“You’re suffering from PTSD. You will continue to experience nightmares, night terrors and panic attacks until we have given you some closure.”
“My medication doesn’t work the same anymore. I can still dream.”
“You need to give it time and see your psychiatrist to change your medication. But, remember that it will get better.”
“Yeah. I’ll try.”
“OK, tell me again about the nightmare. Maybe there is something that we can relate it to, some stressor in your life.”
“Fine. It is the same every night, and it has been for the last 20 years.
I crawl into my bed and laydown with my rosary in my hands and my Holy Water on my nightstand. I usually say three rosaries before I try to sleep in the hopes that God will protect me from the demon that lingers in my dreams. The heaviness of sleep presses me into my sheets, and I begin to dream.
I can see myself in bed asleep. My clothes are haphazardly thrown around my room, my cell phone on my nightstand, and my rosary is woven between my fingers. For a moment, I feel at peace. Looking at myself, I look young and tired. The black circles that surround my eyes aren’t as prominent when I’m sleeping and the annoying habit of breathing through my mouth makes me look like a child. I float up in the corner of my room watching myself sleep, and, out of the corner of my eye, I see a shadow in the darkness.
My breathing has become little clouds that linger at the edge of my lips. The shadow crosses the threshold to my bedroom, and I am thrown back into my body.
I can feel its weight as it crawls up the foot of my bed. The slight pulling of my comforter and the snags from its long, pointed fingernails let me know that it is almost to my feet. Even in my dream, I cannot move. It crawls up and stands at my feet before lowering onto its hands to crawl up my body. I feel its weight transfer from foot to hand back to foot; its right side on the outside of my left leg and its left side between my legs. Once it reaches my hips, it crawls onto my stomach. Its weight is suffocating and I can feel its hot, wet breath through my tank top.
It steps off of me, and stands next to my left shoulder. I open my eyes. The first time I was shocked by what I saw, but, now, I know what to expect. It stands there and moves so I can see it fully. It can’t be more than a foot tall. Its skin is the color of lake scum and the texture isn’t too far from scum either. It is visibly lumpy and pock marked. If I touched it, I am sure that it would be rough and porous. Its head is wide with abnormally long ears, and its hair is just tufts of white wire. Its eyes are yellow and almond shaped like cats’ eyes with slit like pupils.
It stands naked next to me. Its arms and legs are the same length, but its feet are flat with black nails. Its hands are thick with short, clubbed fingers. I am the most afraid of its hands. Its nails are long, thick and black. They look like an eagle’s talons. I always regret looking at its hands. As soon as I do, its black lips curl up into a snarl that somewhat resembles a smile, and it runs its right index finger down the edge of the knife in its left hand.
It laughs. Its laugh is breathy and guttural. It leans over me putting its right hand on my left collarbone and presses the knife to my throat just below my jaw. I feel the coolness of the metal and the edge breaking my skin. By this time, I’ve stopped breathing. My eyes are watering and I am unable to move. It looks me in the eyes and laughs again. Its lips are almost touching mine when it begins to speak to me.
Every time it’s different. Sometimes it will tell me how the Devil has my place in Hell waiting for me, other times it tells me it follows me every where I go and I’ll never be able to escape it. It always ends by putting its lips next to my ear causing it to press the knife deeper into my throat so it can whisper its good-bye.
I feel its cracked lips brushing my ear as it opens its mouth to speak. It tells me that she is watching me; that she sent it. She wants me to know that she will never stop and that God can’t help me now. It kisses my ear and backs away.
Before it leaves, it steps back to look at me. Its eyes turn red and its body slowly fades away until all I can see are its eyes floating next to me.
I usually wake up screaming or crying at this point. I always have a mark on my neck.”
“Is there anything that you find significant about this?”
“The red eyes.”
“Why the red eyes?”
“My aunt used to tell me stories about how she could get red eyes to hover over baby cradles when she was younger. And, that she could still do it.”
“Do you believe her? Or do you think this was one of her ways to manipulate you as a child?”
“I didn’t believe her until the dreams started and never stopped. When she left our family, the dreams got worse. She and my mom had a falling out, and my aunt took out a lot of her frustration with my mom on me.”
“How did they get worse?”
“They stopped happening only when I am asleep. Now, I am followed by a large black shadow when I am awake. I see it behind me sometimes, but its usually just ahead of me. It’s so black that I can see it in the dark.”
“Are you sure? Is it here now?”
“Look, I know that you think I’m hallucinating. I know that I sound crazy.”
“Is it here?”
I look behind her chair in the corner. The shadow is there shaking its head. “No. No; it isn’t here.”
“OK, I think that it is best if I start seeing you twice a week and that your psychiatrist evaluates you for anti-psychotic medication at your next appointment. I’ll let him know.”
I lift my gaze from my shoes to look her in the face as I say good-bye. It was right behind her now, and I am sure that fear filled my eyes in that instant because she turns to look behind her.
The lights went out, and all I can see are the floating red eyes.