While You Were Sleeping
My Saturday mornings are usually pretty great. I stay in bed until noon and get to worry about nothing at all for even just a little while. My entire family normally has breakfast in the dining room without me—they know I’d rather sleep in by myself than get up at an ungodly hour for food.
Everything had been seemingly normal. I was drifting in and out of consciousness when I heard my relatives go downstairs for their usual breakfast. I laid on my side as I continued to sleep. That was when my entire body froze. I rst heard about sleep paralysis when I was in college. My friends would talk about an unseen force pressing on their chests, sometimes so heavy that they’d stop breathing. Others would tell me of seeing shadows in their bedrooms, illusions of an old hag creeping on top of them. I had never experienced it myself, and thought I never would, until that one Saturday morning.
I knew when I woke up that that was it. I was nally getting my own episode of sleep paralysis. I was awake, but dared not open my eyes for fear of the monsters I would possibly see. I kept still, unable to move any part of my body, hoping that this was the worst it could get and that control over myself would come back soon.
She spoke to me while I desperately tried to wait it out as calmly as I could. “Wake up, my darling.” Despite her words, her tone was far from comforting. The whisper felt like it came from a presence behind me, a warm breath murmuring into my right ear. The voice sounded similar to a fusion of a banshee and a dying animal. Whatever it was, it wasn’t human. Wake up, my darling. It was a challenge. She was daring me, because she knew I couldn’t.
I screamed as I tried to break away from my paralysis. Running down the stairs, I settled into the dining table and had breakfast for the rst Saturday in a long time, my hands still trembling. No one in my family knew what just happened.
Sleep paralysis affects around 63 percent of the entire human population. They say that the more you’re aware of the condition, the more you read or watch material about it, the more likely you’ll experience it yourself. When you do, don’t open your eyes.