Original Works

Umbra [12 Genre Months]

“Count yourself lucky,” I would say. “If you know what you are.” After all, there are many beings, such as myself, who will never truly understand what it means to exist. For the very idea itself is a foreign concept in our inconsequential realm. And if only we could uncover the secret of our identities… such wouldn’t be our fate.

If you are unlike me, this account might puzzle you. How is it possible for a being to not know what it is? Alas, it isn’t as uncommon as you think. Who, what, how, why—these were the burdens I carried as I drew my first breath. I was granted a life of perpetual suffocation, with no guidance or clarity, as I drowned in the unknown. Yet, upon my arrival into the world, I wasn’t alone. 

As I embraced the break of dawn—my dreadful beginning—I found myself tethered to an odd-looking creature. It was a rather small beast, and it made unintelligible sounds. Frankly, I didn’t know what it was, let alone who I was to have been attached to it. So why were we bound together? Where did it come from? And how did we become one?

With no recollection of my life before, I soon accepted my fate—I was a prisoner of a mysterious entity for the rest of my life. I would live with it, laugh with it, and die with it. But unlike my captor, who quickly understood what it was, I remained a nothing—a nothing that needed permission to even show itself. And even so, such bouts of freedom were often short-lived—I would soon find myself unseen, once more, as I returned to the world of the invisible. Oh, what a life. How could I ever escape? Was there a way to cut myself free from such a malefic beast? Yes. In fact, there is. And this is where you can help me.

I have thought long and hard on what it means to exist. I have also observed the ways of my master, and the company that existed with it. It took many years, but I soon found a common denominator between the creature that had me on a leash and the others—they all owned a defining moniker. These beings had a name. They were blessed with a chosen word, of which they built a life upon. For without it, they would lurk in the darkness—forever wondering what they were. Simply put, they would be me… if they weren’t gifted with an appellative. Now, how then can you help me?

My name is Umbra. I had chosen this name for myself—a blinding reflection of the life I have lived thus far. But no more. I refuse to remain hidden. And it is through you that I will finally exist. For who am I without you… but a shadow? Your shadow—the one who followed you, envied you, and wondered if you knew I was even alive. I am the being of insignificance whose name you are now acquainted with—whose existence you finally acknowledged. And unfortunately, this is when you cease to exist.

Still, count yourself lucky. At the very least, you once knew… what you were.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)