Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
….Don‘t let the monster man take it.
What woke me up was not being able to catch my breath.
I tried to turn over and get into a different position….
I couldn’t move.
I was groggy of course, but I had enough experience with years of sleeping and middle-age that I either had to pee; I was sucking acid reflux or experiencing another episode of sleep paralysis.
Waking without waking…..
Now that I think about it, it’s happened to me a lot since I got into my 40’s….the sleep zombie thingee I mean.
If any of you have ever experienced it, it is a frightening thing. I don’t care how many times it occurs….it’s terrifying.
You know it’s happening again without knowing what’s happening…..
The only difference this time from my earlier episodes was that I could open my eyes.
I’d never been able to do that before.
If you remember from times it’s happened to you….You can’t open your eyes or wake up.
You think you’re awake…..You know you can’t move……But, you are asleep….and start to panic.
Something is holding you down.
Knowing without waking….
I stared into the darkness of my room.
The kind of dark that you can feel.
Thick and warm…..heavy….suffocating…….Needing.
I could hear my breathing….
It wasn’t matching the beat of my heart.
The eyes that appeared in the closeness of the dark were dim….Inches from my face.
Were my eyes open?
How terrifying is it when you can’t shut your eyes from a terrible dream because they’re already closed?
The little monster man was on my chest.
I had seen him before when I was a child.
I thought he was gone…
“There’s no such thing” my mom had said after changing my wet sheets, her eyes dull from the pills and betrayals.
“Quit acting like a baby” my dad said after slapping me against the head.
I could smell the cigarettes and liquor on his fingers…..
They lied about a lot of things.
The little monster man’s breath was on my face.
I could smell whiskey and….lust.
“Now I lay me down to sleep…” the monster man whispered in my ear, his breath was hot and fetid as it dripped down my neck like candle wax.
His lips brushed across the hollow of my throat…..His tongue tracing lines of hot ice that made my skin pimple.
His hands were pressed down on my shoulders, kneading my skin as if he were a lover….the nails digging into my terrified flesh.
Did you know that flesh is easier to rip and tear when you are about to die?
I know now….
I tried to fight……I tried to scream!
Knowing……and not waking.
The little monster man had come back.
He had come back for me…..
My screams were muffled when the little monster man pressed his bile reeking caked lips to mine, his teeth nipping at my lips….his tongue searching…..longing…….knowing.
I felt his hands slide down to my chest slowly, dragging his nails across my nipples and coming to rest over my thrumming heart.
His lips pressed harder into mine, pushing the words into my throat “If I die before I wake….”
He shoved his fingers into the skin of my chest and began to tear.
I screamed into his mouth, my eyes wide with horror and pain.
The monster man has needs…..
The little monster man sighed and thrust his loins against my stomach as he tore and cracked my chest opened.
I tried to…..Oh my God how I tried.
It was like trying to draw water from a black empty well that has no echo.
I could feel everything his hands were doing.
His passionate kiss stopped….the ripping stopped.
He gave a deep throaty groan when he found my soul tucked behind my heart.
The little monster mans fingers tugged at my soul and began to pull.
His lips left mine….and I was sad for some reason.
He looked into my eyes again.
The lids of his eyes were heavy now and his eyes were brighter.
I could scream now….And I did.
Only the screaming in my mind made any noise.
“If I should die before I wake….!” His mocking laughter drowning out my tormented shrieking that had no sound.
My soul was being torn from me, wrapped through his fingers as he pulled….
The bright pulsing spider web of my life….was dying.
I was dying…..without a soul.
He wrapped my soul around his little body and began to dance as if though he were in a seductive trance, his hands above his head, threading my soul through his fingers, across his face….across his lips, his tongue caressing the tiny tendrils of my soul.
It was vulgarity….it was evil…..profane.
The little monster man stopped his dance and looked at me, spittle hanging from his thin cracked lips….
I could see pieces of my soul caught in his teeth.
“I pray the Lord my soul to take” he whispered.
The dark of the room was closing in again as the little monster man knelt back down and lowered his face close to mine, my soul draped over his shoulders….
A dead cloak of life.
“Mine” he said.
This time my screams woke me up.
The early morning light was just starting to come through the windows when I, a man of 49 years old, looked under my bed….rummaged in the closet….walked into my bathroom and studied myself in the mirror.
I pulled my shirt up, looking for blood or fingernail marks.
”Thank God” I thought to myself.
Just a nightmare….
I felt my soul relax.
I turned back into my bedroom and saw the little monster man standing in the middle of my bed.
“Amen” he said.
I screamed and screamed until the dark came back…..
The flames of hell give off no light….