The rusty hinges creaked as I opened the doors on the old cabinet. A rail stretched from one side to the other and hanging from it were seven life-size skeletons.
I felt as if I shouldn’t really have been down here. It was Uncle Peter’s cellar. Somewhere he’d once used as a laboratory. Nobody had ever really known what it was exactly he’d got up to down here. Mum always thought it was some sort of secret project he was working on for the government. Dad reckoned he was a mad scientist trying to discover the elixir of life.
As children, we’d been forbidden to enter the place. Not that we could have even if we’d wanted to. I remember the door had two large black bolts on it, each secured with a heavy padlock. Uncle Peter would tell us that it was full of dangerous equipment and chemicals that could hurt us. So we’d kept well away.
His death had been sudden and quite unexpected. The doctor had said it was a massive heart attack. Being the eldest of the nephews and nieces I’d been charged with trying to sort out his affairs. This included clearing the house ready for selling. I’d spent the day going through his papers and begnning to box up his books when I remembered the cellar.
Apart from this cabinet full of dusty old skeletons the rest of the room was bare. No laboratory bench, no racks of dangerous chemicals. As I stood staring into the cabinet I wondered what it was that Uncle Peter used to do down here.
I reached into the cabinet to see if there was anything hidden behind the row of skeletons. Then I heard a voice.
“Hello young man. Why don’t you come a little closer?”
As I leaned into the cupboard the voice whispered, “Closer. Come closer.”
I stepped into the cabinet. It felt strangely cold. Suddenly, long, slender, bony fingers wrapped themselves around my entire body. Squeezing, probing. I felt myself go weak as my skin and tissue slowly began to disintegrate.
The skeletons around me jattled and whispered, “Now we are eight.”