Friday, October 22, 2010

Ghost Press: Cindy Pon visits for Frightay Nights [Frightay Nights] [Guest Post]

The Chinese called it ghost press.

It only ever happened when I napped, waking suddenly, seeing through hazy eyes, trapped within my own body. Those few times, I'd fight down the overwhelming sense of panic and willed myself awake, recapturing my smothered breath. I would step from lucid dreams to emerge disoriented, but relieved.

This time was different.

A shuddering moan woke me. Fading sunlight filtered through blinds--how long had I slept for? My hands were clasped, folded across my chest.  I could see them beneath heavy eyelids, but it was as if my body were not mine. Something crashed to the floor, clattering. My heart thundered and a low hiss escaped from between my lips.  I tried to turn my head, toward the dark shape slithering at the edge of my vision. To open my eyes wider, to wake and dispel it.

I was paralyzed.

The blinds shook, rattling like bones, and the room spun with crazy shadows.

The thing said my name. Long, low and guttural. As if it tasted it on its tongue, savored it. I couldn't speak or scream. The knot in my throat spasmed.  It was beside me now, chanting my name.  Whispering. Cajoling. And in a swift motion of jerking limbs, it was on top of me, dense yet amorphous. It clasped my face with long, cold hands and sank into my solar plexus.

Silken hair brushed against my throat, black like its fathomless eyes.

Was it a woman?

I tried to shove her off, to look in her face. But her long locks hid her features, which shifted subtly, like a reflection in the water. Her pungent scent of decaying leaves and stagnant pond filled me, as she trailed sharp nails across my shoulder blades.

Blood welled, warm, pooling in the hollow of my neck. My tears felt hot against my cheeks. She cooed--an almost motherly sound--and opened her gaping mouth wider to expose jagged teeth. Wider still until her face crumpled, disappeared. She settled into me, anchored in my chest, and lowered that misshapen mouth, teeth gnashing, toward my face.

I whimpered, frozen still. Forced my eyes wide open, compelled myself awake. The lights overhead flickered on, blazing like the sun, and I winced, squeezing my eyes shut.

Someone whispered my name.


cindy's note:

okay. confession. only the first two paragraphs of the
above is actually true. i have experienced what the chinese
call ghost press before, but not anything as horrifying as what
i described.

i was so fascinated by this phenomenon that i researched online
a while back. apparently, it is a state where upon waking from
sleep when your consciousness is fully awake before
your brain is, so you don't have full control over your body, thus
producing the terrifying paralyzed feeling.

i'm a big fan of ghost stories and all things paranormal
and unexplained. i can't watch it in the theatre (i'm a real
chicken) but i love reading a scary story! i hope you enjoyed
this short piece of fiction that i wrote for shesten's halloween month!
thanks for having me, shes!!

Thanks for participating, Cindy!  We ♥ you!  Guys, make sure you check out cindypon.com, and follow Cindy (@cindypon) on Twitter.  If you haven't read SILVER PHOENIX yet, what are you waiting for?  Pick up a copy at Amazon today, and if you have read SP, you must be as eagerly awaiting FURY OF THE PHOENIX as I am, so why not preorder it?

3 comments:

David Batista said...

I think all cultures have a story behind this. My best friend would have this happen to him routinely. His southern Baptist grandmother would always tell him he has a "hag" riding his back. It's an old expression. It's funny, though, how it always seems to be a female figure behind this sleep paralysis syndrome, eh?

Great flash, Cindy! Very creepy and in-the-moment for me. Perfect for the season. :)

cindy said...

thanks, david!!

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Best wishes
Suzy Turner