I wake to somebody bouncing on my bed by my right ear – I hear the springs of the mattress recoil; feel the depression of the mattress; and am startled by the unexpectedness of it all.

They bounce again around the middle of the bed, and one final time at the end of the bed, like they’re working their way down a hopscotch grid.

And that’s it.


It happens in the time it takes me to wake, so I’m playing catch-up on processing all this.

“Who’s there?” I bark.

There’s no response. I see nothing. But my heart thumps. It’s night – early morning. Who the hell would bounce on my bed? It’s so jarringly unlikely, yet it happened, so I try to work through the shock, as well as appreciate the sudden danger that must present itself.

Nothing but quiet.

Now that I’m fully awake, the analytical part of my brain starts trying to understand what’s happened.

It must be around 1.00am, but not much later than that. I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier since my Covid bout, trying to enforce some sort of routine, so I’ve probably been asleep ninety minutes.

I can’t see anybody – there’s enough light in my bedroom that I would see somebody, or at least see them as a shadow, if somebody had bounced on my bed and was now in here.

The room’s empty. The flat’s empty.

For somebody to have jumped on the mattress by my right ear, then work their way down the bed, they would’ve had to emerge from the bedroom wall.

These are all truths that frame the impossibility of what I believed has happened. Nobody’s here. Nobody could be here. Nobody could be bouncing down my bed as I sleep. It’s ridiculous.

So what’re the alternatives?

The clichéd answer is that it’s a dream. But it didn’t feel like it was a dream – didn’t feel like it was happening inside my head.

Also, there’s none of that waking reorientation. Dreams seem real when you’re inside them, but once you wake, reality begins to punch holes into them – into their absurdity, and their improbability. As real as they might seem when we’re dreaming, when we were inside them, waking offers a recontextualization that inevitably exposes them as dream.

None of that’s happening. I’m still part of this world.

This reality.

The ultimate peculiarity of it is how I distinctly I felt it to the right – how the sound of the mattress’s springs exploded in my right ear; how I felt myself rocked briefly to my right; how the jumping moved down the bed.

These are all physical things that provided their own orientation that was strictly external to me.

There would be scientific explanations, like hypnagogic hallucinations – experiencing dream imagery in-between waking and sleeping. They seem so real because the mind remains partly awake, yet they’re fantastical because the subconscious is projecting dream imagery.

But as often as I’ve endured hypnagogic hallucinations – heard things from a gong to voices just as I’m drifting off – I’ve never experienced any physical report. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but just that it’s unusual.

I sit up.

Calmness only remains with me because of the breadth of my experiences. If this had happened twenty years ago, I’d be panicked. But while I can’t exactly explain this, while I can’t immediately classify it, what I do know is that my sleep’s prone to bizarre symptoms, so maybe this is just something else.

Something new.


I wait.