It all started with a bad dream, a really bad dream, one that jarred me awake in the middle of the night and had me sleeping with the light on afterward. I’ve since dubbed it Halloween Town, and although I didn’t know it at the time, this really bad dream would later turn into a living nightmare.
The alarm clock read about two in the morning. I threw off the covers, jumped out of bed and stumbled over to the light switch. Up down, up down, up down – nothing. The alarm clock flickered and blinked as I pressed my back against the wall, my legs shaky with panic and my breath shallow and strained — I jerked awake.
Like a hunter in the trees it slid through the room undetected yet somehow magnified.
The alarm clock read about two in the morning. I tried to sit up but my arms and legs struggled under the weight of the covers and my body strained to flinch even one tiny insignificant muscle. It was coming for me. Like a hunter in the trees it slid through the room undetected yet somehow magnified. I tried to scream, to move, to kick, to flail – I cried out for Jesus to save me but my lips quivered and my voice choked on itself. I jerked awake.
The alarm clock read about two in the morning. I jumped out of bed and flicked on the light. Up down, up down, up down – nothing. I threw open my bedroom door and padded out into the glow of the narrow hallway. Our tiny living room resembled a scene from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, and as I turned the corner, I spotted my roommate seated on the couch lit up by Halloween decorations. I was relieved to see her. Everything would be okay. I began describing the nightmare I’d just had and looked around the room somewhat confused as to when she found time to decorate. After applying the final touches to her makeup, she flashed a broad smile and bid me farewell as she slammed the front door behind her. I jerked awake.
I knew what was hiding under the bed. The boogieman was real that night.
The alarm clock read about two in the morning. I sat halfway up in bed and scanned the dark room waiting for my eyes to adjust, waiting for my head to clear. The light switch on the far wall triggered irrational fear in me as I focused on its downward position. What if it doesn’t work this time? Hesitant, I pulled the covers down, slid out of bed and stumbled into the master bathroom where another seemingly innocent light switch awaited me. Artificial light illuminated the tiny room as I sighed a breath of relief, but the dream remained fixed in my mind like some prophetic vision of horror. I smoked a cigarette through the bathroom window and attempted to analyze what exactly it was that had me so spooked. When I laid back down, I kept the bathroom light on and the door cracked. Thirty-seven years old and afraid of the dark – so be it. I knew what was lurking in the hallway. I knew what was hiding under the bed. The boogieman was real that night.
The next morning I still couldn’t shake the dream. It stayed with me all day, and even that following night I had to force myself to turn off the bathroom light, but what was it? What was it that spooked a girl like me who could watch slasher movies all night and have no problem falling asleep, a girl like me, rather, a thirty-seven-year-old woman, to sleep with the light on? I wasn’t completely sure. I only knew that the dream inspired absolute terror, a nightmare played on a maddening loop, but the part that stuck out the most, the part that struck a chord in me was my inability to cry out to Jesus for help. I just couldn’t do it. I remember thinking, if I could just rebuke it, if I could just call on Christ to save me, but I couldn’t. Something was in the way, something far more evil than I could ever imagine.