|Nightmare by Henry Fuseli|
This morning at precisely 5 am, I woke up to the sound of my alarm and learned the really hard way what a hypnopompic hallucination is. Trust me when I say that it may sound interesting, but you really don't want to have anything to do with it. From the article linked above:
Hypnopompic hallucinations are often discussed along with hypnogogic hallucinations. Both of these have to do with hallucinations occurring as people enter or exit sleep. When people are just on the edge of sleep they might experience hypnogogic hallucinations. If a person is about to wake, he or she could have a hypnopompic hallucination.
What makes hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations different from dreams is that they tend to lack a story. Moreover the hallucinations may vary. People could experience a physical feeling, a smell, a sound, or quite frequently an image or sight.
The image could be a simple line, dot, pattern, or it could be a full person, animal or other. It is important to add that whatever experienced, the perception of something not there can feel very real. (emphasis mine) Hypnopompic hallucinations might make people bolt out of bed, and then feel very disoriented, or they sometimes create the sensation that the person is paralyzed and cannot move.
Hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are characterized by their “realness.” They also have a tendency to disrupt sleep. While they might suggest a person has sleep disorder, the hallucinations do not have much to say about the sanity of the person having them.
Lying on my left side, at the sound of my alarm I woke up to see the perfect face of a strange little boy staring at me, less than twelve inches away from my own. The reality of its existence could not be questioned. I struggled to cry out in my shock, but it vanished within a second leaving me with a pounding heart and a mind too stunned to comprehend the experience.
This will show up in one of my future stories.