I started out thinking of all the depressing places a Gloam could spend its time and ended up making this plucky little activist. I'd like to continue her story, but this is all we have for now. I picture her as a little shabby and glamorous, kind of like a sad approximation of a movie's leading lady. Long cigarette holder, cruddy looking fur stole, all in black and not knowing exactly what she's copying and why.
Flick was a picture Gloam. Pictures were her specialty. Humans could be so inconsiderate sometimes, arriving late to the films that showed at the Cineplex on Friday nights. They stooped and shuffled in front of the screen to avoid blocking other humans’ views but very often ended up casting a shadow-self up against the action. Flick made her leap to the human world at the start of the films to slide haltingly across the screen (sometimes losing a little bit of her shadowmass to tumbling pieces of popcorn) and stayed as long as she could, posing miserably against the wall in the back of the theater to flicker and out of existence as the screen darkened and brightened with the projector’s light. It was a job only a Gloam could do and many of her gloamy brothers and sisters detested it (Inconsistent! Exhausting! Irritating!) but Flick preferred it to being cast outside on the street where a shadow could be dragged discourteously over just about anything.
Flick was a picture Gloam who loved the pictures. Her favorite films were the romances set in places like Italee and the South of Frans, where the image of the sun burned bright on the screen to illuminate the dealings of the day, but all of the interesting stuff happened at night by the light of the always full moon. Human women and their elegant, sweeping shadows who mimicked every aspect of her perfectly coiffed hair and clingy gowns…Dashing heroes with broad shadowy shoulders that made even their Gloam look bold and brawny…in Flick’s opinion they made it worth the hard work of blinking back and forth, back and forth for hours on end.
When the lights in the theater went out and the humans went home, she bid goodbye to the little red-tinted Gloam boy who kept vigil by the E-X-I-T sign and spent the daylight hours telling her friends about the stories she had witnessed on the screens. Of course, she usually only ended up being present for half of the plot and often fumbled over the names of the characters but she had gotten quite good at filling in the blanks with stories of her own invention.
One night, the Cineplex hosted an educational series of films about the solar system. Knowing that most of the scenes would be dark, Flick wasn’t wont to stay for long, but before she could blink back into Umbra she heard the narrator say something that changed everything Flick had ever been taught about shadows.
“The moon has no light of its own, but reflects the light of the sun down to earth from its pockmarked surface”
The light from the moon was the same as the light from the sun. There was no difference, only distance. Completely enraptured by the idea, she stayed for the whole film and learned about the stars (made of gas like tiny suns!) and the planets (something a Midlight would never see!). A whole new world, and a new Umbra seemed possible to her.
When the film was over Flick rushed back to Umbra to tell her friends about what she had learned, calling out to any Gloam that would listen that they were born of the sun just like everyone else, that the light was the same and that nothing was keeping them from insisting on Solar status!
But of course they all thought she was simply telling stories. After all, she was only a picture Gloam.