The Devil’s Carnival - Kiss the Girls (Alexa Vega and The Woe Maidens)
Amazing 19th Century Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy holds an important place in the pantheon of world literature. The divine comedy is an epic poem written between 1308 until his death in 1322. It is widely considered the preeminent work in Italian literature and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem’s imaginative and allegorical vision of the afterlife is divided into three parts: Inferno (hell), Purgatorio (purgatory), and Paradiso (heaven). The poem features Dante, and his guide, Virgil, who accompanies him on his journey. What Dante witnesses is both shocking and enlightening.
Counltess artists have been inspired by Dante’s visionary work, but the best known artist to illustrate the unearthly tale was Gustave Doré whose gorgeous folio was published in 1861. Jean-Édouard Dargent was a rival of Dore’s and also published a book of illustrations in 1870 for Dante’s masterpiece. These are Dargent’s hauntingly beautiful illustrations.
Through a glass darkly
Patiently, Lucifer observed all this, from Amber’s first waking to her outraged threat, for darkness was no obstacle to him, through his inhuman, sky coloured eyes he could see perfectly well.
The return to what her form would have been had she never had surgery was he thought a good way to make her think, to realise what she had become perhaps. It was as many things here an illusion based on what she was afraid of… which was in part herself. Her real true self, which she had hidden and erased as much as possible and with it any weakness and hurt she felt.. or at least that was what she had attempted.
He softened his voice, bringing it closer to his human doppelganger’s tone and laced it with a good measure of bewilderment and a hint of fear, which he deemed appropriate to the situation, had he been the real GraveRobber. In a shaky voice he spoke.
“ Amber.. is that you ? What the fuck is this.. I can’t see…”
Wanting her to believe her dealer was in a similar strait, he made some noise, scraped the heel of his boot along the ground and deliberately bumped against the wooden wall of the sideshow.
“ Argghhh shit…. what is this place.. someone fuckin’ locked us up ? Oh fuck.. what the..? My hands.. the hell is this…?” His voice rose at the last in volume with an edge of horror as if he too had experienced some strange transformation.
He had thought that at some point he might have to explain his talons, should he need to touch her, and they could not be disguised. Though everything within the carnival, including the appearance of his Carnies was malleable to Lucifer’s will, his own appearance was unchangeable, for it was a part of God’s ‘punishment’ for his supposed wrongs. It seemed sensible therefore to pretend that GraveRobber had been given some devilish make-over. Well he was after all a drug dealer, and maybe his inner self would be represented by a devilish skin. Though Hell did not in fact operate quite like that, many who came here found their appearances or clothing subtly altered, whatever befitted their story.
He wanted Amber to believe that GraveRobber was, like her, trapped in the dark. He needed her trust, this would, he hoped, suffice.
“Amber… is that you ? What the fuck is this… I can’t see…”
She’d never been so grateful to hear GraveRobber’s voice. Not even when she was desperate for a fix. Her body – her alien body – relaxed and she sat up, listened.
Fuck, was it good to hear his voice…
Even if he sounded as scared as she felt. In spite of herself, Amber smiled.
“No shit,” Amber said, trying to sound more in-control than he did. They weren’t both allowed to panic. “You got a-?”
Before she could say “light”, there was a terrible “thud” and Amber yelped in surprise – fear – at the unseen.
“Argghhh shit… what is this place… someone fuckin’ locked us up ? Oh fuck… what the..? My hands… the hell is this…?”
“Someone did something to you, too?” Amber asked.
Her voice was softer and quivered more than she wanted it to. She again trailed her hands against her body. To her dismay, she still felt like someone else. Nothing she would have chosen to be. She didn’t know who was responsible for this grotesque transformation, but Amber did know that whoever it was, was gonna pay through the nose. She wondered what they’d done to GraveRobber. It couldn’t be worse than what they’d done to her.
Her hands rested on her stomach and tears sprang to her eyes. Nothing could be this bad. Being trapped in a body you didn’t ask for. It was a fate worse than death, as far as Amber was concerned. Being forced to live as someone or something you didn’t choose to be.
The next time she saw her surGEN, he would fix her up. And if he didn’t, Amber would happily pull a Luigi on him. Subject him to a horrid transformation under the sharp blade of a knife. See how he liked that.
Her thoughts wandered back to GraveRobber. GraveRobber who hadn’t had a single surgery. Who knew who he’d woken up as. The rough-hewn contours of his body could have been replaced with anything. Whoever had done this to him would pay, too. Maybe not as dearly… Let the punishment fit the crime, after all.
“How bad is it?”
Lucifer registered the fear in her voice, at thinking her lover had been altered too, and a little more… was that concern ? Though it was not clear if that was for her own state or GraveRobber’s. He set a quaver in his deep voice and moved a little closer.
“ I… I don’t know.. somethin’ feels weird…it’s like I got long nails.. no.. it’s more like… claws. I can’t see a fuckin’ thing.. OW! Fuck… can’t touch myself to check… oh shit.. oh no.. not that ?”
He made a little groaning noise and then said. “ My hair..” For GraveRobber was rather proud of his hair and of course Lucifer had none. “ I… I think they shaved it off… I can’t feel it.. just.. air on my skin.” Then a pause and he shuffled closer.
“Amber… what did you mean.. you too… did they do surgery on you ? What the fuck ?” he spat out with incredulity ” Is this some sick fuckin’ GeneCo’s unhappiest employee revenge joke or what ? And… why me ?” He introduced a note of sudden panic
“ Oh gods, oh fuck.. what else is different…” Lucifer made some small noises and muttered swearing, imitating GraveRobber attempting to check his body over. In fact apart from the claws and horns and his face.. Lucifer’s body was more or less that of a rather well built human male so , in the dark, there was little else to explain. The horns though, he decided to save for her to find. He gave a sigh, as of relief and then,
“ Dunno.. but I think the rest is still… kinda me. Where are you..? Say somethin’ else and I’ll make for your voice.. maybe we can figure this shit out together.”
Lucifer could feel Amber’s panic rise, her horror of being trapped in the physical was interesting. She sought to be free by having control over her appearance. And to be ordinary, unedited, was a nightmare for her. She had been made to feel inadequate, to hate her ordinary self somewhere along the line. Well that family, or rather the head of it, had a great deal to answer for, producing different neuroses in each child, and punishing them for it with disapproval and indifference, but never addressing the basic lack of love and caring. Money was always the Largo answer… throw cash at it and it’d go away, one way or another, except it was not ever the real answer. There were parts of Amber he admired, she was a survivor, and she kept a sense of what was real, hidden of course carefully behind a façade.. one which now would have to be broken, if she was to earn Grace.
When Amber spoke, he made his way to her, and stretched out his hand, flailing it a round a bit, to meet hers which was extended in the dark. She had fear written on her face. He wondered just how much she had cared for the man he was supposed to be and whether it would show now.
At the first contact he drew his hand back slightly and then touched hers again “ These things are kinda sharp.. be careful “ He moved in closer, close enough that she could touch his body, his face. How would she like what she found now ?
The wonderful Ogre, Joe Bishara, and Bill Moseley on the set of Devil’s Carnival!
I will never cease to be amazed by Liz’s talent. Sweet, sweet girl in person too :)
Circus on We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/74561675/via/noemiela_