First published back in July of 2001, Clive Barker’s ‘Six Destines’ short stories were penned to accompany the first series of the ‘Tortured Souls’ action figure set, which were sculpted and designed by Todd McFarlane.  This first series included six figures, each of which included their own individual short story which told the reader a little of the mythology behind the figure.  A second series of action figures was later released in October of 2002; however a short story did not accompany any of these later action figures.

The sixth story in the series is for ‘Mongroid’ and forms Book Six of the ‘Six Destinies’ titled ‘The Second Coming’.

The ‘Tortured Souls’ stories were later combined into a limited edition hardback entitled ‘Tortured Souls: The Legend Of Primordium’ (2015) that was published Subterranean Press.

DLS Synopsis:
The homunculus child inside Talisac’s womb was on the verge of birth.  Alone in his stinking charnel house, the doctor, whose delusional belief in the child had stretched to that of another Virgin Birth, watched in awe as the pitiful crab-like Mongroid was born amongst the decaying corpses of his private world.  But the creation was far from how the doctor had hoped it would turn out.  It was a grotesquely developed beast, with only a rudimentary sense of its own presence.  But it was his first birth.  And one he would learn much from.  But the Mongroid was hungry, and its appetite had found its first meal already.  And the doctor hung there, helpless to stop it feasting.

Elsewhere, at the murdered Senator’s house, Zarles Kreiger, The Scythe-Meister, had gone out to the garden to bring back perfumed flowers to his lover, in order to hide the bitter and unpleasant smell of their transfigured lovemaking.

But when Kreiger hadn’t returned or answered her calls, Lucidique went out to the darkened garden to investigate.  And there, amongst the overgrown foliage she found her lover torn open and dying.  And nearby a trespasser stalked towards her, his terrifying menace clear even in the darkened gloom.

Lucidique led the beastly formed creature away from her dying lover, in the hope of gaining the upper hand within the familiar territory.  But the creature – the Venal Anatomica – refused to follow further.  And so it retureds to the shattered body of Zarles Kreiger, in order to create its own bait.  One that would force the clash of two powerfully devoted beasts.

And at the end of the night, just three monsters would remain in the decaying streets of Primordium.  A city where hope was a long lost dream…

DLS Review:
For this final instalment, Barker sets down two separate stories – that of the birth of the malformed Mongroid and the devouring of its father, as well as the savage fight between Venal Anatomica and Lucidique.  Both storyline threads are wrapped up with a flourish of energy, taking up the vast proportion of this final instalment.  From here Barker goes to great lengths to tie off all of the loose ends, cramming in an array of ‘after-the-event’ stories, to detail the rest of the remaining three monsters’ tortured existences.

By far the most involved of the six short stories, this final instalment is certainly the most accomplished and engaging of the set, detailing one tragedy after the next until the final down beaten ending.  As tragic as it is hauntingly beautiful.

The short spans across the entire width of one side of the fold-out sheet that comes included with the ‘Tortured Souls’ action figure.

© DLS Reviews

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