darker eyes stand out. No pupils. No irises. Just two dark dots. And they’re boring right into me. It’s head tilts ever so slightly, the way a dog’s does. Almost as if it’s fascinated by what it sees in front of it. No other part of him moves. He doesn’t walk towards me. He’s just stares. 

I set every muscle and bone into motion. Willing myself to move. Daring myself not to. If I can just move, everything will be okay. I know it. I don’t know how, but I do. I don’t even need to move far. If I can just shift my body a bit everything else will fall back into place.

I think I can finally feel it happen. Just a little bit more. Sweat pours down my face. My skin tingles and vibrates as I’m about to break out of this invisible cast. 

Here it is….don’t quit...right now….Nothing. I haven’t budged, and my visitor is still there. Still observing me. Admiring me as though I was a painting in a museum. Even if I could, I wouldn’t want to look away. Scared of what he may do should my gaze ever drift. I lay there watching him. Waiting for him to do whatever it is he came here for….

June 17, 2019; 8:00 AM

I’m awake. Sun filters in through the window, casting a small circle of light on the ground. Breeze is flowing in, tickling my skin, making the hair on my arms stick up straight. I roll over, burying my head in the pillow. And then I spring up. I can move. Completely. Totally. The cast, the saran wrap, the concrete. Gone. Entirely. And so is my visitor. Had it happened at all? Was it just some real trippy dream?

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