The Haunting of Sara
When I was in my 20s, I briefly dated a girl named Sarah. My friends jokingly told me she was out of my league, and in a lot of ways they were right. Sarah was beautiful. I’m not. She had supermodel looks. The kind of girl you always expected to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. When I gathered the nerve to ask her out and she said yes, I was shocked. But soon I discovered there was something terrifying about her.
The first incident happened about two months after we started dating. It was also the first night I ever spent the night at her place. Usually, she would stay over at my apartment. Even though it wasn’t as nice as hers and much farther from the nightlife district, she always insisted on us going there instead. But one night, I got too drunk to drive and so we walked the short distance to her place. I learned pretty quick why she’d never invited me over before.
At about four in the morning, I woke up to the sound of a bloodcurdling scream. I was still half drunk and almost fell out of bed reaching for the light. When I finally got it on, Sarah was still asleep. I shook her awake and asked her if she’d been having a nightmare. I told her about the scream. That’s when she got this really strange look on her face. She looked crestfallen. As if I’d just given her some really bad news.
All she said was, “Not again.” Then she turned over and went back to sleep. We didn’t talk about it the next day.
A few weeks later, I spent the night again. This time it was for similar reasons. It was the middle of winter, and we’d caught a late movie. By the time it let out, the streets were snowed over and so we trudged back to her place for the night.
We walked in to find her place a wreck. There were pieces of furniture knocked over and her belongings were scattered all over the place, but there was no sign that anyone had broken in. I picked up her phone to call the cops but she stopped me, saying “It’s nothing.”
Then she said something that chilled me to the bone: “It happens sometimes. It’s not a big deal.”
I tried to get her to tell me what she was talking about, but she said she had a splitting headache and all she wanted to do was go to sleep. So we did.
I don’t remember what time it was when I woke up, but it was still pitch black outside. There was a weird sound coming from Sarah’s lips. She sounded like she was gasping. I reached out and flipped on the bedside lamp. That’s when I saw that Sarah was levitating above the bed.
I can’t say with certainty how high off the bed she was, but there was no mistaking it. She was wide awake, with a look of abject terror on her face. She had her hands clutched together in front of her chest and her legs were pointed straight out. She didn’t just hang there motionless – her body seemed to be twitching, as if she were having some sort of mild seizure.
I said her name. She didn’t respond. I sat up on my knees and looked into her eyes, but they were glassy and looked right through me. Not knowing what to do, I just sat there watching her. I thought about what to do if it didn’t stop. Call 911? And tell them what? Just as the insanity of the situation was starting to dawn on me she began to descend again, not slowly but in quick little spasmodic increments, until she was resting flat on her back on the bed again. Her eyelids closed and the gasping stopped. In a minute she was breathing normally again.
I didn’t try to wake her. I thought doing so might cause whatever it was to start back up, and I pretty much decided then and there that I never wanted to see anything like that again. I stayed awake all night and waited for the light to break. When it did, I quietly put on my clothes and took off. Sarah was still sleeping when I left.
We never went out again and I never called her after that night. She never called me, either. I ran into her a couple of times in the weeks that followed, once at a coffee shop and another time outside a bar. We said hi. It was cordial and awkward. Neither of us spoke about it. It was like a dark secret we wanted to avoid at all cost. Last I heard, Sarah took a job transfer and moved out to the west coast. I only hope whatever it was that was going on with her has somehow stopped. She was a nice person. Just a little flighty for my tastes.