Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Curse of REM

When I was fourteen, I woke up in the middle of the night to incredible pain in my side. I didn’t want to bother anyone, so I tried to go back to sleep. When that didn’t work, I started pacing…doubling over…pacing some more. When I finally woke my mom, she called my aunt, a retired nurse, who proclaimed appendicitis. After a quick ride to the hospital and an even quicker exam, I was rushed into surgery. None of that is too extraordinary, people have appendectomies every day, but here comes the good part. When I woke up from the anesthesia, I couldn’t move. Not a muscle. I tried. I couldn’t move my arms or my legs or turn my head. I thought for sure something must have gone wrong and that I was paralyzed. Scary thought any time…terrifying at fourteen. I laid flat on my back while big tears ran from the corners of my eyes and filled my ears. It was heartbreaking…and then suddenly I could move. Just like that. Relief really can flood a body. I wiggled every part that could wiggle. When the nurse came to check on me, I told her what happened. She said that I had come too quickly out of REM sleep and that was why I couldn’t move.

Really? Frozen in my sleep? Are you kidding me? Nope. Sleep paralysis is a real thing. I didn’t experience the nightmare aspect of it (devils on the chest, demons laughing and chasing) that many people report but it was pretty darn scary nonetheless. I think perhaps Barnabas would understand my fear.

After Vicky returns to Collinwood, Barnabas becomes terribly frightened. What if Victoria, as the memory of her time traveling adventures returns, is able to recall what she knows of Barnabas’ secret? He cannot allow that to happen. He would be ruined. This fear forces him to make Victoria his servant…one small bite and she must do his bidding. His command? Victoria must run away with him. She must marry him and never again return to Collinwood. Creepy for Victoria but necessary for Barnabas. And then they are on their way, but darn that man who stepped out of the woods and into the path of the car---the man from the past who had loved Victoria!

In her surprise, Vicky jerked the wheel and caused herself and Barnabas to be taken to the hospital. Victoria is bruised but fine. But Barnabas, well he has some problems. The doctor who takes his pulse, who listens to his heart, is, shall we say, a bit surprised. Not shocked. Not appalled. Slightly surprised. Instead of running away screaming, which should make us wonder right away about him, Dr. Lang provides Barnabas with a blood transfusion…a transfusion and a shot… and a chance to look at the sun for the first time in decades. The curse is being managed! Dr. Lang then promises Barnabas that he knows a way to rid him of the curse forever. Barnabas is wary but curious. What could Dr. Lang possibly have in mind?

I believe Barnabas’ terror when Dr. Lang opened the curtains on daylight must have been similar to mine as the tears rolled slowly into my ears. His joy at finding the curse could be gone probably was slightly less than mine when my fingers moved. Just my opinion…

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