The Gloom


The Gloom is the realm that exists beneath our own world, and the place where the things of human nightmares originate from. It feeds on negative energy and has the strongest connection to the real world in places where there is either great sorrow and suffering, or where acts of evil have been committed, although bridges between the two realms can appear almost anywhere for an indeterminate period of time. These passageways call out to the maligned and unfortunate — the Watch is full of stories of men and women who felt powerful forces beckoning them to enter poorly-lit alleys, darkened tunnels, and abandoned buildings, answered the call, and found themselves in a nightmarish world beyond description.


Those who are lucky enough to escape and return to our world come back changed, not only psychologically, but physiologically as well:


their Sojourn in the Gloom granted them paranormal abilities not unlike the ones possessed by the entities that dwell there. What abilities the Gloom imparts to an individual lucky enough to escape it vary from person to person, but are always dark or chaotic in nature, and come with an aura of disquiet that surrounds them, making them seem strange or "off" to those who haven't been exposed. Most live short, miserable existences on the fringe of society, unable to create new relationships or maintain the old ones they might have cherished before their experience before the Gloom.

These people are known in the paranormal community as Touched. Although they appear human on the outside, they are changed on the inside; by looking into a reflective surface, someone who has been affected by the Gloom this way sees a reflection of what it has done to their psyche and finds something terrible and otherworldly gazing back at them. It is what others who are Touched will see if they consciously make an effort to look past their human shape (or if they happen to glimpse them in a reflective surface), and how they recognize one another for what they truly are.

The Gloom's Appearance

Those who have entered the Gloom have only a hazy recollection of what the other world resembles physically, much the same way that nightmares fade after waking — many people who have been asked to describe it have said that it's more of a collection of ideas than a physical place, with a nightmarish geography that's constantly changing and plays on their personal fears.

The Others

The entities that reside in the Gloom and occasionally cross over into our world are called Others, and are the origin of most myths and horror stories involving creatures like demons, vampires, and other such monsters — to name only a few. They come in all shapes and sizes, and possess varying degrees of intelligence and reasoning capability. Some are even able to pass as human in order to achieve their goals, which usually involve increasing the Gloom's influence on our world through human suffering.

The motives of the Others are nearly impossible to pin down. What is clear however, is they are at worst, bent on torturing and killing humans and Touched, and at best, are indifferent to their suffering.

Other Effects of the Gloom

Individuals do not have to be lured into the Gloom to witness its effects, although the results are never as dramatic and don't result in a permanent change. In areas where the Gloom's influence is particularly strong, so is the amount of paranormal activity experienced by those who are there. An abandoned mental institution probably isn't a very safe place to be after dark aside from the obvious reasons; the Gloom might give the structure itself a sort of sentience, rearranging passageways to trap midnight explorers inside, cause them to experience frightening hallucinations, or violently turn on one another.

People who spend long periods of time on the edge of an opening into the Gloom without realizing it will also be affected, and may find themselves plagued by nightmares while asleep and distracted by disturbing thoughts during the day, or hear voices telling them to do harm to their loved ones — and sometimes they may even listen.

The Watch hasn't discovered a way to close openings into the Gloom; the most common tactic it employs is to move people away from hotbeds of paranormal activity wherever they arise, and wait for the opening to close on its own as the Gloom and the entities within it turn their attention elsewhere.

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