Sleep Paralysis

I fell through the door from my balcony that day, gasping from the heat of mid-day and dying to get away from it and get some rest. It had been another one of our infamous three day benders that had nearly turned into an even more famous four day bender if I hadn’t sneaked out and cut it short early. Light poured in from the window cutting through the dirty beige curtains and illuminating the lazy dust that floated in the air. It was a simple room with a white tiled floor. An unused latticed bamboo wardrobe stood solemnly in the corner with a mattress that sat upon an old fashioned bed stand that looked more like a low standing table than a bed stand when I took the mattress off. It was completely simple except for the giant vase that stood in another corner of the room, close to the door; it was a vase that I had never seen the likes of before. It stood at least four foot high and depicted little azure men having a party and drinking liquors underneath the ribbon of a giant snake. I never really gave it a second glance but now that I think back on it, it was such a strange object to have sitting in that bare room where nothing shined because of the layer that dust that lay encrusted upon it. But anyway this story is not about the fucking vase it’s about something else completely different.

The only goal, objective or aim I had in that moment was to get to sleep, my mind was blind to everything else, it had been at least 36 hours since I had last lay down in a suitable place and my body was feeling the rigours in which I was putting it through. The bed as always was grimy from the sweaty sleeps that had been had in it over the past couple of months, sleeps not just of my own but of the various people of questionable cleanliness that had slept in it but it didn’t matter to me, at the time bed was bed. I collapsed thoughtlessly on the sheet-less bed at the hottest time of the day when those who could afford it would sit in the shade sipping cold beers and those who couldn’t squatted or lay dozing somewhere trying to hide from the merciless heat. Instantly I was out, completely black in that drunken sleep that never leaves you rested nor better when you wake-up. It’s like the anti-sleep that leaves you fearing the memories you cannot remember of the hours before your sleep. As I was sleeping I was already forgetting the bars I had been to, I was already forgetting the jokes and the promises that were made, I was already forgetting the girls in which I confessed my love to, I was already forgetting the state that I had driven myself to and most of all I was already forgetting who I was, that person I had been the few hours earlier in the drunken haze who wouldn’t have imagined doing the things that he had done if he was sober. But for now I was sleeping peacefully as subjectively I erased all of the shit from my mind that I just couldn’t possibly process.

I don’t know how long I had slept for when I woke up but I was sure it wasn’t long as the sun still beamed through the crusty window, lighting up the room. I tried to move but I found my body paralysed, then I tried to breathe but I couldn’t, my whole body was still sleeping bar my mind and my eyes which were stuck staring looking into the centre of the room. Questions started flashing through my awakened brain trying to figure out if I had died in my sleep, I was asleep wasn’t I? What happened before I went to sleep? My oxygen starved brain gave no answers, Is this what Adult Death Syndrome feels like? Even worse is this what death feels like? My mind was able to produce all of the questions but none of the answers. It was like my whole consciousness was stuck in a trap completely immobilized in a body that had so far in life had given all of the mobilization that had been wanted but now there was nothing, a limp body lying on a bare mattress in a white tiled room, it reminded me of a hospital all of a sudden and a heroin den at the same time. In the midst of trying to bring my body back to life, when I was in-between heaven and hell and the demons and angels were tugging at each end of me was when I saw it, or them I should say. Standing in the middle of my room appeared two young Cambodian girls. You could tell they were sisters as one was older and the older one held the hand of the younger one who stood staring with wide open eyes and a small white doll in the other hand held by her by her blonde hair that seemed to clash against the darkness of the young ones skin. The endless staring that seemed to last for an eternity as their eyes bore through me as though they were searching my soul like St. Peter would before I was allowed to enter the gates of heaven. The endless eternity of unmoving staring allowed me to stare back and take in the finer details of their appearance. They were dressed solely in nightgowns that only reached as far as their knees. The older girl wore a pink nightdress with many smaller hearts of darker pink embossed on it. Her feet were cracked from what looked like too much time spent walking on dusty dry ground and she had a scar on her face that stretched from her right cheek into the hair line to where I could not see. A trail of jet black hair caressed her cheek and hid the origin of the scar. The younger one wore a white nightgown, stained from dirt and over use. You could tell that it was probably a hand me down from her older sister who hadn’t taken care of it so well. The light that came through the window pierced the corner of her right eye illuminating how brilliantly auburn they were. She looked like she was a princess that had been reduced to nothing, a spectrum of light, a forgotten monarch in a world gone to madness. They were both barefoot but the little one wore a small golden ring around her middle left toe that was embossed with very small rubies. My mind was searching for an answer as to what the fuck was happening, had I taken a hallucinogenic over the weekend and not realized? Had I slipped into a crazed madness that my mind could not return from? Had I finally over done it and killed myself with alcohol and these were the angels that had come to take me to heaven? It was when I was just about to give my body up and let my body fall into whatever heaven or hell that was waiting for me when my eyes blinked, a wet satisfying blink that moistened the crust that was beginning to grow over my eyes. But when I re-opened my eyes I be-held a sight that I would’ve rathered let my body die and go to hell than have seen again. The girls, the beautiful little girls that were the closest thing to heaven that I had ever come to began to decompose before my very eyes. After the first blink their face became missing, leaving no skin on the face except for the scalp and the eyes. After the second blink which I blinked in disbelief, the beautiful auburn eyes in which the sun once shone were missing, the scalp that cultivated straight hair similar only to the raven’s feather was gone. In the third blink when my lungs once again began to expand their night dresses were gone, disappeared into nothingness as the white tiled floor became a red swamp from the weight of their blood. Another breath came to me as another blink came and their bodies were now black skeletons that even though their eyes were missing, still stared at me twistedly. The black bones were so clean, so polished that the sun reflected from them and blinded my eyes as though a mirror that caught the light.

In the fourth blink and fourth breath I awoke with a shudder and a wild yelp in my dark room in which only the whirr of a fan could be heard, back to reality, back to earth, back to the life in which I was glad to have not been snatched from just yet. There was only the light from the street lights streaming through my window now.  There were so many answers to what I had just experienced, so many things that I could not forget, the little girls were just mental projections of the kids you see every day, you’re just mentally frustrated from all of the alcohol, you ingested a fucking drug you idiot,  ‘IDIOT’ screamed at me but I didn’t understand why. I wondered what had happened to the little girls and I pondered the atrocities that had happened in Cambodia in the past and the closeness of Toul Sleng prison where seventeen thousand prisoners had been tortured. My mouth was dry like a bleached piece of paper had been permanently rested on it and my brain felt like a spike had been driven through it. I rolled over and faced the stained white wall, with no person or not even a pillow to hug I felt like the loneliest person in the world but thankfully sleep gripped me soon, not an anti-sleep in which I had been held in before but I true sleep that would allow me to rest and recuperate, at least a little more than I had been before.

The next morning I woke up as the sun began to shine through my shitty window once again. I woke with a shudder down my spine as the thoughts of the girls still haunted me and my body still felt empty like the day before but the feeling of being actually able to breathe and move my limbs immediately shook me from the grimy bed. The wood creaked as I sat up and reached out to open the door, I still wasn’t sure what world I was in. I was in the process of making an omelette when my housemate strolled in. He was a lanky sort with wild thick black hair that stuck out everywhere even at the most promising times. He looked down at me with hanging black bags under his squinting eyes that made him look older he said ‘you’ll never guess what happened to me last night’.

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