We didn’t plan ahead. We’d decided to drive as far as we possibly could, until Paul was good and tired, and that’s when we’d find a hotel to stay in.
That’s how we ended up in Borowinns, South Carolina, an extra hour after Paul had said he was too tired to keep driving. We’d been driving around trying to find a hotel, to no avail. The neighbouring towns had all been absolutely deserted. Only the moonlight accompanied us as we followed the GPS’s twisting trail. There were no signs of stores, people, houses or anything. Total ghost town.
We pulled into what my phone reported to be a Best Western, but was now a budget brand motel instead. If I squinted, I could still see the faint outline from where the BW sign used to be on the building’s crumbling facade. The front lobby was locked, so we had to ding the rusty bell by the bullet-proof night window. I silently hoped that no one would show up, and we’d have to keep driving, but a man materialized right as we’d turned to leave.
A few hours after we’d gone to bed, I woke up, and I saw him. A man, a large man, standing in the hotel room. Not the night manager we’d checked in with, someone else. Someone I’d never seen before. Shuffling around our room! Looking right at me. At first, I was paralyzed with fear. When I worked up the courage, I shook Paul roughly and whispered, “there’s someone in the room!!”
Groggy Paul got up, turned on the lights, but the man had vanished. We checked the bathroom, looked out the window, but it was certain. There hadn’t ever been anyone else there with us.
This was the second time I woke up and saw a strange man in my hotel room.
Growing up, and especially in university, I often woke up to people standing over my bed at home, always watching me. Sometimes more than one person. It used to freak me out so much, I would avoid falling asleep all together. I remember one particular couple who’d stand by my bed in the mornings and sometimes reach out to touch me. They never did succeed.
A few nights ago, my cat jumped on the bed and woke me up. Standing beside my bed was a woman, clear as day, holding a baby in her arms. She scared me, but I couldn’t look away, not until she morphed back into the shoe organizer hanging on my closet door.
The internet tells me these hallucinations are often connected to sleep paralysis, but I’ve never noticed the paralysis separate from the fear. Hypnopompic hallucinations are more common than I thought and apparently nothing to worry about.
Unless you prefer waking up alone.