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  • Writer's pictureNicole Jorge

Writetober prompt #6 - nightmare

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

I didn’t invite the sleep demon in on purpose

I’m not sure that “sleep demon” is the right term, but it’s all I’ve got. It’s definitely not an incubus or a succubus, it’s not a black-eyed child or Slenderman. I’ve never really even gotten a good look at it. I have a vague impression of it looking like a human shape cut out of black cloth. Whatever it is, I didn’t invite it in. Not really.

I know sleep paralysis is a thing. I’ve experienced it before, okay? Sleep paralysis doesn’t look like your housemate standing in your bedroom door asking if she can come in sounding like she’s going through something, only to disappear in a blink once you say yes. In my defense, I was pretty tired and I wasn’t thinking straight, or I would’ve remembered that my housemate wasn’t even home that night. I was just trying to be a good friend. Fuck me, right?

So now this sleep demon lives in my room. I’ve tried to get rid of it every way I know how. I’ve smoke cleansed and sound cleansed. I’ve scrubbed everything down with Florida water. I’ve asked my patrons and my ancestors for help. I’ve looked into other religious options, but I can’t afford an old priest or a young priest, never mind both.

The damn thing will not be budged.

It could be worse. My nighttime medication knocks me the fuck out, so I’m not losing out on any sleep. I wish I could stop waking up at 3 AM, though. Once I opened my eyes to find the sleep demon in the doorway, like it was the night it impersonated my housemate. I said “fuck no” and rolled over. It had the gall to jump on my bed and hiss at me. In MY room. Which I already share with a cat, so if I wanted to get hissed at, I have my bases covered. This thing is in my space and it thinks it’s going to hiss at me? The fucking gall!

Direct contact like that is rare, though. Mostly I just have really bizarre dreams. Lots of being back in high school, which I suppose is like being in hell. Recently I was trying to get my housemate to Kevin Smith’s apartment so she could buy some pot from him. We accidentally ended up at Janeane Garofalo’s apartment and she was really upset with us for not inviting her. It sounds silly and kind of fun, but was actually really tense and uncomfortable.

I don’t like having the sleep demon around. It’s annoying, and I’m still not over the hissing thing. Sleeping on my back is out of the question, but so is sleeping on my stomach, because once I caught it kneeling on my back. I “wake up” shouting and it freaks my housemate out. Every time I start to think it’s moved on it does something weird, like push all the knick knacks off of my dresser in the middle of the night and scare the shit out of my dog. My dog is a delicate creature with a sensitive stomach who responds to excessive stimulation by having seizures. I can’t have a sleep demon messing with him.

But the weird dreams aren’t the end of the world. I’m a writer, after all. Weird dreams are food for thought, even if they’re food in the sense that chocolate-glazed donuts are food. I can still work with them. As long as the sleep demon keeps hissy fits to a minimum I can cope. Besides, I can totally figure out how to get rid of it. Somehow. Someday. Maybe tomorrow. I have plenty of time to figure it out, after all - I’ll be up at 3 AM.

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