The Sandman
The Wake

The Sandman Library

Preludes & Nocturnes
The Doll's House
Dream Country
Season of Mists
A Game of You
Fables & Reflections
Brief Lives
World's End
The Kindly Ones
The Wake

DELIRIUM: One for sorrow, two for sorrow, three for sorrow, four for for for I don't know. But I'm bored of sorrow, five for three two one, six for gold, seven for a magpie who tells me where to go...

Chapter One: Which occurs in the wake of what has gone before

DELIRIUM: I want to name him. Plippy Ploppy Cheese Nose?

DEATH: Mm. No. Try again.

DESPAIR: A good name, though, sister. It must be a real name that people can say.

DELIRIUM: Eblis O'Shaughnessy?

DEATH: Okay.

Chapter One: Which occurs in the wake of what has gone before

ABEL: I thought I was - hmn -- over and, mm, duh done with.

CAIN: Nonsense. Lord Morpheus brought you back, right as rain...

DREAM: Not Morpheus. I have no right to that name. I am Dream of the Endless: it is enough.

Chapter One: Which occurs in the wake of what has gone before

EBLIS O'SHAUGHNESSY: Sir Librarian -- the young lord in white... who was he?

LUCIEN: He is Dream of the Endless.

EBLIS O'SHAUGHNESSY: He is...? But the wake. The ceremony. I was told that Dream of the Endless was no more.


EBLIS O'SHAUGHNESSY: So... who died?

LUCIEN: Nobody died. How can you kill an idea? How can you kill the personification of an action?

EBLIS O'SHAUGHNESSY: Then what died? Who are you mourning?

ABEL: A point of view.

Chapter Two: In Which a Wake is Held

MATTHEW: Mervyn?


MATTHEW: You're dead.

MERVYN: Nope. It ain't my funeral. Never felt better.

MATTHEW: You're dead. Goddamn it! You were destroy by the Kindly Ones! You were blown to friggin' bits!


MATTHEW: You're not Merv.

MERVYN: Not Merv. Riiight. So what am I if I'm not me, huh? Chopped Liver? Hehhehhehheh... Chopped liver. Heh. I killed myself. You goin' to stick around for the wake?

MATTHEW: So why aren't you dead?

MERVYN: He brought me back.


MERVYN: Hizzonna Dream a' the Endless. Who else? Hey bird! You wanna drink?

MATTHEW: Screw you.

Chapter Two: In Which a Wake is Held

MATTHEW: Anyone here?

DREAM: I am here, Matthew. Should you not be at the ceremony?

MATTHEW: What ceremony? All I saw was a shitload of people I didn't know and a bombed pumpkin.

Chapter Two: In Which a Wake is Held

DREAM: This is very new to me, Matthew. This place. This world. I have existed since the beginning of time. This is a true thing. I am older than worlds and suns and gods. But tomorrow I will meet my brother and sisters for the first time. And I am afraid.

Chapter Two: In Which a Wake is Held

ROSE: You know, I'm pregnant. Not hardly very pregnant at all, but I am.

LYTA: Kill it, Rose Walker. Kill it now. Kill it before it breaks your heart.

Chapter Two: In Which a Wake is Held

MATTHEW: Lucien? Why did it happen? Why did he let it happen?

LUCIEN: Let it, Matthew? I think he did a little more than let it happen... Charitably... I think... sometimes, perhaps, one must change or die. And, in the end, there were, perhaps, limits to how much he could let himself change.

Chapter Two: In Which a Wake is Held

BARNABAS: A dog biscuit for your thoughts?

MATTHEW: Just remembering a book I read a long time ago, Tom Sawyer. There's a bit in it where these kids turn up halfway though their own funeral. I was just thinking. Maybe he'll walk in halfway through the service. "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated, Matthew," he'll say.

Chapter Two: In Which a Wake is Held

This is the second brother I have lost, whispered Despair in her shadowy voice, and each of the listeners found herself or himself, or itself, giving an involuntary shiver, and it hurts.

I cared for him, very much. He was so wise; he seemed so certain of the rightness of his actions. And I, who do nothing but doubt, admired that in him. He was a creature of hope, for dreams are hopes, and echoes of hopes. And I am a creature of despair.

And her words moved over his listeners like a black wind blowing across their hearts; and in that moment each of them knew despair.

I think of the first Despair sometimes, said Despair. It must be over a hundred thousand years since anyone thought of her but me... An eyeblink, and she is forgotten. And you will forget: Death of life will take him from your minds. I know, whispered Despair, in her distant, empty voice.

But I shall remember him.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

DESTRUCTION: You know you could leave all this. It'll carry on all right without you. Come out with me and walk the stars. It's astonishing how much trouble one can get oneself into, if one works at it.

And astonishing how much trouble one can get oneself out of, if one simply assumes that everything will, somehow, or other, work out for the best.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

DESTRUCTION: Entropy and optimism: the twin forces that make the universe go round.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

MATTHEW: He was the most important person in the world to me, and he's gone... But you can't kill dreams. Not really.

I mean, despair may be the thing that comes after hope, but there's still hope, right? When there's no hope you might as well be dead.

What's in my heart? A lot of sorrow. A little regret. And the memory of the coolest, strangest, most infuriating boss... friend... boss... I ever had. That's what.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

And some of them spoke, that day; and some of them were silent. But we do not need to recount every sermon and eulogy. After all, you were there. You may have forgotten, in your waking hours, what you heard that day --

But you will remember it, in the soft, lost slumbering moments between waking and true sleep:.. remembering the whispering voices of the gods of earth and heaven... the piping laughter of innocent chaos... the frightened rustling of cold order...

The voices of the living. The voices of the dead.

They will haunt your sleep until you die.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

LYTA: Daniel?

DREAM: No. I am sorry. Not Daniel.

LYTA: You are... going to ... hurt me, then?

DREAM: The person who was responsible for the death of the first Despair will take the rest of eternity to die. Only then will his pain cease... And he had better cause for what he did than you. You sought vengeance, Lyta. But that is a road that has no ending.

Come to me. You have my mark on you, Lyta Hall. No one shall harm you. Put your life together once again. Go in peace.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

DREAM: Have you decided what you want?

MATTHEW: I don't want to be your raven. I was his raven. It wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be the same.

DREAM: As you will.

MATTHEW: But, Jeez. You're just a kid. Well kindda. You're gonna need someone around to offer advice, bail you out when you're in trouble, all that. And ravens... well, we don't grow on trees.

DREAM: And what brought about this change of heart?

MATTHEW: You mean, is it because you told me you save my life? No. I had to make a speech about the boss, at the shindig... and while I was talking, I think I figured a few things out for myself... Funeral's over. Time to get on with our lives. Time to grow up.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

MATTHEW: The family will be waiting for you in the dining hall. You'd better send a message to Taramis, tell him to get plenty of food out there.

I don't expect anyone'll eat anything, but it'll give you something to fiddle with, if there are any awkward pauses. And from what I know of your family, the awkward pauses will probably be the good bits.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

DEATH: Del...? That's not for eating. I think it's a table decoration.

DELIRUM: It's nice. It tastes a bit like forever. I like the way colors taste. Except I don't like crimsons... or turquoises... especially when they put their heads into their shells and won't play. And when you break their shells to let them out, they die...

DEATH: That's turtles, dear. Or tortoises.

DELIRIUM: I think it's turquoise.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

MATTHEW: You scared?

DREAM: Not exactly.

MATTHEW: C'mon, kid. I'm with you. It'll be fine. Just remember what the French say. No, probably not the French, they've got a president or something. The Brits maybe, or the Swedes. You know the one I mean?

DREAM: No, Matthew. What do they say?

MATTHEW: The King is dead. That's what they say.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

Chapter Three: In Which We Wake

HOB GADLING: Death's a funny thing. I used to think it was a big, sudden thing, like a huge owl that would swoop down out of the night and carry you off. I don't anymore.

I think it's a slow thing. Like a thief who comes to your house day after day, taking a little thing here and a little thing there, and one day you walk round your house and there's nothing there to keep you, nothing to make you want to stay.

And then you lie down and shut up for ever. Lots of little deaths until the last big one.

An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning

HOB GADLING: What is it? Heaven? Hell? Reincarnation? Or just pain and darkness and nothing at all...

DEATH: What do you believe, Hob?

HOB GADLING: Me? I s'pose I'm with old Kipling on this one. They will come back, come back again, as long as the red earth rolls. He never wasted a tree or a leaf. Why should he squander souls?

An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning

HOB GADLING: There's be an awful neatness to dying here, wouldn't there? Going on to whatever it is one goes on to. Like coming full circle.

DEATH: Is that what you want, Hob? If it is, I can give it to you. Just take my hand.

HOB GADLING: I appreciate the offer. I really do. But I don't think so, love, thanks. I'm not ready to die. Not today. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Anyway, Gwen'd kill me.

An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning