I cannot tell you when it all began. I have always been plagued by sleep paralysis. I have somewhat learned to deal with it, to recognise it for what it is and wait it out. It always begins with the need to yawn or speak, but my mouth is shut tight. I then try to sit bolt upright, but my arms and body are clamped down to the bed. Sometimes my eyes are open. Sometimes I see things.
Seeing things is always frightening. Tall, inhuman shadows that glare at me, grinning, slender clawed hands stretching until I fully wake up. Then there are the times when I awake underneath my bed sheets. I feel the weight of the things, as they kneel on my chest atop the sheets, pinning me down until I fully wake up and can move again.
This is normal sleep paralysis. I have read that people from around the world have similar experiences – the horrific sights, the pressure on the chest of the ‘victim’ – it’s all in the mind of the sleeper. All a more intense version of a nightmare. Although terrifying, I have learned to deal with them. The only thing is, I couldn’t find anything written about voices. The things talk to me.
Doors are made for opening.
When they whisper to me, it’s all they say.
I’d never thought too much about it. They were just my nightmares. In hindsight I wish I had paid more attention to the things. They did not always kneel on me. They did not always talk to me. But they did not always open my wardrobes and cupboards either.
The first few times that I awoke normally to find my wardrobes and cupboards open, I assumed I’d left them that way when I went to bed. The past four days however, I have hardly slept. Fighting insomnia the first night, I lay in the semi-darkness. That night the wardrobe doors swung violently in front of me, and I remained frozen in fear until the sun came up. The second night, I had tried – and failed – to sleep downstairs. Lying there I heard the wardrobe doors fly open once more above me. I had flicked the lights on and stood in my living room, images of ghosts or draughts or poltergeists or minor earthquakes wrestling for my attention.
You must realise, over the years I have learned to separate my sleep paralysis episodes and understand them to be nightmares and nothing more. You mustn’t judge me. But as I stood there in my living room, awake, I understood more than I ever wished to.
“Doors are made for opening”. The harsh whisper, so close to me.
It was only when I reached my hotel room later that night after running from the house that I discovered it. I’ve no idea when it was drawn, just a few lines – unmistakably a door – marked in charcoal on my chest. I tried to wash it off, but the stain remained. And it’s still there. I have been in the hotel room for two days now. Always with the lights on and always awake, except for whenever it was I must have succumbed to exhaustion and fallen asleep. I’m awake now, but I this whole ordeal is going to be over soon. How do I know? Because I can’t scream. Because I can’t move my body. And because the grinning things with clawed hands are now looming over me, whispering to me.