AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following is a work of erotic/horror and not intended for readers under the age of eighteen. If you are underage, PLEASE LEAVE NOW!
“You ought to take that thing down,” my mother said, “it’s awful. I’ve always hated that picture you grandfather seemed to love.”
Standing in the now-empty house where my mother’s father lived by himself for twenty years I felt strange. Like some invader, a criminal who had sneaked in to steal what he could before the owner came back. The house seemed to shout amid its silence, “You shouldn’t be here!”. A din of echoing quietness.
He’d been dead a week—my grandfather. My mother, his only remaining daughter was standing there with an expression akin to someone just biting into a very sour candy. Her brow knitting, her eyes half-shut while her lips curled into a disgusted smirk all the while staring at the old portrait in its now-dusty frame.
The picture was sepia, brown hued typical of those old-time photographs from the late 1800s. White objects blurring into a light umber shade and the deepest color a chocolate color seen only in a bar of thick, rich confection from a candy company. The frame it sat in, elder enough to predate both myself and my mom combined was darker brown with gold flaked highlights. Only a small brass plate, a quarter inch wide by three long broke the leaf pattern on the portrait’s housing. In flowing script seen only in antique shops or on vintage postcards a single name was engraved.
“Levi,” my mother said, “you should toss it in the trash before you do anything else.”
Standing there I began to wonder why it was so repulsive to my mother. It had to be the subject of the photograph but there seemed to be something more about it she hated. Like some dusty reminder of her father’s iron will, memories of her childhood and being raised by very devout Christian parents it seemed to haunt her. Like old wounds refusing to heal the act of being back in her father’s home went hand-in-hand with the picture she appeared to cast all her ire on.
As for the subject of the photo, what could be said? She was, of course very young and quite nude. Her body glowed. A stark white amid a dark background and the caramel carpet she stood upon. In front of a mirror the photographer had posed her, angling her body to reveal the woman’s (Sophronia’s?) ample behind. Her hair, a possible blonde or light brown color was piled up atop her head in a very Victorian fashion. A strand, thick enough to hide a portion of one ear dangled down to her collarbone. Sophronia’s face was downcast. Was it embarrassment from her lack of attire? Perhaps she was ashamed for being talked into such an act? Or was she only playing the part of the innocent? Was there really a trace of a slight smile on her face or was it my imagination?
“Levi?” my mother said.
“What Mom?” I replied.
“You’re not listening to me, are you?”
“Yes I am.”
“Then take down that awful picture. What do you think Evelyn will say about it?”
I could already imagine what my fiancée’s remark would be. Her face would contort into a mimic of my mother’s current expression. Then, as if speaking with my parent’s voice would declare a similar fate for this picture.
“Yeah,” I said after awhile, “I better stick it up in the attic.”
“That’s a good man,” she said, speaking as if to a child. I awaited the possibility of the maternal pat on the head from my mom. I watched her raise a hand but she dropped it to her side.
“Is Evelyn coming over to help you?” the matriarch of our clan said.
“No,” I answered, “she’s got class tonight.”
“Well then, I’ll leave you to it. Why you want to keep such a depressing, badly maintained house instead of selling it is beyond me.”
“I like this house. Besides, I can always sell it after I fix it up.”
“Well, he left it to you. Goodbye, Levi.”
Watching her leave causing a wave of relaxation to course through my body. Being in my mother’s presence was a lot like standing in front of a general during morning formation. Nothing escaped her eyes—no missing buttons, loose collar or unshined shoe. I wondered if she ever realized she was exactly like her hated father. Looking up I wondered what Sophronia would have to say about my stuck up mother.
“Probably tell her to loosen up and relax,” I answered for the nude woman.
It took all day but I cleaned the two story house from top to bottom. Exhausting myself in my efforts I found myself collapsing in front of the new TV my grandfather bought a year before he died. Beside me, on the massive coffee table was the cold, sweating can of beer. Channel surfing while sipping at the icy brew I did little more than vegetate. I was alone. Evelyn had called as I had just finished dinner. Prattling on about her day and queries about how soon the house would be “livable”. Another conversation just like so many others we’d had. Just talk—nothing more.
The sound came from upstairs and made me choke on the beer. Straining my ears I heard nothing else. A nervous laugh bubbling up my throat made my shoulders quake in silent chiding laughter.
It’s probably a box falling in the spare bedroom, I told myself. Don’t start jumping at shadows.
Leaning back into the high-backed chair I set my beer down and stretched out my legs. The soft glow of the television, the autumn breeze stirring the last dying leaves on the front yard’s trees were the only sights and sounds I experienced. Dozing I forgot about the thumping sound.
“Franklin?” a woman said in a tentative, soft voice.
Franklin? That’s Grandpa’s first name! I thought jolting back to full wakefulness.
“Hello?” I said, standing up, “Who’s up there?”
A pattering of hurried steps thumping through the house sent anxious energy into my limbs. Rushing over I snatched up the fireplace’s poker to defend myself. I waited and listened but nobody replied to my question. Armed with a rod of steel and nerves of melting ice cream I began to ascend the steps in a slow, Don Knotts-like manner.
“Hello?” I called out.
No reply. Had the interloper rushed into another room to hide or hop out the window and onto the patio’s roof? My hands shaking I began to open doors in a cautious (self-preserving) manner. The bathroom, my mother’s old room and even the spare bedroom were empty. This left me only two more options. The master bedroom or trudging up the narrow, dark stairs to the attic.
Bedroom first, I told myself.
Reaching for the handle proved pointless—it opened up before I could touch the latch. Jumping back I began brandishing my improvised weapon like some coward in a gothic horror film.
Saphronia was wearing a sheet, probably flinched from one of the boxes I’d packed. I’d found some yellowed ones in the bottom dresser drawers. She was no apparition, no spectral image partway standing in reality. She was whole, solid and real.
Not to mention very frightened.
Drawing back and raising her arms to defend herself Saphronia began backing away with a fearful expression. Her eyes, brown as a nut went wide in shock then narrowed in anger.
“Where isFranklin?” she said.
“He’s dead. Died four days ago,” I stated.
“Who are you?”
“I’m Levi, I’m his grandson.”
“Oh, he talked about you.”
“Funny he forgot to tell anyone about you.”
“I’m not surprised. That would’ve guaranteed his entrance into an asylum. My name is…”
“Yes, capital! How did you know my name?”
“It’s written on the plaque on your picture.”
“Oh, that it is. So tell me, Levi do you like my portrait?”
Lowering the poker I felt my face turn red and become hot. Sophronia’s eyes were dancing in a merry manner, showing her enjoyment of my embarrassment. Her subsequent laughter—a womanly merry sound—was a delight to hear.
“I’m sorry but…,” I began.
“It’s to be expected, Levi,” she said waving her hand at me, “after all, who’d believe such a bizarre story?”
“How is this possible?”
“I know naught of what permits me to come here. The first time I believed it was all some dreaming fantasy. However your grandfather convinced me otherwise.”
Blushing even harder my face felt like it was about to burst into flames. Sophronia laughed even harder at my self-imposed misery.
“Are you, perchance married?” she asked.
“No… but I’m engaged,” I said.
“Ah, but engaged in what, pray tell? Is your fiancée about somewhere here in the house?”
“No, she’s at her house.”
“I see… “
“And you? Are you married?”
“Heavens no! Or I should say at least I don’t thinks so. I remember nothing when I step out of my portrait.”
She was gorgeous, regal in her posture and quite charming to banter with. Toying at the stray curl of hair near her right shoulder sent me a message I wasn’t sure I wanted.
“Are you, perhaps a virgin?” Sophronia asked.
So brazen was her query I took a step back, faltering in my retreat.
“I am… well that is to say….,” I blubbered.
“You are. I can see it in your eyes,” Sophronia stated. “Here, let me teach you about the loving arts and thus repay your kindness for not taking down my portrait.”
Stepping into the hallway she encompassed me in a chaste (at first) embrace before kissing me. Her lips were warm and inviting. I was lost in the moment. Locked like two ships at sea I felt her makeshift attire drop from her shoulders.
I don’t recall being led into the bedroom. Sophronia undressed me in a manner best described as unhurried, even leisurely. I was on my back, my cock hard and flat against my loins when she straddled me.
“Oh… god!” I cried out.
Her pussy was hot and damp holding me within her in a hungry grip. Watching her breasts, milk white with pick rose-like nipples bobbing while she rode me. She made soft sounds—happy and needful moans. Leaning towards me, her hair encompassing my face like a silken curtain Sophronia kissed me again.
We thrashed upon the bed in a wrestle of slow motion elegance. My body grew rigid, quivering from the impending climax.
“Levi,” she gasped in a single heavy, quick breath.
“Sophronia,” I answered.
My orgasm overwhelming my mind from it all. My body was going through terrible, happy convulsions until she too reached her climatic peak.
“Oh yes!” she sobbed, “Oh yes… so wonderful! Say you’ll stay… stay with me forever!”
“I-I can’t guarantee…,” I groaned out my reply.
“Please stay. I think I love you.”
Then she collapsed onto my sweaty chest riding out her tremors of delight. After a few murmuring kisses, words of thanks from her lips I fell into a dream-filled sleep of crass motherly words and shrieking fiancée demands. But they, like my orgasm soon passed into nothingness.
I awoke alone with the dawn’s rays seeping through the drawn curtains. With much regret I showered and dressed. Passing by her portrait I saw Sophronia was smiling. Would I see her again? Would I adhere to my mother’s wishes and take down the portrait. How would I explain to her, or Evelyn for that matter? I didn’t care. I knew why my grandfather was smiling in his casket. Sophronia was here like she had always been. Years untold she’d climbed from the picture and loved the man of the house. For how long? I had no idea. My mother was right to hate the portrait.
“It stays,” I told Sophronia’s portrait, “You stay right where you are. The rest of the world be damned.”