I awoke at midnight from my sleep to the door creaking open. Looking over my shoulder as if some intruder was about to attack. I am relieved when I see it’s just my girlfriend coming home from work.
The same thing happens all the time. I am brought out of my slumber in a panic – scared that someone or something is coming for me.
I have always been a paranoid person but for me, the silence is not golden. The TV must be on so I have some noise to focus on. It takes my brain off the bumps in the night.
My girlfriend lays down beside me.
“Hey babe.”, I say
“How was work?”
“Bad…I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Ok,” I say as I turn over
I can finally relax and get the sleep I need.
My mind can be at ease knowing that someone else is in the room with me. I fall asleep without hesitation.
After I don’t know how long, I feel an elbow jam me in my side. It’s my girlfriend letting me know in her most affectionate of ways that I have turned over on my back in my sleep. I have turned from a peaceful bedmate to a locomotive engine that snores loud enough to wake the dead. Coupled with that is the choking on my own tongue. You see, thanks to excessive weight gain I now have what they call sleep apnea.
When I lie on my stomach it is fine. But if during the night I find myself on my side or back that’s when I start to snore combined with the choking.
The problem with this is you never know when you’re doing it because you’re asleep. It has always scared me that in my mind my sleep is quiet and relaxed. But on the outside, my tongue is in a wrestling match with my throat. I have never heard myself snore or felt myself choke.
My girlfriend has saved me more times than I know. When she hits me on the side, I turn over on my stomach. It makes the snoring and choking stop. I apologize and turn over to my stomach – falling back to sleep.
I hear the same sound I hear every so often. The other thing in the room – my dog. He jumps off the bed, alerting me if I don’t get up to let him out he will take his business out on my carpet. I turn my head to the side and punch my BB-8 alarm clock in the head.
The time reads 3:02 AM.
“Good,” I say, knowing I still have two and a half hours before I have to get up for work. I grab my phone and hit the power button for some light. The last thing I need, after keeping everyone awake with my rendition of Thomas The Tank Engine, is to trip and cause more noise.
The light reflects on my dog. I see him sitting there awaiting my escort downstairs and to the backyard. His tail wags back and forth as I walk with him to the other side of the bed. I flash the light over to my girlfriend’s side to see if she finally has gotten herself some sleep. The covers look bunched up as if she is under them.
I move closer expecting to get an awakened shout from scaring the shit out of her. When I get close enough I can see she is not there.
Did she go downstairs? Was my snoring so loud she had to leave the bedroom?
My brain decides to turn logical thoughts illogical.
It decides to throw every single terrible image it can into my mind.
Did something happen to her!? Did she have to run out of the house for an emergency?! Was she kidnapped?!
I open the door and walk out to the hall. No lights are on in the hallway or the steps leading down into the front room. I walk over to the light switch and flick it on. The bathroom door is open. I go over to inspect but no one is there.
I continue down to the end of the hallway and open the door to our guest room. The light from my phone shines into the room revealing that it is in the same condition it has been in for months. We don’t usually have anyone stay over. The room remains untouched as if waiting for the perfect guest to accommodate it.
Where the fuck could she be?
I close the door to the guest room as I exit. The dog and I make our way downstairs – the flashlight on my phone still lighting the way.
When I get to the bottom, I flick another switch that floods the front room with light. As I look to the couch, I can see that the cushions where you rest your back on lying on the floor. It looks like some sort of struggle. My heart starts to race a little more.
I survey the entire first floor of the house. Checking the kitchen, sun room, bathroom, and my office. My girlfriend is still nowhere in sight.
I think maybe I should go outside and see if her car is there. When I walk back to the front room and look at the doorknob, I can see that the doors unlocked.
Her purse! She wouldn’t leave without her purse and she always leaves it by the stove in the kitchen.
I head back to the kitchen and see her purse is still there – everything still intact.
The only place left is the basement.
We have a nice finished basement which serves as our own little movie theater.
Being as scared as I am and having my brain dump the worst thoughts in my mind – I hesitate. I check my side and make sure my 25-lb bodyguard is still with me. He is still next to me with his tail wagging- he has no idea what’s going on.
We make our way down into the basement together. When we get to the bottom of the stairs, I turn on the lights and call out to my girlfriend.
“What are you doing?!”, she yells
Relief once again floods my body putting me at ease. The same way as when she walked into the room from work and I wasn’t alone in this house anymore.
“I was looking all over for you!”, I say
“You were snoring so loud I couldn’t sleep!” “I tried a couple different spots in the house.” she says “I just couldn’t get comfortable so I came down here.”
I apologize to her for the noise and say Goodnight.
Heading back upstairs, I let the dog out the backyard door to handle his business. When he’s finished we make our way back to the front room to turn off the remaining lights before returning to bed.
What was that?!
A noise coming from the bedroom above me. The same sound that the dog made when he jumped off the bed earlier. I look to my side and there he is – tail wagging and happy as ever.
“I don’t need this.”, I say to myself
My brain floods my mind with monsters that could be up there. The many boogie men from all the horror flicks I watch.
As I look up the stairs, I see our third guest of the night.
He must’ve just jumped off something up there. That is what made the noise.
I walk up the stairs, knowing that I need to get to bed if I am going to make it into work in the morning. The rollercoaster of emotions is not going to help me sleep and I will need some time before I can relax. I pet the cat on my way up to the bedroom and notice his hair standing on end.
“You alright?”, I say to him as I continue petting him
He doesn’t answer and is now purring. His hair going back to a relaxed state as he brushes up against the rest of my arm.
I finally make it back into the bedroom for some sleep.
I turn the lights on as the dog jumps back on the bed and resumes his sleeping position from earlier. The room looks just as it did before my girlfriend scavenger hunt. I am still on edge but feeling tired as well. I turn the TV on to just have some noise in the room to keep me calm. It also helps keep my arch enemy, my brain, quiet.
I turn the lights off and walk to my side of the bed, the TV the only thing illuminating the room. As I get into bed and pull the covers up over me, I hear the door open. My girlfriend is back in the room.
“You OK?”, I ask
“Yeah, I can’t get comfortable anywhere.” “I’m just coming back to bed.”
I apologize again for the noise and turn over. Finally, at peace just as I was in the beginning of this story when she came home.
I drift back into my slumber.
All my thoughts about intruders and monsters at bay.
After being asleep for what feels like hours, I feel it again. My girlfriend elbowing me in the side. I am on my back mouth wide open. The choking my girlfriend told me about is happening again, except this time I can hear it. Not only can I hear it, I can feel it. Something that feels like fingers lodged in my throat. As my hazy eyes open from sleeping and focus on the room – I see it.
A man is sitting on my chest. A hat that rests upon his head gives way to dishelved hair. The man looks like a scarecrow you see in the movies. He looks like an exact replica of the monster in the Jeepers Creepers movies. The scarecrow has a sinister grin on his face. His fingers lodged in my mouth. I can’t breathe or move. His body resting on me like I am paralyzed from the neck down.
My mind is racing on what I can do. I glance out the side of my vision to my girlfriend. She is lying on her stomach with her face facing away from me.
Can she not hear or see what is going on!?
I scream but it is only in my mind. The choking is getting worse. My throat making gurgling noises as it tries to draw in a breath around the man’s fingers.
I feel another jab in my side as my girlfriend hits me again, her face still facing away from me. There is nothing I can do besides make these guttural noises that sound like they are straight from the movie Motel Hell.
My eyes go back to the scarecrow man that is still resting on my chest. His smile is wider now, the size of the Cheshire Cat. I can’t make out eyes just black holes into nothingness. My breath is getting shorter as I feel blackness start to engulf my eyes.
My girlfriend, finally not being able to take any more, gets up. She throws her arms in the air never facing me but walking towards the door.
As she is leaving the room, she screams, “You need to get this shit handled!” “I told you to go get a sleep exam!”
She leaves the room slamming the door behind her.
The Scarecrow Man keeps smiling as he pushes his hand deeper into my throat all the way up to the wrist.