Sleep paralysis had always been a common occurrence for Winnie. It used to scare her as a child, but over time she got used to it. It was more of an inconvenience than a real issue. Sometimes she couldn't physically get up and would be late for work or school, but that did not happen enough for her to get written up or lose her job. So it was fine.
When she got married she had to warn her husband about it so he would not call 911 over it. Usually, her husband did not even notice when she was having a sleep paralysis episode and that was fine with her. Until, she started see shadow people. Well, maybe it was one shadow person. She was never really sure. But, it was considered normal for sleep paralysis episodes so she would just ignore it.
The shadow person liked to float in the top left corner of her room, by her husband's side of the bed. It would usually just sit there and stare at Winnie, occasionally darting it's glowing white eyes at the husband or the dog before focusing back on Winnie. Winnie knew that these shadow people were nothing but a waking dream that occurred as her brain malfunctioned as she was trying to wake up. Never did she feel threatened by the shadow.
Well, until it stopped hanging around in the corner. When her and her husband had decided to try for children, they ran into some issues. Winnie had to begin taking IVF shots to try and get pregnant. Then, the shadow would leave it's corner. Slowly, the shadow would end up closer and closer every night, but never moved when Winnie was looking.
Winnie explained this to herself as hormones, paranoia about the baby, or just good ol' aging. She even asked her doctor and the doctor told her it was normal. As the brain was highly unexplored, there was no real explanation for why the shadow might move, but it was not cause for any alarm. So she watched. Night by night and day by day, the shadow made it's way towards her husband and stood over him for a couple nights. Then, the shadow made its way over to Winnie's side of the bed.
One day, the shadow was over Winnie, just floating in a plank position over her. It had never gotten this close to Winnie or her husband. Why was it so close? Winnie struggled to get up, to wake up, to wake her husband, anything. She could not, and when she could finally blink it was gone.
For weeks after, the shadow would be in that position, just over Winnie, eyes bearing down into her own eyes. Winnie tried to stay awake as long as she could, so she would not have to face her shadow, and she bagan to fall apart.
Winnie got fired for ocnstantly being late, her husband began to grow distant, and she became isolated in her own home. Her husband blamed the hormones for all the trouble, yet they still tried to build a family. Between the baby trouble and the shadow, Winnie was breaking down and she wasn't sure how much longer she would last.
On a humid morning, where Winnie thought her life could't get any worse, her friend the shadow appeared once again. Her husband was still asleep in bed next to her but would be getting up soon. Winnie tried to wake him, but per usual she was paralyzed. Then, the shadow did something she thought was impossible. It smiled. A sickening, awful smile. It's smile was a darker void than it's body. A finger came up to the void of what would be it's mouth.
It's eyes dragged across Winnie's body, landing on her stomach. Winnie had a sudden realization. The shadow knew she was pregnant. She tried to scream, to move, to kick. The shadow laughed a noiseless laugh and descended unto Winnie. Winnie shut her eyes as tight as she could, praying this was just another episode and that it would all be over soon. Her body grew colder and colder and then, nothing.
Her eyes flew open.
Winnie was in the left corner of her bedroom, towards her husband's side of the bed. There was someone in bed with him, but try as she might, she could not move. The unknown person sat up and it was, her? Winnie looked at her doppelgänger and then back down at her own body. Winnie pulled at her arm and legs but there was nothing. She was nothing. Just darkness. A shadow.
It smiled at her, the same sickening smile as before, and gave her husband a kiss on the cheek.
"Good morning, dear."
About the author
Hello! I am one semester away from graduating with my English BA. I work as an informal STEM Educator and Writing Tutor. I like to write and get my thoughts out in my essays and short stories. Stay tuned :)