You’re in the middle of a nightmare. You must be. This can’t be real.
But how does one wake up from a nightmare? You roll your eyes in your head. You tell your arms to move but they’re as heavy as logs. Your legs are worse. You’re stuck, trapped, immovable. It’s a horrible sensation—having no control over your body. You’re already claustrophobic and this is as claustrophobic as it gets. It’s like being trapped in your own skin.
You try to scream but your lips don’t move. All you can do is roll your eyes in your head, struggling to look through the darkness of your empty room. It should be empty and yet you feel as though someone is with you. You blink rapidly. You try to squint against the blackness but can’t. Is it your imagination or is that someone standing at the end of your bed?
Please no. Please, please no! You take deep breaths. Be calm. Be calm. You’re imagining things. The darkness does that to everyone.
Your heart flips in your chest at the sound of tapping on your ceiling.
What the fuck is that?!
You flick your eyes upwards. It’s directly above your head. At the sound of more tapping you roll your eyes to the right. It’s coming through the wall now. A tear trickles down your cheek; your heart thuds.
No, no, no, no! you scream inside. Stop! Go away! Leave me alone!
Out of nowhere, your room suddenly floods with light, so bright it burns against your eyes. You shut them, then open them again. At least the light reveals no figure at the bottom of your bed but your relief doesn’t last.
All you can do is watch in horror at all that’s happening around you. The light is coming through your window—why the hell didn’t you shut it before you went to sleep?!—which quickly spreads. It almost seems to come through the very walls of your room; the white plaster glows so bright it turns an almost luminescent green. How is that possible? How is that fucking possible? Everything is drowning in light, getting brighter and brighter and brighter, until, like in the darkness, you can hardly see anything.
You manage to make a choking sound in your throat as your bed begins to shudder.
Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!
There’s no denying it now. There’s no more fooling yourself. You’re being abducted! Never in your wildest dreams …
Aliens. Spaceships. Experiments. Are they going to strap you naked to a table and assault you with their painful tools?
Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus.
You choke some more, screaming inside your mind, as your body slowly lifts from your bed. Several photo frames on the walls crash to the floor as your whole room begins to shake. How does your roommate not hear anything?
Mellissa! Melissa! you try to scream.
You roll your eyes towards the sound of a metallic screech. It’s your window. It’s only partially open and you watch in horror as it slowly opens further. Bit by bit it gets wider and wider, until it can open no further. For several heartbeats nothing happens. Then, with a bang, the screen is sucked out. One moment it’s there; the next it’s gone.
It’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Is that going to happen to you? You’ll be in pieces!
You begin to turn through the air, slowly, inexorably, until your feet face the window. They’ve tangled in the sheets and you drag the fabric along with you as you drift. Your head lolls; your torso sinks in the middle. Unable to move your head, all you can see is your back wall. It’s uncomfortable, almost painful, to be in such a flaccid, queer position. You watch as your shadow steadily becomes bigger against the wall as you drift closer towards the … the light (you can’t make yourself say spaceship, or God forbid—aliens).
Before you know it, you feel the cool breeze of the outdoors against your feet and through the pant legs of your pyjama bottoms. The sheets drag along the window frame, as does your hair. The light becomes blinding and you’re glad that you can’t lift your head to see what lies ahead. Your house is bad enough as you watch it slowly drift away. Drift and drift. Getting smaller and smaller. Along with the ground. Along with what’s left of your sanity.
The street you live on is eerily quiet: no cars, no people. Your neighbours’ homes are so close they almost touch yours. So why haven’t they heard anything? How can they not see the light? Why are they not on their front steps pointing at you and screaming? All you hear is a dog barking. The wind rustles the leaves of the big maple tree in your front yard. Then you’re up and up and up until the road looks like a stream and your skin grows icy against the cold air.
You can hear it now—the ship. It emits a faint buzzing that you feel in the roots of your teeth. The light turns from a blinding white to a sickly yellow. Nausea stirs in your stomach. You grow dizzy. Luckily, your mind hasn’t quite caught up with reality; nothing seems real. You’re still not convinced you won’t wake up and be laughing about it with Mellissa for breakfast.
You’re so high up! What if the beam fails? What if they decide they don’t want you? You’ll be spaghetti on the pavement!
It’s a dream. It’s a dream. A very vivid dream.
But the beam doesn’t fail and it seems they want to keep you. There’s a faint metallic whine, almost imperceptible against the buzzing. Then the blazing bright light steadily fades away as you enter the … as you enter the …
There’s metal everywhere. Strange lights. Something green flicks on and off in the corner. And there you see it—a little platform the size of a single bed just for you.
Now that you’re no longer going to splat on the road, you try to struggle—but it’s still no use—and slowly, you lower into it. You choke at the icy feel of steel against your back. You still can’t move. Something loud buzzes in your ears. Your heartbeat throbs in your throat. Your eyes zero in on a moving shadow and you choke again. It’s one of them. It’s one of them! It’s come to collect you. And what’s that in its hand? It looks like a spider. It takes you several moments before you realise that it’s its actual hand. Such long, freaky fingers! It’s standing in the shadows but you can see the glint of its eyes.
You look at it and it looks at you.
Its enormous staring gaze is the last thing you see before the darkness sweeps you away.