I accepted reader Jacqueline's challenge to write a story based on this photo and with the instruction "...this man is his muse" and qualifications: HEA and more story over sex.
Here's a snippet of my story:
Tags: short story, deaf, m/m, gay fiction, gay romance, fantasy, anthology
Content Alerts: N/A
Alipio by Bryl R. Tyne
(He who suffering does not affect)
Blurb: Incapable of wooing this man, I stand in awe of his presence, hoping to one day carry myself half as regally, for he has the self-worth of a majestic oak, the harmlessness of a feather, and the heart of a lion. His name is Alipio...and I am hopelessly in love.
Excerpt: Alipio. Every Tuesday afternoon since that first day, his name had rolled off the walls of my mind, blanketing me in peace, guiding my artist's hand. His master called him Alipio. I called him perfect.
No god possessed finer lines...or eyes more soulful.
I was sure of my assessment too as I strained the edge of my charcoal, and felt the energy transfer from Alipio's stare into my own. My left shoulder tensed, tapping that power, feeding it along my arm to fuel the creativity of my hand as it moved in sweeping motions across the canvas.
Coming to myself minutes later, I stepped back from my work in progress, looked toward the front of the room. Alipio remained motionless upon the ladder. I caught the briefest flicker in his irises, and his sure but questioning gaze met mine as if to ask, "Is it done?"
I dropped my stare to my canvas. What I saw there fed my insatiable thoughts of inadequacy. No, I was far from finished...and from the rough lines that I'd gone over at least a hundred times and still not gotten right, I determined the drawing would never be. Surely, my hands could never do justice to one as fine as Alipio. Heat drew my attention upward, my own or the burn of another's stare, back to the face of my muse. Jaw tense on that face of stone, I noted one corner of his perfect mouth crook higher, by just a touch...a smile meant just for me. Cool air from the studio's one open window crept across the back of my sweat-dampened shirt. I shivered, wondering what his master would do to him if he discovered Alipio's unfaithfulness. It was then I realized that I would never be happy until I had Alipio for my own.
I'd been in the market for a new slave for some time, give or take a couple of years. For the longest time, none had satisfied me enough to lead me to purchase any of them. All had left me bereft of emotion, save frustration. Not since my days as a much younger man had I allowed loneliness to guide my decisions. Of course, thirty-three was by far not "old," not by any means. The air left my lungs, dissatisfied, hollow. Alipio had ruined me; I would blame him. Since first setting eyes on the man who belonged to another, I could not recall one happy moment in my life...
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Bryl R. Tyne is a wrangler by nature and a writer by choice, published with Noble Romance Publishing, Ravenous Romance, Dreamspinner Press, STARbooks Press, Untreed Reads Publishing, Changeling Press, and Amber Quill Press. Check out Bryl's bi-monthly column: My Way Find out more about the author at: bryltyne.com