[WP] Sleep paralysis is defensive mechanism. They can't hurt you if you don't move.

My mouth feels stuffed with cotton and my eyes flutter open to take in nothing but a shadowy ceiling. Light from my back porch streams in through the window across from my bed, and the doorways of my closet and bathroom seem somehow darker. My back is aching, and my shoulders need to stretch. I try to roll onto my side, but the feeling of a thousand needles pricking at my joints and cementing my limbs to the mattress keeps me where I am. i jerk up. Or, I try to. The panic starts setting in. I can't move. My brain commands every limb to suddenly jut forward but nothing happens. I start to beg my body to cooperate with me, terrified that somehow, this time, I won't be able to move come morning. My husband is sleeping beside me, totally unaware that I'm silently having a panic attack, pleading with him to wake up. Then, the shadows start to move.

It starts at my closet first. I notice an unsettling shift in the darkness. At first I tell myself it's just an illusion. Shadows don't move, right? They can't. I mean not without a light source. But I'm also certain that I see a silhouette in the closet.

The porch light is motion activated. Oh God! The porch light is motion activated!

I hear something clatter outside the bedroom door. Shadow starts to leak out from the closet doorway and I notice it growing longer, and longer on the carpet. The bedroom door shakes once or twice. The knob turns, and the wood slowly creaks open.

Eyes. I can see eyes. Oh God, it has eyes!

It can't. This is a nightmare, this has to be a nightmare.

There is a hand on my shin. I can feel it, but I can't look down. I know it's there. I look at the closet. I can see clothes now. Rows of old shoes lined up like they're on display all along the bottom. Why couldn't I see those before? What caused the shadow? What was in my closet?

I look at the bedroom door again. The eyes. I can see the eyes. They're just staring...

The hand has claws. They drag down my shin and another hand starts tugging at my hair. I feel something on my face, like breath - but I can't see anything. I can't see anything but darkness. It's so dark. Oh God, what do I do? Oh God... The porch light switches off. There is no light anymore. I can't move. I try not to move.

I can feel eyes on me.

"NO!" My scream shocks me and my husband jolts up in bed beside me. He turns on the light and I sit up, shaking and pleading, "Nononono! They got me! They almost got me! Why did they leave, where are they? Why did they leave!?"

The room is bathed in a soft golden hue from the lamp and Mike wraps his arms around me, shushing me and patting my shoulder, but I can see he's shaken up too. "Meg, meg it's fine! It's okay, it was a nightmare. Shhh, shhh, you're safe now, see? Nothing here. Nothing here at all."

I want to believe him. I do. I really do.

But the porch light is on again.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread