Oksana Ryabova

Moscow, Russia

I seemed to me that my deep morning slumber had been interrupted by the discomfort and mild pain of numbness in my left arm, which my head had been lying on while I slept. The desire arose within me to get rid of that discomfort. I moved my numb arm in front of me and opened my eyes. But I couldn’t see the physical arm in front of me, even though I clearly felt it there and could curl and uncurl my five fingers and bend the arm at the elbow. This all made me somewhat confused. I clearly understood that something like this could not happen in the normal physical world. I decided that this was a very realistic dream, and that in order to wake up, I would simply need to close my eyes and strain my brain with the desire to awaken. That thought was followed by action. I opened my eyes shortly thereafter, thinking that I had finally woken up.

Before me was the daily reality that I always observe upon awakening: a large window through which sunlight pours onto my bed in the center of the room, a desk and chair, a bookcase of academic literature, and a wardrobe with clothing in it. Just like always. I decided to spend this weekday-off (I had a lot of days off that week) getting calm, easy rest.

I sat up Indian-style in bed with my elbows on my knees. I squinted, enjoying the rays of May sun massaging my face. It was warm, and the air was fresh. And I felt a sense of peace pour through my body like a sort of unearthly sweet nectar. I turned to look around. And suddenly, that state of relaxation abruptly changed into cold and shivering, the sense of peace transformed into terrible fear – my body was lying behind me! Panic. I glanced at those hands in front of me that I could feel but not see. They were lying peacefully on the bed alongside my body. I touched them and felt their velvety skin, yet not feeling the sensation with my physical hands. I tried to return to my body. I lay down into it, closed my eyes, straining in an attempt to wake up. I opened my eyes and got up, but the body was still lying there. Fear, otherworldly mortal fear. Tears. Perplexity. Incomprehension. The question, "what next?" And all around me was that bright and sunny day.

I became more and more afraid. The desire to leave that state grew exponentially. All of my attempts to return to my body brought no result. Frightened and scared, I sat on the bed like a figurine. Suddenly, out of the silence, I heard steps in the room. But I couldn’t see anybody. The fear grew worse and worse. I began to scream at that invisible man wandering in my room, bidding him to stay away from me. I then asked the question, "Who is he and what does he want here, and why can’t I see him?" I got an answer: "Don’t be afraid, this is all normal". He appeared a moment later, standing beside my bed. He was about 6 feet tall and a little over 30 years old, with a stocky muscular physique. His hair was dirty-blond and cut short, his eyes were gray-blue. He was wearing only a black bathing suit. Around his neck was a thick gold chain. He began to explain something to me about a certain city, calling it a transfer point. Then he said that many go through such a state and that it was a normal thing. He took my hand and said, "let’s go." A moment later, we found ourselves on some sort of old-town street. The house that we stood in front of had a blue rectangle on its corner with the name of the street and house number. I was easily able to read everything, and was surprised at what I saw.

We stood almost naked in the middle of the street, but passersby paid us no attention. I realized that they didn’t see us. I didn’t stop looking around, shocked and scared by what was happening. My head was filled with what was at the time a terrible question: how to return?

The young man abruptly ran towards the corner of the house in front of us. Entering through its wall, he said that it was time for him to return, as his friend was due to arrive. He disappeared. I stood in same place for some time, watching people pass me by. I didn’t know how to get back to my room, because the place from which we entered the street turned out to be a wall. What a bad break, how was I to go through the wall? I closed my eyes thought about my room, and recited, "whatever will be, will be," stepped forward, and found myself on my bed.

Sweeping my eyes over the room, I discovered that nothing had changed in it. The sun shone into it just as it had before. Breathing in a sigh of relief and closing my eyes in great hope that I would wake up, I rushed to open them. To my horror, I instead found a table with medical instruments on my bed. Waves of fear swept over my body with renewed intensity. I gulped that I would not make it through if they put me under the knife. I closed my eyes once again, and started to pray. The fear gradually receded, I calmed down….. and finally woke up. The first thing that I did was to make sure that the table with the medical instruments was not there. I jumped up and started knocking on the dresser, the wall, and on the window in order to make sure that it really was all over.

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