A young ballerina poses for an artist, but her newfound fame leads to unforeseen, and horrific, consequences.
I was lucky enough to read this story before it was published, and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s filled with an atmosphere of almost unbearable creeping dread, even when describing beautiful pictures of ballerinas and unicorns.
I am a fan of Ungar’s writing, and he has been going from strength to strength. His recent short stories are so powerful and scary that I rank them among my favorites in the horror genre.
This story references The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, and while familiarity with that work isn’t necessary to appreciate this story, knowing about it does add an extra level of enjoyment.
I love how Ungar takes the inspiration from the play in Chambers’ work and examines what would happen with other art forms. The descriptions of dancing and the paintings of the dancers in this story are vibrant, beautiful, and delightfully disturbing.
This story is read by Amy Paonessa, and she does a great job of bringing the young narrator to life, as well as capturing the horrible, inescapable terror of the piece.
I award The Dedication of the High Priestess…