This is a love story. Certainly one of many in the world but possibly unique in circumstance. Few will believe this tale to be true; nor do I expect it to be accepted, en masse. I mostly dictate these words now to record my fading thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind. Let me state that in my many years of life, I had never encountered any representative of the supernatural realm. As a matter of fact, previously I might have been described as a rigid skeptic myself.
I had always dismissed the ghost tales of others as willful flights of fancy or scientific misunderstandings. Ones imagination and atmospheric anomalies can partner to produce vivid hallucinations for those inclined to accept them. Frankly, I believed those who told supernatural stories. I just didn’t accept their conclusion of the events. One day a few weeks ago, that changed for me. This is my story.
This winter has been a particularly harsh one for me. Admittedly, living in a secluded, three-room cabin can be very lonely and depressing by itself. During the bitterly, cold nights, there is no greater sense of isolation and when the snow storms rage, there is nothing to do but wait for it to be over. Fortunately I had the good sense to make sure the woodpile was well stocked in advance. Survival in the wilderness depends upon being prepared. The fireplace requires regular firewood replenishment In the middle of the night. Otherwise, only smoldering embers remain in the morning.
The long nights do not afford much in the way of personal entertainment either, to be honest. My nearest neighbor is more than six miles away and I only travel to town once a month for supplies. I do have my collection of cherished classic books but reading by candlelight can be tedious on the eyes after a while. Once the masterfully crafted words run together in the flickering firelight, I usually surrender and retire for the evening. After loading up the hearth with as many logs as possible, there is only an old man left to his thoughts. Many a night I’ve contemplated my life, nestled beneath the woolen blankets.
A few weeks ago I was awakened abruptly. I sensed I was not alone but could see nothing in the post-fire darkness. As I waited for my eyes to adjust, I listened in terror for signs of movement in the room. I only heard the crackling of fading embers and my frantic heartbeat.
In the enchanted haze of twilight (where reality and dream unite), I assumed it had been my imagination until I felt the covers shift at the foot of the bed! Slowly, an unknown thing crept underneath the covers, making its way toward my cowering form. All the hairs on my skin stood on end as my bed was invaded by an unseen thing in the darkness. As much as I hoped to be dreaming, I was convinced that I was fully awake!
The sinister form slithered up to the top half of the bed until it was a mere three feet away! I lay paralyzed with fear on the other side of the mattress. For an eternity I remained as still as a felled log, scarcely daring to breathe. My unknown ‘companion’ made no aggressive moves toward me but I was still too frightened to ‘rock the boat’.
There is all manner of wildlife in these remote woods. I share the valley with bear, deer, wolverines, polecats, and many other animals but the creature that crawled into my bed wasn’t likely to be any of them. From the general outline I could made out, my uninvited bedmate was human. I didn’t know what to make of such a brazen intruder. I would have gladly shared my fire and home with a stranger in need, but I wasn’t even consulted.
I didn’t dare rise to put another log on the dying fire or to get away. I pretended to not even be there. Coincidentally, the bed grew warmer because of the stranger’s body heat. It was an odd trade off. Incredibly, I must have drifted off at some point. When I opened my eyes, morning had broken and I was alone in bed. Like a shot, I jumped up and grabbed my trousers.
An inspection of my front door revealed that it was still bolted from the inside and that everything else appeared to be secure. Outside, there were no human or animal tracks in the fallen snow. With a disbelieving grin, I decided that the whole experience was just a particularly vivid dream. I resigned to worry about real things.