Sleepwalker | Fiction | Original Stories
My husband and I have been married for nineteen years.
Honestly, it doesn’t seem like it has been that long, and I am grateful to have found someone who is such a great person. We met when we were in the military; both stationed in England, and fell in love very quickly. We got married within the year of meeting each other, found a house off base, and started living together.
When we first started dating, my husband would sleep in my dorm room on base, and he seemed to sleep very peacefully. He wouldn’t snore, toss or turn, or anything really. We slept in a small twin bed that was provided in every room, so I definitely would have noticed if he was a restless sleeper.
However, when we moved into the house off base, I noticed that at times of severe stress, he would talk in his sleep or move his arms and legs around as if he was running. At first, I would just talk to him quietly and tell him everything was okay. Sometimes he would talk back, but he would always be very confused and didn’t seem to be able to follow what I was saying very well. I started to just rub his shoulder without talking, and he seemed to settle down more quickly that way.
After about four years, we moved to another base in the United States, and I noticed that his stress levels were increasing. The military was downsizing at the time, and he had more work to do with less people, so his sleep tended to be even more restless than usual. I noticed that occasionally I would wake up and he’d be in the bathroom or down the hall, but not quite sure how he got there. I would rub his back and guide him back to bed, and he would never have any memory of it the next day.
After about six years of living in the southwest United States, we both were out of the military and moved to the Midwest to be closer to family. We rented a house, and I started graduate school, while my husband started his bachelor’s degree in engineering. Now, I knew from the beginning that his degree would be difficult, and that I would probably see him have more episodes of sleepwalking, so I was prepared to help him.
So, fast forward several years later and here we are.
A little over a week ago, on Monday, I woke up because I had to go to the bathroom. When I wake up, I tend to check my husband’s side of the bed when I wake up to determine if it is morning or not. If he’s not there, it tells me I need to get up. So, thinking it was morning, I felt around to my left to check for my husband, and my husband wasn’t in bed.
We have blackout curtains in our room, so it’s difficult to know what time it is, so I checked the time on my watch and was surprised to see that it was about 2 a.m. I immediately got up because I figured he was sleepwalking again, and walked around the end of the bed to get to the door. That’s when I ran into someone standing in front of the bedroom door.
I was so surprised, I almost fell backwards, but regained my balance and reached out in the darkness. I knew by touch that it was my husband, but was confused about why he was standing there. When I have found him sleepwalking before, he has always been in the bathroom or the hall, so it was strange to find him there.
I figured he might not have been able to turn the lock on the door, so he was just confused. The strange thing was that he didn’t respond at first when I tried to lead him to bed. He just stood there and wouldn’t budge. Finally, after about a minute I heard him mumbling and got him to get back into bed.
The next morning I told him about it, and he said that he had been stressed about work, but nothing that was out of the ordinary. I kind of shrugged my shoulders and figured it was just a weird sleepwalking incident, and that it would resolve itself. Well, until Tuesday night.
I drink a lot of water, so I get up a few times a night to go to the bathroom. I reached with my left arm and checked for my husband, didn’t find him, and looked to my left to see the bedroom door wide open. This is very unusual, because even in the morning when my husband gets up before me, he closes the bedroom door so I can sleep in complete darkness.
I checked my watch again, and it was about 2 a.m. I got up, and left the bedroom to go look for him, and he was standing almost at the end of the hallway, not moving. It was the same as the night before, a total struggle to get him to acknowledge me for about a minute, then I guided him back to bed.
I talked to him again on Wednesday morning, but he didn’t remember anything. I asked him if he remembered anything weird about his dreams, but he never remembers his dreams, so he couldn’t help. I was getting really creeped out, and I was dreading the next night, but nothing happened that night.
On Friday night, I found him on the stairs.
We live in a split level home, so him getting to the stairs had me worried he was going to get badly hurt. I never had him go anywhere while he was sleepwalking besides flat surfaces, so I was really worried about him falling down the stairs. It also seemed like he was going somewhere in particular, so I was also curious about what was occurring.
I talked to him on Saturday morning, and told him that I was going to stay up and follow him when he got up to make sure he stayed safe. I was wary of trying to stop him, because I’ve heard stories about sleepwalkers becoming violent if you try to wake them up, but I wasn’t going to let him get hurt either.
Early Sunday morning I’m reading my e-book and see my husband sit straight up, get out of bed, unlock the bedroom door, and walk down the hall. He turned left to go down the stairs, holding the rail the entire time. I’m only 5’3”, and my husband is 6’1”, so it’s hard to see past him, but when he shifted to the right as he was going down the stairs, my breathing almost stopped. The front door was open.
I pushed past him and slammed the door shut and locked it. He had stopped walking to stand just in front of the door, as if waiting, and I tried to talk softly to him, but it was the same thing as all the other nights, no response. I walked up the stairs to grab my phone on the couch and called the cops.
I wasn’t sure if someone was in our house, or what, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I finally coaxed my husband to bed and locked the bedroom door. The cops showed up after about ten minutes, checked the house, and didn’t find anything. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, and was so scared that I told my husband on Sunday that I would like to rent a different house. He was scared too, but said it would take some time to find another suitable place.
My husband is gone.
Last night I stayed up as long as I could, but ended up falling asleep. I woke up and found the bedroom door open again. I rushed out to the hall and at the top of the stairs found the front door open again, but this time the screen door was open as well. I ran outside and looked all around the house, but couldn’t find him.
I called the police and they searched, but they couldn’t find him. I told them what has been happening over the past week, and they said they had been worried about us because of our front door being open the night before, but had hoped it had just been a simple mistake of forgetting to lock the door, especially since they didn’t find anyone.
I don’t know what to do.
Tonight I lay here, scared, and I don’t know where he is.
There is something I forgot to mention. On Thursday night, the night when my husband didn’t sleepwalk, I woke up standing in front of the bedroom door, trying to get the lock open. I have never been a sleepwalker in my entire life, but I know what’s coming; I’m just not sure where it leads to. I just hope I get to see him again.
Monday, at 2 a.m. I woke up outside of the house.
I don’t know how I got so far, especially after having trouble opening the bedroom door lock, but then again, by the time my husband got to the stairs, the front door was already open.
When I woke up, I was standing in the middle of our front yard, and it was just about 2 a.m. I wasn’t sure how long I had been out there. My feet felt almost frozen to ground, and my whole body was shaking from the cold.
Our neighborhood is very quiet at night, so I wasn’t surprised at the lack of animal sounds, especially in the dead of winter, but it felt wrong. I felt like something terrible was about to happen, and felt so much fear that I couldn’t move for a few moments. Finally, I felt my fear subside and turned to go back inside my house.
The thing is, when I turned around to walk inside, I saw someone standing in my neighbor’s front yard a couple houses down the street. They were standing completely still, so I wasn’t sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me at first, but when I had determined that it was a person, I ran over because I was sure it was my husband. When I got to the edge of their yard, I was crushed to see that it was not my husband. Instead, it was my neighbor.
I saw immediately that his eyes were closed, and when I called out to ask if he was okay, there was no response. It was just like my husband.
I don’t know the guy that well, so it wasn’t like I was going to walk up to him and have a conversation with him at 2 a.m., but I did go inside and watch from our bay window to make sure he was okay. I thought about calling the cops, but figured they might not take a call about a neighbor standing outside seriously, especially since he wasn’t doing anything except standing outside. After a couple minutes, my neighbor seemed to wake up, look around confusedly, then rush back inside his house. I went to bed and fell asleep.
This morning at around 8 a.m. I walked over to my neighbor’s house. I don’t know the guy’s schedule, so I was hoping I would catch him before his work day started. I didn’t see any cars in the driveway, but that didn’t really mean anything since the house has an attached garage. I knocked for a minute or so, but no one came to the door. I left a note saying who I was, my contact information, and that I would like to speak with him at some point.
After leaving the note, I went back to my house, taped a note to the front door for my husband, explaining that I was out looking for him, and that I would be back in two hours. I walked around our neighborhood, calling out his name, but didn’t find any trace of him.
When I got back to the house a couple of hours later, my note was still there, untouched. It was unbelievably disappointing to see it fluttering in the wind when I got back. I looked towards my neighbors’ house to see if they were home yet, but there was nothing on that end either.
I wrote another note for my husband, saying that I was going to be gone for two hours, driving around looking for him, but that I would pass by the house every twenty minutes or so, in case he came back and needed to be let in. I also said that if he came back and I wasn’t there, to go to a neighbor’s house and call me.
I drove around the neighborhood, returning every twenty minutes, but saw nothing. My husband had seemingly disappeared without a trace. I returned home after driving throughout the entire neighborhood, but there was still no change. I took the note off of my front door and went inside, constantly looking out of the bay window for my husband.
I waited until 6 p.m. and went back to my neighbor’s house. Just like at my own house, the note I left for my neighbor was still there, and although the front porch light was on, there were very few lights on in the house, which made me think no one had returned home in the time that I had been searching for my husband.
I left and went back at 7 p.m., but nothing had changed; he either wasn’t home or wasn’t answering his door. I wasn’t really sure what to do at that point. I was so positive that I was going to solve this mystery and figure out where my husband went, but I felt like I just hit a dead end.
A police officer knocked on my door at about 8 p.m. to talk to me about my husband’s disappearance. He told me that in this state that if someone goes missing under conditions that indicate that the person may be in danger, the police usually take a report that the person is a missing person, criteria my husband clearly meets.
He wanted to know more about my husband’s sleepwalking. He wanted to know how long he had been sleepwalking, how he acts when I try to guide him back to bed, and what he was wearing when he went missing. I tried to provide him with as many details as I could remember, but it was painful. My husband usually wears flannel pajama pants and a plain white cotton t-shirt to bed, without socks. It made it all the more alarming because it has been anywhere between 10 degrees and 25 degrees over the past week or so, and describing aloud what he had been wearing made my gut clench in fear.
I asked the officer if I should continue to look for my husband, and he said it definitely couldn’t hurt to keep doing what I had been doing. He told me that the police department would also continue to search for my husband, and let me know if there were any updates as soon as they got the information. After the officer left, I put another note on my front door telling my husband to knock as loud as he could and yell for me if he came home. After staying up for as long as I could, I held my husband’s pillow to me and cried myself to sleep.
I found out where my husband went.
Last night I woke up at the pedestrian bridge, struggling to get over the railing.
There is a fairly massive pedestrian bridge that crosses over from one state to another in the Midwest. It crosses over a very large, fast moving river. Some say that the current is so strong that if someone fell in, they’d never be seen again. I believe that.
When I woke up last night, my hands and feet were almost numb and my eyes involuntarily shut because I was surrounded by intense bright lights. They light the bridge up at night. I would know, because it’s only about a half mile from my house. It’s the reason why my husband and I have blackout curtains.
I realized where I was immediately, and I saw why I woke up; like I said, I’m only 5’3”, and the railing comes up to my chest, so, like the bedroom door lock, the struggle with the railing woke me up. My feet were bare, covered with grass and dirt, so I knew I had walked the entire way there, but had no memory of it.
I looked around the bridge to see if anything could give me a clue about what was happening, and that is when I saw my neighbor on the other side of the railing, about 15 feet away. His eyes were closed, and he just walked off the edge, like it was nothing. There was absolutely no hesitation on his face.
I reached out my arm involuntarily, to try to stop him I guess, but he was gone. It took a few seconds, then I heard a loud smack as he hit the water.
I looked over the railing, searching in the darkness to see if he emerged from the water, but he had completely disappeared at that point. The shores are lit up, so you would be able to see someone floating.
They say that it isn’t the fall that kills you, but the hypothermia that sets in once you are submerged in the ice cold water of the Missouri River. The drop is only about 50 feet or so, but I’m not sure that even if it was in the middle of the summer that anyone could survive the strong current and swim safely to shore.
I turned to walk back home, and started to cry.
My husband is strong. So strong. I want to believe that he is okay, that he never went near that bridge, that he is somewhere safe and I will be reunited with him soon, but I know better.
I thought about calling the cops, but you know, what would I say? My husband jumped? I didn’t actually see that happen. My neighbor jumped? How would I explain why I was there and how I got there? There’s no evidence that what I saw even happened.
I would probably end up in jail or a psychiatric hospital, and I would still have lost my husband. There’s nothing for me here. I do not know how to prevent this from happening to other people am at a loss to explain why this is happening to me.
I don’t want to leave, but I have to. I know what will happen to me if I don’t.
*I hope you liked this story! I originally published it on Reddit's No Sleep under the title Sleepwalkers. Part Two actually bothered me so much I ended up deleting it, so I changed a few details about the locations.
A good portion of the story is true (parts about how my husband and I met and where we've lived), so it was freaky to read what happened to my husband and I even though half of it is fiction. If you like this story, I have written more and will continue to post.