's 2018 Horror Write-off:

The Night Terror

Submitted by Tyler Hutchinson

I have always loved autumn. There is something special about the multi-hued leaves and the allure of a warm fire place on a cold night. However, we often forget that this season also marks the ominous transition to the cold dead solitude of winter, and in my home province of Saskatchewan this transition is stark and at times painful. Still my ignorance of this fact is understandable given my long held love of Halloween. On more than one occasion, I have foolishly ignored the biting cold and mounting autumn chores in favor of building Halloween decorations and planning my costume for this year’s festivities. However, something changed during the October 2009 that has since added a sense of dread to my normal October routine. A feeling that has been intensifying over the last few years. To understand this mounting sense of doom it is important to go back to what happened that Halloween, and the seemingly reoccurring sequence of events it triggered.

October 30th, 2009

If I remember right I woke up early that day driven by a frantic desire to put together the best Halloween I could. I had spent what little money I could spare that year to build a coffin, and an impressive set of custom tombstones. Hell, I even set up a fake gallows made of old scrap wood I found lying around my yard. I spent the majority of the morning putting up these various props, and making the final touches on my display. However, by far the most time consuming part of my day was repairing the wind damage to the display, and shoring up the fake fence I had built out of PVC pipe and wooden 2X3’s. Living in the prairies meant that such repairs were mandatory and frequent, as winds often hit 30 kph around October.

It was around 6pm by time I finished repairing my display and putting up the new props and by then I was understandably exhausted (due in no small part to the -5 degree weather). So I decided to take a brief nap despite still having pumpkins to carve and some yard work to tend to. However, this small nap gave way to an unexpected 3 hours period of unconsciousness, and by time I woke up it was 10pm. Realizing my mistake, I set out on the herculean task of carving the 10 pumpkins I had picked up earlier. Frantically, I spent the next 4 hours gutting, stenciling and carving said pumpkins before laying them out in front of each and every tombstone. Exhausted, and with more than a few small nicks on my fingers and knuckles from my slasher flick esc pumpkin carving I finally set out to bed.

This is where my first encounter with “it” happened. I woke up with a start around 4am. My room was bathed in a permeating darkness and deadly silent. The only light in the whole room was the ominous green glow given off by the buttons and lights on my computer. When I tried to sit up and look around to find out what had woken me up I found myself paralyzed. Understandably, I started to panic and noticed that I could barely breathe. It was as if something was sitting on my chest. Looking down at the foot of my bed (actually the headboard, as I had recently started sleeping backwards) I noticed a shadowy shape. I couldn’t make out what it was, and gradually it seemed to fade, as if it was never there. However, when I closed my eyes and reopened them the shape reappeared only a foot or two closer. At the shape looked or solid like a black mist or three dimensional shadow. Unfortunately, I soon got a far clearer view of the thing as it started to move towards my face. As the shapeless mass got closer it started to grow even more solid and distinct. I would say it looked like some sort of androgynous child made out of black mist and bits of coagulated tar, but the proportions were all wrong and the thing moved in a completely unsettling manner. It almost looked like some sort of goblin or a deformed and emaciated dwarf. When this thing moved it heaved and contorted, as if its internal joints and muscles did not match its outward appearance. Worse yet, its face was an almost featureless mass, save the dark spots that seemed to comprise its eyes and mouth. As the thing grew more solid so did its actions. At first it seemed to be floating towards me. However, by time it was half way up my leg it seemed to drop into a crawling motion. Still paralyzed I closed my eyes realizing that I was powerless to stop whatever it was from doing whatever it was planning on doing. Yet, still tensed up trying to force a hand forward to stop its advance or knock it away, but to no avail. Then suddenly felt dizzy and my head started to buzz as if someone had attached a car battery to both my ears. Then, without warning, I regained control of my body and shot straight forward, hands outstretched ready to defend myself against my shadowy tormentor. However, all that greeted me was the same dark room and eerie silence from earlier. I was so exhausted by this event that I paradoxically fell back asleep, despite the overwhelming dread that permeated my every thought. Maybe, I was never really awake to begin with? Anticlimactically I woke up the next morning with no sign of what happened earlier. I told my family what had happened and they wrote it off as stress or a nightmare brought on by going to sleep far too late. Over time I almost forgot what had happened. That was until Oct 30th 2011.

Over the years I had become a lot better at managing my time when it came to balancing my love of Halloween, school and work. So my Halloween preparation was a lot less intense in 2011. I still had the usual repairs to tend to, midterms to prepare for but generally all my preparation were done by 7pm. I spent the last few hours watching old horror movies and talking to my friends and families about what they would be doing on Halloween. With everything ready for tomorrow I tucked myself into bed relatively early by my standards, and was dead asleep by 11pm. However, just like on that in 2009 I woke up without reason around 4am paralyzed in my bed. Yet, unlike in 2009 I couldn’t see anything at the end of my bed when I opened my eyes, but I had the same building sense of dread and shortage of breath. I stared at the end of my bed for what seemed like minutes, before I got the odd feeling that something was standing behind me. After a few second I started to hear the sound of deep breathing, and I rolled my eyes as far up as they would go without out moving my head, but all I could see out of the edge of my vision was the edge of what looked like coat sleeve with a man’s hand sticking out. Then I heard something in front of me and quickly shifted my sight back to the headboard. Standing next to my bed was the vague shape of an elderly man in a long coat. However, like before it seemed to be made out of black mist and bits of coagulated tar. Yet, unlike before the shape was far more humanoid and parts were greyish in colour like a living black and white picture. It seemed to heave as if taking deep breaths, but didn’t move otherwise. I tried to sit up to get a closer look, but I was still stuck to my bead unable to move. Then my head started to be enveloped with that same electrical feeling, but this time it was accompanied by a rapidly building buzzing noise. Then in the blink of an eye I could move, and the figure standing in front of me was gone. Unlike last time I didn’t go back to sleep, as I forced myself to sit up and get out of bed. Despite an unusual sense of weakness and fatigue. I stayed up until morning and told my family what had happened. They recommended seeing a doctor, and the doctor offered an explanation that put my mind at ease, for the time being at least. He said the events I had been experiencing were simply cases of sleep paralysis. Satisfied with this explanation I forgot about what had happened, and made all efforts to right off all future events as just another case of sleep paralysis.

I had a few other experiences with sleep paralysis after this, but on the night of Oct. 30th 2015 something changed. Like previous years I had left the 30th for minor repairs and socializing rather than studying and panicking about getting things ready for Halloween, and I was in bed by 10:30pm. However, as I stood next to my bed things felt somehow different. I got a strong feeling of weakness and fatigue and I swear I could smell something sickeningly sweet in the air, like a mixture of vanilla and rotting meat. However, I was unable to fight the urge to sleep despite wanting to find the source of this odor. Like in previous years I woke up unable to move around 4am. Yet, unlike previous years the room was permeated with that same smell from earlier, and I could hear distant sounds like a muffled conversation. Occasionally, I thought I could hear someone mentioning my name in this background chatter. Then suddenly I saw the same distorted mass of blackness at the end of my bed. It seemed to shift from one side of my bed to the other, as if it was sizing me up like some predatory animal, as the mass moved it seemed to fade in and out of existence like a willow-wisp made out of darkness. Then it blinked out of sight all together. I waited a minute then something unexpected happened, as a distinctly female form correlated out of the surrounding darkness near my ankles. The figure retained the same unnatural way of moving from previous encounter, moving as if its shape was just a costume badly worn by a heaving mass of gas and fluids. I remember I never got a clear look at the things face, as its hair constantly obscured most of its body. Then without warning the thing blinked out of sight as it advanced past my knees. I looked around anticipating the reappearance of my un-welcomed guest. All the while it became harder and harder to breath, as is something was slowly constricting my chest in an attempt to choke the life out of me. Then something unexpected happened. I regained limited control over my body, and was able to move my arms again. Then I noticed a lump under my sheets next to me. I moved my arm to lift the sheet and all the while my head started to buzz more and more with the same electrical sensation, as if in protest of my exploration this feeling built as I went to pull the sheet back. Eventually, I lifted the sheet and noted the humanoid shape lying next to me draped in black hair. I tried to push the mass of black fibers away to see what was underneath struggling against the almost overwhelming pain in my head all the while. However, no matter how much I pushed the hair aside I saw nothing but more black strands. I then pulled the sheet down further to try to see if black mass was attached to anything and froze when I saw the things pale almost white body merge into my side like some parasitic growth. Suddenly I lost consciousness and woke up hours later in a cold sweat, feeling sick and weak.

Luckily this was the last encounter I had with whatever this entity, but in the back of my mind I’m dreading what new nightmarish form the entity will take. However, I’m also morbidly curious if future encounter’s will revel some insight into what exactly this thing was and what it plans for me entail.