There are visual intricacies to sleep paralysis that are only noticeable by eye if the eyes allow them to be seen. The knee-jerk is to attempt a closing of the eye, but the eye is pried open by the sonic dread violating the ear, and so all senses available to you are essentially arrested by the episode. Often the occurrence may prove so frightful that a childish squeal might escape you and in hearing your own frightened tones independent of these encompassing, horrendous wails, you are agitated further and further into giving life to something that is very much living inside of your brain. It is a highly visceral birthing process engendered by the sperms of nightmare. It is a terrestrial invasion by the shapeless black things that dance whimsically somewhere in the loft above bedtime. It’s easy to call them phantoms or devils but those are inventions of the conscious and what you’re experiencing comes from the collective unconsciousness, those shared and ancient vibrations that make mad, voodoo satellites of all soup-swimming brains. It is only terrifying if you close the eye, so long as you allow what’s happening to run its course, and as long as you become a willing participant, you will be rewarded for at least a moment.
Sometimes the shuddering, mutant obscurity reveals itself to be the face of a friend, a baby, a robin redbreast, or anything delicately simple, just enough to defeat the screaming for a few moments. It is frightening in itself to note that one of these intricacies is that your sedative visual is actually a hideously precise moment in time that has latched itself for some reason to your subconscious. The furrowed brow of a friend or the glistening spittle on an eager tongue. Those detailed memories proven inaccessible by independent thought, and no matter how warm the optic may be, it has now manifested as something grotesque. That is the reward for your courage, a moment or two of merciful stillness with a dead reflection. The question is: who showed it to you?
And then it starts over again.