April wakes up in her room in Venice's Border House, disorientated and complaining about her nightmares. But she has more important things to think about. April is a student at VAVA, and she has an art project due by next Thursday... an art project she's hardly even started yet. She decides to go to work on it. She gets changed and leaves, running into her neighbour, Zack Lee, who she dislikes. He tries asking her out; April demurs, and Zack laughs at her, saying he's not going to wait around for her to come to her senses. Once he goes back into his room, she mutters: "What an asshole."
Downstairs in the Border House's sitting room, she finds a note on the noticeboard about a gold ring her landlady, Fiona has found. April remembers losing her ring a little while ago. When Fiona asks her about it, April says it was a gift from her father on her sixteenth birthday. She talks about her father with an old bitterness. She feels sorry for him because he doesn't know how to love, and he'll always be unhappy because of it. But it's getting late, and she has to go.
On her way to VAVA, April passes an old man, Cortez, who is reading on the bench outside the Border House. He stops her to chat about the weather, but surprises her by saying "You are troubled by nightmares." April gets angry and demands to know who he's been talking to about her personal life. More concerned than offended, Cortez says April must be worried that her dreams will start coming to her even when she's awake. They'll talk again soon. April doesn't think so, and hurries away.
April arrives at VAVA and goes up to work on her painting, using the nightmare she had last night as inspiration. Later on, her best friend Emma arrives and says she has a message from Cortez: April has to endure some good-natured teasing about that. Emma says Cortez wants April to meet him "where children visualise their dreams", but April has no idea what he's talking about. Emma offers lunch at the Fringe Cafe, and April accepts, though she has to wash her palette and hands first.
However, when Emma leaves and April is at the sink, there is a rushing noise and Emma's holosculpture suddenly comes to life behind her back. When April whirls around, it turns back to normal. April remembers what Cortez said and, getting worried, decides to meet him.
In the Fringe Cafe, April meets up with her friend Charlie, who works behind the bar, and asks him about Cortez. Charlie says Cortez was interested in a poster by the jukebox. It turns out to be for an exhibition at the Roma Gallery called 'Growing Pains', with artwork by children. April gets her back-pay from her boss, Stanley (though she has to threaten to quit first) so she can afford the subway ticket, and heads for Watertown Bridge.
She meets Cortez in the Roma Gallery, who shows her a painting by a friend of his, Warren Hughes. He asks April what she sees when she looks at it - April tells him she sees art, and that there is truth in the painting. Cortez says that true artists are those who shift a part of themselves into their work, trying to reach for the 'truth of art', but when April asks him what that is, he shrugs and says he has no idea. April gets angry, demanding to know why he made her waste her money and come down there. Cortez mentions the 'waking dream' she had at VAVA, and says there is both truth and illusion in dreams; he is trying to help her sort one from the other. Things are afoot, and he needs her help.
April is still angry at him - she thought he could help her, and all he can do is talk nonsense and use words like 'afoot', which nobody uses. Cortez apologises, and promises to explain things tomorrow before leaving the Roma Gallery. April goes back to Venice.
Depending on what she said to Stanley, there are two ways this chapter can end:
- April takes overtime at the Fringe Cafe and gets to work. In the middle of the evening, there is a flash of light from the jukebox and a strange creature emerges, playing a pipe. Halfway through its tune, it seems to realise everyone is staring. April watches in disbelief.
- April goes back to the Border House, meeting Fiona and Mickey. They invite her to watch the Screen with them, and they settle down to watch a documentary about the rainforest. Suddenly, the rainforest emerges from the screen, filling the living room. The three women look around them in shock.
Themes & References Edit
The word 'penumbra' refers to the portion of a shadow where the light is not completely blocked. This gray zone is a mix of both light and darkness. The meaning most relevant to The Longest Journey is the touching of two worlds, science and magic. It's an appropriate name for the first chapter, as the logical world of Stark is coming into contact with the chaotic world of Arcadia.
During the cut-scene where the Border House living room changes to a rainforest, a picture can be seen hanging on the wall of the living room. The picture is an abstract, art-comic-style portrait of a woman. When an unmarked wall area to the left of the noticeboard in the living-room is clicked, April will examine the picture (but the player can not see it) and state that it is a "reprint of an early Lebowski" (translated from german). Note that the movie "The Big Lebowski" also appeared in 1998 and that one of its characters, Maude Lebowski, is an artist who does some painting.
|Chapters in The Longest Journey|
|Prologue: A Lion is in the Streets | Penumbra | Through the Looking Glass | Friends and Enemies | Monsters | There and Back Again | The Chaos Storm | A Deep Blue Mirror | Reunification | Shadows | Rebirth | Kin | Dreamland | The Longest Journey | Epilogue: Threads|