What is it?
Then – a faint, distant sound.
You try moving, but your body is stone.
Darkness stains your vision. You blink twice to make sure they are open.
Your breathing is much louder than you expected.
Then you feel the constant thumping of your heart, the sudden rise and fall of the chest. Each beat is the result of an invisible mallet pounding at the drum hidden beneath your torso.
The breathing is louder; slow, deep gusts that echo somewhere in your head. But it is not your breathing. Air barely flows into your lungs. The thumping in your chest increases by a few beats per minute. Your pupils frantically scan the peripheral view, but without light they are completely blind, and they reveal nothing.
A presence has entered the room. It has been in the room and prompted your sudden wakefulness. Your lids shut and the brain visualizes its hand. The command is a simple one, move. It waits for a brief moment, but there is no execution. A disconnect maybe. How? There seems to be no body. Just mind. The eyelids open. I do have a body. The thumping in your chest gets louder, responding to the present stressful situation because someone or something is in the room with you. Move goddammit!
Not a single nerve in your hand twitches. The breathing is inches away from you now, its direction undetectable because it emanates from every direction. The thump, thump, thumping of your heart is so loud it drowns out any thoughts. Do some-thing. Do some-thing. Do some-thing. Your mind is running through a list of impossible possibilities, or things heard of on television, read about in children’s books, things spoken of in urban myths. Monster? Alien? Demon? Ghost? Murderer? Rapist? Intruder! And then you feel the side of the mattress sink because your body slants rightward. The full weight of another body descends over you and your breath is cut short. Get off me! Fuck! Someone help me! The room stays silent except for thick gusts of air pushed out through your nose, caused by the pressure of the evil that sits on your chest.
Panic washes through you and unwillingly forces every muscle to fight for its right to live. The result is a body that quivers from within. The brain has never been louder. Wake up! Oh my god, I don’t want to die! WAKE UP. Neurons fire like a metronome one after the other in succession releasing a gush of acetylcholine onto the muscle fibers. The vocal chords vibrate back and forth, as a result making raspy sounds barely audible to the ears and warning the brain that it’s not enough.
Zap. Zap. Zap. Zap. The firing of each neuron increases. Years of evolution have trained the brain to survive through one of two responses: fight or flight. The fine line dividing both is blurred when body is disconnected from mind because the mind believes it can do both, but the body has the final say.
The shaking turns into vibration as the firing and the muscle responses synchronize. Waves of acetylcholine behave like defibrillators; just one more shock should do it. The evil presence on your chest grows heavier.
It will suffocate me. Dosome-thingdosome-thingdosome-thing. I will die. Zapzapzapzap. I cannot die yet.
A high-pitched ringing, like a kettle boiling, increases drowning out all external sounds.
And in one final burst the body wakes.
Arms lift and swing wildly.
Head moves about.