Stuck somewhere between deep sleep and grogginess, Sarah could feel the atmosphere in the room changing. The air thickened until it felt heavy. She shivered beneath the blanket. Every breath she drew was strained and loud. Silence popped in her ears.
The sense of unease prodded her subconscious, forcing her to wake up. Sarah didn’t want to. She knew what the gathering tension meant. She put her hand over her eyes, determined to ignore the pressure.
The dark room wouldn’t be ignored. An invisible presence rushed over Sarah, its energy skimming across the blankets and wrapping itself around her head. Its weight pressed her down, and she couldn’t move. The thing she could never name hovered, unintelligible words ringing in Sarah’s ears.
Then she was released. Sarah sat up and screamed. She fumbled for the light switch, her heart hammering and her stomach turning with nausea. Light flooded the room, and she searched for the source of the intrusion.
There was nothing. Her mother’s quilt rack, laden with colorful quilts that were never used, sat in one corner, a rocking chair in another. An antique school desk served as a bedside table. A glass lamp sat on a top, along with the book Sarah had discarded hours ago.
“What’s wrong?” Her father’s voice called from across the room. Her parents lived in the country, surrounded by farms and kind neighbors. An intruder was the last thing her dad would be worried about. He was used to Sarah’s ‘episodes,’ as he called them. They happened every time she visited.
“Something moved across me,” she answered. Her voice sounded ominous in the quiet guest room.
“Probably the cat,” her mother answered. “You know he roams around all night.”
Sarah glanced at the bedroom door. It was open an inch, nowhere near big enough for her parent’s eighteen-pound black and white cat to squeeze through.
“Little Bit?” Sarah called. “Come here, kitty, kitty. Come snuggle with me.”
No answer. The cat wasn’t in the hall. The only thing Little Bit liked to do more than eat was talk. He would have chattered back.
“He’s probably downstairs,” her dad said. “You scared him. Go back to sleep.”
Sarah kept her mouth shut. The cat wasn’t downstairs. He would have been lounging in the hallway, complaining about Sarah making so much noise.
She pulled the blanket up to her nose. The room was still, benign. That meant nothing. Whatever visited her came and went as it pleased.
Sarah had sensed the presence of spirits in the old farmhouse since she was a child. It was nothing to feel the bed sag as though someone were sitting on it only to find there was no one. During a miserable bout with the flu, a woman wearing an old-fashioned gray dress had sat with Sarah. She didn’t speak, but her company was calming. Sarah’s mother insisted the woman had been a fever-induced dream.
But this was different. Whatever this energy was wanted Sarah’s attention. It grew bolder with each visit, gathering more energy and leaving the room a suffocating tomb.
Tonight was the first time it had touched Sarah. She knew it wouldn’t be the last.
**based on true experiences**