Final Thoughts from Clive Barker

Odyssey. I can think of no better word to describe the journey that took place these past few months.

With the prologue, “They’re Mad, They Are,” I began work on a vessel that was not yet ready for sea. And on that holed ship, together we embarked over open waters towards an unknown destination.

What I then witnessed both touched and humbled me. You, the mighty crew of the HMS Odyssey, simultaneously crafted her and plotted her voyage with artistry and grace.  No small feat.

The path we traveled was treacherous, to be sure. But we passed through the eye of the storm, and found ourselves in a new world. It was brutal, brilliant, and inspiring.

Thank you for sharing yourselves with me. You are among the finest shipmates I’ve ever had the privilege to work beside. Make no mistake; we’ve built something beautiful.

Though our paths must now diverge, we will forever be connected by this sweet and terrible ride through the eternal, collective universe of That Which Can Be Imagined.

Odyssey II






Read Prologue

Chapter 1

A Shower and a Change

ARTWORK BY: littlecrow

LITERATURE BY: markmywords85

Read Chapter 1

Chapter 2

The Host With the Most

ARTWORK BY: David-Steele


Read Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Skin Glowing From Within


LITERATURE BY: MelissaBoreal

Read Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Dreams of the Deep



Read Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Techno-Colored Psychosis



Read Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Something Worse than Nobody

ARTWORK BY: littlecrow


Read Chapter 6

Chapter 7

A Man Reborn


LITERATURE BY: demonsweat

Read Chapter 7

Chapter 8


ARTWORK BY: Micha-vom-Wald


Read Chapter 8

Symptom of the Universe

The Vision is Getting Clearer...

The inimitable author and artist, the fantastic Clive Barker, lent his special, brilliant madness to Odyssey Project 2.0 by writing the first “prompt” chapter of our experiment; setting the tenor for what would evolve into a weirdly wonderful and beautiful tale. We were honored by his participation.

For marioluevanos and I, This was our second effort at creating an ultra-collaborative short story fiction, our delirious, inspired version of the “exquisite corpse” salon game once played by the Surrealists. So far this incredible community of creative artists and storytellers have given life to two amazing “monsters”. The Grand Game will continue.

There were, once again, a whole host of minor glitches, particularly with so many entries needing to be read and fairly assessed in such a short time by so few judges (Clive himself was the ultimate arbiter this time).  All of your suggestions for improving this endeavor that have been coming in are greatly appreciated. You all have been writing the rules of the next Odyssey project throughout this process.

“Baby steps” for now, but together, we dream mightily…

Of all the unforeseen collateral fallout surrounding our Odyssey endeavors contest, none has been more heartening than the many incidences of participants branching off from the main narrative of the “chosen” story to continue their own personal vision. Often in collaboration with other writers and artists, they discovered their own preferred narrative vein and finished out their own separate stories. The idea behind this project has always been all about sparking creativity in collaboration, not simply winning a place in the main story.  That so many fresh new stories were born from the deviously germinated seed of a single Clive Barker chapter is precisely the magic we can all achieve together.

Many have been asking about the hard copy publication of Odyssey and Odyssey II, as well as the attendant charitable donations to come from those sales.  I am preparing a separate article for everyone that will go out in the next two weeks which will outline the plans for publishing both works this fall. There will be digital versions as well as hard copy versions. We have also expanded the content to include a full explanation of Odyssey Project with a behind the scenes feature outlining the process and participants from the beginning. I will create a list of the timelines, elements, and structure that we can all discuss in the comments and I will also schedule a featured chat with marioluevanos and I so that we can all talk about it in real time.

Odyssey II



by puzzledpixel

This body,
against the rage of strongest winds
and waves of virulent assaults
will endure.
My feet,
through vicious aftershocks
shall grow roots
and when the eye of the storm
has looked me in the eye, I
will be left standing,
alone, intact,
My life is not my
own and this body,
is only worn.
I am
my spirit, ethereal
Not by anything in this world
can I be touched,
you can not even bend me.
How can you destroy me?

A Subtle Shift in Course

by Beatleyperson

A subtle shift in course
That seemed quite insubstantial at first
Has given way, till you're far off path
And lost in a distant trance
What seemed inconsequential at the start
Has now made your life slowly fall apart
As you watch it crumble and crumple in your hands
You feel yourself loose your grip, and go mad
A certain paranoia sinks through the weary haze
You desperately try and slip away
As it grows into an uncontrollable panic
And you begin to grow drastic
And as the fear begins to grow
A soft voice in your head begins to echo
What did you do to deserve such a fate?
But put it out of mind, because it's too late
You're surly going to die by the hand
That you didn't see, didn't expect, and
The one you weren't afraid of
Brought this nightmare to life
And all of this came to roust
From a subtle shift in course

Inside Out

by portraitinflesh

Nausea, not me:
I boil within
my own skin
is a stranger
flaming and searing
me, not me.

The pain is in plain view
if only I weren’t hidden
if I could see me
would I recognize
or avert my eyes
knowing it has all
been taken away.

Me, not me
not since she,
or it, or them

Me, why me
a chosen vessel
without my consent

I may not have been much
but I’m all I’ve ever had
and now, no
nothing, nowhere.
The skin—my skin—
taken, broken
bruised, flayed
I fade

because of her
or it, or them
I will end;
even my wasted time
is torn away.

I’m tearing now
she-it-they want out.
I want to shout, scream
But my voice is alien to me.

Two of me
from me
of me
but not.
No longer.


by portraitinflesh

what’s mine is mine
to twist or unwind
I know what I hold dear

the end is near
if you had your way
each night you’d erase the next day

the price you had to pay
was far too high,
you ripped apart the sky

no explanation why
other than wanting to play God
you needed no encouraging nod

my ally was odd
even to you, yet she
also betrayed me

I can finally see
the truth you tried to hide
I saw once I died

so I turned the tide
you are out of time
what’s mine is mine

Outside In

by portraitinflesh

Look at the beauty
There is shit everywhere, every
breath drags it into me.

There is beauty all around
The ground under my feet is poisoned
I look up, and the sky is dying.

I see what you cannot
We avert our eyes, our
sighs we bottle up inside.
So much potential, so much
A shell of protection,
we’re so close to breaking apart.

You ignore your treasure,
this precious world, a shining
reflection of infinite possibilities—
you don’t deserve it
and you won’t miss
what you never noticed

Day in, die out
it’s all the same.
No one knows my name,
I’ve grown OK with that.
Life should make sense by now
instead, it drags me down.

A way in, that’s all I ask—
a path to your world, a
chance to taste neglected wonders

I wander through life,
everyone does—
it’s what we do when we don’t dream.

A seam to rip apart;
I’ll tear through you
Something has entered me
You may not make it
but you’ll create it
I feel so empty inside.

Odyssey Propulsion 7

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 4:17 PM


He who birthed the strange tale into our world with a spurt of kaleidoscopic intergalactic vomit has now decided its end. CliveBarker has chosen his favorite Chapter Eight to bring the multi-imagined Hydra-headed beast of a story to the end. All that remains is Chapter Eight illustration submissions remaining open for the next two weeks. And with the perfect visual, Odyssey II: Propulsion will become another hallmark in deviantART history.

So many writers and artists from around the world contributed amazing gifts of their wildest imaginations, collaborating with each other and offering suggestions and encouragement to each other in the friendly Odyssey environment.

The true spirit of the deviantART community was on full display, with moments of elevation provided by helpful angels’ wings far outnumbering the moments of snark and cynicism. There are still glitches technical and human in the Odyssey Project, but this is a dA “show” that will definitely go on – so long as talented arts “deviants” with spiritual leaders like CliveBarker are willing to use their time and effort to pioneer new roads into creativity in the emerging Internet powered narrative.

In the end it was BillBlogins, a regular contributor to both Odyssey competitions, who was able to somehow, employing an economy of words that nonetheless achieved a fine dreamlike flow, pull together all the dangling threads of the intergalactic takeover tale concocted by our chain of writers and then let Paul convincingly save humanity on Earth – only to then debark into the cosmos to save other worlds. Wonderful for what had to be done in so few paragraphs.

And Paul, after having been a tortured victim throughout so much of the story, was finally able to redeem his protagonist’s role and go out a real hero. The use of sound vibration warfare was just what was needed to elevate this horror-science fiction thriller into the incredibly memorable.

Visit the Odyssey Project Page

CH 8 Lit Runners-Up

London CallingPaul's Journal (February 28)
Six months.
One-hundred and eighty three days from vomit on my pants to the fall of civilization. John Dryden once said, "...mighty things from small beginnings grow."  Yeah, no shit.
There were more entities than we thought, hidden in other cities on other continents, and they all rose together in that terrible final struggle to fight us for control.  I was wrong to think I was strong enough to stop them.  I was so wrong.
At dawn, on the one-hundred eighty-fourth day of the war, all I can see from the roof of the House of Commons is the apocalypse.  Across the Thames, the London Eye looms over the riverbank like a broken metal sentinel.  There are fires in the gloom below--some lit for warmth, others burning out of control.
I had always wanted to bring Maya up here.  Now I just come alone.
Down on the streets, among the remnants of humanity that still drag themselves across the cracked concrete—there are still active entit

Odyssey II - Chapter 8: The Oroboros Wassail
Have you ever seen sound?
There's a condition named for it: Synesthesia.  The ability to hear and at the same time SEE what is, or might, be there.
Paul was experiencing something similar to that right now.  Each word that had poured our of Maya's mouth had rung a bell in his mind.  One that pulsed with all the colours of the void, similar to a violently organic oilslick that danced and twitched  and wrapped around the edges of his consciousness.
It was how he'd been woven back together, the very sinew of those kaleidoscopic utterances stitched into his body now.
The word was being strangled by those tendrils.  Tal'Shen was the final spindle around which all threads of this world would wrap and ultimately be strangled by.  The words would cease, the colours would fade and the world would fade to oblivion's silent black.  There would be nothing and, in this, all would cease.  Paul could feel that null note of oblivion as well.  That last grea

Nightmare Virus"I trust you." Maya said inching closer to Paul.
Paul lowered to the ground and hugged Maya tightly in a loving embrace.
"Everything is going to be ok now."
Maya then collapsed on to the floor and her body shook in violent spasms.
Maya's mouth peeled open like a sack of dead flesh.  She exhaled a dying moan as her body melted like candle wax boiling into a red stump of slimey flesh that seared through the floorboards like sulphuric acid.
The windows began to fog and the room walls blackened like hot cigarrette butts as the sound of demonic bull-like grunts warped any dillusions of victory Paul had into unholy nightmarish madness.  The wallpaper of the room then peeled open revealing London.
But their was no London, no sounds, just white blinding fog in all directions. As he gazed up he saw millions of dead bodies spiraling in the air of this ugly abyss.
A black eye in the sky the size of Hell opened wide swallowing Paul with its
demonic stare.  Paul and Tal'Shan were now alone

The Mandala Turns"Are you sure about this?",  Maya muttered as they made their way over rooftops on a helicopter Maya was "borrowing."
"Yes.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have to get closer to her."  His voice seemed... deeper, and it carried a strange resonance to it that distracted her. She shook her head to clear the cobwebs and pointed. "Thar she blows, as the saying goes."  Up ahead, illuminated by the city lights, was Tal'shen.  Her form was huge and amorphous, a gelatinous mesh of  pieces of that seemed to belong to the menagerie of the deep sea.  The skin was a murky grey that crackled with bolts of rainbow colored lightning and gigantic tentacles lashed back and forth, either gripping onto or slamming into buildings. People on the streets below were scrambling like ants and fires were alighting in a scene of utter chaos. However, none of this was quite as unsettling to Maya as the serene, content smile on Paul's face. It was definitely not what one would exp

End Times Paul lay in bed listening to the radio, still shivering from the battle weeks before.
He remembered his pursuit of Tal'shen, but on reflection it had been less of a chase and more of an allowance to follow her, perhaps she had known that Paul had the seed to defeat her.
Despite his brave words to Maya, he was not truly purged of the beast. A small sliver of unnatural life lay trapped around his spine.  Paul kept it for a reason, knowing the link, no matter how tenuous, would be the key to sooth the abomination.
  Tal'shen had waited for him in a side street, one of London's many capillaries that litter her maps.
She could not speak from her curved beak, but Paul heard her many voices in his head, each confused, contradictory, clamouring for attention, but leading him to her nonetheless.  
 Standing before her, a coruscating mass, tentacles languishing through the air, Paul had known he would be outmatched physically, and prepared himself.
The chosen of Lysanna, bearer of the seed of t

Art submission for Chapter 8 will close on Thursday February 14th, which will also mark final submissions for poetry.

Read Chapter 8 Literature Winner for Artwork Inspiration

Odyssey Propulsion 6

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 6:51 PM

We want to especially thank an elite core of Odyssey II writers:

Those deviants truly embodying the spirit of the project by continuing to create and submit next chapters – no matter the story’s refusal to go along with their proposed direction. The zeitgeist is a powerful force, but the artist must know when to sail against the been-there-done-that. And our writers, artists and poets have been doing that week after week. So many artists and writers continue to send in wonderful material week after week.

We have decided to extend the writing deadline for the last chapter to December 31 and we're expanding the Word count to 800 words for our final chapter! Artists will then have two full weeks to illustrate our final chapter - meaning artwork for Chapter 8 will be due by January 14, 2013. Any Animations/films and poetry deadlines are now extended until Jan 14! We will then unleash, I mean publish, this tale of Paul’s very unexpected journey!

Visit Odyssey II Project Page

Elite Core Odyssey Participants - Profile 1


Kill-Natalie, whose vibrant kinetic wordsmithery is always a pleasure to read. A young artist with a sense of grotesquerie that’s quite remarkable.


The atmosphere of friendly competition, mutual aid when needed and fulsome community that has endured throughout all the glitches and hiccups of Odyssey and Odyssey II is something I will always be grateful to have beheld and well worth all the 4 a.m. technical meltdowns. Hopefully this is only the beginning of many such innovative projects. The real prize in this “contest” is witnessing how deviants and other creative entities from around the world can come together in a mere flash of time to help each other build something unique in storytelling that points to the very future of the written narrative.

Odyssey Propulsion 5

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 3:33 PM

We have decided to extend the writing deadline for the last chapter to December 31 and we're expanding the Word count to 800 words for our final chapter! Artists will then have two full weeks to illustrate our final chapter - meaning artwork for Chapter 8 will be due by January 14, 2013. Any Animations/films and poetry deadlines are now extended until Jan 14! We will then unleash, I mean publish, this tale of Paul’s very unexpected journey!

The final battle to block Tal’shen’s launch of the takeover of Earth. Paul, from whose own body Tal’shen, the gelatinous beaked tentacled monster, was gestated and born. Paul says he knows how to destroy the creature. And who better than he, he being half “mother” of the monster.

So now 800 words, give or take, is the space we have to wind up our story, a story that has expanded and mutated like the first bit of subway vomit that was Paul’s ticket into what has now swollen to Lovecraftean and Cthulhuean dimensions testing the boundaries of space and time. 800 words will be more than enough for the creative minds in the worldwide orbit of deviantART. In that I have a sure faith. Paul vs. Tal’shen. Paul’s ingenuity in thwarting (or maybe in his failing to thwart!) the alien invasion will render our story just another tale among similar tales, or... a dash of genius and madness here may elevate our efforts into a lifelong memory of creativity, collaboration, and community convergence!

Good luck directing what’s left of Paul’s head and heart!

Submit Chapter 8 Literatureby Dec 7th (5PM PST)
Submit Chapter 7 Artworkby Dec 10th (11:59PM PST)

Recent Literature Submissions

RebirthHe was here. But where was "here"? Who was "he"?
He stared.
What was he looking at? A mass of flesh twisted. Half of it was peach colored, stained scarlet. And the other half?
A monster.
Pulsating currents of gelatinous substance reflected a thousand colors, glowing eerily. Scales and thorns of grey curled like a ribcage, like a shield around itself. Its alien neon colors rippled with the thrashing of its tentacles. The other half was that. It did not feel like it was part of the sallow peach creature. That beast had an evil sort of grin to it. It was an uninvited stranger burning the house in which it stole into. It was a parasite. It was taking control of him.
And worse than that, it seemed to be winning.
Get a grip.
He was Paul. He had gotten puked on. That puke was killing him. He was infected by an alien that wanted to eat his face off and a stranger who named herself after an ancient civilization was hacking at him with a knife.
He wanted to say thank you
A Man Reborn"Go."
Somewhere, Lysanna clawed at the shards of mirror, using the last of her strength to send the message.  The words came to Tal'shen as needling pain, piercing her mind.  "Forget them," her mother said.  "Go now and do as I've created you to do!"
Tal'shen felt her mother die.  It did not matter.  There was no feeling of attachment; only the drive to carry out her purpose.  Growing still, her monstrous form filled the room.  She shot two massive tentacles upwards, rending a large hole in the ceiling.  Outside, she blinked in the fog.  London, that was the name of this city, wasn't it?  A good a place as any to begin.  
Inside, Maya coughed back the bits of dust and plaster.  "Paul," she breathed, wincing at the mass of flesh Tal'shen had left in her wake.  She went to him, gasping at his flayed carcass, nothing more than quivering bits of meat and bone.  She closed her eyes.  One chance.
All or NothingALL OR NOTHING
Odyssey II - Chapter 7
Paul's scream is soundless, without vibration, boundless without borders. Heard by no one, reverberating through the psychic realm, a cascade of destruction. Both sisters battling within his very blood, phages using his cells as a playground and a battlefield tearing apart his very flesh.
"He has spirit after all. Welcome to our realm, Paul You will never leave this place." Tal'Shen voice is cold, diffident, indifferent.
"He only does what he must to survive Tal'Shen, you would mock him for that."
"His will means nothing, Maya. Our Mother must be served. The only question is how."
Maya binds more of Paul's unwilling flesh beneath her knife, attempting to wrest control of his body from Tal'Shen.
Tal'shen fights back, wrapping Maya's body in the tentacles on Paul's back, his flesh more liquid with every passing moment. "Will she be served by a simpering sycophant like you? Or a loyal daughter who sees the ends and the means at hand doing whatever is

Mature Content

:thumb340524789: Time And Time AgainHis scream resonated his soul which echoed into oblivion as he swirled amongst gleaming twisted rainbows of pain.
Then nothing. Nothing but the darkness and the empty idea of a constant faded scream, imperceptible by the void he now was.
Until, an eternity later, he regained a grain of the sand that was once his consciousness and was able to discern the sound again. Then the grain slowly became a beach as he regained his senses and connected to a watery dimension. The sound no longer a pain bearer but a whirling wave. Around him not darkness but the ocean floor, glittering like diamonds hidden in the shadows. His feet, returned, embraced by living mud.
Sound and sight kept morphing. The wave bigger and closer, the diamond glitter now secondary to moving silhouettes.
His feet, now grounded, seemed like roots, nourishing him to wakefulness, spreading life upwards.
His legs, his torso, his arms came back.
He felt his face again, his identity, as all became clearer. Locked in place, he saw

Mature Content

Shifting PiecesLysanna was crumpled in a pathetic heap on the dirty floor with just enough strength to hold the two mirror shards in front of her shriveled face. She was about to die, at least this part of her. Her spawn, Tal'shen, was at the very moment being birthed into the realm of humans. There was only one thing left to do; she exhaled heavily onto the shards, fogging them over. As the moist remnants of Lysanna evaporated on the mirror, so did her husk of a body. She crossed over, through the mirror, until she found the rest of her; mother and child one at last.
The moment the symbiosis occurred, her strength, and drive, returned. Maya had been right, she wanted it all and her dynasty was about to begin. With one mighty push she seeped through every orifice in Paul's body, becoming fluid one moment and solid the next.
"Never!" Maya screamed as she swung her blade, only to find her arm ensnared in a sea of tentacles.
"Sister," Lysanna bellowed, "is that any way to welcome your queen?"
Lysanna st

Recent Artwork Submissions

within by scifo
Odyssey II Chapter 6 Art by deanhsieh   The Entity - Red by David-Steele
Chapter 6 - Out by littlecrow
in my blood the remnants of a forgotten divinity by mooname
Consumption - Odyssey II Chap. 6 art by smjblessing
Cutting ties by gameofdolls  Odissey II - Chapter 6 - Get Out by TravTheMad

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