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What is fear? Is it simply a means for your subconscious to tell you to react to maintain life? Or is it something more? Anyone who has experienced the sleep paralysis phenomenon during a nightmare can tell you that fear can be much more than that.

I was about 16 years old when I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. At the time, I had just split from my significant other to leave their abuse. I was also taking medication to help me sleep. I had only been on it for a few days and was still getting through the adverse effects. All the ones I had experienced were explicitly stated by my doctor, but one that he never told me about was sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis is when the mind is partially aware of its surroundings but the body is still paralyzed and unable to move. Often times, when a person experiences sleep paralysis while dreaming, the dream will manifest itself to them through hallucinations. The same goes for nightmares.

I woke up from another bad dream in a cold sweat. My ex was in another one of their rages where words and fists flew at me at the same time. I woke and tried to get up, but I couldn’t move my body. I looked around my room the best I could, only being able to move my eyes. I managed to get a glimpse of the clock on my dresser which read 10:52 PM. The only light was from the glowing green numbers on the face of the clock.

In the corner of my eye, I saw something forming in the corner of my room. The manifestation grew from a simple blob to a fully formed humanoid shadow. My breathing started to quicken as it began to move closer into the light of my clock. The face of the being shifted with random figures and proportions as it got closer, seeming almost like a blur as features shifted and moved. But as the formless figure inched closer, I began to smell something familiar. A scent that brought back bittersweet memories. And as the scent became clearer, so did its face. At this point, it had gotten a few inches from my face. I could now see its face. It was my ex. Tall, imposing, foreboding, terrifying, and with a grin that spread beyond ear to ear.

They got closer to me still, to the point where I could feel their hands brush against the hairs on my legs as their hands ran up and down them. My mind was racing and so was my heart. At the time, I couldn’t understand why my body would not move. I tried to tell my hands to move, my legs to run, my eyes to blink.

Nothing. Not even a flinch as I felt my nightmare become more and more physical, grabbing my body, scratching, slapping, beating. I heard their voice, raspy but still recognizable as theirs.

“Don’t fight it,” it whispered.

That line was one that hit home the hardest. I began panicking even more as I felt their breath against the back of my neck. I couldn’t do anything. Panic and fear coursed through my mind as adrenaline pumped though my veins. There is no way to truly explain the fear that I felt at this point.

After what felt like hours of their torment and abuse, they finally vanished. And I could finally move. I sat up, shaking horribly. And I turned to the clock, the only source of pale green light in my room:


Written by BurningRabbit
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