The Halloween Story Hop
The door opened.
I came awake as the malevolent gaze swept over me. I was in bed, lying on my side. I could see the doorway and the Shadow standing within it. The thing was darker than black, a pool of emptiness in vaguely the shape of a man.
Red eyes burned as they looked at me. I was a bug to the Shadow. I was a little insect for him to squish. Terror seized me. I tried to move, to flee before the gaze. But my body wouldn’t obey. I was paralyzed by his gaze.
A great weight settled on my chest. My heart screamed. I struggled to move my mouth and cry out. I tried to force words out anyways. I could breath, but I couldn’t make my vocal cords work. The air rushed out as panic claimed me.
And the Shadow watched.
Why? Why does he come for me? Why does he stand there with those burning eyes? Those eyes glowed with red hatred. The Shadow despised me. He wanted to consume me. He just had to enter the room, walk two steps, and he would be at my bed.
Move. Why won’t you move?
My body refused to obey. Every part of me felt weighted with lead. I fought as those eyes burned into my soul. I struggled to kick off my blanket. I didn’t want to be helpless. I wanted to drive the Shadow away.
Stop haunting me, demon.
Shadow didn’t care. I could struggle all I wanted to. I was at his mercy. He could swallow my soul at his leisure.
My jaw moved. With a herculean effort, I formed a word and cried out, “Go…away…”
My words came out strangled. It was such a tiny amount of defiance against the Shadow, but it gave me hope. If one part of me could move, then so could more of me. My limbs moved an inch. My blankets surged. I clawed at the lead weighting me down. I ripped them free from my limbs.
In an explosion of movement, my jerked up and threw off my blankets.
The Shadow was gone. My bedroom door was still closed.
The sleep paralysis attack was over and the nightmare fled. I could move again. My heart raced. Sweat drenched my body.
“Wasn’t real,” I muttered to myself. It was the same thing I told myself after every attack. “It’s just a natural phenomenon. My body messed up when I woke up. The part of my brain that was supposed to tell my body it was okay to move had messed up. The Shadow was just a dream. A nightmare. It wasn’t real.”
The Shadow couldn’t have really been there staring at me with such hatred.
Scientist claimed sleep paralysis, while not fully understood, was a natural phenomenon. And that it was only a coincidence that most people who suffer from it claim to see dark figures during their episodes. Some even think that sleep paralysis attacks were responsible for legends of demons and, in more recent times, alien abductions.
I could believe that theory. There was a part of me that wondered if the Shadow was a demon. I tried to fight that part of me with my rational mind. But ration did not exist during the attacks. When in the grips of sleep paralysis, I was beyond such logical thoughts. They were not a bulwark against the Shadow.
Sleep eluded me. I was afraid that the Shadow would turn. That I would again be helpless while he stared at me. I gave up. I started my day, the fear worming through my belly. I had no one I could talk to. It would only sound crazy.
The Shadow wasn’t real. He couldn’t do anything to me. My rational side of my mind offered argument after argument my other half rejected.
The next night, I couldn’t sleep. Fear gripped me. What if he came again? What if I had another attack? I was scared of sleep. If I didn’t fall into my dreams, the Shadow couldn’t open the door and afflict another episode of sleep paralysis.
It was so stupid. There was no Shadow. He was just a dream. I kept telling myself that. I wasn’t haunted by a demon. I wasn’t. Exhaustion finally claimed me. I fell into sleep.
The Shadow did not come.
The next night, the fear was still there but dwindling. And on the third night, complacency slipped in. I never had attacks that often. There were often months between them. I didn’t need to worry so soon. I could forget my fear. I didn’t have to worry about being helpless for a while.
I fell into sleep. Dreams passed, merging from one half-remembered melange of images to another.
The door opened.
My eyes opened. I was on my back. The Shadow was above me. He hovered in the air, his eyes burning with hatred. Fear seized me. The Shadow had never entered my bedroom. He had never passed beyond the door. He never profaned my room with his presence.
The Shadow reached down for me.
My body was covered in lead. I was encased in it. Every inch of me was weighed down. I struggled to breath as I fought to move. I could only stare helpless as he reached for my soul. I tried to throw up bulwarks of rationality before me. The Shadow wasn’t real. He wasn’t reaching for my soul. There was nothing there that could hurt me.
The Shadow didn’t care about such logic. He ripped rational thought to shreds.
Those inky fingers drew nearer. I fought against my body. I screamed impotent rage in my mind. I just needed to break free. If I could get one part of me to move, I could escape. I concentrated on my legs, urging them to move. I tried to flex my toes.
Nothing obeyed me.
It’s just a dream. It’s not real. Please, God, it’s not real.
The fingers were only an inch above my face.
You’re not real. You’re just a figment of my imagination.
The Shadow seemed to laugh, But what if I am real?
The fingers touched my soul.
Thanks again to Lynette Creswell and Valerie Hemlin for inviting me! Click here to head on over to her blog and check out the thirteen other Halloween shorts! It’s a great collection of Indie authors!