The founding co-chair of the Horror Writers Association’s San Diego Chapter, KC Grifant has written scifi, horror and fantasy stories for the Lovecraft Ezine, Electric Spec and two anthologies, What Has Two Heads, Ten Eyes, and Terrifying Table Manners? and Frightmare: Women who Write Horror.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve had these dreams, night terrors really. It begins the same: I’m awake–vividly awake–but paralyzed. Nearby is a sensation of something watching. This manifests as floating eyes or white faces like masks hovering nearby, just out of reach. I never know what they’re waiting for.
The next stage of the dream is a feeling of floating, as I seem to detach from my body and drift up toward the ceiling. Usually I can control it, but other times it feels forced, like someone or something is trying to wrench my consciousness out. So far I have always been able to urge myself awake before the dream ends and I lose sight of my body, but I worry, what will happen one day if I can’t wake up in time?
These sensations turn out to be an eerily common phenomenon detailed throughout the ages. In the old days people likened such a feeling to a witch sitting on their chest or a type of possession. Now, a number of narratives abound: alien or angel encounters; poltergeists; out-of-body experiences (OBES); and brain seizures are some of the explanations people use to explain this weird occurrence.
As a result, many of my horror tales zoom in on the border of that gray dreamscape and explore what creatures lurk at the edge of reality. What are their intentions, these invisibles–demons, parasites, gods, parallel selves? Perhaps, like hunters, they lie and wait for us to slip up so they can take control or feed on our fears and doubts. Whatever the case is, hopefully these creatures stay safely in the realm of fiction. Though, sometimes in the darkness of night, I wonder.