At times, your bed can feel like the most secure place on earth. Cuddled under a warm blanket left to drift off to sleep. No matter where you are, the thought of getting home to your bed is comforting.
You savor the moment that your head crashes onto your pillow and you feel every muscle in your body sigh of relief. That moment when your mind drifts off to the farthest reaches of space and time until it goes into a state of unawareness and bliss. It feels as if the world revolves around your comfort.
But sometimes, your mind wanders to a different place. A darker place.
You've probably felt it before. Your heart starts to beat a little faster. Sweat beads start to form on your legs because it's so hot under that blanket. So why not just pull it off? Why not expose your body to the air? Then you'll feel fine.
But wait, what was that noise? It was probably nothing. Stuff makes noises all the time. Maybe it was a pipe, or the floorboards moving. You can't hear anything else. There's no way anything could be in there.
And gosh, it's getting real uncomfortable under those covers.
So just stop being a baby and move already, you tell yourself. Sweat is accumulating on your body. You'll never fall asleep like this. You're a young adult. Being afraid of monsters is for children. So move already.
But you can't. You're immobilized by fear. Not fear of what is there. Because there's nothing there, right? You're not scared of that. But why can't you move, then? Because you're scared of what could be there. You're scared of what you can't see. The unknown. There could be anything there. In fact, there could be NOTHING there. You're not looking. Your mind works against you. It reaches into your deepest consciousness, and it reflects what you're afraid of. It molds and forms a figure behind you. A tall, slender figure, wheezing for air. Its face is pure white, almost fluorescent, adorned with two pitch black eyes that peer right through you.
A gaping abyss filled with jagged teeth twists into an inhuman smile. Behind it lies a trail of bloody footsteps. It has come to claim its next victim. Each shaky breath it draws in brings it closer to you. You can hear it breathing, you can feel its presence.
As you lay sweating and shaking in your bed, it draws closer to you. Its clammy, warm breath blows through your hair, giving you goosebumps all over your body. And all you can do is pretend that you're sleeping. Its hand hovers over your head, ready to draw the breath from your lungs. Each boney finger trembles slightly as the monster salivates in excitement. You can feel it.
Your body trembles in fear, your breaths come sporadically and quickly. Your pillow is soaked with sweat. You feel the last warm breath draw into your lungs, the oxygen course through your body, as the monster wraps its hand around your head. But you don't feel anything. You brace for the impact, but nothing comes. And you wonder to yourself what you're doing. You hear nothing. Your breath returns to normal. And you realize that it was never there. Right? It was all in your mind. You created it, you scared yourself.
In fact, you could say that YOU are that monster.
It goes with you everywhere. You can imagine that it's absent, but it's not. Because in any given instant, your mind can call that monster to you. It's behind you when you're sleeping, when you're watching TV, and when you're on your computer. Don't turn around. If you imagine it, you can almost feel it breathing down your neck. And that is the scary part of things. All of it is in your mind. You can't escape your mind. Don't think about what is behind you. Just stay calm and try to sleep.
You know it's behind you, you can feel its presence. You know that the instant you turn around, you will be consumed by those piercing eyes. The smell of a thousand rotting corpses will fill your nostrils, and you will feel the icy cold grip of fear. Be reasonable and do what's good for you.
Don't turn around.