Gomes – An Introduction
The complicated lives of the strange rock creatures that we know as gomes have been mixed up with the lives of humans for only the past few thousands of years here on planet Earth. Gomes are far older than humans. As Wullie explains to Finn and Hadley in Chapter XI of Blackhope Scar:
“Gomes are as old as time itself, and are found wherever rocks and earth are disturbed. When the world was young and the rocks and mountains were forming gomes were created. Long before the dinosaurs were around it was gomes that ruled the earth. But when the earth cooled down the gomes mostly went to sleep. It is only in the past few thousand years that humans have disturbed them with their quarries and mines, digging into the earth looking for treasures and throwing away everything else; tossing aside the gomes like worthless rubble.”
Gomes have become angry at humans for the way they tear the rocks and substance of the land apart and turn it towards the uses of humans. Gomes have learned to make use of the emotional connection that some humans have with the objects that they make out of rocks and metal, although we don’t yet know all the details about this yet.
Gomes can change between two forms very quickly. In their living form they can move around, eat, drink, talk, and act like other living creatures. But they can also petrify, which means that they can instantly turn themselves back into a solid lifeless rock that is roughly the same size and shape as their living body. Gomes will petrify for several reasons. Mostly they petrify to avoid detection. Most humans will ignore gomes if they think they are just looking at a dull uninteresting rock. Animals (like dogs and cats), however, can recognize that gomes are living and interesting, even in their petrified state. Gomes can stay petrified for years and years at a time. It is a bit like animals that hibernate: gomes can conserve more energy in their petrified state. While they are petrified they get treated like any other rock and so moss, seaweed, lichen and barnacles can grow on them, depending on where they are when they petrify.
Gomes will only reveal themselves to selected humans, either to befriend them or to scare them. Because children have a better imagination and are more accepting of unusual things than most grown up humans, children find it easier to recognize gomes and to interact with them.
Gomes can be found anywhere on the planet that rocks are found. There are several different types of gome. Some gomes are loners who don’t mix with other gomes. Others live in groups or clans of the same type. Gomes tend to take on some of the properties of the rock type from which they are formed.
Gomes eat rocks, shells, or bones as their food. Wullie-The-Mahaar-Gome eats metal for his food. It is unclear if all gomes can eat metal. When well fueled with food gomes have incredible strength and stamina. They can run, climb, push, pull, and carry objects ten times their own weight for hours or days at a time.
So far, in the Blackhope Scar story we have only met gomes who speak English and with strong regional Scottish accents. Neither Stinky-The-Bog-Murtle nor Baldo-The-Bladderwort seem to speak in any language that humans understand. Wullie seems to know quite a lot of Latin, too.