I must agree with my diary-keeping friends that the process of writing a blog provides a useful catharsis in many ways; it is an online confessional-box-cum-therapy-couch, if you like. But it is difficult to know where to draw the line between documenting banal information and revealing deeply personal thoughts and feelings. Take fear, for example. Do you really want to know what I am afraid of? Do you want to know that I have been experiencing the most unpleasant nightmares recently? Or that the face of the strange individual that I encountered back in February still haunts me even now? Do I really need to present you with a detailed psychological discourse explaining why I am so easily disturbed by these trivial things and why they affect me so profoundly? And now yet another upsetting episode has occurred and once again I hesitate to mention it on this blog. Nevertheless the benefits to be gained by exorcising the memory in print greatly outweigh the boredom that I might inflict on my reader…
The incident took place late last night while I was in bed. It was an exceptionally warm night and, although we have a large double bed, Alex and I were both restless and I was unable to find a comfortable position in which to fall asleep. I lay awake for some time watching the large red digits on the bedside clock-radio count each passing minute and hour and my mind was racing with anxious thoughts about the classes that I had the next morning and how tired I would be if I missed out on a full night’s sleep. It was a vicious circle; the more I worried about the consequences of my lack of sleep, the harder I fought to lose consciousness and the harder it was to fall asleep.
I opened my eyes for a brief moment to check the clock for the hundredth time and in that tiny fraction of a second I took a mental photograph that burned against the back of my eyes when they closed and alarmed me so greatly that I was afraid to open my eyes again for a second time. I saw - although my rational mind now inclines me to say that I thought I saw - the faint outline of a ghostly figure dragging itself along the floor beside the bed. It had the emaciated appearance of a human skeleton but it was much shorter than an average-sized person and it emitted a faint, white-green phosphorescent glow. The head was entirely smooth, egg-shaped and devoid of any facial features except for a small round mouth that resembled the sucking mouth of a sea lamprey and it was making sharp and erratic advances towards me with its four limbs jerking in a peculiar lizard-like circular motion as it dragged itself along the floor.
As the vision began to penetrate into my consciousness my eyes jerked fully open and I woke immediately, startled and afraid, but when my sight cleared and I focused properly I saw that the bedroom was empty and the apparition had gone. Alex stirred for a second but I decided not to wake him because I knew that he would berate me for disturbing his sleep and so for the remainder of the night I lay cuddled up to Alex with the covers pulled tightly over my head, my heart thundering in my chest and my eyes firmly shut, willing myself to go to sleep for fear that I would witness another terrifying sight.
I was still disturbed by my night-time visitor when I awoke this morning and I mentioned it to Amber during our phone conversation when she called first thing before I left for lectures. As I expected, she made a series of cynical noises and asked if I had been drinking. We laughed it off and the memory has gradually faded over the course of the day, but Amber’s reaction sums up precisely why I feel compelled to write about these bizarre episodes. There will be absolutely no convincing Amber – or Alex, if I decide to tell him – that I saw this strange creature and they will persuade me that it was all a dream, even though I know with absolute certainty that I watched something very real and tangible crawl across the bedroom floor. This experience has caused me to reflect upon how frustrating it must be to see a ghost or a UFO or to hear a voice from God and to be completely rational and sound of mind but unable to convince anyone that the incident actually took place.