As She Lay Sleeping
She opened her eyes, looking at the whitewashed ceiling. Her eyes roamed about her, taking in the room she called her own. Funny thing is, she couldn’t turn her head, or move her body at all. Sleep paralysis, she thought. It hadn’t happened to her before, she felt alright, nothing felt out of place, until she saw them.
There were two strangers standing by the door of her room, discussing a serious situation in hushed whispers. They wore scrubs, the masks covering their faces, she strained to hear what they were talking about. “This is the first.” said the doctor with the glasses while the other nodded. “This is happening more often than we thought. It’s not supposed to be so easy.” said the other, while Glasses glanced at her. She tried asking them what was going on but not a word escaped her smoke-stained lips. What did they mean? What wasn’t supposed to be easy? Were they talking about her? Wasn’t it all supposed to be a hallucination, a mere trick of the mind? It all felt so real that she found herself wanting more of this, just so she could know the meaning behind it, perhaps reveal a hidden reality behind it. It was while she was contemplating that she noticed that the doctors had now come into the room, standing over her, they didn’t seem to know she was awake, or maybe they just didn’t care.
It was the injection that she saw first. The ones they might use to tranquilize horses. Even as she watched the needle pierce her skin, she felt nothing. Whatever they shot her with was working as she started to feel woozy. Her head grew heavy, yet there was no struggle that emerged even as everything screamed inside her. The doctors watched her, seemingly satisfied with the result. Was it supposed to happen this way?
She somehow managed to turn her head as her eyes willed themselves to close. She opened them again, eyelids weighing a ton, to see her mother sitting on the bed, and her head was miraculously in her lap. She could hear her mother humming a tune, she didn’t know what song it was. She was almost asleep as her mother’s hand rested on her head when she heard a whisper in her ear.
“Don’t fall asleep.” it said. Usually, she wouldn’t think much of it but it wasn’t her mother’s voice that whispered.
She slowly turned or thought she did, anyway. Her ordeal was beginning to terrify her, but there was a certain underlying amusement in there as well. It was just as she turned that she came face to face with a grinning old woman. In any other case, she would have laughed out loud at the cliché, but she froze. It was now she understood why people look through the darkness in horror movies, they were looking for proof of their sanity, hoping for a miracle but mostly, it was curiosity.
She tried closing her eyes, but to no avail. As if on cue, the grinning old woman came closer, her face an artwork of wrinkles and something sinister. Her grinning mouth was devoid of teeth, her face ghastly pale. The woman didn’t say anything, but was just an unblinking countenance looking right at her.
It was then that fear gripped her heart, the woman looked familiar. Was it deja vu or was it just a trick her mind was playing to explain the bizarre dream?
If it was possible, the woman’s grin got wider, revealing the gums that told an unknown story. Her eyes got heavy as the woman started to fade through the haze like the Cheshire cat, her grin the last to remain.
“Guess who?” the woman said, her scratchy voice the last thing she heard as her eyes closed, lulled into slumber.