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I woke up into a state of sleep paralysis.

I couldn't move - but I could look around. It was just my room, but a dark, unwelcoming shade of some bluish color I couldn't fully comprehend was entrenching the atmosphere. I couldn't quite place why, but something felt... off about my room. Everything looked normal, but it felt so different...

I tried moving some more. The minutes started to feel like hours before I noticed a faint, mirage-like outline where my hand would have been had I not been immobile. It felt like it was only partially visible, like the afterimage of a bright light when you quit looking at it.

But this small observation was just the first. I started noticing a faint barking in the distance. It sounded exactly like my dog, but there was some kind of aura to it. I couldn't shake the feeling that whatever was making that sound might not have been my dog, but whatever it was, it seemed that every time I tried to move, the sound was getting that much closer.

Eventually I realized I should probably quit attempting to move, as it didn't seem to be exactly deterring the sounds. After a while of seeing shadows in the corner of my eye, second guessing, laying there paralyzed... I finally felt myself regaining the ability to move. It was a sudden, jolting feeling, but not necessarily a pleasant one. It wasn't bad, but it was just so monotonous, especially for such a liberating thing for a feeling like that to accompany.

I was walking to my PC to document the events in some file or a Discord group chat as I noticed the masterfully-stacked pyramid of empty, clouded water bottles sat in front of the monitor. Knowing I would wake my family up if I screwed with it too much, I carefully took it down, bottle by bottle.

There was some text at the bottom right of the screen, but I couldn't make out what it said through the mist that had accumulated on the bottles, so I kept moving them, wanting to read what it said.

That curiosity got unnervingly strong, and every bottle I had moved felt like a two-ton weight lifted. I was almost finished putting the bottles in the garbage, feeling almost guilty for dismantling and throwing away such a well-done structure, tantalizingly close to reading the text, and then -

I woke up.

Into a state of sleep paralysis.