Hi, It's Me, Your Sleep Paralysis Demon

Friday, November 27

By Nadia Tirolese

You may not like me, but I’m not fond of you, either. This gig is only a step better from the Hot Place, if you catch my drift. Watching, waiting, and hoping for you to fall asleep is about as exciting as it sounds, and I’ve been doing this long enough to realize that you’re a night owl. No, I don’t want to watch you watch videos about the ‘Babish Culinary Universe’ and ‘YouTube drama’ or suffer through your endless scrolling through TikTok until 3 a.m. But it doesn’t seem that I have a choice now, does it?

The only good part of the deal is when I do my job once you’re asleep. I curl my scaly body around itself on your warm chest and finally sign in to Insta on your phone, periodically checking in on the paranormal Reddit threads I started the night before (it’s incredible how many people will listen to you once you’re on the right platform). Those times you refuse to wake up so I can paralyze you, I reach my arms across your room and help myself to one of your goldfish. I mean, it’s not as if you’ll miss one fish here and there—you have at least twenty of them.

Thing is, I’m not making the impression that I used to. The first time you met me, I could sense your fear; it was palpable, thick like chewing gum. I could feel your heartbeat quicken as you tried to move your useless limbs. But after three months, the terror has worn off. I would say I’m more of a nuisance than anything else, now that you’re used to me. And that is unacceptable.

I’ve had many telepathic conversations with my supervisors, and each time, they’ve reminded me that the contract is six months long—no more, no less. Three more months of this feels like an eternity, and I’m a goddamn demon. So, I’m considering a new career path. Maybe I’ll haunt some unfortunate family’s house, à la Poltergeist, or I might even live in a sewer grate and devour children like Pennywise. The possibilities are endless. You know, I should thank you, now that I think about it. You’ve helped me do some soul-searching (well, it would be, if I had a soul). But the idea still stands: you’ve helped me on my path to self-discovery, and for the first time in two thousand years, I know who I am and what my purpose is. It’s too bad it took me this long, but hey, we demons operate on a different timeline than you humans.

Three more months sound like an eternity, but from now on, I’ll be dreaming of brighter pastures. Igneous rocks. Pools of magma. Soon, my life will not revolve around a twenty-something with poor sleep hygiene and a mountain of existential angst. Until then, I’ll see you tonight. Remember to feed your fish.

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