When I woke up, I had no idea what time it was. Come to think of it, I had no idea what time I went to sleep. Or what the time was at any point since I’d crossed over to the dead side. Strange how I hadn’t noticed until now. I frowned. Also strange how quickly such thoughts had become normal.
I shook my head and rolled out of bed. Dwelling on such things was not productive. Now I just had to…I stopped and looked around the room. Had to what? I had no toothbrush, no clothes to change into, no nothing. I didn’t even know where the bathroom was. Then again, I hadn’t had anything to eat since I’d arrived here, so I supposed it wasn’t much of a surprise that I hadn’t felt the urge. I also hadn’t felt hungry, which was more of a surprise. At least I now knew that I could sleep.
Shaking my head again—what else was I supposed to do?—I pushed the door open and stepped out into the hall.
“Ah!” I jumped, then relaxed when I spotted Norene looking down at me from the middle of the staircase.
“You’re up early,” she observed.
“So are you,” I countered automatically. “Wait. Evening? Early? What?”
“Yeah, it’s only five. The sun’s not even properly down yet.”
“Down? As in, it’s five pm?”
“In what world is five in the evening considered early?”
“The dead side of town.” Norene shrugged. “Most everyone’s nocturnal. I thought you’d have noticed by now.”
“Wait, is that why we didn’t see anyone on the streets when we were walking here?”
“No, that’s because there aren’t a lot of people. We were walking at a perfectly reasonable hour.”
“Yeah. It was late afternoon or something like that, wasn’t it?”
“More like three in the morning.” Norene frowned. “Can’t you tell the difference between sunlight and moonlight? I’ve never heard of anyone like that, though I suppose it could be some weird eye condition.”
“Of course I can tell the difference between the sun and the moon!”
She shrugged. “Just asking.” An awkward silence fell between us before Norene spoke again. “Wait, did you actually ever look at the sky?”
“Should I have?”
“I bet I know what it is.” Norene nodded, as if confirming it for herself. “You’re a zombie now, so your eyes are a lot more sensitive to the light. The light at night now looks the same as it did during the day when you were human, so you just assumed it was daytime.”
“But I would have…” Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have noticed day and night reversing. I had spent a good long while in a windowless cell with no way to tell the time. “I guess that makes sense? But if nighttime looks like daytime, what does daytime look like?”
“Oh, that’s easy. You know that whole thing about how vampires and zombies and such can’t walk under the sun? Well, it’s not so much can’t, as wouldn’t want to. The light’s too bright for your eyes to handle, and your skin actually decays faster when exposed to sunlight. Vampires get these horrible sunburns.” Norene shuddered. “Not pretty.”