Melancholy Nights

Melancholy Nights

A Story by Shane Lestan

A true recount of a particularly disturbing sleep paralysis episode with one of my alters.


Smoke drifted into the cool night air as Shane shifted where he sat. The green wooden railing surrounding the balcony outside his apartment was not very comfortable, but it was the only place he wanted to be in that moment. The sky was clear and the moon was full - glowing silver and reflecting back against his lenses. One of them was just slightly scratched and proved to be a minor annoyance, but the young vampire's will to get them fixed wasn't his top priority. Actually, he wasn't even sure where his priorities lied anymore. He was certain it had become the cigarette between his fingers in that moment; at least it seemed to be right then. It was a shame " the things didn't pose a threat to him anymore.

“S**t.” The cigarette fumbled and fell down below into the grass that was still slightly damp from the storm the previous night. Shane sighed and looked to the sky, blowing his short and messy hair out of his face. It had become a pale purple mop that seemed to grow as fast as getting it cut back off. He hadn't even done that in a while either. His will to do anything had seemed to fall away from him. No matter the effort he put into keeping a grasp on that inspiration and the hope that came with it, it just eventually ebbed away without his control.

He looked out across the yard at the other units around him. The lights were on around the small complex and all was quiet save for the seven-year locusts that had come out for the season. He turned down the music soothing his mind through a large pair of black headphones to mingle the night sounds with the haunting melodies of his dark Indie playlist. Another cigarette was between his lips.

Footsteps approaching behind him caused him to turn, the newly lit cigarette plucked from his mouth by long pale fingers. He smiled as he watched his dear friend Tetsu inhale only to cough and give the cigarette back. The elf cringed and approached the railing, leaning over and taking in the fresh night air. “Those things are gross.”

“Then why'd you puff on it?”

“I was curious.” Tetsu stood up to put his long black hair in a ponytail with the rubber band around his wrist. His elf ears were quite noticeable then, as they were often hidden. He adjusted his glasses before leaning back over the railing, the silver moonlight seeming to cause his ice blue eyes to glow. Shane had no doubt that the moon had a magical effect on the elf too.

“I suppose you can't knock it until you try it.” The vampire inhaled the nicotine deeply before blowing it out slowly into the sky, watching the gray tendrils dance along the rays of the moon. “So what are you up to tonight?”

“I'm actually bored believe it or not.”

“You? Bored? What about all of those books you still need to read?”

“I don't feel like reading tonight.” Tetsu sighed and looked out through the trees across the road. “Your moods are contagious, you know?”

“Sorry. I can't help it. I wish we weren't so connected on that level.”

“You're not doing well again. Lestan told me it took him a while to calm you down this morning.”

“Yeah.” Shane looked down to the ground. He had had another hypnopompic episode that morning. It was early, and he had remembered sinking into a lucid dream of disturbing content. It progressed into auditory and visual hallucinations as he had attempted to wake, and after he had finally claimed consciousness Lestan had already thrown his arms around Shane, hugging him and telling him it would be alright. Then the waking hallucinations faded into reality. It was one of the worst episodes the young vampire had experienced in some time. “I'm okay now though. It's not dangerous or anything.”

“What in the hell were you dreaming to be that messed up?” Despite the harsh words, Tetsu's tone was one of sympathy.

“I only remember bits and pieces. I was having a dream within a dream, if you can wrap your mind around that. It felt so real " the dream within the dream. It was in black and white, which is rare for me. I usually dream in color, but it didn't make the dream any less real. I was looking through the eyes of a beautiful young woman who was going to die of cancer. For some odd reason, the longing to be able to experience that sensation for myself in the dream was very important. There were times when I would get a look at her face; she looked like she was from the 1950s with her bob haircut and her modest dress. A few times I caught sight of her eyes and her pupils seemed to change shape. First, they turned to diamond shapes, then boxes that dissolved into squiggles. The dream sent the message to me that it was a sign of death, and I was looking at it.” Shane shuddered.

“Holy s**t, man.” Tetsu stole Shane's cigarette once more and inhaled, handing it back without coughing that time. “That's really unnerving.”

“Tell me about it. I went from that to my lucid dream, the hypnopompic episode. I no longer knew I was dreaming. I had full control of my thoughts and I knew what I was doing. I constantly questioned everything because I did not know if I was awake or sleeping. I answered my ringing phone and talked to some weird doctor that I had apparently been seeing for some time, then looked down to see a magazine in my lap with an odd article containing a picture of a place I'd dreamed about before. A long time ago. I remember trying to turn on my light, telling myself that if I just stood up and started walking I'd find that I was truly awake.

“I went down the hall " it was pretty dark " and tried to turn on the lights. They didn't work. I tried to accept that and moved on to my kitchen that didn't really look like my kitchen anymore. At this point, I was only seeing in shades of gray with color splashes of a weird lime color everywhere. I questioned everything. I felt the frustration genuinely in my chest. 'My kitchen doesn't look like this.' I said that out loud to myself before forcing myself to accept it. I wanted so badly to truly be awake that I was making myself accept this new reality.

“When I turned around I saw a small sofa against the wall where my table and chairs should have been. There was a dog leash on it that reminded me of the one my grandma used for her dog. I could have sworn I felt her presence there, but that was in the back of my mind. The only thing I could think of was: 'I don't have a dog.' It was then that I started to come in and out of sleep, my struggle to open my eyes like trying to lift cement blocks. That's what scares me the most when that s**t happens.”

“Why is that the scariest part? I would have thought you'd be freaked out by the lucid state itself.”

“Imagine having a genuine fear that you are trapped and you will never be able to wake again - that sleep is going to claim you forever unless you fight so hard you are exhausted the moment you win.”

Tetsu exhaled deeply before reaching across the vampire's lap into his jeans pocket. He tugged out the box of cigarettes and lighter. Shane watched him, amused as the elf lit one and put it between his lips. “And when you finally woke up, Lestan said you were losing your s**t.”

“Yeah, I was.” Shane flicked out the last bit of his finished cigarette and put the butt in his pocket. “I was so scared. I felt like my posters had eyes and they were watching me. For some reason, they always look so damn angry and cynical when that happens. All of them do regardless of expression. It's as if they are watching me, letting me know that my madness is real and that they can see me. They want to scare me.” Shane felt goosebumps crawl up his arms.

“You keep saying 'they'. Who are 'they'?” Tetsu took another puff from the cigarette.

“... I don't know.” Shane jumped down from the balcony and stumbled over, catching himself to stand. Tetsu raised his eyebrows and leaned over the railing.

“Jesus, you could've hurt yourself!”

“I'm fine. Come on.” The young vampire beckoned for the elf to follow him. “Let's go for a walk.”

“This late at night?”

Shane looked at his watch. It was already eleven. “Yeah. It's safe around here and you'll be with me.”

“Alright.” Tetsu put his cigarette out on the railing and jogged down the stairs, meeting Shane at the bottom. The young vampire wrapped his arm around Tetsu' waist to rest his hand on the elf's hip as they walked down the sidewalk and out past the trees. One or two cars sped by them as they made their way downtown to the park where the lights would guide their path. It had been a while since Shane had walked down that way so late, but he was glad he had Tetsu at his side.

The last thing he wanted after recounting such a scary thing was to be alone.

© 2017 Shane Lestan

Author's Note

Shane Lestan
*A quick note: The Shane in this is myself. Sometimes I like to write myself in the third person as a challenge, and to make the reading more interesting.*
I haven't had a sleep paralysis episode in a little while, but for those who aren't aware of what that is, it's absolutely terrifying. You can hallucinate figures within your dream in your waking vision, or hallucinate music and sounds, because although your brain is still asleep, your eyes are open and your body is trying to wake up. It's a sort of in-between state that has allowed me to write some interesting stories based on my dreams while in them.

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Added on November 1, 2017
Last Updated on November 1, 2017
Tags: sleep paralysis, nonfiction, alters, dreams


Shane Lestan
Shane Lestan


I write a bit of everything, but mostly things that make my heart sing and allow me to pour my emotions bare on paper - positive or negative. I'm in love with romance and complex love stories that inv.. more..