Leaving Shelter brings an end to chapter 2. There is still much world-building to do, but I’m hoping from this point on Jeremy is through with getting his feet wet in The Valleys. Let’s unpack it.
While the illusion of shelter was ripped from Jeremy during his stay in the settlement, the title of this section does highlight a major transition. Up until this point Jeremy has experienced on the periphery of life in The Valleys, his emergence into the Inner Valleys is going to be quite unsettling – he is certainly leaving shelter behind him.
If you recall, a “window” played a roll in the shadow’s first interrogation of Jeremy. The dream does, indeed, signify Jeremy’s entry into The Valleys – symbolized according to the experiences he’s had since waking up in this new world. The question is, “What was so terrifying to him that he felt the need to literally break into the world of The Valleys?”
Jeremy’s hitchhiker, as he’s beginning to think of the shadow following him, seems to know more about the “window” than Jeremy does himself. In fact, it was helping Jeremy’s memory of the dream become foggy each time he woke from the dream. The shadow is also influencing Jeremy to not have an interest in exploring the dream’s meaning beyond his hazy recollections. His less-than-enthusiastic response to Ama’s request he write down future dreams is a signal to this influence. The shadows really do not want Jeremy to remember what brought him to The Valleys.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Shelter is based on my experiences down the shore as I was growing up. To me, there was nothing worse than the sights and scents of the shore overwhelming my senses as we departed our vacation point for home – the boardwalk, beach, crabbing, and the incredible baked goods 1 passed back over the horizon into the sea, and I new I’d not see them until the following Summer.
This is how I wanted to convey Jeremy’s walk through Shelter’s main street. The joys of the settlement was all there, right in front of him, but already out of reach. There wasn’t even time to stop for coffee. Jeremy’s last glance at Shelter feels like the moment we crossed the bridge and made our way to the mainland.
As was said earlier, Jeremy is beginning to think of the shadow following him as a hitchhiker. To his shock, as he prepared to follow Walter and Ama down the tunnel noticed it wasn’t even attempting to hide from him.
Up to this point, Jeremy’s encounters with the shadows have been extremely unsettling, and not without good reason. Yet, the sight of a shadow bounding through evertorches like a puppy eager to be on a walk is equally disconcerting. Jeremy had just about made peace with understanding the shadows as something alien and unfamiliar. Glimpsing it doing something almost familiar forced him to change is perception again.
What’s up with this shadow? It’s personifying. The longer this shadow exists near Jeremy, and to a lesser extent Walter and Ama, the more human-like it’s sense of being becomes. The shadows typically try to avoid this at all costs, which why they are so careful to meet with human’s as part of a crows. In agreeing to follow Jeremy this one particular shadow is, in a sense, giving away it’s very sense of being. Yet, it knew following Jeremy was an important enough task to make this particular sacrifice.
What kind of monsters are these?