Oooh, a twist in the Fates Worse Than Death formula! That's right, fans of painful, drawn-out, memorable exits from this mortal coil, I'm straying from the movie picks and going with a literary horror choice; more specifically In The Hills, The Cities from Clive Barker's The Book of Blood, Volume 1.

Not only is this my favorite short story of all time, but it also features some of the most indelible imagery my mind has ever assembled out of mere words on the printed page. If you haven't read the story, it's about two lovers traveling across Europe who encounter a mind-boggling scene: two rival villages, Popolac and Podujevo, have begun an ancient tradition in which thousands upon thousands of individuals work together to form all the limbs and joints of a human being. Both cities have assembled their entire populations into colossal 'men' comprised of all their citizens (women and children included).

Collectively they have become two massive giants that are, despite their city-sized building blocks, single entities ready to engage in traditional battle. Except something has gone wrong and Podujevo collapses, disintegrating into wave after wave of bodies that writhe and squirm into mush under the pressure of the thousands of people above them. More happens in the story, including one of the saddest, "forgotten" deaths I've ever read, but I'd like to offer up the poor souls that comprised Podujevo as all people who had a Fate Worse Than Death. They joined together to accomplish an unimaginable, unrivaled feat of human engineering and dedication; instead they melted away, killing every single citizen in the process. Once the human shape begins to lose its support structures, the entire city becomes a tidal wave of death, each person being ground together with their neighbors in a tsunami of body parts and failed intentions.

If you're going to leave this world, at least go out on your own in a quiet, peaceful way, not in a faceless mass where all your friends, family and loved ones are squished together into an orgy of unbelievable pain. That's some creepy stuff, Clive.
categories Features, Horror