Eleven Years With Gloam
Years ago, if I can remember time at all, I made a mistake. One fickle mistake. One flippant momentary lapse of judgment that any ordinary day-walking, earth-turning, time-fumbling person might callously allow themselves. Yet I, and I alone in my stupidity, unwittingly and unknowingly was the one to make it. But let me say here and now, while I have any last grasp of human consciousness that it was a mistake- a terrible and irreversible mistake.
You see, I was like you once. A sun-kissed, womb-nurtured, hat-wearing, key-toting, nine-to-five average. I sat up every morning to an unforgiving sun baking my flushed skin through my bedroom window. I lathered myself with doses upon doses of foams and oils. I fitted myself in bright seasonal garbs- in yellows, and greens, and ceruleans, and crimsons. Oh how I miss those crimsons! But something dim happened to me, or I happened upon something dim.
There was a time when I would give anything for a nights rest. For a pillow that didn’t pull at my cheek like a cat’s tongue. For a body that could lie horizontal with steady slumber. For a few hours where I retreated easily into my bed’s horizon- where I could peer out of my window, salute the sunset, and nod knowingly. But my body and I were always in disagreement. My body always seemed at odds with the general way of things. Human nature was running on a clock that ticked too slowly for me, and I was always left waiting for the hour hand to come round again. Somewhere in time, man and the world shook hands on a deal, and I was the unqualified wager.
Then, one casual evening, I changed. As the neighborhood people retired to their cozy bundles, yawning out their nightly affirmations, and shut their lids to block out what they were not meant to see, I surrendered to my devastating consciousness and stood peering- wide eyed and fixated. I wouldn’t protest any longer. I wouldn’t return to the pressing hours of linen turmoil. There would be no more struggle from me. If twilight’s nightly lullaby failed to sedate me, then I would harness the night- my very worst idea... in retrospect.
Take the utmost heed of my words now, so that you never fall prey to my mistake. If you find yourself struggling with the ways of human living, no matter how painful, no matter how futile, never stop struggling. Fight to obey the laws of human nature. Fight to function like your brothers and sisters. Fight your insomnia, your apnea, your restlessness. Because it is in that struggle that you straddle the line between your world and this one. It is when you surrender that you open the door to Umbra.
I should mention that the name ‘Umbra’ is as closely as I can dictate in human English the word that the Shadow Beings use to call this place. Language here is aloof for a former daywalker like me. Shadow Beings, especially Gloam, haven’t the very parts necessary to make human consonants and vowels. Instead, they use the sorts of sounds that human beings would find very difficult to emulate.- the kind that at human’s very best attempts, are only onomatopoeias. The shadow language is like a heavy gust of wind laden with rusted machinery, settling houses, and polished glass. Even my name here, my new name, sounds something like the swing of swollen door. I should think that every letter in Umbre was manifested out of some dark corner, some deep crevice, or some long hollow place where sound wafts between something hard and something harder. It's almost as though the whole of Umbra is one endless tunnel.
Intuitively, I would guess that I’ve been stuck here in the darkest corner of Umbre about eleven human years. Time is nearly inconceivable here. The occupants of this territory, the Gloam, have spent much energy trying to explain to me qualitatively and quantitatively just how they measure time. From what I can gather, one human year here is the equivalent of one half of what they call a ‘blink’, which is the third smallest significant measurement of time they have ever bothered to name. So you see, Umbre is consumed with a certain slowness that makes cognitive thought rather impossible for me. This part of Umbra, which I have never found the borders of, is completely seeped through with a sort of exhaustion. This world is thick with a sort of languid lucidity, which makes moving inside of it much like moving inside of a dream. The beings of Umbra function in what is almost a waking sleep.
Now that I've estalished a bit of the logistics, I can begin getting into the plot. Ive figured out how economy and currency works in Umbra, as well as how the Gloam plan to revolt against the current class system and why. If anyone would like to collaborate on my concept of this world, please contact me for details.