Shriek: Excerpts From The Soundtrack

We Dwell In Fragile Temporary



Shriek Voices

[added May 21, 2010]

[Consisting of overlapping voices...]

There might as well not be a Silence, a Machine, an underground.
I feel as if I have emerged from a bad dream, into the real world.
It does not seem possible that one person should be able to lead two such lives...

...personal responsibility and is as irresponsible as those religions that attribute deeds to the sun, moon, or sea. We are, ultimately, responsible for our own actions, our own history, and our own happiness. I do not refute any claim that the gray caps are vile and degenerate creatures, or that they have not influenced our city in a negative way. But they have not done so with intent. Their story is not that of an overarching conspiracy, of careful control over centuries, but instead the pitiful tale of a subjugated race that acts with the same instinct and lack of planning as any of the lower animals. For us to confer intent upon them—or to seek intent from them—turns us into victims, unable to fashion our own destinies. I reject such crackpot ideology.

One of the strangest things about the war for me was the calm in the midst of the violence that sometimes came over people—a state of grace, or denial, perhaps. I can remember watching from the end of a street as a fungal bomb blew up a few blocks away. It was one of those hideous creations that, dissolving into a fine purple mist, travels forward from the impetus of the blast and enters the lungs of anyone in its path, making them brittle statues that disintegrate at the slightest touch or breath of wind. I ducked into a side alley, even though I was already immune... people ran by, screaming. There was no help for them, no help I could give. Across the street, though, I saw a man in a long overcoat standing calmly by a lamppost. He had on thick glasses and he had covered his nose and mouth with a mask of cloth. As the mist washed over him, bringing with it the usual, if incongruous, smell of limes and lemons, he did not panic. He just stood there.


Shriek Theme



Duncan And Mary

The white of her beneath the white
And in my thoughts
Where I can enslave everyone and everything
I cross the space between our bodies
I place my mouth upon her breast
She expresses neither surprise nor shock
But only sucks in her breath
Slowly places her soft hands behind my head
Drawing me into her
Her hands so cool on my hair
Her body soft soft soft soft
I think I'm going mad


Even The Flies Have Eyes

(Even the flies have eyes) Janice
[repeated several times]


The Gray Caps

[rev. May 21, 2010]

"Do you think she can see us from in there?"
"Naw—she's busy."
"She's deep in thought, she is—but what could she be thinking about?"

"How long's she been in there?"
"Seven days. I bring her food and drink. I take it out again. She's got enough paper in there to last another week."

"Wasn't her brother the mad historian who went digging into the secrets of the gray caps? Didn't he go under the city?"
"He's there now, some say, along with the snails and the cursed gray caps."
"What's she do then?"
"Not much of anything now."
"What could she be typing so furiously?"
"The story of your life. A history of pubs and bars. How should I know."
"Whatever it is, it must be important. To her."
"Funny. That typewriter's like an echo. It falls away when we stop talking."
"Yes, yes it does! Do you think she's...?"
"Naw—I must be wrong. Hasn't got anything to do with us. Hasn't got anything to do with us."


Truffidian Church




Dare I deprive the reader of that first glimpse of Ambergris? That first teasing glimpse during the carriage ride from the docks? That glimpse, and then the sprawl of Albumuth Boulevard, half staid brick, half lacquered timber? The dirt of it, the stench of it, half perfume, half ribald rot. And another smell underneath it—(Coughs)—the tantalizing scent of fungi, of fruiting bodies, of spores entangled with dust and air, spiraling down like snow. (Violently coughs) The cries of the vendors, the cries of the newly robbed, or the newly robed. The first contact of shoe on street out of the carriage—the resounding solidity of that ground, and the humming vibration of coiled energy beneath the pavement, conveyed up through shoe into foot, from foot into the rest of the body suddenly energized and woken up. The sudden hint of heat to the air—the possibilities! (Maniacal laughter)—and, peeking out from the storm drains, from the alleyways, the enticing, lingering darkness that spoke of tunnels and sudden exploration. One cannot mention our move to Ambergris without setting that scene, surely! That boulevard became our touchstone, in those early years, as it had to countless people before us. It was how you traveled into Ambergris, and it was how you carried them out when you were finally left.

But as fascinated as Duncan would become with Ambergris, he went elsewhere for his education. At our mother's insistence, in one of her few direct acts of parenting. Duncan received his advanced degrees in history from the Institute of Religiosity in Morrow {or as the historians call it, "that other city by the River Moth," a good hundred miles from Ambergris} Hooo-ahhh! Yeah! Hoo-hoo-hooaaahhhh! Yeah! No, no, no, no, no....

Duncan devoted one dark, ripe little corner to the "changing facade of Ambergris," as he called it. At first, this corner consisted only of overlapping street plans, as if he were building an image of the city from its bones. The stark white paper, the midnight black veins of ink, contrasted sharply with everything else in his rooms. (Maniacal laughter) No, no, no, no, no....


My Love, Last Night

My love, last night was wonderful. I've never talked to anyone the way I've talked to you. You teach me so much. You make me understand things so well. You make me feel I'm floating on a cloud, on a star, so light do you make me feel. Until next time, sorrowful and sick. I will not sign this letter, in case it is discovered, you know who I am. You know who I am, my love.

Your skin is so smooth I want to lick it all day long. Your body makes me hum with pleasure. Your hair, your breasts, your small hands, your ears, as delicate as the most delicate of fungi, your strong thighs, your elbows, your eyes, your kneecaps, even! I want all of you, again and again.


Incident On Bannerville

We were on a street called Bannerville. I remember that. Huh. The streetlights were bare of the terrible burden of death. Yeah. Some of them work. They glowed green. At the end of Bannerville, we'd turn to the right and we'd be a block away from the Truffidian Cathedral.

A strange surge of joy or recognition overtook us, all out of proportion to our reality. We began to run, to laugh, abandoning our shuffle through the shadows; with safety so close, it was agony to walk slowly. The worst seemed past. It really did. I was already thinking about what I'd say to Bonmot. I was already thinking about that, Truff help me.

And Sybel had been holding my hand. He was a little behind me at this point. We were almost at the end of Bannerville, not more than twenty feet from safety. Overhead, a street lamp flickered free of the green glow that pervaded the rest of the city.

And we were both about to turn the corner. I could hear Sybel's heavy breathing as he ran. Then I heard an unfamiliar sound—a sound trapped between a gasp and a moan—and when I turned and looked at Sybel, all I could see was a mist of blood, floating out in streamers. I stopped running and stared. I couldn't breathe for a second. Nothing of him was left—not even his shoes, man. Nothing at all. His dissolution was complete and utter. There was such a final terrible beauty to it. I thought it must be an absurd magic trick, a horrible joke. But it wasn't, and the laughter caught in my throat and became a sob. Yeah, laughter caught in my throat and became a sob. Yeah.

(The closer I get to the end)
(The closer I get to the end)
(The closer I get to the end)
The closer I get to the beginning
(The closer I get to the end)
(The closer I get to the end)
The closer I get to the beginning
(The closer I get to the end)
(The closer I get to the end)
The closer I get to the beginning
(The closer I get to the end)


A Tragi-Comic Family Story



A Tale For You

[rev. Aug. 31, 2013]

Here's a tale for you
Once upon a time
A woman decided to tell a story about how she tried to kill herself

Brother save her
At the last second
Then he sent her north to be dissected by various disciples of empirical religions, yeah

Until one day
Until one day
Until one day
Until one day
She escaped
Ah, she escaped


We Are Lost

We are lost, my love
If you make a sound
We are dead
You understand

[Repeated several times]


Dream Of Edward

I've—I fell asleep for a while. I couldn't help it.
I've been pushing myself to the end even faster, taking fewer breaks.
I dreamt while I slept. Edward was in my dream.
Neither of us had really ever left the insane asylum.
We just sat there in matching straitjackets in uncomfortable chairs, facing each other.
We were surrounded by huge orange-red-and-black mushrooms.
The sight of their amber gills above us, slowly breathing in and out in a sussurating mimicry of conscious life, was strangely calming to me.
"Where have you gone?" I asked him.
"Underground," he said.
"What did you find there?" I asked.
"Acceptance, everlasting life, and mushrooms," he said, and smiled.
It was a lovely smile. It radiated outwards to suffuse his entire face in a golden light.
"Is that all?" I said. "Was it worth it? Did you have to give up anything?"
"My fear. My consciousness. My former life."
"What was that like?"
"Do you remember those trust exercises they made us do? Where one of us would fall into the arms of the others, and you just had to fall and keep falling and believe they would catch you?"
"It was like that?"
"It was like that. Except imagine falling for a hundred years before you're caught, looking at a black sky full of dead stars in front of you, and the abyss at your back."
"You're dead," I said. It wasn't an accusation.
"Probably," he replied.


War Of The Houses

War of the houses
War of the houses
War of the houses
War of the houses
War of the houses
War of the houses
War of the houses


Shriek - Reversal



The Aan Tribal War

She stumbled
Caught herself
Blinked twice
Stopped screaming
But no
She was still screaming
It was just soundless
A look had come over her
Destroyed unity
Between mouth, eyes, forehead, cheekbones

Before me she became undone
Looking through those glasses
She fell to her knees
Now grappling
They didn't want to come off
She still couldn't close her eyes
She still couldn't close her eyes
She still couldn't close her eyes
She still couldn't close her eyes