Hi guys. 🙂
I wanted to publish this story already a couple days ago, but I lost what I’ve written so had to rewrite almost everything. Interesting how when I write something, and then read it after a few days, I usually think it’s shitty and delete it immediately, but this time, I think that that first version I wrote was much better and vivid than this one. 😀 This one doesn’t feel quite as natural to me. I couldn’t rewrite it exactly the same way though because I didn’t have any plan or anything, the idea was very spontaneous and only based on the writing prompt from The Haunted Wordsmith.
This is the story about sleep paralysis. Mostly about the way I feel it, although the heroine is not me, I imagine her being quite different from me, and not all her experiences in relation to sleep paralysis are exactly the same. Most of them are though, or at least are based on mine, some things I made up because I thought they were very likely to happen in a sleep paralysis episode. My “Ian” is very similar to hers, although it’s not his name. Melanie’s dreams, hallucinations and thought processes are more logical and understandable and relatable for an outsider than mine are in sleep paralysis.
Also, while I have a lot of the same experiences with other people who have sleep paralysis, not all of them are the same – well, I guess that’s the thing with all conditions that everyone experiences them differently (is sleep paralysis a condition actually?), but some of the differences I experience seem to be a rare thing as I’ve never heard about anyone else having them, also I believe some other things I deal with, including, as I call it, my “sensory” anxiety (I don’t have a better name for it) seem to complicate my sleep paralysis. Many people who have sleep paralysis say they have a full consciousness during it and are often aware of their surroundings, their mind is fully awake, only their body is asleep and they have hallucinations. For me it’s usually different, I either have partial consciousness, or I’m only aware that I’m dreaming, or I’m conscious of what’s going on around only at some moments and not the other, or I have a wild mix of reality and dream which I am not able to distinguish, with dozens of false awakenings usually, which can be very very creepy and realistic as in Melanie’s. It’s not always that intense as melanie’s, sometimes I am able to wriggle out of there by accident, use my consciousness and evoke a more positive dream at least for a while, you know as in lucid dreaming but it doesn’t work long term and it’s still all pretty murky and creepy and I have to be in control of the dream all the time which is not always possible, or I can move my toe or something and then it’s over. But it’s very often very intense and I’m not quite as resilient as Melanie to get over it within a few hours if it is intense, the anxiety usually lingers for days for me and can be very bad at times.
My sleep paralysis is always very difficult to describe for me, first because it just feels so evasive and like it’s hard to find words that would make it comprehensive, but also because if I’m to talk about mine in details it can feel quite upsetting, for different reasons, so I’ve never really talked with anyone much about it other than that I have it or just had it or that it’s scary. So I thought writing that story would be an interesting way to share some of my experiences, and maybe spread some awareness, although I have no idea if it would be relatable for other people who have it. I am aware that it might feel a bit boring and repetitive at times, but sleep paralysis is no fun and you get sick of it even before it really starts, and there’s a lot of repetitiveness in it, so that’s how I feel it should be. When I was a child for a long time my sleep paralysis dreams would actually look exactly identical for years. I’m sorry for any potential linguistic shortcomings as I’m not an English native so they might happen.
If you are an easily upset and very sensitive person, or have sleep paralysis that causes you a lot of distress and you think reading about in detail could unsettle you, please be cautious or stop reading here. Hope it gives you some idea of what it’s like.
– Melanie shouted, begging her lungs to cooperate. But she could only hear it in her mind. Nothing came out. “Help!!! Help!!! Heeeeeeeelp!!! Help… me…!!!”. She shouted so much, that she didn’t know anymore, was it her real voice, or was it all just in her imagination? But she kept holding on to the hope that, finally, someone will hear her, they surely will, this time it will be different, someone will save her. Chris will see something is wrong, he will save her, maybe he’s right there, sleeping beside her, she just needs to wake him up, scream loud enough. Did she just hear him snoring? Or maybe it’s morning already? God, please, let it be morning, let me wake up. Lily will wake up soon, she has to go to school. “I need to wake up, I have to!” But nothing happened, except she fell deeper, and deeper, and deeper down, no matter what she did, down into the abyss of her mind, which she knew so well, but which always held so many new surprises for her. She was falling faster and faster with every second, unable to control her body, unable to stop or slow it down. Yet at the same time it felt as if she was falling like that for centuries, and was still to do that for many centuries to come. What if I never wake up? But she didn’t have any strength left, or so it felt, to shout more, or to try and go out of where she was. Besides, deep down she knew it all too well that no matter what she does, she won’t be able to stop it, if her brain decided to keep her trapped. Suddenly, the pace of her fall increased much more, and shortly after she reached her destination, falling hard at the bottom of the abyss with a spectacular thud. The fear gripped her throat even more tightly, and the grip tightened even more when she heard the familiar, heavy steps.
– “Aaah, so you’re already here! That’s fantastic… We haven’t seen each other in ages, right? You can’t ignore me like that.”. Before she would even manage to say anything, he fell on her heavily, pressing her to the ground. That was how it usually started. Ian wasn’t a very clever man, but he was certainly a master of suspense. Ian loved routine, but his passion was also to surprise her with something new every time, and everything she had to endure was planned to the smallest detail.
Melanie knew him since she was a very little child, but never told anyone about his existence, and the overwhelming influence he had on her and her life. He would visit her in dreams, scare her to death, leaving repugnant signs of his presence scattered all over her brain. Then he would sometimes leave her alone for weeks, months, sometimes even years. ANd just when she thought she’s cleared up her mind of him, and that she’s free from him, or that she has found a strategy to deal with him and avoid him, he would come back. And with time, she has just gotten used to it, even though the fear never disappeared.
One day when she was a young girl, one of her teachers said something that stayed with her: “We are most scared of what we don’t have a name for. Once we name it, we feel more familiar with it, it feels known, and we aren’t so frightened anymore”. And so, Melanie decided to name him Ian. But it didn’t change anything. The fear was the same.
And now she laid there, with him on top of her, strangling her with one paw and fingering, or rather “clawing” her skin with the other, breathing loudly and yelling insults in her face, threatening her in all the ways he could come up with. His “crew” surrounded them, making eerie, wailing sounds. Someone tied Melanie’s hands and legs so that she was unable to move at all, unable to fight or escape. She felt as if the walls were closing down on her, about to fall down right on her, and the atmosphere of this place was seething with fear, hatred and everything was covered in sinister, impermeable darkness. Ian’s “crew” presented her with all sorts of scary visions, sounds and sensations. In a blink of an eye she saw her father being killed with premeditation, and shouting for help, she knew he could see her, but she wasn’t able to help him out, she was grounded. She saw her house being bombarded in a spectacular way, and then her daughter, Lily, standing beside her mother’s bed and crying over her dead body. She wanted to tell her she’s not dead, she wanted to scream, to console the poor child, but she couldn’t. She could no longer recognise whether it was truth, “just” a dream, or maybe something yet different. All that, and countless other things, she saw as in a flashlight, yet each of those visions looked like in slow motion at the same time. she could hear the strangest and most scary sounds echoing in the abyss, sounding distant yet piercing her ears at the same time. Those were Ian’s “crew”. They imitated voices of people from her life, said scary and cruel things to her in situations that felt as realistic as it was only possible, so she didn’t know anymore what’s real and what’s not. They played with her memories, reviving them, editing them so that they looked sinister. Once in a while, a loud, crazy laughter echoed in the distance. Scary shadows creeped around the ceiling, was it the ceiling of her room, or of her mind’s abyss, she didn’t know. They danced before her eyes, whispering, singing and making unnatural, unhuman noises. Everything was spinning, her body felt numb and floaty, her limbs jerking, her mind foggy. Her mind was all covered in a black, smooth veil, that didn’t let her feel anything other than fear. Her rational mind was switched off and locked away, where she couldn’t reach it. Fear was the only emotion she was allowed and able to feel. And it consumed her whole, not knowing any boundaries. She had no control over it.
Despite being grounded, and unable to move, Melanie tried to fight desperately, to push Ian off herself. Deep down she knew it was a waste of time, because the more she fought, the deeper they both fell down, and the more she was sucked in the dream, but it was an instinct that was stronger than her, and driven by fear. Ian loved when she did it. “Fight as much as you want” – he said one time, with his unnerving grin – “I’ll always win anyway.”.
Somehow, despite being barely able to breathe, move or do anything, she managed to push Ian off herself. As soon as that happened, the ties on her limbs fell down and she got up immediately. Now they started real fighting. With Ian, trying to knock her off again, and herself, trying to run away, or at least keep herself up, to hurt him if possible. The ground beneath her feet felt unsteady, and she felt Ian’s breath on her back all the time. Everything was against her. She was exhausted, and knew she couldn’t keep like that anymore, her body was giving up, soon she’ll be on the ground again. Ian’s “crew” stood around, looking at the battlefield with their soulless, transfixed eyes, yelling “Ian! Ian! Ian!” on top of their voices, as if supporting him. As they fought, the ground under their feet started to transform into sticky mud, that was growing deeper and deeper. Wading through it, Melanie was barely able to move her legs. Finally… it had to happen. Ian knocked her off. She fell down, head into the mud, and as soon as that happened, the mud changed into a stormy sea. The waves crashed erratically, roaring deafeningly and throwing her around like a ball. She could hear Ian’s voice far away, his sinister laughter, silent, but carrying through the water. She fought against the waves with all her might, all the strength she still had. She swam, not knowing where, just to e far away from Ian, and not to sink. Yet it was increasingly difficult. The fear gripped her tighter and tighter, pulling her in the water. “I want an end to this. When will I wake up? Chris! Chris, please help me!”. She screamed and screamed, didn’t even know what, just screamed, in hopes someone from the outside world will finally hear her voice. “Lily! Lily! Come here! Someone help me!!!”. but soon her body succumbed into the water.
She lied there for a long time, her body covered by the water and washed over by the waves, that have calmed down a little. That was better than having to fight all the time. She wouldn’t even mind dying there, or so she felt, but somehow, despite she sank, it didn’t happen. After a while of lying there, she noticed that the water was flowing away, faster and faster. Not much long after, she realised that she’s now on a shallow, her hands touching the sand. From the overwhelmingly big, scary sea, or perhaps even an ocean, this strange body of water suddenly changed into something smaller than a lake. She stood up, and came out to the land, disoriented and weak…
“Mummy! Mummy! Did you call me? What happened?” – suddenly, she saw Lily standing by her bed, worried.
“Oh, nothing, sweetie. I just couldn’t wake up. – she said, laughing nervously, hystericaly, as she thought, at the ridiculousness of her own words.
“Don’t be silly mummy. You wouldn’t call me if you were asleep.” – Lily grinned. Melanie hugged her, breathing in her smell and feeling thankful for the dream to be over. But why did she still feel so floaty and foggy, and so fearful?
“I just had a very long dream.” – she said.
“Oh, Lucky you! I love long, long dreams! It’s so nice to dream and dream and dream, and dream, and dream, and dream… and dream… and dream… and dream… and… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… …” – Lily’s voice suddenly multiplied, echoing around the room, and sounded very unnatural. But where was Lily, actually? One moment she saw her daughter right beside her, and the next there was no sign of her at all. Or maybe it was Melanie who disappeared? It felt much more likely, as she found herself feeling floaty again. Drifting through something as soft as cotton wool. It would feel as a gentle fly, if not the fact that she could feel falling lower and lower, and she knew she would inevitably fall to the ground. With every “dream” her body lowered and fell deeper, and deeper, and deeper down, her mind fell deeper into some strange kind of trance, every single “dream” sucking her into one more eternity of sleep. Her body felt like a ton of bricks, and as if it was weightless at the same time…
Thud! “Yes, you bloody bitch. Now you’ll really have a very long dream. You like to dream, and dream, and dream, don’t you?” – Ian asked her, in his slow, deep, unnaturally calm voice. “He’s not right. It’s just a dream, I wil wake up. I will. I will. I just need to try hard enough”.
The story repeated again, with some additional surprises to the mix, just as Ian liked it. Tons of horrific visions, sounds and sensations that she no longer new to which world they belong – were they the reality, or “just” a dream – raced through her mind.
“Enough of it!” – she cried in her thoughts. “I have to wake up!”. “I need to! I don’t even know what time it is. Someone help me out of here.” In the midst of all the havoc she was going through, the ground started spinning even more under her, so did the ceiling. A big, dark hole opened a milimetre beside her arm, and started to suck her in. The crazy floating started all over again. Melanie yelled for helpfor all she was worth, yet again, no sounds came out of her mouth. She screamed, and screamed and screamed, and again, finally reached the ground, which felt like her own bed. Melanie looked around in disbelief. Was she finally awake? It did look like her own room. She tried making a sound, move her body, and succeeded. Or did she? She knew all too well that what feels true, doesn’t always have to be. It could be as well that her imagination was playing tricks on her. She still felt dizzy from the dream, and completely horrified and disoriented. “Chris?” – her hand searched for the pillow next to hers in the darkness of the bedroom. But Chris wasn’t there. There was only darkness around, but that Chris wasn’t there meant that it’s probably early enough to get up. “Lily?” – she called out, and immediately heard the sound of her daughter’s feet patting on the stairs.
“At last! You woke up, mummy. I’m already late for school. I was wondering why you’re sleeping so long.”
“Oh, really? Is it so late?”
“I guess very late. The sun is up.” – Lily didn’t know how to tell the time yet, and this was the only way she could do it. Melanie reached for her phone, to see what exactly the time was. Although the relief has been rushing through her body, she still felt very strong consequences of her dream, her body still felt numb, her mind foggy, and the world was spinning. She was more tired than when she went to bed, and didn’t like the perspective of getting up and out of the house. And the fear was still crippling, she needed time to pick herself up. But she must have been felt even worse than she thought, because suddenly she realised she can’t unlock her phone. Well, she was sure that unless something happened to her brain, her password had to be correct, she was using the same gesture for ages, so maybe the phone was broken…? Phew, finally, the phone started to cooperate. Her wallpaper was changed, and some of the settings appeared to be different than how she usually had everything set up, but oh well, the phone was old, and yeah, Lily was playing games on it yesterday so maybe she did something to it accidentally. When she looked at the clock though, she was even more amazed and concerned about her sanity. The hour was changing! All the time. When she looked at it once, it would show 5 PM (way too late to go to school, let alone wake up), then 2 AM, then 6:30 AM, etc. etc. sometimes the hours were really out there, like 111:35, and weird things would appear on the screen next to them. Melanie panicked slightly – she knew all too well from her dreams that the numbers Ian seemed to always like were 111 and 35, they were symbolic for him in her dreams. “Really, Mel, pick yourself together!” – she thought. – “You have a nightmare and you go crazy. Something’s wrong with the phone, that’s all.”
“OK, darling, let’s have a quick breakfast then.” – she said, slowly getting up and battling the fog. Whatever the hour was, something to eat would be a good idea.
She got dressed, wondering when she’ll start to feel normal and more energised. She still felt like one leg in Dreamland. And the fear, the fear was still there. No smaller than at the beginning. She made breakfast for them both, which tasted like soap, still feeling unsafe and wishing that Chris hadn’t gone to work yet. She did a quick make-up, made sure Lily had everything she needed in her schoolbag, and they both went out. Melanie was a fit and healthy woman, an avid swimmer,and tried her best to live healthily. Therefore Lily’s school, being only 5 minutes away from their house, was never a problem for her to get to. Many parents having a similar distance would take their offspring to school every day by car, and were astonished seeing Melanie and Lily walking all the way even in the rain if there was a more comfortable alternative and taking less time and effort. But today, this short walk felt like an eternity to her. The ground under her feet was spinning, and felt as it was about to crack and consume her, she felt unsteady, barely able to catch her breath, fear rushing through her veins. Somehow she finally reached the school though, left Lily in the class, and slowly went back home. The way home was even more difficult, without a little, warm hand squeezing her hand. As she approached her house, she shakingly took out the key, warily opened the door, and not even thinking much about it, peeped in the house before coming in, as she supposed someone would be there. She couldn’t see anyone or anything, so came in, and through the dimly lit hall, not really knowing where she was going or where she should go. Her feet carried her upstairs to her room. She opened the door, and again, peeped in cautiously before coming in. She closed the door behind herself, and only then she saw…
There he was… Sprawled on her bed, with his legs stretched out, he laid on her bed, grinning appalingly at her. “God, I’m still dreaming! Or is he real”. The floor under her feet, feeling more and more unsteady, finally didn’t manage the pressure of her feet. She fell. ONce again. “God, can you help me? Will this ever stop? And if it will, how will I know it’s real? How can I know that when I don’t know when I’m awake, and when I’m dreaming? I already am not sure. Maybe it’s just a fucking psychosis.” – she thought in panic. Melanie was by no means a religious person. She didn’t have anything against any religion, and did believe that there is some God, although she never thought much about him, other than optimistically hoping he’s good, and doing all that He can to care for the world, and has a good plan to come out even from the worst things that happen to people, and that one day after she dies, maybe she’ll see Him, and be happy in some celestial, glossy new world with her family, and this enigmatic God being something like a good grandpa figure for her. She didn’t have a habit of praying though, and didn’t really feel it. And now, as she was trying to pray, so desperately, she couldn’t. She couldn’t find any words, neither of the prayers she learnt from her grandmother as a child, nor could she pray with her own words. Her mind was blank.
Let’s spare you the details of yet another episode of the neverending series of Melanie’s encounters with Ian. It’ll be enough to say that during that short time, she endured dying in a plane crash (by falling out of its window all the way through to the ground without a parachute), her legs being cut off by her own mother, who threatened to kill her if she’ll ever tell anyone who did it to her (no, Melanie’s real mother wasn’t a sociopath, just a tiny, cuddly, elegant lady, full of smiles and gracefulness, which made the execution the more spooky, to Ian’s pleasure), and seeing deformed corpses wandering around her kitchen and eating random stuff right out of her fridge. Melanie wasn’t a squeamish or oversensitive person. She was a very down-to-earth lady, working as a sales assistant, and, in normal circumstances, was always calm, collected and level-headed. In normal circumstances, she’d probably laugh it off, but with that black veil covering her mind, the atmosphere of the abyss of her mind, and Ian’s presence, which always freaked her out just by itself, the fear was unbearable.
“Mel! Mel! Wake up sleepy head, I’ve made pancakes for you!” – Chris called out cheerfully, standing in their bedroom door. “Have some good piece of news for you.”
Melanie felt a bit surprised. She couldn’t complain about Chris. He was always very caring and loving for her, but making pancakes for her, that wasn’t very like him. Suddenly, not thinking much about what she was doing, Melanie sprang out of bed, and ran right into Chris’s arms, who was now looking very astonished and worried, as she was sobbing and shaking uncontrollably.
“Oh dear, what’s happened?” – he brought her back on the bed, sat her on his knees and hugged her, running his fingers through her hair. Melanie desperately wanted to get rid of the fog sticking to her brain. SHe felt sluggish and weak, but wanted to share with Chris her dark secret. She never did before. “You know… I have those bad dreams…” – she said hesitantly. – “Yeah? And you had one now?”. – – “Yes. It was so… so creepy.”.
A weird thing then happened. Melanie felt as if at this moment, Chris could see what it was like for her. Look into her brain. See all the horrors she’s been through as clearly as if he experienced them himself, with the exact intensity. And she knew he understood. After a long while, he just said: “Now I see. I just wish you told me earlier. We will do something about it, together we’ll do that I promise.”. It sounded so reassuring. So doable. That she started sobbing all over again. “But I have a good news for you. A little surprise. I want to invite you to a ball today. My company is organising it and we can come with our family members. You remember? We were there last year too, weren’t we?” –
“Oh, really! Today? This is a surprise indeed!” – said Melanie, happy that something will distract her from what happened at night, and that her relationship with Chris suddenly looks so much better than ever, so much more harmonious. She was just a bit worried about her condition. She felt weak, wiped out and really not the best. Oh well, it will wear off until the evening, won’t it?
It didn’t, but as they were entering the exquisite hall, that was changed into the colourful and elegant ballroom for the night, Melanie tried her best to distract from the inner feeling of insecurity and fear lurking in every corner of her brain. She had Chris. There were loads of people. Many were their friends. SHe’ll have fun. It’ll be OK.
She danced with Chris, his one colleague, then another, then his boss, feeling more and more dizzy with each dance. The bright lights and loud music were really unsettling for her. THey felt really aggressive. “I guess I’m getting older.” – she said to Chris with a giggle, telling him that she doesn’t feel well. “You just have to relax. You’re too stressed out by your work. I told you many times you’re going to suffer from it.” – “Maybe you’re right”. – she sighed, unconvinced. And just as she did it, she felt her heart sinking. She automatically looked in the direction of the entrance. She could barely contain her fear. “How can a real person look like that… I must be going crazy.”. She came closer to Chris, who was now chatting to one of his colleagues. “Chris?!” – she said, and he must have heard the urgency and panic in her voice as he apologised to the colleague and took her aside. “What’s the matter?”
“Did you see that man, the one who just came in?”
“Which one?” – Chris appeared slightly confused. “The one in red. He’s all in red.” – she uttered feeling a lump in her throat. How come everyone didn’t notice him? He looked so overwhelming, so different, his eyes so evil, how could people not see it? And why was he here? Melanie desperately wanted to believe it’s just someone looking very similar. “Ah, yeah, I see.” – Chris said after a moment. “What’s the problem with him?” “What’s the problem?!” – Melanie thought in panic. “He… he looks like… him… you know… like… like him” “What him?” – asked Chris, a slight hint of impatience in his voice. “Him!” – Melanie felt tears filling her eyes. The connection that was between them not long ago has gone now. “The… the guy from my dream? Do you know him?” “No, Mel, I’m afraid I can’t read in your dreams, I don’t know who you’re talking about.” “I’m asking if you know this man!” – she said, exasperated. “Hmmm… guess not, can’t remember him, and he’s quite characteristic, but it’s possible I’ve seen him somewhere, there are so many people milling around here every day. Maybe you know him too, and that’s why he looks so familiar to you.” “Maybe. I don’t want to talk to him anyway. i don’t want to talk to anyone. Can we go now? I feel completely shattered” “Don’t be silly, honey, we’ve been here only for two hours, we can’t go out just yet. Maybe go out and get some fresh air in. I’ll be with you in a moment, I need to the loo”. Melanie thought it was actually a good idea. She’ll go out and won’t have to look at that man, whoever he was. She can always call a taxi and go home on her own if she feels really scared. But first of all, what’s the reason to be so scared? Just because he looks like Ian? It wasn’t like her, she tried to rationalise, but her mind wouldn’t listen. The fear rose with every second.
She gasped for air when she came out on the balcony. For some reason, she felt constantly out of breath since she woke up. Just like she did in her nightmares. She gratefully appreciated the cold, brisk wind blowing in her face. There were a couple other people on the balcony, whom she didn’t know, mostly smoking their cigarettes, and one woman whispered nervously to someone on the phone. As she stood there, looking at the sky, she suddenly heard the door opening and someone else came out on the balcony. She turned around, expecting that it was Chris who came out of the loo, but it was one of his colleagues’ wife – Ellen. – Both her and her husband were occasional guests at their house, so Melanie knew her a bit and although never particularly liked, always admired her for her style and wit.
“Oh, hello, Melanie.” – she said, smiling politely only with her mouth. “We were looking for you and I thought you may be here.” Only when Ellen said “we” did Melanie noticed that there was a man accompanying her, whom she just glanced at and thought it was Ellen’s husband. She wondered what they might want from her. The only contact they had with her so far was through Chris, with Jim being his colleague and friend, and there really wasn’t much apart from their social connections that Melanie and Ellen had in common. “Turns out we have the same friend, Ian told me he knows you.” Hearing the name “Ian” Melanie jumped up as if someone pricked her with a pin. “You know Ian?” – she asked, feeling all the blood going down to her feet
“Oh of course I do! He’s my long time friend! But I’d better go, Jim doesn’t like me to disappear at parties for too long” – she giggled, and went back to the hall with the click-clack of her stilettoes. Ian heavily placed his hand, or paw, or however he prefers to call his extremities only he knows, covered in a velvet, red glove on Melanie’s shoulder, which she felt like a flame burning through her skin.
“Do you understand it now?” – he asked, slowly, calmly, quietly, scarily, in his deep, low voice. “Do you understand that I’m with you all the time?”
“No you’re not! You’re just a dream!!!”
“I know Ellen. She’s not a dream. And I will gladly get to know everyone that will give me the access to you anytime I want. Now will you go back with me where you should be now, or do I have to convince you?”
“I won’t do anything you want from me!”
“We’ll see.” – he just said, and laughed cynically. “We’ll ask Chris if he needs you, and if he doesn’t I’ll take you with me. I don’t want him to be jealous” – he laughed again, it was a dry, unpleasant sound. He dragged her into the hall, and found Chris, who was just happily chatting away with Ellen. If Melanie’s ability to feel anything else than fear wasn’t muffled at the time, she’d probably kill Ellen with anger and frustration, not caring for the consequences. Not only had she now her dream enemy – Ian – but also Ellen, who was real, who was happy to leave her with this monster and then spend the time happily with her husband, who was unaware of anything.
“Nice to meet you, Chris.” – Ian said, trying his best to smile. “Would you have something against me taking your wife for a short walk outside? We are old friends and I’m so happy to see her here again, so many years have passed…”
“Of course you can if you want” – Chris said happily. Chris. The one who was always so jealous about her even simply hanging out with other men. Now, when she needed him, he was happy to leave her with Ian, and would rather spend time with Ellen. “Chris! Please, don’t let him!” – she said. But there was no Chris, no ELlen, no ballroom, only darkness and fear. And herself falling down… and deeper down… There was even no Ian.
She was falling like that for a good while, and then fell down with a thud again, but falling on to something smooth, and not as violently as usual, her limbs jerking at the same time.
She slowly opened her eyes. The morning sun was cheerfully peeking through the window, but to her it felt unbearably bright. She felt as if she had a hangover. The room felt hot, her whole body sticky with sweat all over her skin, yet shaking and feeling chilly at the same time. Her head was throbbing, her ears ringing, heart racing, lungs gasping for breath, she felt dizzy, foggy and floaty… a very familiar feeling. Now she knew. She had sleep paralysis again. She felt so exhausted, that she would most happily close her eyes and fall asleep again. But she couldn’t. He would wait right there to get her in his claws again. But was she truly awake? Wasn’t it another false awakening? How can she know that? Melanie looked around paranoid as if she expected someone to be lurking in the corner of the room or behind the courtain, holding her breath. She couldn’t see anyone. battling the feeling of drowsiness, she sat up in bed. And she sat there, staring in the ceiling and not knowing for how long, the scenes of her dream replaying in her mind. When she finally felt strong enough to get up, she looked at the clock. It was only 7:30 AM. THe hour wasn’t changing, so she could hope she was indeed in the real world right now. Deep down she knew it, but she needed time to believe in it and feel sure. She found a small piece of paper on her bedside cabinet. “I took Lily to school. I was awake and you seemed to sleep so heavily and blissfully I didn’t want to wake you up. Chris x”. Melanie flinched. How was it possible someone could think she slept heavily and blissfully? Once more she realised there was no one who could help her out of those dreams other than herself. And how long could that dream last? Maybe 30 minutes, not much more. And she had experienced so much in this short time. It felt creepy.She had experiences from her past sleep paralysis episodes where she could see Chris getting up, or going into the room, and she would yell for help, but he wouldn’t hear her.
She went to the bathroom right away, and had a very cold shower, to get rid of the sweat, the headache and the fog around her brain. Only then she was able to really believe that the dream was over, and she was safe now. She wanted to believe it, despite the dream felt so bloody real.
She went back to her room to get dressed and make the bed, then to the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea and something to eat, then back to the bathroom to brush her teeth and hair, etc… And everywhere she went, she turned the lights on, so that soon the whole house was lit up. She felt like a child, scared of monsters lurking in the darkness under the bed. She constantly looked around as if she supposed someone was observing her. This too needed time to pass. Despite that sometimes she felt that if she was going to have such dreams often enough, at some point she will truly believe they are real.
Thankfully, it was Wednesday, meaning that she wouldn’t have to go to work until the afternoon. She knew that until then, she’ll recover, she will have to. She can’t go around looking like a frightened hare at work. She has gotten used to her sleep paralysis dreams, this one was just long and particularly difficult, but she will get over it.
And – of course – she did. Melanie’s clients and colleagues would never believe that only last night she spent ages fighting her worst enemy, and never knew when she will see him again. Therefore, she was trying to make the most of all the time she had in between. And not to believe all the bullshit he was telling and showing her. because as long as she didn’t believe it, he couldn’t win.