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Authors: Jeff VanderMeer

Shriek: An Afterword

BOOK: Shriek: An Afterword
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for Ann

&

for
Howard Morhaim
who sold it

Jim Minz
who bought it

Liz Gorinsky
who edited it

No one makes it out.

—S
ONGS
: O
HIA

If you live a life of desperation, at least lead a life of loud desperation.

—D
OROTHY
P
ARKER

We dwell in fragile, temporary shelters.

—J
EWISH
P
RAYER
B
OOK

The dead have pictures of you.

—R
OBYN
H
ITCHCOCK

A Note from the Author

The following is my account of the life of noted historian Duncan Shriek. This text was originally begun as a belated afterword to Duncan Shriek’s
The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris,
but circumstances have changed since I began the book.

Having begun this account as an afterword, ended it as a dirge, and made of it a fevered family chronicle in the middle, all I can say now, as the time to write comes to an end, is that I did the best I could, and am gone. Nothing in this city we call Ambergris lasts for long.

As for Mary Sabon, I leave this account for her as much as for anyone. Perhaps even now, as late as it has become, reading my words will change you.

Goodbye.

—J
ANICE
S
HRIEK

{When I found this manuscript, I contemplated destroying the entire thing, but, in the end, I didn’t have the will or the heart to do so. And I found I really didn’t want to. It is flawed and partisan and often crude, but it is, ultimately, honest. I hope Janice will forgive or forget my own efforts to correct the record.—D
UNCAN
}

Part 1

[Upon the altar, the Cappan Aquelus’ men found an] old weathered journal and two human eyeballs preserved by some unknown process in a solid square made of an unknown clear metal. Between journal and squared eyeballs blood had been used to draw a symbol…. More ominous still, the legendary entrance, once blocked up, boarded over, lay wide open, the same stairs that had enticed Manzikert I beckoning now to Aquelus. The journal was, of course, the one that had disappeared with Samuel Tonsure 60 years before. The eyes, a fierce blue, could belong to no one but Manzikert I. Who the blood had come from, no one cared to guess.

—F
ROM
D
UNCAN
S
HRIEK’S DEPICTION OF THE
S
ILENCE IN
The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris

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