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As the title suggests, I suffer from insomnia. It's been years since I slept properly. I don't know why exactly, but the insomnia appears to only affect me during the nights. It sounds like a no-brainer, but no matter how much I've slept (or haven't slept) during the night, I will always be very exhausted during the day, and will sleep trough most of it. I'm not just talking about feeling a bit sleepy and dozing off kinda tired, I legitimately feel like I've been working for 12 hours straight.
It all started to happen a couple of months ago. It was just another sleepless night, after another regular day. Nothing special so far. At this point I have to mention that there are 4 people living in the house. My girlfriend and I on the first floor, and her parents on the ground floor. Once you entered the building, you could either go straight ahead to my parents-in-law, make a turn left after a couple of feet to enter the cellar, or go upstairs to enter our apartment. Right before our apartment is a small hallway, which we used to store all sorts of tools and on occasion, a bit of garbage. Mostly just empty pizza boxes which were taken away too much space until garbage day.
Considering all of this, I shouldn't have been surprised when I heard footsteps in the middle of the night, coming up the stairs. I think it was around 2 am, maybe 3 am. Unusual, yes, but my father-in-law was also suffering from the occasional insomnia, and since he stored his tools pretty much right in front of our apartment door, I should have figured that he just wanted to pick up a screwdriver, a hammer or a bunch of nails. Yes, I **should** have figured that. But something felt wrong. Even to this day, I'm not sure how to describe it. My entire body felt numb. I couldn't move. It was like my entire body was covered in invisible ropes, shackled to the bed. The thing is – I couldn't feel those ropes. In movies, paralysis is often described as not being able to feel your limbs. This was different. I was able to feel every inch of my body, I just couldn't move it. It felt like my own body was becoming to heavy for my muscles, rendering me completely unmoveable.
That's when I heard someone opened the door to our apartment. My parents-in-law and I share a fairly good relationship, so we never lock our door – they would never step into our apartment without our permission, let alone at 3 AM. Once again I tried to move, but my struggles were in vain. All I could do was to gaze at the entrance to our bedroom, saying to myself:
“You are just imagining stuff. I there were an intruder, the dog would have reacted a long time ago.”
I looked towards the end of the bed, to look after Namira, our german shepard. She's a coward, but if there truly was something threatening us, I'm 100% certain she would protect us. I couldn't see Namira. Instead there was a huge silhouette of something I can only describe as “almost” human shaped. It certainly looked humanoid, but the image was distorted. The torso was to small, the legs and arms way too long and I couldn't see the eyes. Come to think of it, I couldn't see any facial features. No eyes, no mouth, no ears, no nothing. And yet for some reason, I still felt “it” looking directly at me. And it was coming closer. Now, I'm a pretty tall bastard myself, clocking in at almost 6”4 feet. But this...thing. I'm sure that if it would stand next to me, it would be towering over me. Once again I tried to move, but it was pointless. I tried to warn my girlfriend right next to me, but I couldn't speak. It felt like the air was pressed back into my lungs, rendering me unable to speak.
I'm not used to being at a physical disadvantage. I don't exactly look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, but I'm no slouch either. Not being able to do anything felt incredibly infuriating. However, this anger quickly tuned into fear, the likes of which I've never experienced before. As it came closer and closer, the fear further increased.
That's when I woke up. My girlfriend was looking straight at me, with a worried look on her face. She told me I screamed in my sleep. Yelled at her to run away, while laying on my back stiff as a board, apparently not moving a single muscle. I didn't want to frighten her, so I told her I had a bad nightmare, and that I'm sorry I woke her up. I knew that this wasn't a nightmare. It felt incredibly real, and I was still terrified, but I had a busy day ahead of me and I needed to get at least some sleep. I tried to tell myself that it was just a nightmare, and – somehow – I managed to fall asleep. Naturally, the first thing I did in the morning, was to research what the hell happened last night.
Apparently it's something called sleep paralysis, in which the body can “lock up” and cause vivid, terrifying hallucinations.
“Yeah, they got that part right...”
I tried not to read too deep into it. To ignore it. And for a couple of days, it seemed to work. No nightmares. As a matter of fact, I haven't slept so good in months. I always fell asleep very quickly, and felt refreshed in the morning. I jokingly said to myself that, if this one “Extreme Nightmare” was the price I had to pay to sleep properly, it was totally worth it. Boy was I wrong.
A week or two later, it happened again. The “Intruder” paid me a visit. It was almost the exact same procedure as before. I heard footsteps at night. I felt my body locking up, and something entering my apartment. Then my room. But there was a tiny difference this time around. Something that, arguably, made the situation much, much worse. I wasn't laying on my back. As a matter of fact, I was facing away from the entrance this time. And once again, I could feel “it” staring at me. Its presence coming closer and closer. My girlfriend was at a seminar this night, so there was nobody here to wake me. At this point, I was even more terrified than before. I didn't give two shits that, whatever it was, was just a hallucination. It FELT real. And it was standing right behind me. Breathing. Watching.
I've read that once feel a “episode” of sleep paralysis coming up, you're supposed to concentrate on a single body part, not your entire body at once. And so I did. I tried moving my fingers, tried to clench my fists, and – after what seemed like an eternity – the Intruder was gone. It was over, and I won. Despite the happiness over my self-proclaimed victory...I didn't sleep that night.
All of that I had almost forgotten. The intruder didn't return in months, so naturally, I stopped thinking about it. Two weeks ago, my parents-in-law went on a vacation. They asked us to keep an eye out for their dog, and of course, that wasn't a big deal. One night – once again, it was probably around 2 or 3 am, I once again couldn't sleep. I heard strange sounds coming from outside the window, and after concentrating for a while, I realized those where cows. At first I didn't think much of it. I live in a village, and there are plenty of cows and sheep on the fields surrounding said village. Probably just a fox or a stray hound scaring them. I tried to ignore it, and just when I finally was about to doze off, I heard another noise. And this time, it was most definitely human. However, it sounded...off. It sounded like it was echoing in the distance, yet at the same time, it must have been within a radius of 50 yards. My first thought was the nearby park, in which some punks like to get drunk and make a mess. But it didn't sound as much like yelling, as it sounded like chanting in a foreign language. The thing that tipped me off the most however, was how these people sounded. They sounded terrified. Like they where about to burst into tears. I had enough. I don't know what exactly causes me to do it, but I got dressed and went downstairs. I went into the apartment of my parents-in-law, since it was the only way to reach the garden. My father-in-law is a semi-professional DJ, and he has a room with the sole purpose of listening to music and singing. It's filled to the brim with subwoofer, microphones, some instruments and – of course – countless CD's and speakers. However, since it is also the last room before you reach the garden, there are also some gardening tools. I grabbed an axe, and went outside. You see, our garden is huge. It spans well over 200 square meters, and at the end of it is a shitty improvised fence. After that, it's just the fields surrounding the area, with previously mentioned cows and sheep. Because of that, it could be rather easy to sneak into our garden.
I also mentioned earlier that I'm fairly tall. So that axe coupled with my physique should be more than enough to scare of some drunk kids trying to mess around in our garden. I stood in the dark garden for a couple of minutes, listening to the chanting. It didn't seem to come closer – instead it sounded like it was surrounding me, and coming from every direction. If I were just by myself, I would've probably been more nervous. But I had Samson with me, the dog of my parents-in-law. If you remember, I mentioned Namira, our female german shepard before. She's pretty much scared of her own shadow. Samson...is different. He's a mixed breed between a german shepard and a owtscharka, the later of which is a breed specifically bred to defend herds from wolfs and even bears. We actually have to lock him away every time we get visitors, because he will stop at nothing to protect his family from any potential threat. So yes, Samson doesn't mess around. Whatever it is that is sneaking around, whether animal or human, its about to enter a world of pain. I smiled, reminded of the “The Big Lebowski” quote, and went inside. Just as I closed the door, I heard a strange sound only a few meters away. It sounded like some sort of squeal, but strangely mechanical. Maybe it was tired, maybe it was because I was distracted by the before mentioned chanting, but for some reason, I couldn't really locate where the sound was coming from. I assumed it was probably a wild hog. The village I live in is actually famous for the amount of wild hogs wandering the woods, and every year we have a huge festival, serving up to 10 of them, roasted in front of a gigantic campfire for the entire village. But not only was it much to late – or way to early, depending on how you look at it – for a wild hog to wander around, something about how mechanical it sounded irritated me. I know it was stupid, but with one reassuring look at Samson, and the axe firmly gripped I went outside again. I must have stood there for roughly 5 minutes. Nothing. I decided to go back inside again. Once again I've heard the strange sound, and this time, I saw what it was. A freaking disco-ball, hanging from the ceiling. It changed the colour every few minutes, and that's what was making that noise. My father-in-law uses this as a light source for his music-room. As fitting as it might be, I couldn't help but laugh. The whole situation seemed so absurd. Me, a 6,4” feet dude, standing in the middle of the night in his garden, ready to cleave some stranger in half with an axe. I must have looked like a lunatic. I put the axe away and sent Samson inside. That's when I've heard the sound again. I looked up at the disco-ball, and I was petrified. I realized two things.
First: The Sound was right behind me.
Second: I didn't close the door.
Notes from the Author:
This is my very post here, after lurking for the past few days reading the stories. This is based on my own experiences with sleeping paralysis, and aside from a few minior adjustments to make to make it easier to follow, its exactly what happened to me. It's gotten so bad that after some "episodes" of said sleeping paralysis, I wasn't sure whether or not I was still sleeping. I should also mention that english is not my native language, but I hope you still enjoyed the story.