The Ghost Profiler
by George S. Karagiannis
Several nights after stumbling upon the strange Udloob creature, I mysteriously began experiencing serious sleep paralysis. I came to the conclusion that his mesmerizing voice must have caused it. These events brutally awakened me, but not because of nightmares or a visiting ghost, but because my body felt frozen as if it had been immersed in a bathtub full of icy water.
I could picture myself retaining full consciousness, but I was totally unable to move my toes even a sixteenth of an inch. My body muscles refused to obey my brain commands, and I had to patiently wait until I naturally recovered from my stiffness.
This shocking experience was so intense that I desperately tried to keep bad thoughts away. Deep inside, I felt so helpless that I wished Manny were standing next to me, giving me a hand and reassuring me everything would go away in a moment.
Once I had an unwelcome guest in my sleeping room, seconds after falling into my paralytic nightmare. It was not a ghost; it was an Oracle who sat in the chair next to my bed, and all I could see was the half of his shadowy silhouette. I used my imagination to draw the rest of the picture, as I had already proved to myself my imagination was more vivid than life itself. By focusing on his gargling breath, I realized it sounded like boiled water. I could not articulate a single word; I felt I could even be drowned in my own saliva, powerless as I was to control my own swallowing.
With a gentle push, the Oracle rolled me over into an unpleasant posture where I had to kiss my pillow. Although I had no idea what he was planning to do to me, I captured him with the corner of my eye gloating with satisfaction at exercising control over my useless body. He touched my back with his skeletal hands, and I heard his stony statement: “I have to initiate your transformation immediately.” His voice immersed in irony and immediately caused a stress blast in my mind. All my insides were ready to explode.
By having the small advantage of half an eye above the level of my pillow, I witnessed the Oracle pull out of his pocket a small palm-sized, black case, which he carefully placed on the bed just in front of my nose. The Oracle opened the case ceremonially. I glimpsed the blinding luster of miniature, small-diameter needles placed inside. The Oracle lifted my pyjama top up to my neck and then stripped me naked. My saliva kept dripping from the edge of my mouth; it took me less than a heartbeat to realize I was going to be surgically treated.
“I am going to inject some toxolites now, so lie still,” the Oracle said. The comment was rhetorical; he knew I was paralyzed and unable to move anyway.
And next moment, he used all his spiky needles to breach my vertebras, pushing them straight into my spinal cord with surgical precision, and then deeper and deeper into my bone marrow until they had totally vanished. This perverted torture lasted long enough to drive me completely crazy.
I counted more than ten of these “toxolite needles” being instilled in the same way, inside my spine. Each one of them constituted a unique and painful experience. Each time I felt the awful toxolite pinch from skin to nerves, I felt I was travelling to the world of my ghosts and then back to the world of living. Many times I thought my heart would not tolerate any more of this pressure and would give up before receiving the next toxolite, but it kept beating up to the moment the Oracle had finished with them all.
I woke up next morning and prayed it had all been a bad dream, but failed to persuade myself it had been one. I realized I couldn’t sense the relative positions of my body parts and additionally I had to make an unusual effort to achieve the slightest movement. I couldn’t remember where my legs and arms were placed. I had to stare at my hands directly in order to give them an order to pick up a glass, fill it with water and bring it to my mouth.
I was convinced something was wrong with me and had to confess to father of my previous night’s paralytic experience along with the injected toxolites. Yet, father said, I had lost the sense of “proprioception.” He said it happened because I was getting exhausted from work all day and I needed some rest. Although I attempted to keep this argument running, father simply put a stop to it by claiming his book of thoughts was almost finished, and I would have to be patient. Leaving me helpless one more time, he vanished behind the library door. And all I did was to move back to the idea of “toxolite poisoning.”
Day after day, my condition worsened. I started puking once every hour; my legs couldn’t hold my weight anymore; and inanimate objects in the house did not stand still as they were supposed to. Vertigo was followed by random fainting without apparent reason, and I could not keep my head straight for more than two seconds. Eventually I lost perception and contact with my surroundings.
Towards my final days, I lost my vision; I captured myself trying only intuitively to perform actions, usually ending up in complete failure. That’s when I was confident my illness had deteriorated, dragging me slowly into a paraplegic abyss and my only reasonable outcome would be to fall into a coma.
The only wish that left to be was to worship a decent death, to join the ghosts I had befriended back in my healthy days.
* * *
I was brought to a sea of light, which caressed my body. It was gently applied on my skin like a waterproof aroma made of fairy sweat. I took the leap of faith and abandoned the platform that kept the gravity of my feet for so long. I flew to the sky and there, I orbited for thousands of years in dead space watching stars being born and dying in an infinity loop, always remembering that my only true purpose at the universe was to reach the end of the self-lit tunnel, where a barred door was waiting for me to be unlocked.
And when I did that, I witnessed thousands of geometrical patterns of enormous energy unleashed from the button I had pressed, dancing in the flickering rhythm of the astral bodies, gifting me with complete “reason.” And this is perhaps the most beautiful feeling: to remember it all in such scary detail.
* * *
Copyright © 2013 by George S. Karagiannis