I woke up, my body aching. Did I just have a nightmare? My mind felt numb, as if I was hungover.
I looked at myself in the mirror and examined my face. The skin looked extremely pale, my eyes bulging out of their socket, bloodshot and tired, and my lips…. they were as dry as parchment. What happened to me? I just fell asleep and… I dreamt.
I forced myself to imagine a beautiful story, like I always do. Something meaningful, a fantasy of mine perhaps, where I could escape and create unrealistic endings just because I was the one in control now. I directed and shaped my thoughts like a puppeteer, pulling each string with extreme caution not to spoil everything too fast. I like to take my time with these things so I can enjoy it more, like a good meal or a tasty glass of wine. My imaginary world displayed before my closed eyes like a movie projected at a premiere; the screen reflected every picture so vividly, I felt like I was there, as part of the story.
I invented and reinvented myself, changing the script as I went along, not quite satisfied with the way things were evolving. I pressed rewind when I wanted to watch the same scene again, and fast forwarded when I started getting bored. I paused on the most delightful moments, to absorb them to the fullest, impregnating my subconscious until it bled. My mind never stopped working, my eyes rolling in the back of my head and my eyelids fluttering with so much intensity, my bird felt like battling for survival in the middle of a mighty storm.
My dream took me everywhere I wanted to go; I traveled to imaginary dimensions and met the characters of my stories, talking to them as if they were real… Then, the villain tried to catch me, and I lost control of my thoughts. I felt frightened, helpless, and I wanted out but I couldn’t. I suddenly heard this voice, right next to me, murmuring unintelligible things into my ear. I felt a presence in the room, and my fear worsened as I tried to wake up, but I was dead asleep. Paralyzed in my bed, I sensed that somebody was here, talking to me… I opened my mouth, and I tried to speak, but no words came out.
My dream had taken a turn I did not expect. Now my whole body was in alert, and I didn’t know what to do. I thought I lost my mind…. After struggling for what seemed like an eternity, I finally managed to open my eyes. There was nobody else but me and my kitties. As I turned on the light, the male cat meowed and came closer to me, as if he had felt the same strange presence.
I talked to somebody about it, asking them if they had experienced a similar thing before. They told me that they did, and that it was called “Sleep paralysis”. When I googled it to get more information, here is what I found out:
“A Sleep Paralysis is possibly a hereditary disorder in which one experiences very frightening seconds or minutes of total body paralysis with little respiration and eye movements. A victim in this state feels awake, but he cannot move or speak. In addition to the immobility, the common symptoms include feeling choked or suffocated, hearing strange noises like footsteps and voices, seeing beings or dark shadows, and feeling an existence of someone in the room. Although these symptoms often direct the victims to believe in ghosts, mistransmission of neural signals in the brain causes Sleep Paralysis. When a person sleeps, his brain sends signals to inhibit any muscle contraction. If he comes into consciousness before the brain sends signals to activate muscle contraction, he cannot move his body, and consequently, become “paralyzed”” Sleep paralysis
The article explained that Sleep Paralysis induces visual or auditory hallucinations probably because of anxiety. “A person experiencing Sleep Paralysis feels mortal fear or extreme panic, and hence, the brain generates and releases internal visual or auditory stimuli, producing hallucinations.”
I will definitely use this unique experience in one my stories… I don’t believe in ghosts, but having the clear sensation that somebody was in the room made me feel totally powerless. I still can hear her voice whispering in my ear, and me trying to scream “go away”, but remaining completely speechless.
And this was just a dream…