Horror: A study on Clive Barker part 25, The Madonna.
Welcome to part 25 of my study on Clive Barker. Today, we will be looking at his short story, The Madonna.
The Madonna tells the tale of Jerry Coloqhoun and his plight to get Ezra Garvey to back a financial deal in order to redevelop a swimming pool complex. While the two explore of old complex, Ezra sees, out of the corner of his eye, a naked girl run by; Jerry, however, does not. After the meeting, Ezra returns back to the complex in order to find the girl. He encounters a different girl who is nursing some monstrous creature. Disgusted, Ezra kills the creature, but soon finds himself surrounded by three beautiful, naked women. Ezra blacks out as one, of the girls, puts a noose around his neck.
Jerry spends the next day trying to get in contact with Ezra but is unable to. He ends up going out with his girlfriend as a way to forget about his problems. In a twist, Ezra is not dead, but instead back at his apartment unable to remember what happened the night before. Believing that Jerry set him up, Ezra sends his hitmen to find Jerry.
Jerry and his girlfriend return to his place to find it trashed. Jerry, knowing that it was Ezra as the pool plans have been stolen, becomes angry. He and his girlfriend have sex, but when she tries to stop the session, as he is too angry for it to be fun, he rapes her.
Later, Jerry returns to the complex and faces off against Ezra. During the confrontation, Jerry comes face to face with one of the women and they lead him to the center of the complex (which Jerry has learned is a giant spiral) to meet a strange creature named 'The Madonna." Here, Jerry has sex with one of the girls before returning home.
The story concludes with Both Ezra and Jerry being turned into women. Ezra, disgusted by the thought, commits suicide. Jerry, however, submits to his fate and joins the ranks of the women and the strange creature.
There are two things I really like about this story. First, the ironic fates of Jerry and Ezra. Ezra thinks of women as playthings, and Jerry rapes his girlfriend. The fate of these two is that they are both turned into women. While both mistreat women, the difference between the two is that Ezra is unable to accept the results of his actions, while Jerry accepts his punishment.
The second thing I really enjoyed about this story is a small passage where one of the girls uses a bit of magic on Jerry.
'And now, at her silent insistence, his mind's eye seemed to be plucked from his head, and suddenly he was speeding over her skin, her flesh a landscape, each pore a pit, each hair a pylon. He was hers, utterly. She drowned him in her eyes, and flayed him with her lashes; she rolled him across her abdomen, and down the soft channel of her spine. She took him between her buttocks, then up into her heat, and out again just as he thought he must burn alive.' - (The Madonna, page 64.)
As I've said in the past, I like it when magic is displayed in either sexual or grotesque manner, and this is very sexual. I often find writing 'sex magic' difficult, but might look at this passage in the future as inspiration with my own writing.
This concludes my look at The Madonna. If you have a thought or a question, please leave a like or comment!
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