Despite my acquired desensitization of the strange and unusual, I was unprepared for what happened on the Christmas day of my eighth year. I woke early, fraught with excitement over Santa’s visit, eagerly waiting for it to feel like an appropriate time to wake my parents, whose muffled snoring I could still hear from their bedroom.  It was still dark in my room, except for the soft diffusion of twilight that crept through crack of the window shade. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a figure appeared at my bedside and sheer terror struck me. Someone was standing there.  

The paralyzing fright that stunned me seemed even to have preceded acknowledgement of the figure’s form, and of what or whom it could have logically been. It was as if my mind had instantly ruled out any logical explanation, since there wasn't one, not by any stretch of a child’s imagination. There was no warning-no noise, no movement, no sense of occupancy by another being-just the moment prior.  It unexpectedly appeared.  In the blink of an eye, someone was standing beside my bed. 

From the position of my face & hands and through eyelids slightly abducted by fear, I could only see it from the waist down. I saw a maroon colored robe. I quickly buried my head in the pillow, praying to God, perhaps by default, for it to go away. I peeked through the sheets to find it still there. The intruder neither spoke nor made the slightest sound. I couldn't work up the nerve to look for a face, though I wish now I had. I prayed again, trembling with fear, pleading and reciting, “Please, God! Make it go away. I beg you!” until finally, I felt a release of tension, opened my eyes, and found that the figure had vanished.