This happened about 20 years ago, right after I turned 20. At the time, I was working part-time as a guard for a local security company. Perhaps it was just my disposition, but I was able to sense the supernatural and suffered from sleep paralysis at least once every three nights. It was a time when a lot of strange things happened to me.
I worked as a guard for the local water purification centre, and while the area to patrol was rather large, it wasn’t an area people could easily enter. I was supposed to patrol the area four times by morning, but most of the time I only patrolled twice and spent the rest of my time napping.
There was a small prefab building near the gate that functioned as the security room, and although there was no air conditioning, the weather made it so it was rather pleasant anyway. I listened to my favourite late-night radio programs there, and I also liked to draw things too. It really was a great job.
Then one day, I felt oddly stiff. ‘Ah, I’m probably going to have sleep paralysis tonight,’ I thought, and as I drifted off, just as I thought, it happened. At the exact same moment, I heard what sounded like children playing ball games right outside.
It was 3 a.m. Any children should have been asleep, and not even a cat stirred in the facility grounds. Chills ran down my spine, and I couldn’t move so I pretended to be asleep.
The children’s voices slowly got closer. It sounded like quite a few of them were out there, and I feared they weren’t alive. Finally they reached the building I was in, and they stopped playing.
It was pitch black, so I couldn’t see anything, but I could sense them. Their faces pressed against the large window, and several children looked in at me. I could feel their eyes looking at me from all directions. Terrified, I closed my eyes and pretended not to notice while I frantically prayed for help.
I don’t know how much time passed, but at some point I could no longer feel them looking at me, nor could I hear their voices. Thinking they must have gone somewhere else, I felt relieved and tried to go back to sleep, but then I struggled to breathe. Every time I tried, it was like something was covering my mouth and nose and I couldn’t.
Then something rang sharply by my ear, like something electronic. This was proof that something supernatural was nearby.
‘If this continues, they’re going to suffocate me… Please, kami-sama, Buddha, anyone, please help me…’
As I prayed, I jumped up with all my might. The window before me was covered in hundreds of tiny red handprints, like red leaves from an autumn tree. They disappeared in an instant, but there was no doubt about it. They were children’s hands.
The sun was beginning to rise, and somewhere I heard the sound of small birds chirping.
I didn’t really want to think about it, but I couldn’t help myself. What was that mass of hands I saw as my sleep paralysis broke? One possibility was that they were trying to check if I was really asleep or not, and by placing their hands over my mouth and nose they were playing a prank, waiting for me to wake up.
Another possibility is that they were angry that I was ignoring them, and so they were trying to suffocate me.
I researched and discovered that wandering spirits like to gather in places with water. I worked at a water purification centre. Water was everywhere. Not only that, but this all happened around the start of August, just before Obon.
Did those children want to play with me, or…?