Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Just Finished Books of Blood 4-6 (Sickest Post Ever)

I just finished reading the Books of Blood 4-6 omnibus by Clive Barker. The final story in Book 6, entitled "The Last Illusion", contains what might just be the most twisted passage I have ever read in any book:

Though he tried to form the simple word, "No", the music was gaining influence upon him with every note played. He began to hear melodies in the caterwauling; long, circuitous themes that made his blood sluggish and his thoughts idiot. He knew there was no pleasure to be had at the music's source--that it tempted him only to pain and desolation--yet he could not shake its delirium off. His feet began to move to the call of the pipers. He forgot Valentin, Swann and all ambition for escape, and instead began to descend the stairs. The melody became more intricate. He could hear voices now, singing some charmless accompaniment in a language he didn't comprehend. From somewhere above, he heard his name called, but he ignored the summons. The music clutched him close, and now--as he descended the next flight of stairs--the musicians came into view.

They were brighter than he had anticipated, and more various. More baroque in their configurations (the manes, the multiple heads); more particular in their decoration (the suit of flayed faces; the rouged anus); and, his drugged eyes now stung to see, more atrocious in their choice of instruments. Such instruments! Byron was there, his bones sucked clean and drilled with stops; his bladder and lungs teased through the slashes in his body as reservoirs for the piper's breath. He was draped, inverted, across the musician's lap, and even now was played upon--the sacs ballooning, the tongueless head giving out a wheezing note. Dorothea was slumped beside him, no less transformed, the strings of her gut made taut between her splinted legs like an obscene lyre, her breasts drummed upon. There were other instruments too, men who had come off the street and fallen prey to the band. Even Chaplin was there, much of his flesh burned away, his rib-cage played upon indifferently well
(Barker 142-3).

Clive Barker is a talented writer, but I wonder how he sleeps at night.

(Image enlarged from "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch courtesy of Wikimedia)

3 comments:

Quammy said...

I pretty much felt the same way after watching Hellraiser.

Anonymous said...

This post and the previous comment remind that I want to read Barkers' The Hellbound Heart. I'll have to check out The Books of Blood as well. - Meisner

Robyn said...

I shouldn't have read this. If I have a nightmare tonight, we'll know why!