The Secret of Norene Z. Byrnes

The Society for Linian Studies has recently discovered a new set of notebooks that belonged to the premiere Linian scholar, Norene Z. Byrnes. Part of these notebooks contained a cryptic set of poems that, when decoded, led to the Riverside Branch of the New York Public Library and then to a Post Office Box at the Ansonia Post Office. Inside the PO Box was a tape dated November 15, 1986. The tape contains some of the last words ever spoken by Norene Z. Byrnes.

[random music]

Norene Z. Byrnes. November the 15th, 1986. New York City.

If you’re hearing this, I guess that means someone finally found those notebooks I left in Vancouver. I wonder how long it took. A month? Ten years? Fifty? Whatever it is, hopefully it’s not too late. At least Linian scholarship is still alive. I imagine a world one day where every school child knows the name of Giuseppe Cognomi.

I apologize for the theatrics in getting you here. People must think I went crazy. Maybe I am. But everything I did was for a reason, as you’ll see. [unintelligible] I told you, [unintelligible] very important work. However, if you’ve found this tape I should warn you that you may be in for some trouble, if the Benjamin Smyth Institute is still around. I have a feeling they are. Well, let’s just say that they aren’t too pleased with the direction my work has been going. They’ll get over it.

If you’re uncertain about this path you’re going down, turn the tape off now, put it back in the box. Leave it for someone else. Someone who’s ready for the difficulties that come with this pursuit.

And if you’re one of the Smyth minions, well, I guess you won. But I pity you. You’re a puppet. You’ve been manipulated, lied to. You don’t have a clue what they’re really after. “We are guardians.” *scoffs* How you ever thought to consider what exactly that means? Maybe this tape can open your eyes.

And if it’s you, Lyman, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you more about what I’ve been doing. Sorry I kept you in the dark. Sorry I left without saying goodbye. It was for your own safety, I assure you. I know you think I’m just paranoid. My death will prove you wrong. I have no doubt anymore that I’m a dead woman walking. Only a matter of time now. Those damn Smythie’s have been hounding me for a long while. You don’t want that on you. I trust you’ll do as I ask and walk away from Linian Scholarship. You aren’t cut out for this.

[random music]

The Smyth Institute has successfully stopped the publication of my book. They’ve stolen my manuscript and destroyed most of my notes, so I’m making this tape. Hiding it right under their noses, right down the street from their Manhattan offices. I suppose they’ll look. I’ve been hiding out here for the past few months, and I’ve had more rest than I’ve had in years. But it’s only a matter of time, now.

I’m sorry for the lengthy prologue. Allow me to begin.

The story begins in ancient…

Hopefully in the upcoming weeks, I’ll be able to provide a transcript of the rest of her final tape.

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