"Bethany, I love you," he said as he followed her down into the village to the door of her house, which
she finally slammed in his perfect face.
That was where his followers found him an hour later, his throat so ragged from repeating his words of love that he spoke blood instead of syllables. They didn't ask for an explanation. They simply covered their master's nakedness and took him home.
Witch-hunters came for Bethany Bled the next day, with their menaces and their pricking-forks and their comprehensive price-lists for what a guilty witch might be expected to pay for the service of being flogged and branded and burned.
Bethany was summarily accused of diabolical works. She denied them fiercely, of course. They put her to the rack. And soon she was admitting everything...
from Bethany Bled - 2004
Following the novella published in parts to accompany the Tortured Souls range of figures in 2001,
a new Clive Barker fiction was similarly distributed as an added attraction with The Infernal Parade series. Not planned as a novella
in its own right, the six pieces of text were intended more as back-story for the individual characters - jointly designed by
Todd McFarlane and Clive Barker - and could be read in any order.
As with The Tortured Souls, they attracted fans of Barker's written work who might not routinely have been tempted by the McFarlane figures. (See our Toys and Games pages for more on the figures themselves.) Those who did buy the six circus figures found a short history accompanying each of them; character studies which, although discrete, interconnect to create the curious world of The Infernal Parade...
"Whereas in the Tortured Souls novella I was also describing a location - Primordium - I'm not describing a location here; I'm telling
something much more like a little fable - [backstories] which are complete and unto themselves and not connected in quite the same
way. These are the stories of who these people are.
"It goes back to me wanting to do circuses since the first time I ever saw a circus, which was when I was five, probably. They used to bring the circus to Sefton Park in Liverpool every, I guess, summer and it was the grand, old, probably Chipperfields. And the smell of it and this kind of scary ambience of it - the clowns used to freak the hell out of me. These are all very obvious things, but there's something quite powerful about those images and ideas and so we really tried to capture some of that and I think they've done a great job. Of the three sets, these are easily my favourites. Just because they seem to jump much more from a personal dreamscape than the others do."
In Anticipation Of The Deluge: A Moment At The River's Edge
By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 1 and 12 July 2004 (note - full text here)
Jon Goff (McFarlane staff) : "Truth be told, the reality of Clive Barker's The Infernal Parade will only be a secret for so long, because once these figures hit stores, everyone will have a chance to learn about the characters these fine, fantastic figures represent, thanks to Mr. Barker's widely imaginative and richly told novella which will accompany each individual figure."
Update - 6/2 - The Parade Rolls On
McFarlane message board post, (note - online at www.spawn.com) By Jon Goff, 2 June 2004The Infernal Parade bibliography...