I know I’m not the only one that turns off the lights and then runs to bed as quick as I can. It feels instinctive to do so; wanting to be wrapped in a comforter and pretending that it will keep you safe from any possible danger, like when you were five years old and thought your raggedy teddy bear would fight away the monsters of the night until the morning sun vanquishes them. However as you get older, you outgrow the need for a guardian. You begin to realize that if there was someone in the room with you, a simple blanket wouldn't protect you, and a teddy bear can’t fight them off. This thought terrifies me as I go to bed every night.
Studies suggest that roughly 50% of people can “sense” when someone is staring at them. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself that you’re one of the lucky ones that can turn around and catch someone watching you from across the room, but what about when you’re alone? What about when you’re lying in bed and you get the incredibly unnerving feeling that you’re being watched? When you know you’re alone but you just can’t shake this nagging feeling that someone else is there? I experience this every night and I’m afraid to know the answer.
When it happens I can never tell whether I’m dreaming or not. I tell myself I am, but deep down I know that this is reality. I toss and turn until I fall asleep, careful to not let my lower body out of the covers and expose myself to the darkness. I look at the clock and forty-five minutes have managed to pass by in seconds.
This feeling is impossible to get rid of. Invisible eyes piercing through the black into my mind. I give into the temptation and sit up to scan the room. A small computer desk, a bureau, and the lone exit to the rest of my home. Nothing out of the ordinary, so why can’t I shake this feeling?
I rest my head back to the pillow and lie on my back. I look to my left at the alarm clock. Another fifteen minutes is gone already. The doorknob rattles, and I sit up to look at the door. Nothing has changed from the last time I looked. The door is closed, the doorknob wasn’t touched, I’m alone in my house. I relax and try to lay my head on the pillow but my body won’t comply as I sit there, staring, waiting for something to happen. I give up with waiting and sit back, bouncing my head against the soft pillow. I rotate my body on my right side and stare at the wall that my bed rests against. I close my eyes once more and attempt to ignore everything around me.
A brush on the carpet wakes me up. I don’t dare to roll over and face whatever is there. I pretend that I’m still asleep. I slow my breathing and go against my better judgement of rolling over. The single brush isn’t followed by anything else. Whatever it is either stopped moving or disappeared completely. I crane my neck slightly, making no noise. Nothing appears to be there. My whole body rolls over and I look at the clock. I managed to get about an hour of sleep. My body raises itself to a sitting position as I observe the room. Everything is as I remember. The door is cracked open, there was nothing on my floor, I’m alone in my house. My head hits the pillow and I somehow drift off to sleep once again.
Almost no time goes by before more shuffles become audible and disturb my slumber. Before I know it, my body shoots out of bed. One more scan before I decide I’m simply sleep-deprived. The door is half-opened, there’s no one in my room, I’m alone in my house. Just as I remember it. I adjust myself and lay on my right side to face the wall. My breathing slows and in between breaths I swear I hear something else breathing. I stop to make sure, and something is definitely out there. I didn’t see anything when I looked. I don’t own any pets and I’m alone until Saturday. Am I asleep? Is this some kind of paranoid mental breakdown?
In a fit of sleeplessness I spring myself up and quickly look at everything in the room before anything human could possibly escape. A computer desk, a bureau, and an open door. There’s nothing breathing, there’s no one in my room, I’m alone in the house. Or am I? Everything appears to be in order, but something feels... off. I closely inspect the surrounding area from the comfort of my bed, and something is wrong. Directly across the room from where I sit appears to be a blur of space. Roughly in the shape of a person, as far as my eyes can tell.
The body seems to have no material making it up. It just exists, floating outside of this dimension. Everything around it is clear to my eyes, but that human-shaped figure is like a window that distorts everything you see through it. It is entirely stationary, as am I, and I stare at it for what feels like an hour. I know this isn’t my eyes playing tricks on me because I’ve seen it before. Every few weeks this happens, and every time it does I refuse to accept it.