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I awake, frozen but sweating beneath my chartreuse flannel sheets. My mind is racing, my heart beating faster than normal.
Facing the wall, I try my best to recall what had terrified me in my sleep. Still paranoid of the room around me, I fail to remember anything meaningful. The only image I can recollect is dirty snow, and falling upon it like a human snowflake. Falling on dirty snow was the cause of this? I wonder where the other fragments of the nightmare had gone. They had disappeared in a flash. Why did this one stay?
I calm myself down with the promise of a few more hours of sleep. I roll over, freeing myself from the sticky grasp of the flannel.
All is well as I pull the covers over my head, providing a shield from the world, which still feels like an abandoned building, strange and frightening. I breathe in the chilled air coming in from the open window. It comforts me with its tranquil reality. I close my eyes, and relax.
But my breath is caught when I feel frighteningly surreal, like I am in between existence and being nothing. The room isn't clear enough, as if it is shrouded in a lurking haze. I struggle for breath, for my blanket is pressed against my face, suffocating me. In a sharp moment, all life and time hangs suspended in a chasm of fear and relief that I am waking up.
I gasp for breath, and am now able to breathe. The blanket is off me. It isn't even close enough to my face to cause me any harm. I shudder at the vividness of this night terror.
I still am sweating, in fear of both the outside world and my mind. Worry fills me when I remember the other times this had happened. It's going to get worse before it gets better, I think. The sleep paralysis usually came in bouts of three. I inhale and exhale, remembering that all bad things come in threes. I try to calm myself again and allow my eyes to close.
After a few brief moments of absolutely nothing, I come into consciousness. Am I awake? I think to myself.Everything seems to be fine. A helpless fear trickles into my chest as I mentally pick at the scenario. Why am I sitting up? Shouldn't I still be lying in bed? The fear grows stronger, as if being fed by my unease. I notice the room; everything is too purple. The room is dark, but nothing is supposed to be purple. This whole night has come in shades from lavender to plum. I can almost taste the hues on my tongue.
I want to wake up as much as any blind man wants sight. Ironically, I feel tired, even though I actually am asleep. I shift around and try to make some sort of noise.
But instead, I feel my head morph into something else, something monstrous and canine with a thick, protruding snout. My heart is a freed bird in my chest. I emit and otherworldly howl.
I'm partially out of my body, observing myself. I am a monster, still in shades of violet. I feel wings sprout from my shoulder blades, light gold and feathered. They feel like clockwork upon my back. Now, there's nothing I'm more afraid of than myself.
My fingers are numb, like all their circulation has been cut off. Weakly, I whimper, and hear a soft knock on my bedroom door. I can tell from the voice that it is my mother; she wants to show me my cat. I'm hunched over my hands, suddenly not so scared of myself. I just want to get out of here.
She starts to open the door. Still hunched, I can barely make a whisper.
The door swings open wide. My heart kick starts again. Behind the door, there's nothing there.
I spiral into a mauve delirium momentarily before I wake up panting in my actual bed. I'm a mass of fear under the covers.
I check my watch. It's 5:37. Disappointed, I realize I only have an hour before I have to get up. Paranoia floats in my head like a cloud.
After a quick reality check, I scramble to grab my iPod. I hurdle myself back into my bed, plastering myself with the sheets. They are still warm from my body heat.
There is no way I am going back to sleep.
The backlight on my iPod is so bright it's almost loud. Miserably scrolling through my music, I gravitate towards my "Insomnia" playlist and hit play; I am defeated.
New City, New York
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