I wrote this when I just turned 10 and we were in Paris.
'Oh Mum!' said Elsie, barely able to control herself, 'we just HAVE to go to the CATACOMBS today!'
'Ok, fine darling. It is your birthday, after all!'
'YAY!' Elsie said cheerfully.
Today she was very excited. Her family had come for a holiday from England especially to celebrate.
A few minutes later, Elsie's Dad said:
'Ok. I've looked up how to get there and I found out we have to use the metro. Seven stops.'
Fifteen minutes later, Elsie's Mum said: 'Everyone ready? Let's go!'
It was a quick walk to the metro station. Somehow getting there seemed to go extremely quickly.
After what seemed like only a minute, they were at the catacombs.
-The Creepiness of Dead Flesh-
'Well, what are we waiting for?! Let's go in!' exclaimed Elsie.
It took a while to get to the bones.
First they had to go down a winding spiral staircase. Some of the steps creaked. Elsie was very thankful for her hiking boots!
Finally, the staircase ended. Elsie didn't like to think about the fact that she was twenty meters underground. But she couldn't wait to see the bones.
The dark ossuary that people call the Catacombs really did feel like the dark underworld. It felt abandoned, lonely, desolate, grotty, and damp. You could almost taste the disease and old rotting flesh that dried up. You could tell that these six million peoples' remains were from way back in the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth century.
But Elsie liked all this. She thought that it was like diving right into the middle of a spooky horror story.
She was getting more impatient by the minute. 'Wait a sec,' said Elsie 'where are all the other tourists? This place was crowded when we got in!'
Finally, after about fifteen minutes, they saw a doorway. It was stone and looked very old.
They went through it. Bones, bones, bones, they saw.
Skulls, leg bones, arm bones, and...suddenly...
'What on Earth is this all about?! Get off me!' Elsie's Dad shouted as the skeletons grabbed them and started dragging the three of them away. Elsie's Mum fainted. Elsie screamed.
-Skeletons Have No Brains-
While the skeletons were dragging her, Elsie could smell a sort of musty smell. She wondered what it was, but then realised it was the odour of dry bones. Elsie was terrified. She didn't know what to do. She hoped that her Mum or Dad would think of a plan. Otherwise they would be finished.
Finally, after what felt like an hour but was really about ten minutes, the skeletons stopped dragging them. This was a darker room. At first, it took a while for Elsie's eyes to get used to the lower level of light.
When they did, she saw a rather thin man with a sober but strangely triumphant countenance.
'Finally,' he said, 'I have captured someone who did not read the death sign.' His triumphant expression increased.
'Now, what I order you to do,' said this strange man, 'is something that I hope you can achieve. It is something even I have failed at.
'But if you fail, I will feed you to these skeletons who are especially hungry for fresh flesh and blood.'
'Skeletons, drag my prisoners to the death sign.'
Once again, for what felt like thirty minutes, these terrible creatures dragged Elsie and her mum and dad, the horrid man following behind.
Eventually they arrived at the doorway that they had first gone through to get to the bones.
'Now,' the man said, 'tell me what the sign above the doorway says, for I cannot read French.'
Only Elsie had paid any attention to learning French. There was a leak from the ceiling. Drip. Drip. Drip.
'Er,' she said, as a trickle of sweat ran down her back. Drip. Drip. Drip. ' it says.... Stop!... Um...' drip.
'... It says stop this is the empire of..... The empire of death. '
'Well done!' said the man. 'I now offer you freedom.' Drip. 'But wait, before you go, let me tell you the rules of this place.' Drip. 'If you don't see this sign you will be cursed and trapped here until you come back and read it. Understand - you also have to apologise to the lost souls of the dead.' Drip. 'I myself was trapped in this dreary place because I did not read the death sign.' Drip. 'But never mind that. You are free to leave. Goodbye now. '
Then Elsie and her family, relieved, spiralled back up the musty staircase and safely got back to the bright sunlit streets of Paris.
They had a lovely stay.