Melanie doesn't understand why she's not allowed in the cellar, and the curiosity is getting the better of her. Finally, she's determined there's no way around it. Even if her parents and her nanny will be angry she just has to understand why she hears noises and why she's not allowed inside. This thrilling little gem is yet another example of why Arthur Pendryll is rapidly gaining a name in the world of short horror fiction.
Warning: This horror story has very dark and disturbing images. Adults should listen carefully before determining if the content is appropriate for a child in their care.
Here is a preview:
She knew that, sometimes when Mommy and Daddy went out and Nanny Carla sent her to bed, noises came from Nanny Carla's room. Once she'd crept to the hallway and watched, but there wasn't a monster. Instead, Mr. Harper the gardener came out of the room with a guilty look on his face. She didn't know why he went to Nanny Carla's room, but she knew the sounds meant something was happening. When she tried to ask Mrs. Harper if Mr. Harper made noises in their bedroom, Mrs. Harper looked shocked. Before she could answer, Nanny Carla whisked her away with a swat on her bottom and told her she was being improper.
The point was simple, though, even for a little girl like Melanie. Noises meant something, and there were noises coming from the cellar. She wanted to know what was making the sounds. She wasn't afraid, not really. Mommy, Daddy, Nanny Carla, the cook, and the maid all went down into the cellar every now and then, so there wasn't a monster. That was sure. Still, why couldn't she go down? Why couldn't she see what was there? It was maddening, like when she had to stay in the nursery while Mommy and Daddy entertained guests in the parlor. It was like how she had to drink milk when everyone else at the table got pretty red wine from fancy bottles, fancy bottles from the cellar.
She dropped her doll when she heard a bump from the cellar. The bump was definite and real, and it was louder than the noise the branch made when it bumped up against her window. "Did you hear that, Nanny Carla?"
Nobody answered and she looked up. Nanny Carla wasn't in the kitchen anymore. She was gone. She was gone and that meant that she wouldn't try to stop her. She stood to her feet, trembling a little bit and took a step toward the cellar door.