I was a maniacal child - always running around, dropping things and then calling it a day, with absolutely no shame. I think at some point I'm pretty sure I drove my mum crazy, but I really didn't know back then.
We had shifted from Mumbai to Goa and we made frequent trips to and fro by train. I was around ten years old when we took a trip during the summer. Being the annoying kid that I was, my mum used to put me to sleep on the top most bunk in the train.
After all the havoc I caused during the day, I usually slept off very well - resting the body that undeservingly put everyone else's mind into a knot. So naturally on that day, I slept like a baby.
Trains in general have always given me a shady vibe - that grey interior, the blue beds and the small yellow night lamps - all just read extremely shady. Anyway, after a bit in my sleep, I turn and twist and wake up in a sweat. Not uncommon because I had watched "Makdee", just a few days ago.
Who decided that movie was fit for children, I'll never know - but it scare the Lord out of me. I wake up with fuzzy eyes to see the small yellow night lamp on beside me, everything else is dark and the train is pacing at it's usual speed. I sit up, rub my eyes and just sit like that for a bit.
I don't see anyone in the bunks next to mine, so I start climbing down to ask my mum why it's so dark and cold. I reach the last bunk and there's no one there - no bags, no food and absolutely no person in sight. I freak out thinking that everyone has de-boarded the train while I slept off.
I call out to my mum and sister but quite obviously, I don't get any response. I walk down the aisle and there's not a soul on the train - the lights are switched off and I can't see anything outside the train, it's pitch black.
Now, I'm fully panicking - How am I the only person on this train? I keep running down the aisles and then I finally see the lights on in one birth. I haul ass, and get there as fast as my tiny feet can take me, and then I wait to catch my breath. I am at the birth, but there's no one there. I call out to my mom again to no avail, but then I hear something.
Small breaths, very close to me. I turn around hoping it's my mom but there's no one - just the breaths. Then I realize they're coming from above me, so naturally, I look. HUGE MISTAKE. On the ceiling I see a HUGE furry half animal - half human creature.
I know you think this is just a whole load of baloney, but trust me I peed my damn pants. The creature has 8 human legs arranged like a spider and a huge bug like face with entirely black eyes. It's walking towards me from one end of the ceiling and then I realize, it's mouth is a human mouth - and now it's smiling.
I hauled ass for the second time, and probably faster this time and then suddenly - like a crossed an invisible wall - I see my mom and everyone else calling out to me. I run towards her and I'm crying, I hug her trying to catch my breath and the people around are offering me water and food.
My mum makes me sit down and I realize everything is the same - just as it was before I went to sleep. The lights were on, I could see the mountains in the broad daylight outside the window, and people were everywhere - staring at me.
I explained what happened and I think that's when the whole train decided that I needed help. But it was real, with absolutely no proof, except that I was running up and down and everyone could see me.
My mum explained that I had climbed down from my bunk - ignored everyone and kept walking, at one point I ran and kept screaming out for her and people tried to stop me but no one could - I just kept running. I stopped at the front most birth and then looked around and just stared at the ceiling for a bit and ran back.
So basically, everyone thought I was straight up hallucinating and sick, including my mum. The frustration to explain that what happened was real has driven me up the wall till date - there's a couple of people out there who probably tell this story to their kids and nephews to stop them from misbehaving in trains.
I have no idea what actually happened that day - was it sleep paralysis? was I hallucinating? Was I just crazy? I can't say fir sure - but that weird eight legged man bug haunts my dreams everyday.