Slaves to Desire by Eli Gilić is a unique, beautifully written short story collection that deftly weaves fact and fiction. Sinful Press is over the moon to present the English language version of this amazing collection.
Sales links can be found below, and you can also read the first story of the collection in its entirety.
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Charles Baudelaire, Rasputin, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Fyodor Dostoevsky, George Sand, Frederic Chopin, Vincent Van Gogh, Antonin Artaud, Maria Izquierdo, James Joyce, Federico Garcia Lorka, Salvador Dali.
Can Rasputin find redemption through the sins of others? What awaits Anna Karenina on the other side? Does passion still flow through the veins of the lovers from Verona? Can Hamlet and Ophelia escape their fate? Is Van Gogh’s loneliness a blessing or a curse? And can Dali dispel Lorca’s fear.
Eli Gilić deftly weaves fact and fiction to bring some of the world’s great writers, literary characters, artists and composers to life as they reach the heights of passion and the depths of despair in this mesmerising erotic short story collection.
The Muse by Eli Gilić
I am watching my black Venus reclining on the armchair by the window. The sun’s rays are glistening on her smooth brown skin, making it shine like polished wood and drawing shimmering stripes in her hair black as ink. She is staring pensively out of the window, not noticing me, although my chest is hurting because of her exotic beauty. This girl is a joy to the eye even when she’s doing nothing. Thick black eyebrows over arched lush lashes that cover eyes of infinite darkness. High cheekbones, straight nose, and full sensual lips complete the picture of a Creole queen. Long, thin neck like a swan, swollen firm breasts that push against her silk blouse, and tiny waist lure me to rain kisses on them. But I refrain from that. I must forbear if I want to finish my drawing. Since Jeanne is sitting, I can’t see her arse, high and round like a melon. Even her supple, muscular legs, long and smooth, which tighten around me as an anaconda while I fuck her, are hidden from view.
I’m trying to convey all her charm and beauty on paper, but they are elusive. They evade me as fast as a hummingbird flees from a carnivorous flower. I can’t convey the delicacy and pride that are radiating from every pore. My drawing can’t depict her intoxicating fragrance that always clouds my mind. No matter how accurate the drawing may be, I can’t express her powerful sensuality.
Undermined, I lower the sketch-pad on the bed and recite a song dedicated to her:
Jeanne stretches lazily like a cat. She’s yawning, looking like she is bored to death. Is she tired of posing, or does she really not understand my verses and finds them dull?
He’s reciting poems again. I know that the verses are dedicated to me. Those words of love sound nice, but elation eludes me. I should probably be happy with the role of Charles’ muse, but I’m not. I’m empty. For this young poet, a muse is not a woman made of flesh and blood that can be capricious or cranky, but a beautiful decoration just like a Chinese vase, an exotic pet like a black panther with a leash encrusted with jewels, a fragrant forest in which he plunges whenever he pleases.
I shouldn’t be ungrateful. It is better to live with Charles than to spread my legs whenever the fat manager of the cabaret at Champs-Elysees miraculously manages to revive his limp cock. Charles is more handsome than most men I had to satisfy in bed. And younger. His breath isn’t foul and he’s clean. Charles dresses dandily and he is an artist, a knowledgeable man. He buys me silk and satin dress, adorns me with jewels, orders delicious delicacies and expensive wines. He is mesmerised with me. And I am not indifferent either. But I am not sure whether I feel love or just gratitude because he takes care of me. It is pleasant to live with him and I even have a nice time while we make love. Honestly, I enjoy having sex with him. But something is missing from our relationship and thus the feeling of emptiness. Life would be much easier if only he would respect me as a woman instead of admiring me as a Creole goddess. Because all worshippers demand something from the deities they worship.
No, Jeanne isn’t bored; she is just lost in thought. Maybe her mind is back in her homeland. Maybe she parted with a beautiful Creole with carved features and a body hard and brown as a coconut shell. I know that there were others before me, probably more of them since she is a dancer and actress, and everybody knows what goes on in that milieu. Those precedents don’t bother me. They are even giving her a patina of tragedy. All that matters is that currently there is no other man in her life except me. I rejoice when others look at my Jeanne with lust and mild regret because they cannot have her. She is the woman I love most, after my mother. But unlike my mother, nobody will take Jeanne away from me. I’ll see to it with all my might.
Overwhelmed with feelings, I approach Jeanne and drop on my knees in front of her. Lifting her leg, I slip off her satin slipper. I am holding her foot and admiring its perfection. Narrow, elegant, with long thin toes and red polish on her nails. I raise her foot to my lips and cover it with kisses. She is looking at me unfathomably while I am moving my tongue over her instep. I wish I knew what she is thinking about. I put her big toe in my mouth and suck, not knowing if she likes it or not. Jeanne is just looking at me like a sphinx while I am moving to her other toes. I want to provoke some reaction, but in vain. Finally, I get tired of kissing and sucking her toes since Jeanne looks like a beautiful statue, whose maker forgot to breathe feelings into her.
“Will you dance for me?” I ask, wishing to see any kind of emotion on her stone face. Her eyes flash strangely, almost angrily, before she stands and approaches the dressing table.
I hate when he asks me to dance. It makes me feel like a slave on a plantation, a slave who has to entertain her master if she wants to avoid terrible consequences. Charles has no idea how I feel. He would not understand, that spoiled brat who always had everything he wanted but repeatedly complains about his mother and stepfather because they purportedly don’t understand him. Of course, I listen to his lamentations as is expected of me, nod with sympathy and gently run my fingers through his hair, offer him laudanum and my body as consolation.
But what can I do except indulge him? I love dancing, I just don’t like when Charles asks me to do it for his amusement. Slowly, I unfasten the buttons on my dark red silk blouse. My fingers are gliding down the smooth fabric while I am remembering the rhythms of my childhood. I take off my blouse and Charles happily ogles my breasts that are straining against the black lace corset. I reach behind my back to untie the black velvet ribbons around my waist. Then I slowly approach Charles and wrap a ribbon around his neck. His gaze is already heated, and he reaches for me. But I quickly retreat back to the dressing table, letting my long burgundy silk skirt fall to the floor. My black underwear joins the heap.
I untie my corset very slowly. The beating of drums from my native country is already loud in my head. I remember the ritual dance in which my mother, as a Mambo, always took part. Throwing the corset on the floor, I turn toward the mirror. My body is really nice, with a thin waist, sumptuous breasts and rounded hips. Inadvertently, I run my palms over my breasts and stomach before leaning over so Charles can enjoy the sight of my tight arse. I raise a long string of pearls and put it around my neck. It falls all the way to my navel. Then I put another one and another one. Pearls make a nice contrast to my dark complexion. I understand why Charles likes to watch me dressed only in strings of pearls. Even I get aroused while looking at my reflection in the mirror.
I am leisurely swaying my body to honour Damballa, the snake spirit, guardian of strength and life. In my mind, I am no longer in the Paris hotel but on a clearing in Haiti. I see a ritual fire and hear the Ougan and Mambo chanting. Their song is followed by the beating of three ritual drums ‒ Manman, Segon, and Boula. Soon the Ogan, sacred bell, chimes. I raise my hands to the sky and dance around the fire, moving to the rhythm of music and voices filled with respect. The music is becoming faster, but it is only a short song that doesn’t induce a trance.
After we pay our respect to Damballa, we worship Ezili Freda, the goddess of love and femininity. The voices have faded and deep beats of the Manman are the only sound. I let my feet follow their own rhythm while slowly hovering around the fire. Ezili Freda, hear my prayer and give me true love instead of this French imitation of that sublime feeling, I am thinking to myself as the Ogan chimes. The bell is followed by Segon and Boula. The rhythm quickens. I raise my arms above my head, quickly arch my body and continue to circle. Turn, step, step, arch, step, turn. The Ogan sounds, and the beating of drums grows faster. The voices of the Ougan and Mambo, deep and fiery, join the music. The dance is becoming more frantic. Turn, step, step, arch, step, turn. The rhythm completely overwhelms me while I dance wildly. The contours in front of me become blurred. I can only see the flickering fiery tongues. Suddenly they rise, hissing, as the Mambo throws a handful of sacred plants into the fire. The smell is strong, and trance overcomes me.
Enchanted, I gaze at dancing Jeanne. Her almond coloured skin is beaded with sweat from erratic dancing, shining as if brimming with inner light and flames. The cold glow of pearls highlights its dark radiance. And the jingling of jewellery provides music for her sensual movements. Untameable black hair is flying around her head like shreds of torn thunderclouds.
I long to touch her, but I don’t dare interrupt the dance. Jeanne told me that this is a ritual dance from her homeland bathed in sunlight. A dance in honour of the goddess of love that causes a trance stronger than the one induced with opium. This fiery dance often ends in mating on a hidden clearing. At least Jeanne says it does. I don’t know if she is lying to inflame my imagination or if that is indeed the case. It makes sense to crown such a frenetic dance with sex. She says that the priests and priestesses don’t choose partners but just reach for the nearest body and push it to the ground in front of everyone.
I would dearly love to see that. Bodies the colour of coconut shells merging on the ground while the glow from the fire dances around them. I would like to experience such a hectic blackout from a rhythm that completely overtakes the body, throwing it back and forth, forcing it to supple acrobatics until it finally releases with wild sex. True animal frenzy.
The sight of Jeanne dancing excites me so much that I inadvertently undo my trousers. My dick happily springs out of captivity, right into my right hand. I squeeze it, pull the foreskin up and down in rhythm with her movements. An indescribable desire to double her over and violently take her from behind overwhelms me, but I manage to control myself since I don’t want to break her trance. Jeanne is completely absorbed in the dance as if she is listening to music in her head, as if her mind is elsewhere, as if she isn’t aware of my presence. I jerk off faster while watching her stunningly lithe body twisting and writhing. The heat is growing. My chest tightens with excitement and beauty. My stomach is convulsing. And my dick is twitching unstoppably, vibrating with life. Sperm starts squirting at the same moment as Jeanne drops to the floor.
I am back in the hotel room. Breathless, sweaty, dizzy from dancing. And excited. Aroused as hell. My flower tightens and relaxes with the impatient need to feel an intruder. I look at Charles. Once again he failed to wait for me and released himself by hand. Even better, I will be able to ride him for a long time since he won’t rush.
I crawl toward him and rise on my knees. His member is soft, stained with tiny white gems. I quickly collect them with my tongue, enjoying the sweet taste. My lips squeeze around him. My tongue circles around the soft treat while my hand pulls it up and down to restore its stiffness. I am watching Charles’ face while I am sucking him. A multitude of feelings are flashing in his eyes. Gratitude, tenderness, reverence, pleasure. I stick my tongue out, knowing that this playful pink organ stimulates him. I am licking his shaft and emitting soft sounds, not taking my eyes from his.
Of course, that is enough to momentarily turn his soft meringue into a hard caramel. I raise my head, expecting that Charles will lie down on the floor beside me. But he bends and pushes me on my back. I obediently sprawl on the soft carpet, quivering from the knowledge that he will be inside me soon.
But no. Charles kneels and lowers his head between my legs.
I plunge into her fragrant grove. Her scent is intoxicating, stunning my senses. The scent of musk. The pink valley in the dark gorge is humid, radiating heat. It is calling me, luring me to drift inside and forget about everything mundane. Its magical nectar cannot be of this world. I keenly collect it with my tongue, slurp rapturously like a thirsty animal. The heat is clouding my mind, stupefying me. That musky nectar saves me from burning out on the altar of passion.
Jeanne is squirming, moaning, raising her pelvis toward my face. She is writhing, trying to grab my head and suffocate me between her legs. She is nearing the peak. I quickly raise, grab my dick and bring it to her fiery altar. One move and I am inside the temple. My head is immediately spinning with delight as her hot pussy swallows my dick. A safe harbour for my lonely stranded vessel. I am picking up the pace while looking at her face, more beautiful and more mysterious in passion. If I could, I would fuck her the whole day. I would only fuck my mistress above mistresses and convey blazing feelings into lyrics until the day I die.
She is tightening her legs around my waist, lifting to greet my attacks. Her nails are digging into my shoulders while she mumbles incoherent words. My lips swallow hers, my tongue is plunging into her savoury mouth in the rhythm of our fucking. Jeanne frantically sucks my tongue and rapidly raises her pelvis, roughly scratching my shoulders.
Suddenly she tilts back, grabs my buttocks and crushes her body against mine. She is moaning while her body is shaking with spasms. Her inner muscles are squeezing my dick, prompting my unstoppable eruption. I close my eyes while wildly twitching within her.
I am slowly descending from the joyous clouds on which Charles had carried me. He has buried his face against my neck and is emitting soft sounds that resemble sobs. I am hugging him firmly. My love for him is indescribable in moments like these. Moments when we are just two people who love each other, who find immense pleasure in each other. Moments in which awareness and expectations cease to exist, when only frenetic passion survives. I love when I cease to be a Creole goddess or pet and turn only into a woman he fucks ruthlessly. Charles dismisses all tenderness when frenzy overwhelms him. Then he takes me violently, wildly, just the way I like it. People make love like that on Haiti while in France everyone is somewhat restrained, as if they are more interested in the impression they will make than in pleasure. Fortunately, my handsome poet isn’t like other Frenchmen.
He lifts his head and looks at me lovingly. My feelings are choking me. I pull his head toward me and kiss his lips gently.
Jeanne is lying on her stomach. The pale green satin bedding is emphasising the natural glow of her brown skin. Her hair, black as the night and smeared with coconut oil to be shiny and fragrant, is cascading down her back. Pearls rest over her slim waist, with one string falling between her round buttocks.
She is motionless. I know she isn’t sleeping, but I don’t know what she is thinking. I never know what goes on in the head of my black Venus. I don’t know if she missing her homeland or some man she left behind when she used her beauty as a ticket to Paris. I don’t know whether Paris disappoints her, or does she think it’s magical as she believed while sailing toward it. I don’t know if she is happy with me. Sometimes her eyes, dark as an abyss, flash unusually – perhaps with irritation or resentment? And why do such feelings dwell in her?
I don’t know whether Jeanne still loves me, and that uncertainty is tearing me apart. She still dances for me, entertains me with stories about magical forest rituals, poses for me while I draw or write poetry. She kisses me eagerly, returns my caresses fervently, moans from pleasure when I fuck her. Passion is still burning in my pantheress, that is indisputable. But her thoughts and feelings remain a great unknown.
It’s amazing that this is my life for years on. I sit or recline naked, with a book, white lily or red rose, white kitten or yellow canary, while Charles draws. I listen to his verses, lamentations, fervent declarations of love. I kiss and caress him, bath him, receive his cock in all openings that nature gave me. And I am bored to death. I play a role just like in the cabaret, but it hasn’t changed for years.
Charles still doesn’t treat me as a thinking being. Even now I am an exotic pet to him. Oh, he loves me, there is no doubt about that. But he loves me as an object for entertainment. His love is possessive, very possessive. I am his thing and that is why he loves me.
I have thought about leaving him and going back to the cabaret many times. Yes, I would have to spread my legs for drunken, fat bosses, but at least I would have a life. That idea is sometimes very tempting.
But I stay. I stay because I love Charles, although I cannot explain why. If someone told me that I could love a man who doesn’t respect me and beside whom I feel boredom, I would have thought it insane. But now I know it is possible. I don’t know whether slavish legacy left a mark on my consciousness, making me enjoy this demeaning existence, which I detest at the same time. At first, I thought that I stayed with him because of the good life he provides me. I really don’t lack anything, except respect. Charles buys me everything I want and showers me with jewels. I could live comfortably for years just by selling his gifts. I thought about that, but I just cannot leave.
Laudanum helps when anxiety overwhelms me. Although nothing prevents me from being very spiteful towards Charles from time to time. As if some evil spirit possesses my body and forces me to hurt him. Last week, gloomy thoughts overcame me while several friends were visiting him. I stripped my clothes, adorned my body with emeralds and pearls, put an orange turban on my head and, naked and adorned, served them wine and nuts. My appearance rendered them speechless. They ogled me, their eyes filled with wonder and astonishment. The air became heavy with male desire. Charles was stunned, dumbfounded, although I believe that he was somewhat pleased because his friends saw the treasure he has all to himself.
When his guests left, and we were alone again, he asked why I did such a thing. I replied that he treats me like a slave and I only accepted that role. Charles wept bitterly. Choking with tears, he told me that I just have to ask for anything, that he would give me the moon and stars, that he doesn’t understand what I’m talking about. I tried to explain, but Charles just couldn’t understand. In the end, distressed by his suffering, I wiped his tears with kisses and rode him until despair gave way to exaltation. Exhausted, we fell asleep in a tangle of arms and legs.
But the next day everything was the same as before, as it always was. I was so angry that two days later I committed infidelity with his friend. But I regretted it terribly. Eugene fucked me wildly, but all I could see was Charles’ face smeared with tears. Frustrated and enraged because I didn’t react to his movements, Eugene became rough. He cruelly squeezed my breasts and drove into me as if wishing to tear me apart, telling me gruesome things. But I didn’t even deign him a glance. Since I brought myself into such a mess, I waited for him to finish, grunting like a pig, and roll off me. Without a word, I dressed and left. I walked for a long time in the pouring rain, crying and hating myself for betraying the man who loves me so much that he almost killed himself because his mother didn’t approve of me.
I swore that from that day on I would always be loyal, gentle and full of understanding for my poet. Yes, Charles doesn’t understand me, but that isn’t his fault; he isn’t in my shoes to understand. It is indisputable that he loves me and that is the only thing that is truly important. Yes, his love is unusual, but can we expect common love from great men? I am in a cage, but the cage is nice and comfortable, I’m not hungry and I’m lounging in the company of the man I love. I can accept that I must relinquish my desire for Charles to treat me as an equal. After all, I am not comparable to him. Perhaps that fact is the real reason for my dissatisfaction.
My forest queen is lately very quiet and withdrawn. Lenient. I suspect she feels guilty because of her recent outburst. I would rather put up with another humiliation than watch her suffer. It was a misunderstanding, we overcame it and now we should let it go.
I feel that something is bothering her, and the fact that she refuses to share her worries with me is eating me up inside. Whatever is bothering Jeanne, I want to do my best to lessen her anxiety. But I’m helpless since I don’t know what is going on. I don’t understand why she doesn’t want to confide in me. When I ask her, she just shakes her head, smiles and pulls me into bed. It seems like she is using sex to avoid conversation. Obviously, I am not in the mood for sex in such circumstances, but Jeanne always conquers me with her honey lips and imaginative caressing.
“Queen of my heart, will you lie on your side? Just throw a string of pearls over your magical bush.”
Jeanne immediately indulges me. But she doesn’t put the pearls over her musky triangle. Instead, my Venus lifts one leg, bends her knee and lazily drags the string over her rosy bud. Very slowly, she lets one gemstone after another slide over her cunt. She is watching me playfully, appraising whether I am aroused by her game or do I still want to draw.
Enchanted, I follow the movements of her hands and rolling of pearls over her fountain of joy. Jeanne is breathing heavily. She rises on her knees. Now she is holding the string with both hands, one in front of her and the other behind her back, pulling the pearls back and forth. I see her dark nipples stiffen, brazenly inviting me to nibble them. Suddenly, Jeanne cries out from heady excitement.
“Take off your clothes and sit down in front of me,” my dark goddess commands.
Although not used to being ordered about, I undress and quickly bend toward her. My hands reach for her breasts, but Jeanne moves away and sits down. She spreads her legs to show me her cleft, coated with pearl drops the same colour as the gemstones gliding over it. She looks me in the eye daringly and then lies down onto her back. Her thighs are still parted, but she puts her foot on my lap. Her narrow feet embrace my cock and begin moving up and down.
I am losing control. I don’t know where to look ‒ at her yawning beauty glistening under the pearls or my rigid shaft confined by beautiful feet. Need swells in my stomach. The movements of her hands and feet are becoming faster. I am so aroused that I hear a buzzing in my ears as if a dove is flapping its wings in my head.
I push her feet away. I must plunge into her this very moment. But the supple, fast pantheress forestalls me. Jeanne is already pushing me on my back and leaning over me. She firmly takes my cock and decisively guides it in her sweetness. Slowly, infinitely slowly, she lowers so both of us can enjoy every moment of that first prolonged penetration. Finally, she sits all the way and leans to clasp my lips with hers. Jeanne is groaning hoarsely in my mouth, and my whole body shivers feverishly.
She lifts and drops, faster, more resolutely. I grab her around the waist to prompt her to move even faster, but Jeanne resists. She follows her own rhythm. I submit although impatience is boiling in my blood. Jeanne crashes to the hilt and spins in circles, crushing me like a grindstone. My lover is so aroused that incoherent words are escaping her mouth. I lift my hand to press her magical pink button. Jeanne twitches like my touch has scalded her. She frantically moves up and down while I rotate my thumb.
I feel the rush of magnificent tidal waves, but my dam holds strong. I’m waiting for Jeanne to catch the wave of release. My thumb presses firmly. She cries out, crashes down wildly and freezes. Her convulsions demolish my weak dam. The wave is gushing insurmountably, leaving pure happiness in its wake.
The Muse: Charles Baudelaire poems: Hymn to Beauty, Head of Hair, The Dancing Serpent, I Adore You as Much as the Nocturnal Vault
From The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire, Academy Library Guild, 1054, translated by William Aggeler.