Nat texted me one night with a wink smiley. “Joe is keeping me awake. He won’t let me sleep.”
I winked back. I didn’t know who Joe was but I guessed he wouldn’t last long with Natalie. She reeled them in, then let them go. Sometimes they didn’t want to go, and sometimes she didn’t want them to go, but I had my own nocturnal problems to worry about.
I was woken at 3 a.m, by a bald headed creature on top of me. It was naked with pasty skin that looked as if it had never seen the light of day. It had a untamed mono eyebrow, but on the upside, its little pot belly hid any trace of the genitals…if it had any. Thankfully, and for reasons unknown, the main man of this hideous creature was blessedly absent.
This thing had been in my nightmares for several years now. I had never caught it in the act, until now, when I’d woken up and there it was, sitting high up on my stomach, its little legs and feet splayed out, like the way a toddler might sit on the floor, as he played with his toys.
Now that I was awake, I could see that it was clawing at my chest, yes there. It was exactly as a cat kneads away at a human lap, with yellow claws at the end of huge hairy paddle like paws, way out of proportion to the rest of its body. It’s lips bled out of the lines slightly, like the red lipstick daubed senior citizen on Bingo Night. That mouth sucked the very life energy from mine leaving me feeling breathless, drained, weak and assaulted every time. While I’d been unconscious and helpless, I’d never known what that feeling of suffocation was, until now. I always thought the duvet was wrapped around my throat, choking me somehow, but every time I woke up, I was never caught up in anything.
Now I was looking into its eyes and I couldn’t look away. It looked like the creature had been deprived of sleep for years, judging by the dark blue shadows under its eyes. All the while, it was doing the kneading thing that cats do, it absolutely transfixed me with its feral yet intelligent stare. I realised I couldn’t move. I was paralysed under its primitive but powerful gaze.Then, I began to fight, I fought with my mind and my body and with every fibre in my being, I fought against that creature but I was pinned to the pillow by a great weight.
Then all of a sudden it was gone. I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I lay there, for what seemed like hours, in the darkness, trying to get my breath back. Even though I was no longer under its disgusting little frame, I couldn’t move a muscle. I tried. It was as if I’d been injected with a immobilising poison that took its time to wear off.
Eventually, it did wear off and the next day, I walked into a church. To my embarrassment, my hand was clammy as the deacon shook it. “I need help.” I whispered. We went somewhere quiet to talk. Afterwards, he scribbled a prayer on some paper and gave it to me. “You’re being visited by a type of demonic entity called an incubus.” he said. “They appear for all sorts of reasons. They can also be sent by your enemies as a form of attack. The only way to get rid of it is to pray it away in the Name of Jesus Christ.”
“Will it work?” I asked.
He smiled as if I’d said something funny. “If you do it in His Name, yes.”
Before I went to bed, I read the prayer out loud.
I woke up at 3 a.m, as usual but this time I wasn’t suffocating, or paralysed. Instead there was a knocking from inside my wardrobe. I switched on the light and looked inside. Cowering in the corner was my incubus. He didn’t look quite so frightening any more, more like a little old man and without the paralysis and the terror that went with it, I was emboldened. “What are you doing here?” I was surprised to find that for once, I was angry rather than afraid, and I could talk. I was normally unable to when under attack. “I prayed you away today. I was told it would definitely work.” I began to say the prayer again out loud.
The creature flinched. “No, don’t. Don’t!” It put its large paddled paws to its head as if it had a headache and closed its eyes. “The prayer did work.” rasped the demon. “I was returned to the one who sent me, but I got lost on the way back. It happens sometimes when I have to learn a new route. I’ve never been very good at directions and I’m not going to ask the others.”
I didn’t ask who the others were.
“It’s embarrassing.” continued the incubus. “I have my pride to think about.”
“I bet you do. Did someone send you?”
“Humans are so petty.” said the demon.
I asked again but it just stared at me with those half ferocious, half thoughtful piercing eyes and before I could fall into the hypnotic blue, I recited the prayer again. The incubus winced as if in pain and disappeared.
A few weeks later, I was at Nat’s house. Until then, I’d never really paid much attention to her black candles and voodoo doll all stuck with pins. I picked the doll up. It looked a bit like me. “I hope you’re not cursing me.” I said half jokingly. She reddened, snatched the doll out of my hand and changed the subject quickly. “Hey guess what, I finally dumped Joe.”
“Joe.” I said, vaguely remembering the text. “Oh yes, that new guy who won’t let you sleep. ”
“He serviced my car and don’t you remember him smiling at you?”
I shook my head. “You smiled back.” she said. “I thought you were both having a moment there in the garage…but…well, it’s official, it was me he fancied after all.” she said smugly. “I think I only went out with him because…well…I’m competitive, as you know.”
“The man who serviced your car?” I couldn’t even remember what he looked like under all that motor oil, but Nat did and had thought I liked him. I remembered the demons words. ‘Humans can be so petty.’
Yes and jealous too and complete bitches to boot. Who needs friends when…
“Well, it’s over now.” she said with a sigh. “We’re not as compatible as I thought we were. He spent far too much time under those cars of his.” It was then I noticed that Natalie was looking very tired and drawn lately, absolutely exhausted, a shadow of the girl she used to be. It’s as though, I thought, she’s been up all night, as if she hasn’t had a decent kip for weeks, as if someone, or something, just won’t let her sleep….
© Sue Young