Archer stood among the lot of trees, gazing at the old farmhouse; a double-story white house with a classic porch, he formerly called home. Black shutters surrounded the house, making it appear more contemporary. The flag dangling from the pole whipped with the breeze and the man-made lake sat alone in the backyard.
His brother and he used to swing upon the rope that overlooked the lagoon. They took turns seeing who fell further across the water when they jumped from the rope. His brother seemed to always win. Brae was the athletic boy in the family with muscles and momentum. The ladies loved him, and several women fought over him when he came of age to marry.
Archer’s father built the house with his own two hands. His father arrived first on the land before his mother. Long days and nights his father slaved to make a house for his beloved bride. Within six months he called for his wife, Elaine, to leave her parents’ property. They moved in to the three-bedroom house and started a family. His mother always told Archer she never wanted to live anywhere else but there. She loved the open fields and the country living. Ever since his mother was little, she had pictured her children playing among the fields. She made her dream come true, and it pleased Archer.
Elaine, his mother, worked hard to make the house a home for them. She chopped wood at night for the stove. Her eyes opened at daybreak to help father with the cows and sheep. A home cooked meal upon the table every morning and night. Archer remembered the house smelling of apple cider during the holiday seasons. Memories he cherished for centuries now of the old farmhouse and his mother. The perfect wife and mother anyone could ever dream of having.
Then there was him. A child who found mischief with his brother daily. His mother grounded them over and over in their juvenile years. He and Brae were not just brothers; they were best friends. Sometimes, he thought they drove his mother insane. He knew his mother loved him, though. Then one day his life turned in a different direction. It saddened his entire family when they got the news of his illness. That day devastated him, but he had to accept it.
Archer walked in the middle of the woods to the old family cemetery. The first stone was his father’s, then his mother’s, and then Brae’s. His family died years ago in 1799. Father from a heart attack and his mother from a stroke. Brae lived alone in the house until his death, five years later.
After Brae passed, Archer laid his own stone on the ground next to his family’s. The stone convinced the town’s folk in thinking Archer died with his brother in the wagon accident. Instead, he still lived two hundred years after he buried Brae. It was the longest two hundred years ever. He missed his family every day.
He left Tron, Wisconsin, years ago and ventured out to explore the world with Clearance after he changed him into a vampire. They dined with Kings and Queens throughout the land. Every sea, river, and lake he sailed in the Old Mighty Pontoon he built with his own hands.
Every year, Archer returned to the farm to see his family. He stayed for months at a time at Clearance’s house. He would leave after the visit to set sail across another continent. His parents asked Clearance to turn him into a blood sucking animal. They begged Clearance to do it because he was dying. His mother never accepted the fact her little boy would die of Malaria. Instead, she wanted him to die a vampire. He hated dying and leaving his family, but his mother gave him no choice. No one asked him what he wanted to do. They just assumed he wanted to live and not die.
The date of 2007 brought Archer to his seeding ground for the last time. Generations changed, and so did the people. No one believed in vampires anymore. They appeared as folk tales that their ancestors made up to entertain the children. But they roamed the land among the living.
Most vampires hid in the mountains, afraid to enter on the occupied lands. Few vampires survived the Salem Witch hunt in 1692. Several thousands of vampires slain by the hunters with stakes through their hearts. It was the worst year ever for the supernatural. It hurt Archer to think of the devastation. The pain inflicted upon his people when all they wanted was to live in peace.
Archer stood upon the open wooden deck connecting the house to the lake. Flowered plants and potted new trees lined the wooden planks and surrounded the wicker furniture. It brought out the beauty in the open land and it reminded him of his mother’s wildflowers in the field just yonder from the house. He used to run in the field as a kid. His mother chased him to the middle of the field. Then they laid upon the ground, looking towards the sky. They talked for hours under the stars at night. It was the time they spent together alone. Archer missed those days.
“Can I help you?” asked a voice behind him.
Archer turned slowly. He let his guard down when memories flooded his mind. A twenty-something woman stood in his shadow with her hands upon her hips. He arched his eyebrow as their eyes met. “I just wanted to admire the house,” he told her.
“The house sits far from the road,” she said. “Did you use the woods?” The dark-haired woman snapped out her question.
“Yes, I live around the next hill,” replied Archer.
He wanted to learn more. Her beauty astonished him. Sweat beaded from his forehead and armpits when he looked at her. His eyes never left her face as they talked. They could not as she mesmerized him.
“The house passed the hill is an old mansion,” remarked the woman.
He nodded. Who was this beauty of a woman? Last year he spent Fourth of July in France instead of coming to Troy. Did she move in then?
“No one has lived there for years.” Her head tilted, and she peered into the man’s eyes. His eyes, a piercing color of green. He used contacts she assumed to get that color. It fit him perfectly, she thought to herself.
“I moved there a week ago,” informed Archer. Her body enticed him more than any other woman. He felt sweat form on his forehead. His hand wiped it away. Archer wanted to kiss her. He did not understand these sensations. Why was sweat covering his body? Vampires never sweated. Why did he long for this woman he did not know?
She extended her hand towards the unknown gentleman. “My name is Elizabeth. I own the house.”
“You live here alone?” Asked Archer. He hoped she did not have a husband. It would sadden him if she married the wrong man. Her figure told him she had born no children. Plus, he could smell her blood, it smelled pure to him. A virgin not touched to this day. Vampires loved virgin blood. It was the sweetest blood one could ever drink. It must have something to do with his libido rising as he stood in her presence.
“I inherited it from my parents’ last year,” said Elizabeth. “I’m fixing it up to sell.”
He glanced around the yard. His eyes came back towards her and he peered into them. “Did you grow up here, Elizabeth?”
She chuckled. “You can call me Liz,” she informed him. “Yes, I did.”
“How long did you live here?” Asked Archer.
“Twenty years with my parents before I moved to Tennessee for college. I never returned.”
Liz’s eyes captivated him. The way she stood with her hand upon her hip enticed his manhood. He wanted to use his vampire charm on her, but he did not. His vow to his mother years ago kept him in line.
Archer’s women filled a past of empty relationships until now. Liz’s overlong brunette hair grazed past her shoulders to the middle of her back. The jeans fit her body like a glove and brought out her womanly curves. Desire struck him, and he turned away from her. He no longer trusted himself. Her eyes peered into him, leaving him weak in the knees. She took his breath away. It was the first for him, and it frightened him.
Her fingernails not painted like other women in the over-populated cities. Their shape filed even across the tip with spots of dirt underneath them told him she worked hard for her belongings. Not like other women, who got waited upon hand and foot by their servants. This charming woman enticed him more every second. Who was she? Where did she come from?
The sweetness of her blood chilled his spine. Her virginity kept her innocent and vibrant. A vampire’s delicatessen of a meal. He held himself back because a virgin was rare nowadays. Plus, he quit feeding upon humans a long time ago. He drank animal blood for a hundred years now.
“Do you want to come into the house before the sun sets?” Asked Liz. She walked past Archer and opened the front door.
He nodded and smiled. He tried to form words but could not. Her artistry memorized him. It scared him because nothing of this nature had ever happened to him until now. Sweat perforated his body, leaving him hot with desire for Liz. What was she doing to him?
Liz opened the door and walked into the house. She turned and waved for Archer to follow her.
He stalled at the threshold as his eyes lowered to the floor. The invitation killed the curse and made it disappear from the entrance, so he raised his leg and stepped beyond the door. His body tingled and shivered. Being invited into a virgin’s territory was almost as good as drinking their blood.
The house had changed over the years. The modern furniture replaced his mother’s old Victorian ones. He grew up in the three- room house until he gathered enough money from his victims and gave it to his parents. His father renovated the house and built onto it. It made Archer feel closer to his family when he helped them. Times were tough in those days. Money was a farce for people who worked upon their farms to survive. Many worked day and night to survive.
“Did you grow up around here?” Asked Liz.
“No,” he said. “I come here to visit every year.” Liz left for college. It explained why he never saw her at the house until now. Her parents lived here until last year when they passed away. Archer met Liz’s parents ten years ago when they bumped into each other during a walk in the woods.
He liked them. They asked him to dinner one time, but he refused the invitation. Now he was glad he refused. Liz threw his libido into a frenzy. What would have happened when she was in her prime teens?
“Do you have family in the area?” Asked Liz, closing the door behind them.
“I used to, but they died.” His eyes glanced at the picture upon the wall in the study. It was a gold-plated picture frame with his family’s portrait encircled. Brae around the age of 17 and he at 15. It was a family portrait his mother made them take for the holidays. Just days before Clearance turned him into a vampire.
Liz peered at Archer “Do you like the picture?”
Archer nodded. “Where did you find the picture?” He asked. His head reeling from the site.
“I found it in the attic. It reminds me of the olden days.” She wanted the picture seen by everyone who entered the house. The picture suited the theme of the house, and it raised the value as well.
Archer cleared his throat and smiled. He followed her up the stairs to Brae’s and his bedroom before he got turned. He stepped upon the wooden floor as his eyes roamed the room. Brae and he buried their treasures under the boards growing up. He wondered if it was still there. He stepped forward and counted with each step. One, two, three, and four. The board creaked below his foot. He lifted his foot from the board and put it back on it. The board creaked again, and he smiled.
“Is this your bedroom?” Asked Archer.
“Yes,” replied Liz. She placed her hand upon the blanket of the bed. “The same feathered bed with new feathers from two hundred years ago.”
His eyebrows arched. Archer sat upon the bed and then stood. He owned a feather bed, and this was not his bed. What was Liz doing?
Liz opened the door to the other bedroom and chuckled when Archer jumped backwards, hoping she did not notice.
He stepped into the bedroom, and a funny sensation swept throughout his body. His mother’s original dresser placed against the far wall. They refinished the wood, making it appear newer. The wooden headboard connected to the bed appeared updated with sanders and polyurethane. Archer knew the furniture belonged to his parents. Memories flooded his mind as a tear fell across his cheek. He never realized how much he missed them until he walked into the house.
He placed the furniture years ago into a building in the woods to keep it safe. Liz must have taken the furniture from the building and placed it inside the house. A year passed since he walked through the house, so they moved the furniture within that year. Why would someone want old furniture in their house?