“Incongruity” is an unfinished story (1500 words) that explores the disturbing influence of a sinister artist, Nickolo Karli, over a young American woman, Mildred Hanlon. Set against the backdrop of Paris and the French Riviera, the story delves into themes of obsession, manipulation, and the dark side of artistic ambition. Vivid descriptions and psychological depth create an atmosphere of both fascination and horror.


The narrator recounts their involvement in the bizarre and grotesque events surrounding the artist Nickolo Karli. Karli is a mysterious and morally corrupt figure, known among a select few wealthy art collectors and private museums for his unique and disturbing works. The narrator first encounters Karli at an exclusive art gathering in Paris, where they are both repelled and fascinated by the artist’s appearance and personality. Karli is described as a tall, gaunt man with a cruel and sensuous face, and eyes that possess a reptilian quality.

Karli’s art, much like his personality, combines elements of beauty and hideousness, creating a sense of incongruity that he believes is the pinnacle of artistic expression. His works include grotesque sculptures and paintings depicting monsters, nightmares, and deformities, rendered with a striking adherence to reality. At the gathering, the narrator observes a young American girl, Mildred Hanlon, who appears infatuated with Karli despite his repulsive nature.

Months later, the narrator learns from a friend, Brandon, about a scandal involving Karli and Mildred. Mildred, captivated by Karli’s charm and artistic ideals, poses for him in a compromising state, which her mother discovers, leading to a confrontation and Mildred being sent to the Riviera with her brother Frank to escape Karli’s influence.

In the Riviera, the narrator’s college friend Jack MacCarthy confesses his love for Mildred but reveals the unsettling news that Karli has followed her there. Karli’s control over Mildred is so strong that she defies her brother’s prohibitions and continues to visit Karli’s studio. The situation escalates when Karli proposes that Mildred have her left arm amputated to pose for one of his statues, which he envisions as a perfect woman marred by a single deformity.

Shockingly, Mildred does not immediately reject the idea, indicating the depth of Karli’s manipulation. Her brother Frank, horrified and protective, forces her to return to Paris and threatens Karli with death if he pursues her further. Despite Frank’s actions, Karli’s influence lingers, casting a shadow over Mildred’s future and her relationship with Jack.


  • Nickolo Karli: A morally corrupt and enigmatic artist known for his grotesque and disturbing art. His charm and sinister nature captivate and manipulate Mildred Hanlon.
  • Mildred Hanlon: A young American woman infatuated with Karli. She becomes entangled in his dark artistic vision, almost to the point of self-destruction.
  • Brandon: A friend of the narrator who informs them about the scandal involving Karli and Mildred in Paris.
  • Jack MacCarthy: The narrator’s college friend who falls in love with Mildred and becomes entangled in the conflict between her and Karli.
  • Frank Hanlon: Mildred’s protective brother who tries to save her from Karli’s influence by taking her to the Riviera and later back to Paris.

Published in: