It was 1960 and I was three and a half years old. Some say I may have been too young to recall it accurately but I remember it as clearly as the night it happened and it's always been with me.
My father and sister were both in hospital with a virus and apparently my father was, at one stage, on death's door. I think that may be appropriate. I had also had the virus but kicked it off and was not hospitalized.
I was sent to bed that night by my grumpy mother who did not allow me to have a light on, so I lay in the dark waiting for my eyes to adjust. There was moonlight coming through the window. Then I sensed someone was in the room with me and I was terrified. I was too scared to call out to my mother. Soon after that he appeared and stood directly over me, looking down at me. He had a black cloak on and the hood was dropped around his shoulders, so I saw his face clearly. He had unkempt brown hair down to his shoulders, a hawk-like nose and black eyes that bore into my soul. It's still hard to describe the look he gave me but it was dark and unknowable; beyond my comprehension. Hostile, certainly. Curious, maybe. He did not speak. It was the first time I ever experienced a cold sweat. I was actually sitting up at the time. I hadn't yet gotten under the covers. For some time my eyes were locked onto his and I could not break away. Then I thought I had to block him out so I suddenly squeezed my eyes shut. I knew he was still there. Then I inched my way under the covers and pulled the blanket up over my head. I stayed there 'til I was just about suffocating and, finally, I opened my eyes and he was gone.
For a long time, in my life, I felt that he never really left. I've even had a feeling he was like a bad fairy who cursed me. I told my mother about it the next morning and I called him a monster. She was just annoyed that I had an "overactive imagination". Twenty years later I mentioned it again and she concluded, fearfully, that it must have been the devil, which was most unhelpful. This is difficult to publish because it's so very personal. I've only done it so maybe I can get some clue. Maybe someone out there can actually help.