The shrill scream ripped through my dream, slicing it in half as my eyes fought the fog of sleep, trying to pry themselves open. “Mommy!” Came a little whisper by my ear as two little hands reached up to shake me, fear in her little voice. “Mommy, there’s a man in my room!”
My breath caught in my throat as I pulled her into the imaginary protective shield of my arms. My brain began to settle back into sleep as alarming thoughts crept through…was it a real man…or just a dream…probably just a dream…..
“Mom!” She whispered urgently, shaking my shoulders and patting my face. “There’s a MAN!” “What?” I moaned. I had heard her but was looking for clarification, because I was incredibly too tired to chase dreams, and I really didn’t know if I could even run in this state of exhaustion had it been a real man. After all, had it been a real man, wouldn’t he have stopped her from running to me? Wouldn’t he be making out with the total of ten dollars he MIGHT’VE scrounged from our couch cushions (except our couch doesn’t even have cushions, out of luck there!)?
“Lorelei, baby…it was just a dream.” I said, listening carefully for the tiniest movement, hoping I could placate her as well as myself with my reasoning.
“No, mommy. He had a gun! He said he wanted to shoot me. Kill me.”
I stared at her in disbelief, trying to process it all in my still half-asleep brain. Kill her? Guns? Where in the world did that come from? She watches movies about barbie princesses and strawberry shortcake and french and abcs. Guns? We don’t even have real cable!!! A rush of thoughts flooded my brain…what IF there really was a man in her room? What if he was waiting to kill us all? CRAP! The baby!
I jumped out of bed. “Show me, Lorelei.”
“Right there. He was standing right there.” She said, pointing her finger out to show me a space in front of her bed that now stood empty. I did a quick check of all rooms, under beds, and closets and came up clean (the way I like it). No strange men with guns in the closets makes a happy me.
That’s how it all began. And, after some time, we were able to coax Lorelei back into bed for the night, but from then on, she needed a nightlight. We told her Un-Lady was just a dream, not really real, but the screaming in the middle of the night kept coming and if she woke up to a dead nightlight that had run out of battery juice, there would be many many tears. Un-Lady wasn’t just a dream anymore. She said Un-Lady was a man, a mean man, and he had a gun. The story pretty much never changed, which isn’t very consistent with dreams. He didn’t chase her, there were no other dream “places”…it was just real to her. And then, the “baby” started screaming out in the middle of the night. Waking up, cowering in the corner of her crib, screaming that scream that you KNOW something is wrong. It was always the really hurt/terrified cry…the one that makes your heart stop in the middle of your chest when you hear it in the middle of the night. Sometimes, the baby would be standing in the corner of her crib, hands held tightly to the bars, as she kept anxiously looking over her shoulder, using her feet to try to fling herself out of her crib. She wasn’t hurt. She was terrified.
But it was weird. I would pick her up and she’d still be frantic. Step one step out of her room, and she was fine. Step back inside, cue screaming. Step right outside the door, and calm. At first, I figured it was a bad dream, but then it got weirder. She wasn’t wanting out of bed to play, or to simply snuggle…she’d sleep in my bed with me once she had an “episode,” but it wasn’t snuggling…she would cling to me as if she was tired someone would rip her away. She would hide her face and body in any little crook my body provided. She was exhausted, she was terrified.
A few months passed as we bought numerous nightlights to flood their room with light, erasing shadows. But, the girls would still wake up, terrified – often independently of the other (one would be asleep and wake up later with terrified screams).
And then, a friend came over… a little girl that was given a gift at birth that she neither wanted or liked. She could see things that I couldn’t see. So, I asked her to go through my house and just let me know what she found. I didn’t tell her where to look or which rooms to go through. She went through them all.
After going through the girls’ room, she came out, her face white as she gripped a nearby chair for support. “Something,” she said, pointing to their room, “has been in there.”
“Tell me more,” I said. I wanted more information but didn’t want to lead and wasn’t really sure how far her gift reached.
“It’s an older man. He’s angry. There’s a space in front of Lorelei’s bed and when I touched the crib, I thought I was going to pass out.”
“Okay,” I said, trying to string thoughts together. “Angry…as in…it wants to kill us or angry at someone else kind of angry?”
“Angry, but he doesn’t want to kill you, but he’s not necessarily pleasant to be around either. Also, he was in your room.”
“Do you SEE him? Like, now?”
“No, he’s not here. He just was here. I can’t feel him as strong in your room so it’s been a while, but in their room (she points), it’s very recent.”
“Like, how recent?”
“A couple of hours ago.”
She didn’t know that a couple of hours ago, I had sent Lorelei to take a nap and she’d jumped out of her bed moments later, unable to sleep. She didn’t know that a couple of hours ago, my three year old had screamed to nobody in particular “I SAID LEAVE. ME. ALONE!! MOMMY SAID YOU CAN’T BE HERE IF I DON’T WANT YOU!”
She didn’t know, but yet she knew.
UPDATE: After a lot of thought and a few people not taking us and our concerns very seriously, we invited fellow God-believers over and crammed our living room full with 14 people (including children), and on our knees, we prayed and blessed our home. Even the smallest children were on their knees…and then there was Lorelei, her head bent fervently as she struggled to repeat the entire prayer (nobody else was repeating it. Just her and the leader.) It’s been 3 weeks since we’ve had any UN LADY incidents. This makes us very happy.