My dreams, fairly often, are not fun. Being chased by snakes, shot in the head, hunted by demons, etc. all lend to my craft as a filmmaker, and the dreams themselves are often hard to shake off once I've awakened. Although this most recent dream felt similar to frightening dreams I had in 2015, I was awake, but the outcome was much different.
I was lying on a cot in what I think was some kind of warehouse or gymnasium. I perceived three walls surrounding me as I was lying down facing the opening, looking into the facility grounds. I wanted to get up and look around, due wholly to an incoming and creeping fear I was feeling in real-time. Though, when I tried lifting my head in the dream, that's when I began to believe I was awake in reality.
It was in the moment I tried to rise that I determined some supernatural force was pressing me into the fabric and framework of my actual queen-sized bed. This feeling is specific to two times in 2015 where I was awake, incapable of moving due to sleep paralysis, and fighting my will and emotions as despair and terror took hold of me.
I was so certain I was awake that I couldn't access the lucidity I normally have control over to do a self-check ensuring I'm awake or asleep. I was, yet again, captive to the paralysis I hoped to never experience again.
For what felt like several minutes, I fought and fought to pry myself from the bed. Imagine putting two sides of a powerful magnet on each side of your hand, the palm and the face, and trying to pry them apart rather than separate them by turning your hand sideways.
That monumental, cold force of magnetism is what I experience during sleep paralysis. It feels like a natural force that has a supernatural, ethereal grip over my body. I often wonder if that feeling is the way people with para or quadriplegia recognize their synaptic inability to move. Having had these experiences, I have gained an understanding and empathy for people who suffer from permanent paralysis.
In the harshest pitch of my dreams, I tried flailing, turning over, and reaching out, to no avail. The moment came where I felt terror peak in my body, and as I laid prone, staring into the facility, looking at other cots and fixtures in my eyeline, it was then the room began to feel like an abyss, a space endless in vision and unreachable in grasp.
The moment came when a second presence made itself known to me as I laid flat on my stomach, terror washing over me: a grey alien. The alien stared at me and through me, shaking violently from his thin musculature, gaunt and gangling in presence. It was only then did I realize my reality, my struggle, was false, a witch's brew of loss of breath, a full meal before bed, a nightmare, and chaotic confusion. In the moments the alien entrapped me in his stare, I questioned my reality. Who am I? Where am I? Why am I? Which world do I call to for escape? Am I the first to see aliens? Is this real?
Try to justify sharing space with a creature the world has never seen. Try focusing on the fear and not knowing what kind of creature stands before you. Think of walking your dog and passing by another person walking their dog, and what would happen if the two dogs met. The inquisitive stare from afar, the tense body language in the first sniff, the bristling of back hair as each animal scopes the other's vibe, that's what I experienced.
Given only a fraction of a moment to determine if the alien was real, my lucid mind finally arrives and reminds me the world my reality is based hasn't discovered aliens yet. The form in which the alien took was pulled from Hollywood cinema and popular recollections of mysterious meetings and fire in the sky. The alien was no more real than the shaking and vibrating his body emitted. I realized that, too, was an effect given to creatures in Hollywood cinema to amplify character design and add cheap thrills to an audience member's recollection of the film.
My body tremors in the cot and the world begins to quake. Chaos has finally overtaken the reality of my dream. The tremors become as violent as an ocean in the perfect storm, and my eyes dart back and forth trying to find a focal point to latch onto. I awaken, shaking madly and kicking off my blankets. My dog rustles around my thighs and presses himself against me slightly, giving me a moment of peace after a terrifying experience. While it was all a dream, I can still feel the alien's stare. His glare shook my emotional foundation. He wasn't real, yet he affected me for much longer than my time with him.