The golden, bright sun filled the room with gentle, dancing light. My cosy home, a small wooden cottage, deep in the forest green woods was now witnessing dawn, a blend of vibrant orange and the coming blue of the day. I looked around my little room, overgrown with the vines and trees that I had planted, and grinned. The monster was gone.

 Slipping into my fluffy snow-white slippers, I threw my head out the window and breathed in the crisp morning air, closing my eyes with satisfaction and joy. Over and over, I repeated this joyful chant to myself. The monster is gone. I opened my eyes and frowned in puzzlement.

The light had disappeared. Feeling goose bumps rise to my skin, I snuck a glance into the thick woods, now grey in the shadows of the night. For once, the moon had been covered by a thick black cloud and the stars were nowhere to be seen. The only sound I could hear was the leaves of my plants rustling in the wind that had found its way into my room. But there was no wind.

 Slowly, infinitely slowly, I turned around as my heartbeat thumped loudly in my ears. There. A small black shape was quickly materializing, growing more humanoid and taller by every terrifying millisecond. Steeling myself for what I was about to see, for what I did see, every night, I released a slow, pent up breath and gulped. Then I screamed.

The creature in front of me was the nightmare that I had become familiar to, but taller and more mind-numbingly terrifying. Its long-disfigured arms trailed behind it as it made its way towards me, and its bright red eyes were like torch lights, fixed on me, creating my own personal blood-red spotlight.

Its bony body and sunken face came closer, and a stench of rotten cheese and slowly decaying flesh hit me like a sledgehammer to the face. Screaming again, I opened my eyes.

 My pillow was drenched in my sweat, and my throat was raw and hurting. Gentle sunlight still filled the room like it had in my dream and the forest-green woods were still swaying in the wind. And the face was still there.

Closer and closer the bruised, sunken face came to mine as I tried to shout, tried to plead for help. Then suddenly, the monster vanished. I sat up and gasped, burying my face into my hands. Getting my light pink kitty notepad that seemed oddly out of place from the dream that I just had, I wrote down with trembling hands: Sleep Paralysis count – 44