My family has always been big into conspiracies. My brother likes to ramble on about The Illuminati, and believes that Obama is the Anti-Christ.
My mom can trace literally anything in life back to being the government's fault, and constantly worries about being arrested and shipped overseas for no reason.
My dad, although staying silent most of the time, agrees with what my mom says. It really just annoys the hell out of me when I hear them all spewing the 2012 end-of-the-world garbage, so I usually attempt to slip quietly off to my room, that is, before my mother follows me and decides to continue her half of the conversation from just outside my door.
For the last year, I’ve been kind of keeping more to myself. When I’m not in class, or doing the countless hours of homework per week that I have to do, I’m usually doing the typical hermit teenage stuff.
Watching TV, screwing around on the internet, knitting, or playing video games. I really enjoyed horror games and movies and just scary stuff in general. I use the past tense of ‘enjoy’ because it’s safe for me to say that no, I do not enjoy them anymore.
Going back a year or so, I finally had saved up enough to buy a laptop. Something that I thought was cool about it was that it came with a built in microphone and webcam, two things that I’ve never had before. The first thing that my brother told me to do was to put a piece of masking tape over my webcam. He also said, whatever I do, don’t sleep with my laptop open. He thinks people can watch you through your webcam, even when it’s not on. Like I was about to believe that.
Him being older than I, ever since we were kids, he was always trying to bully me into being gullible. Getting me to eat dog biscuits when I was five, insisting that if I did, I would know how to speak dog, or telling me to lick a 9-Volt battery for God knows what reason. Fucking asshole. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to trust him less and less, and this whole ‘people spying on me through my webcam’ business sounded nothing short of idiotic.
For the last few months, I suffered from insomnia, and the only way that I could go to sleep was with some type of white noise machine. Every night, I had the same routine. After finishing my homework, I would watch an episode or two of whatever show I seemed to be fixated with at that time on Netflix or Hulu, then plug in my laptop, set it on my nightstand in front of me, and go to rainymood.com before shutting off my screen light and letting the rain noises lull me to sleep.
At the time, I associated the nightmares with the insomnia. I figured it was just a side-effect. It was bizarre though, I’ve always had vivid dreams, but I hadn’t had nightmares since I was a kid. I thought it was something everyone grew out of, and although it wasn’t the same dream every night, it was the same basic concept.
There’s always the sound of rain. I’d presume from the white noise I set before I fell asleep. I walk into a room, usually something familiar; my bedroom, my dad’s workshop, the daycare room that I work at, my old high school theater, or my English classroom at the college — but there are always people waiting for me there.
All people that I knew; my mom, dad, brother, neighbors, both old and current friends and teachers, and sometimes even some of the children I watch when I’m at work. They’re all lined up around the perimeter of the room, shoulder to shoulder, staring at me. None say a word.
They just stare. I move around the room. Their eyes follow me. A dozen chilling, terrifying stares drill into me. In my dream, I never have sense to flee the area. After an eternity of tense silence, someone finally speaks. It is my brother. He says, "Don’t mind us. We’re only here to observe. Carry on." Frightened, in a cold sweat, I do what I’m told.
I do my homework.
I play a game.
Whenever I look up from my task, they look at me, scowling angrily. Then, they all take one simultaneous step forward, tightening the area around me. I panic and look back to my task at hand. My fingers forget how to write, or type, or knit, or do anything.
And whenever I fumble, and my productivity stops, I feel the anger, the pure malice from these people who I’ve come to know and care for. I feel my skin tingling. They take another step. Claustrophobia sets in and I start hyperventilating and break out in a cold sweat.
Another step. I hear growling. This inhuman, not even animal-like sounding growl come from the wall of... God... I can’t even call them people... these things surrounding me. It’s something that you wouldn’t be able to recreate with special effects even if you tried. It’s the most disturbing thing I’ve ever heard.
Another step. Another step. With the enclosure narrowed down to less than a foot on every side of me, I feel a hand on the back of my head. I always assume the worst, that perhaps, the hand is going to tear out the back of my skull, but the jagged nails just run through my hair.
I hear a voice.
I turn to see a figure. Someone I’ve never met before. He is so distorted, there’s no way that I could have ever met someone like this, except maybe at a costume party on Halloween. His eyes are missing. There is nothing but two big black holes where they should be.
He smiles and dark red liquid slides off his jagged teeth and lands on his lower lip. He suddenly grabs the back of my hair and jerks me around until I’m facing the crowd of people I used to recognize. He laughs like a madman. The dim light makes it hard to make everything out. They all have very dark circles under their eyes, and have red pupils. They glare at me with pure hatred.
With that, they all lunge at me, screeching.
This is the point where I wake up. Sleep paralysis usually leads me to panic and crying like a child. I can still feel the tightness around my throat, the jagged nails in my hair, the pressure in my chest.
My pillow is always drenched in sweat. I’ve never connected the two until now, but I always get this nightmare when I leave my laptop open when I sleep.
Let’s see... I fell asleep at around 11 last night. If the time Is 3:53 am now, I would say, about forty-five minutes ago, I woke up. I turned over and reached for my glasses so that I could check the time.
I can’t find my phone, so since my laptop is right in front of me, I turned on the screen so I can see the clock.
Something else caught my eye first. Skype was opened.
I am currently in a phone call with number 000-000-0000.
The call time is currently 04:25:11.
The man I’ve seen in my dream all these months is on the other line.
He is watching me. Still.
He has only said one thing to me.
“Don’t mind me. I’m only here to observe. Carry on.”
If I could leave anyone with any piece of advice — it’s this; Don't ever sleep with your laptop open.