It comes to me in the night watches. I hear its bellowing ragged cloak whipping in the wind as it advances towards me, its helpless victim. Like a dove overtaken by a predatory hawk mid-flight am I viciously thrashed apart by its preternatural claws. A very select few in our world of Terra know of this beast even though its malevolent presence visits every living soul that still dwells in a body. It is only we who struggle against its sinister machinations that come to be made aware of its true personality. Of its name.
Slep the Daemon of night first appeared in my troubled 20’s. Not troubled in any delinquent sense, quite the contrary, I was overburdened with my work and career and it was costing me sound night’s rest for nearer week’s at a time. I was never the sharpest knife in the drawer but a hard work ethic was instilled in me from an early age. My colleagues surely didn’t appreciate my titanic efforts at the time but such is my lot. As I said I was missing consistent full night’s sleep for weeks at a time and it finally caught up to me… Late one night I was in a groggy and dreamlike state as one often is when rest-deprived, rubbing my eyes while seated at my desk when strange things began occurring. The lamp’s yellow light flickered in quick rapid succession and for some reason the hairs on the back of my neck stood upright. I felt as though I were not alone in my bedroom. I was hesitant to move as one often is when seized by anxiety and slowly turned my head around towards my bed and could see out of my peripheral vision a clear and contrasting sight in the room. A dark and what seemed like hunched over figure was behind the head-rest of my bed. Its blackness held a cold aura that is almost futile to try and describe beyond what I have. Against the yellow light of the weakening lamp and the off-white walls of the room its shadowy dark visage stood out more brilliantly than a full moon in cloudless night. I jerked completely around frightened of what was to follow but there was nothing! Just my bed and the bland wall behind my bed’s head-board. The lamp’s dimming light brightened back to its normal strength at this moment and I rubbed my eyes as I turned back to my desk to continue the evening’s work.
You must understand it was not as if I avoided a good night’s rest on a regular basis. Not as I do now… No, it was just that work enveloped my time and when not working I had precious few hours left to play and play is what I most often elected to do. I succumbed to the occasional day nap to be sure but nothing like a restful evening of deep dream wanderings. Those dream wanderings which bring that wretched Daemon Slep its minacious delights. It was a mere two days after the first occurrence that I met “it.” I was again busy working at my desk when I decided to move to the bed for a more comfortable position. Sitting my pillow against the head-board vertically I sat back against it with my laptop on the lap of my outstretched legs. It predictably didn’t take long at all for drowsiness to slam against my eyes like a sledgehammer. The door to the hallway was half opened letting light spill in and mingle with the artificial glow of my laptop’s screen when once again they began flickering and dimming. Both at the same time so I knew it wasn’t merely a weakening bulb or malfunction of the computer. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes as I prepared to get up and see what was going on in the rest of the house when I suddenly froze in place on the bed. I had looked to the cracked doorway leading to the hall when the hunched-over cloaked Daemon that, to my dread, had been leaning over the side of the door frame staring at me quickly moved out of sight!
“Who’s there!?” I yelled out in a panic which made my voice crack a bit.
No answer. The lights still flickering.
“I’m calling the police!! I have a knife! Come near me and I’ll kill you!!”
No answer. But then suddenly I heard a thud and then clacking and scraping. I didn’t know what was happening until horrifyingly it dawned on me the insidious creature had dropped low to the floor and was crawling into my bedroom! I stood up on the bed holding my laptop ready to smash it into whatever was assailing me but I couldn’t see anything around my bedroom floor. Just as I was getting ready to jump off and make a run for it the hallway light extinguished itself and my hopes with it. I let out a whimper not knowing what else I could do when I felt the cold wet alien fingers of the abominable being grab my ankle! I shrieked and screamed yanking my leg but it had already let go causing me to collapse over the side of the bed onto the ground. I couldn’t see anything in the darkness but it sounded as if my laptop was definitely broken in the fall. I clasped a hand on the side of the bed and turned to see two wide bulging eyes shimmering white in the pitch blackness. Eerily human looking eyes but inhumanly large and so so gaping wide as if in a perpetual state of mania or on the verge of striking. They stared at me from under the bed. Nothing but those white eyes visible. I think I died inside then. Perhaps I lost some years off my life. I am not ashamed to admit I fainted. It was the first time in my life and it was well warranted.
I came to 14 hours later by my best estimation. When there are deep lines along your body and slobber along your face and matted in your hair you know you’ve been out for a while. I blinked and picked the sleep out of my eyes and to my chagrin the laptop was in pieces. But as I picked it up all the previous night’s horrors came flooding back to me! I dropped the laptop and gathered my things in a hurried rush out the door. I asked to stay at a friend’s for the night saying something about fumigation I think. Certainly not that a shadowy demon was terrorizing my own place at night. Work was on hold indefinitely until I could get a new computer and transfer the files from my flash drive which was still at my place. So that evening as my friend was getting ready for bed I was reading a book from his collection when before I knew it, an hour had passed! I looked at my watch which said “1:14 am” and was getting up to to retire in the guest room when I heard a violent rustling as if a heavy cape was flapping in the wind! Then a thud! It was coming from the master bedroom… I quickly made my way to my friend’s room calling out his name but his door was closed. I softly knocked calling his name again but still no answer. I slowly turned the knob and let the door creak open but it was so very dark. Just then like a hideous revelation I perceived the same hunched and raggedly cloaked figure crouched over my friend with his slick and shiny wet fingers tightly grasping his head. It was gazing with those wide bulging malevolent eyes at my friend’s face as he lay there in a paralytic slumber! I gasped involuntarily and it jerked its gruesome hooded face to me and stared at me with the same unblinking expression. The same one it had burned in my mind the previous night when it lurked about my room! It didn’t move. It stayed crouching gripping my friends face while staring at me intensely. I couldn’t move for what felt like eternity before I started backing away slowly without thinking. I must find a weapon of some kind! I looked around and found a baseball bat he had in a utility closet! I ran back to the master bedroom but it was gone! My friend lay there alone, snoring away. I went back to the recliner in the main living room to ponder the events that had come crashing uninvited into my life. I did not sleep that night and I did not let go of the bat.
I did not mention the night’s events to my friend because he did not seem to me altered in any way and I was confident he would not believe such a wild story anyhow. But I had to research what was happening and discover if at all possible the origins of this infernal phantom. I acquired a new laptop and began scouring all the dark, dingy, macabre corners of the internet I could find looking up anyone who may have heard legends of such a creature. The research was feverish and consumed me. Work had texted, emailed and called several times but damn them I had more important things to contemplate! I sent an email referencing leave of absence and left it at that. Maybe I’d have a job by the time I had rid myself of this malady or maybe not. Either way I had one singular task ahead of me. For all the online junk, bad fiction, creepy pastas, etc that I had unfortunately crammed down my beleaguered brain it was a forum on sleep paralysis that had been my salvation. Several people referenced the usual apparitions associated with this phenomenon such as dark silhouette figures, aliens, demons etc etc but a few people made reference to a women several years back who ended up in the news in her sleepy coastal town in Maine. She had become something of a cautionary tale among the sleep paralysis community. This woman in her mid 30’s with no history of mental health issues one night set fire to her house burning her husband and 4 children alive. She was arrested and after observation declared mentally unfit for trial where she was committed to a institution. She made constant references to a hooded and cloaked demonic figure with bulging eyes stalking her family at night but these were passed off as the deranged ramblings of a mad woman. However, for me the similarities were striking indeed. I inquired further about where she was committed and made plans to travel to New England’s infamous asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts.
Since the horrible incident several years back she had shown no signs of violence and besides her ravings could be rather docile. This led to my being able to visit with her under light supervision. We were in the common area with other patients and I was seated across from her at a table when I leaned in whispering about the “demon that comes at night” and her eyes widened with terror. To my relief though she did not lose control causing an abrupt end to our session. She leaned forward also and whispered “Daemon.”
“It’s called Daemon Slep. Demon is too new.”
“Tell me, miss! I need to know how to stop it from coming to me and my friends.”
“I tried” she weakly groaned with tears beginning to form in her eyes. “I tried to burn it alive but I burned everything else! Every ONE else!”
The guard near the door to the common area had begun to take notice.
“Yes and I’m truly sorry. But now its after me. I don’t know what to do!”
“It’s after us all. Don’t you know that? It still comes to me and everyone in this goddamn madhouse.”
“What? How is that possible? Are there more of them!?”
She began laughing in a mix of bemusement and frustration probably at my complete lack of awareness. “There’s only the Daemon Slep.”
“How do you know its name?”
“It told me. The night I…..of the fire. It spoke to me. I knew then what I had to do. It’ll tell you too. I don’t know if you can kill it. But if you want a chance you have to wait for it to take someone else. That’s all I have to say about this, please leave.”
I wanted to continue but seeing that she was thoroughly finished speaking I rose from the table, offered my condolences to her family and left that foggy town of Arkham headed back home.
The plans were quite simple I’d make up some other excuse to stay the night at my friends place and just as before it would make its appearance and while it was doing its work on my friend I would kill it or die trying. The tool was already at his place. Louisville Slugger. Made for one thing; beating the hell out of whatever was in front of it. That night as we each retired to our rooms I came back out into the living area and sat down with the bat just watching and waiting. It was probably a quarter past 12 when I heard that wind-flapped billowing of its wretched black cloak and the dreaded thud of a very real presence in my friend’s room.
“Okay, there’s no time to hesitate, don’t stare at it, don’t let it get away.”
I was trying to inspire supernatural courage within myself and finally arose. I approached the door cautiously. No sound from inside the room. I carefully twisted the knob as before and let it creak open enough to see it. There in all its maligned glory crouched over my friend with its hideously long shiny black fingers it dripped viscous dark fluids all over my friend’s face as it squeezed its palms over his eyes. Those unblinking bulging white eyes were transfixed on my friend. The Daemon’s concentration was like nothing I had ever seen before. Something not even the strongest of illicit stimulants could induce in a human being. I was involuntarily squeezing the handle of the bat so hard sweat was pooling inside my palms. I glanced down at my hands for a second and looked back up to see the wretched Daemon staring at me with its ghastly gaze! As if it had been peering into me the whole time as well. “Don’t hesitate” I whispered, and barged in!
Swinging the bat violently downward in the darkness of that room it met with a satisfying *crack* as the Daemon’s hands were stretched out to defend itself. I swung mercilessly cracking it in the face several times and then the body as it writhed around over my friend! A gurgling wheezing was emitting from it as it struggled to breathe and then it vanished out of sight leaving just me and my friend! I turned to the door and flipped on the light which greeted me with an image so nauseating and repellent I shall never sleep soundly again. The bed sheets and blanket were scattered about the floor and my friend’s beaten and mangled body lay twisted on his mattress with blood pooling around his face. One of his eyes was knocked clear out of his skull and he choked and coughed up a pathetic glob of blood and teeth as he turned his one good eye up to me like a frightened and confused child. I dropped the blood-soaked bat and rushed to him frantically looking for a phone to call an ambulance but he was already breathing his last. I collapsed into a sobbing heap on the floor of his bedroom with his fresh blood all over my clothes and hands.
Time as a construct had become a faded concept to me but if I had to guess I would say it was maybe an hour after I had been crying next to the mutilated corpse of my friend that it came back. It just seemed to creep back into the visible spectrum out of its nether nothingness. The light’s flickered as it perched over my friend’s body and looked down on me from on top of the bed. Its coldness was more apparent then ever before and I swear I saw my own breath as I examined its features. The cloak was well past worn and was tattered scraps yet concealed every inch of the Daemon’s body besides its face and hands. Those long fingers hung a good 10 inches each dripping that shiny black liquid all over the mattress as it stood hunched over motionless. Its face was a pale sickly gray shrouded by the hood it wore but by far the most strikingly disturbing feature were those great grotesque bulging white eyes leering lifelessly without end. It peered at me or rather INTO me for hours. It didn’t move. Didn’t change expression. Just stared. While I sat defeated on the floor against the wall, tear-stained and blood-soaked.
Finally I hoarsely croaked “Who are you? What do you want?”
It didn’t move or make a sound. Just stared…
“Please…I have nothing. Why did you do this?!”
“Answer me!! “WHAT ARE YOU?! WHAT ARE YOU?!!”
A guttural sound like squeezing wet sandy rocks together in your palms emitted from it like regurgitated waste. The sound seemed to splatter all over the walls, the floor, the furniture, my friend, me… It spewed until it filled up the room like a septic tank overflowing with stinking refuse. It was just a word:
I had covered my mouth so the sound wouldn’t enter me and I gaped at it wide-eyed with horrible fright as it uttered this single name of preternatural and ancient eldritch terror.
In in an instant it was flying at me with its outstretched dripping fingers and lidless white eyes until only blackness enveloped me!
Only that Daemon Slep.
So should you find yourself resisting that creeping and stalking urge to rest, your sense for its presence may be awakened. You may find yourself burning the midnight oil and rubbing your eyes to stay awake. But take care dear reader, for one night when you rub your eyes you may open them to see that Daemon Slep watching you from the corner of your vision as the lights flicker on and off…