the Shining Man

October, 2016 — Chicago, Illinois

Waking gradually, Felicia becomes aware of two unusual circumstances. First, she is sleeping on her back which she seldom does. Second, and more importantly, there is a bright light in her room.

This is disturbing. Even in the half-awake state of the first few moments of consciousness she knows that the light is coming from a specific place in the room: a spot near the wall beyond the foot of her bed. That’s a wall that has no window.

Is there a fire? Her rapidly awakening mind begins to panic.

But no, that’s not it. The temptation to panic disappears as quickly as it sprang up. The light is perfectly steady, and much too white for fire. In fact, it’s exactly like sunlight. But it cannot be the sun. Felicia senses that the time is no more than three o’clock or three-thirty in the morning.

As another two seconds pass and her mind continues to struggle toward wakefulness, Felicia realizes that her long eyelashes, stuck together from sleep, are possibly making the light fuzz out in meaningless ways. She deliberately closes and opens them again. This act helps to bring her at last to something approaching full awareness—and brings the source of the illumination into focus.

Felicia’s heart stutters. It’s not a light, it’s a man—but a man whose body is incandescent, shining like the sun, so that no detail beyond his silhouette can be seen.

She stares in horror at the brilliant, motionless form: a horror immeasurably amplified by a bizarre feeling of familiarity. Somehow, all of her life Felicia has known that this thing would come for her, yet she is only remembering now. And somehow, she has always known that it would mean her death.

She tries to scream, and cannot. She can’t open her mouth, or move her limbs. Nothing moves but her eyes, and all she can do with them is close them against the unbearable brilliance of the shining man.

~

Her paralysis breaking suddenly, Felicia hurls the covers away from her and scrambles frantically backward in bed—only belatedly realizing that morning has arrived. The room is bright now only for the usual reason: because sunlight is pouring in through the windows behind her. At least four hours have passed since—whatever it was that happened in the night.

She sits in bed for many minutes, watching the autumn sunlight’s infinitesimal movement down her townhouse bedroom’s walls, remembering the dream or vision of the night before.

As she remembers, Felicia Pandev can feel the experience activating pathways in her soul that she now begins to realize have been there all of her life.

Or longer?

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