Once when I was in grade school, I woke up in the middle of the night, and looked toward the foot of my bed (the top bunk) and saw a black shape – sort of like a large, crinkly garbage bag, oily and gleaming and sort of moving a little as though there were something alive inside. Of course, I began screaming hysterically, and my father came into the room and turned on the light, and the garbage bag thing was not there anymore.
Later on, I learned about sleep paralysis – the sensation of things happening while we are awake, when in fact we are not. I figured the garbage-bag experience had been sleep paralysis – it never happened again, so I wasn’t bothered by it.
Some years ago, I visited home for the holidays, and my youngest sister was visiting as well, and we began to talk about some of the strange things that seemed to happen around our house growing up.
“I used to have a dream,” she said. “Not often, but more than once, where this horrible black garbage bag thing was standing at the foot of the bed and wriggling.”
I got chills hearing this. I told her about my experience, and we quickly saw that we had been dreaming about the same thing.
Or maybe it wasn’t a dream.
And maybe we don’t want to know.