This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
“You’re a loser. Y’know that?”
My back braced the doorframe as I gazed at her. Gwen was fairly bold in glaring across the hallway. She was particularly bold for someone standing there in my unclean shirt and a bundle of clothes clutched in her arms.
“Oh, seriously? You can’t even fake an apology,” she hissed, only adding to her own embarrassment.
I glanced away to see my neighbour enter his apartment awkwardly.
“I’m very sorry, Gwen.”
“You are...” Her sentence run dry in exasperation. She huffed loudly and scurried toward the dirty staircase without another word.
So many of them didn’t understand it. It seemed the younger they were, the less they knew of how this world worked.
I strolled back into my apartment, lightly kicking the door shut behind me. I drew a cigarette from the pack laying across the counter and sauntered into the bedroom, the bright morning light obstructed by withdrawn curtains.
I looked over the ruffled duvet across the floor as I retrieved a lighter from the pocket of my loose pants. A canvas board was set to the side of the bed, depicting the girl, Gwen, who had been laying across the white mattress since early morning.
I seized a long drag, eventually exhaling thick, swirling smoke into the already polluted air. I watched it like I watched my worries drift away from me, my eyes blinking slowly.
Gwen didn’t understand it. I breathed to paint. Water paints, oil, acrylics - whatever I had lying around. My paintbrush was a part of me as any other ligament or tendon. It had been my calling since I could form memories.
My point being I was created to create before I destroy, to deliver this world some art form it would probably never see. And she was merely a part of the process.
I fell back to the bed, sceptically studying over what I had painted of Gwen. Artists tend to find something that particularly speaks to them, something that begs to materialise. My little fixation was to paint the bodies of women. I developed a fondness for the intricacy of each and every detail that it entailed. I had spent a good year and a half doing this. I suppose you could say my taboo interest had grown to be a something more, something deeper emitted into me...
I was in pursuit of something that would inspire me far beyond what these other women had. Gwen wasn’t it. I had realised that on the last stroke of colour. None of them were. I had never experienced the satisfaction I should have in capturing their beautiful forms.
My throat grew numb to breathing through the burning cigarette. I exhaled slowly, watching the smoke leave my parted lips as I leaned back.
It tarnished my thoughts, this hobby of mine. I looked at women in a way I probably shouldn’t look at them. Some caught my eye and I could only imagine if they would be the one to give my art purpose. It’s not that I see naked women as items. There’s always been a difference to me. The girls who agreed to be subjects were forms, figures of an artwork.
I dragged myself to my feet and clutched the painting of Gwen in my hands, staring over it. I had a running collection that this would have to be added to.
As I piled it on top, I tapped the soft filter of the cigarette to the ring across my lower lip. It was rigorous the way my brain obsessed over the finer details. It ate at me when I wasn’t painting, and laughed at me when I was.
I barely flinched to hear an angered knock at the door. I would’ve thought Gwen came to terms with things by now.
As I strolled past the kitchen counter, I flicked the end of the smoke to a cracked ashtray. I inhaled once more, deeply. Too deeply. I coughed lightly as I gripped to the door and yanked it open.
When realising it wasn’t Gwen, I rolled my eyes and shut it behind myself as I stepped out. Ambrosia stood before the apartment, her black dreadlocks hanging over her shoulders. “Leonardo, you missed this morning’s class. This is the last time I’m calling you, you get me?”
“I don’t step outside before twelve.”
“You’re getting a free class in an art school you can’t afford and you tell me you slept it off?” She folded her arms and glowered at me, though barely height of a teenage girl.
“I don’t need to be told what to draw.”
“Oh, that’s what this is. You’re too good for art school.” She nodded along, her eyes falling away from me. “Leo, you better be at the next class or don’t bother showing up ever again. They’ll never let you back in there.”
ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...
ayesha wali: This is the BEST novel i have read after a long while. Absolutely in love with this novel and seriously why is it not PUBLISHED YET?!?! THIS NOVEL IS AMAZING,BEAUTIFUL,MAGNIFICENT, I have no words to explain how truly precious this novel is im totally in love with the book and its characters! Goo...
Books17: This is my first book review.I found the story to be very intriguing.The beginning of the story starts and you are immediately thrown into wanting to know what will happen next, The action, or intrigue is established early, so there isn't the feeling of the story dragging on, or thinking about wh...
Natalie Summers: This book has its twists and turns to keep you invested. I loved the characters and was rooting for them. Their is so much heart in the story that it makes it difficult to put down. I haven't read a lot of books with LGBTQ characters, but I love it when I do. It makes it so much easier for me ...
Ethan Hawke Branom: What a story!!!! From beginning to end you didn't want it to stop. Renee is a feisty woman who will stop at nothing to make things right. It is a story that could actually happen, and makes you stop and think of how the world works and how one persons desire can drive them to get what's theirs. M...
Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!
Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...
mullikin902: Do not start reading this book unless you have enough time to finish it in one sitting, because you will not be able to put it down! Superlative! Addictive! Deliciously wicked characters you can't get enough of. Impatiently waiting for the sequel!
spec4huff: Thank you for creating this world. I am a 6'3" veteran that thinks himself tough. But the piece of literature you have created made me misty eyed on a number of occasions. I want a love like this. Thank you again, I would totally buy this book and hopefully the sequels to this ever enchanting lov...
SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...