HOUSE OF HOLLOW + TINY PRETTY THINGS
For years, perfectionist Laure has danced on broken, bloody toes in service to one god: the ballet. But when her chance to take her rightful place among the company’s elite is suddenly uncertain, she calls upon the darkness–bathing in the blood of an eldritch god and seizing a power too wild for Palais Garnier’s gilded stage.
The ballet has long made monsters out of girls, and this one–the hungriest of them all–may be its undoing.
Handsome Duke Albrecht was taking his sweet time crying over my grave. I paced the wings of the “afterlife,” fighting the urge to gnaw my nails off while he rolled around in his lament—face contorted in anguish, sculpted body stretched taut.
Blood pounded in my ears, so loud I lost my place in the music. The longer Albrecht drew it out, the more my muscles grew cold and stiff, the louder my panic sang.
What if they forget me?
What if I fall? Pause too long, or not long enough? Miss my mark?
What if I bow and nobody claps at all—just endless, oppressive silence forever?
Albrecht plunged his face into the bouquet of plastic lilies laid at my tombstone, milking his finale for all its worth. A scream tried to force its way out of my throat.
Because this was the great amphitheatre of Palais Garnier, and every second on stage was my chance to be seen, to be noticed. Tonight was our farewell performance to the Ballet Academy of Paris, and the gilded seats were filled with the company’s directors and board members. It was an opportunity—one of our last—to ensnare them. To claim our place in their productions.
A chance to become someone who mattered.