The Inhuman Condition
A master storyteller and unrivaled visionary, Clive Barker has mixed the real and unreal with the horrible and wonderful in more than twenty years of fantastic fiction. The Inhuman Condition is a masterwork of surrealistic terror, recounting tragedy with pragmatism, inspiring panic more than dread and evoking equal parts revulsion and delight.
see that Brendan was the worse for punishment. His shirt was smeared with stains too dark to be anything but blood. His face was contorted with present pain, or the anticipation of it. When Karney walked toward him he shied away like a beaten animal. “It’s me. It’s Karney.” Brendan raised his bruised head. “Make him stop.” “It’ll be all right.” “Make him stop. Please.” Brendan’s hands went up to his neck. A collar of rope encircled his throat. A leash led off from it into the darkness
rather than Laura May. “They’re not here. Really they’re not.” Laura May doubled back toward the office building. The rain and lightning were blinding, and she had difficulty keeping her balance in the swamp underfoot. “Earl!” she called. “Are you there?” Sadie kept pace with her. The Cade woman had pluck, no doubt of that, but there was an edge of hysteria in her voice which Sadie didn’t like too much. This kind of business (murder) required detachment. The trick was to do it almost casually,
came again, close by. He looked around and up the stairs. There, on the half-landing, lay Dooley. He was barely conscious. A rough attempt had been made to rip his clothes. Large portions of his flabby lower anatomy were exposed. “What’s going on, Dooley?” Boyle asked, moving to the bottom of the stairs. The officer heard his voice and rolled himself over. His bleary eyes, settling on Boyle, opened in terror. “It’s all right,” Boyle reassured him. “It’s only me.” Too late, Boyle registered
soft breeze cooled the sweat on his face. At the car outside Dooley was calling up reinforcements. All too soon, Boyle thought, the cars would be here, and the man upstairs would be hauled away to give his testimony. There would be no opportunity for revenge once he was in custody. The law would take its placid course, and he, the victim, would be only a bystander. If he was ever to salvage the ruins of his manhood, now was the time. If he didn’t-if he languished here, his bowels on fire-he
smeared glass. Even as Carnegie watched, the face retreated with the gloom of the chamber. Other officers had noticed the man too. They were moving down the length of the laboratory, taking up positions behind the benches where they had a good line on the door, weapons at the ready. Carnegie had been present in such situations before; they had their own, terrible momentum. Unless he intervened, there would be blood. “No,” he said, “hold your fire.” He pressed the protesting officer aside and