Once inside, they were stunned by the drastic transformation from the colorless scene outside. Whereas the outside was dull and lifeless, the inside was alive with colors and a wide range of fabrics and styles. In the front hall, Linda twirled around in a circle to admire the museum-quality rugs, paintings, furniture, and chandelier. The house looked like a page torn out from a nineteenth-century magazine.
James took them on a grand tour through the countless number of rooms in the house. The hallways were lined with mirrors, with intricate carvings around them. The first room they entered was a sitting room, decorated in a French style. The room was painted a bright yellow color with matching cushions and drapery. Everything looked much too delicate to touch, so Linda just observed without touching anything.
Next they entered a huge library, its four walls filled with books all the way up to its high vaulted ceiling. Linda, who had always loved books, walked around the room, touching the bindings on the old books. She couldn’t believe that any library in the world could carry such a vast collection of priceless books in one place. Shana had to drag her away from the library to continue on with their tour.
James led them to the kitchen, which seemed to be straight from the past, with old-time appliances and a huge hearth. There wasn’t one modern appliance—like a dishwasher or even a coffee maker. Linda wondered about who cooked in this huge mansion. Then she began envisioning the whole place as a pretty illusion. No cooking or cleaning was ever done here—since no one lived here. The fancy period rooms simply disappeared when they left the house.
They were led to the ballroom, which Linda felt was the most beautiful room, with its massive sparkling crystal chandelier and mirrored walls. The room was enormous, with an open dance floor—just waiting for the right party, except she didn’t believe that any dancing would ever take place here.
Afterward, James guided them upstairs to view the ornate bedrooms: each room having its own theme correlating to the time period of the room’s furniture. One room resembled a bedroom in the South during the Civil War, with heavy draperies and rugs—similar to the furnishings in the movie Gone With the Wind. Another bedroom looked very English, with needlepoint pillows laid out on its huge canopied bed.
Linda’s favorite bedroom was decorated in the theme of the Wild West, with cowboy boots standing by the bed, sawdust on the floor, and a lasso resting along the top of the dresser. She could see the cowboy sauntering in after a hard day lassoing horses, leaving his boots by the bed and his lasso on the dresser, before flopping down on the bed. She could almost hear the sounds of gunfire in the distance.
Linda reluctantly followed James and Shana back down the stairs after their fascinating tour was completed. They bid their host goodbye and departed from the unreal mansion with its elaborate but empty rooms.
“Am I going to hear an ‘I told you so’?”
Linda replied, “No…I would never give up the chance that I’ve just had to touch all those precious books.”
“But I don’t think they were really there,” she continued.
“I don’t think the house or any of it was real. How could a man live there alone without servants? He doesn’t even go into town…. How could he survive like that?”
“He could survive if he was a vampire.”
Linda finally understood what Shana was hinting at: John was a vampire and therefore, Abe and Anna were keeping a close eye on him. “There seem to be too many vampires roaming around this town.”
“I think one vampire is too many. We’d better get back before dark and Todd finds you gone. I don’t want him to know what we’ve been up to.”
“The less Todd and Sam know the better.”