The Incubus

Alexis was deep into her novel when she felt her eyelids getting heavy once again. She gasped as a horrible image raced through her head. She shivered and took a deep breath, trying to ward off sleep. She knew she would have to succumb eventually, but she wasn’t ready.

She put her book aside and sat up, trying to think of something to occupy her thoughts, some problem that needed resolving, anything to keep her awake. Alas, other than the nightmares that had been plaguing her for the last week she could think of nothing.

She stared into a dark corner of the room and…

She was drifting along in a place without light or heat. Flat on her back, and all at once the familiar sensation of pressure on her chest. She struggled for breath and her eyes would not open. Fear gripped her as she felt an icy, rancid breath in face.

“Alexis, tell me now, what do you see in the darkness behind your eyelids?”

She struggled for breath, unable to speak. She felt movement and a growing horror enveloped her. She sat bolt upright in bed gasping for breath, her face covered in perspiration, and turned on the light.

It had happened again. The same nightmare over and over. She got up and dampened a facecloth and wiped herself clean. Why was this happening? She had a good life. A great job, wonderful friends, even a new love interest developing. Nothing was amiss.

As she got back into bed she allowed herself to think about the other odd sensation that always accompanied these events. She felt as if she had just had intercourse. It was so strange. It had been a long dry spell and she supposed that might have something to do with it. That and things were heating up with the new man in her life. Sexual activity was imminent, she was sure of it. But what was causing these horrible nightmares?

The next night it was the same thing again. The pressure on her chest, the horrid breath, the question. This time, however, when the question came an image formed in her mind after the movement that followed the question. It was an image beyond grotesque and she was able to answer her questioner.

“I see our baby.”

Then she awoke screaming in terror. She bolted from the bed, unable to get the sickening image out of her head. She sat down on the edge of the bed and willed herself to be calm. After several minutes she was able to breath and let go of the nightmare.

She resolved to see her general practitioner and made a call the following morning. He was able to see her that afternoon. She told him what had been happening and he listened with sympathy and asked about recent events in her life. He suggested that the nightmares might have to do with trepidation over her blossoming relationship. He gave her a prescription for some tranquilizers and she went home.

The nightmare did not come the following night, or any night thereafter. She felt relief and decided the pills must have done the trick. Life was back to normal. Until she missed her period and then the one after that. It couldn’t be. The relationship had gone nowhere. She was still celibate. She bought a pregnancy test and discovered to her horror that she was, in fact, pregnant.

She made an appointment at the local clinic and told the doctor her story. He assured her she must have had sexual relations, it was, after all, the only way she could be with child. He suggested an ultrasound was in order.

The technician helped her prepare and then squirted some gel on her abdomen and set to work. A couple of minutes later she put down the transducer probe and sat in silence. Alexis looked at her and saw that she was very pale.

“I’ll be right back Miss.”

Alexis could hear her talking to the doctor in hushed tones and then they came in together. The doctor took a seat in front of the screen and smiled reassurance. He started doing the ultrasound again and Alexis studied his face. When his eyes went wide and he put down the transducer probe an image from her nightmares of a couple of months ago shot through her mind and she felt as though she would pass out. She tried hard to wipe the growing horror from her thoughts.

The doctor sent the technician from the room, seemed at a loss for words and then touched her hand.

“Alexis, we need to talk.”

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