It Lives In The Basement
A missing couples report and a mutilated body.
Two years apart, same house.
Coincidence or something more sinister?
When Lt. Flynn lands a missing couples case, he finds no evidence of anything amiss. There are no signs of a struggle or foul play. The only clue lies in a dog-eared notebook, but is it true?
Two years later, a mutilated body is found in the same residence. Lt. Carter is assigned the case, and now, he’s faced with a life-altering decision. Can he afford to ignore the evidence that Sgt Alvarez reveals to him – the same evidence that led to his partner’s disappearance?
How many people will die before Carter brings the truth to light? Who will believe in the existence of a genetically manipulated monster?
I hope no one reads this because that means I’m dead.
“Hey, Lieutenant!” yelled a barrel-chested, young uniformed officer. “Better take a look at this. I think we may have something.” He leaned out a smaller room adjacent to the living room, holding up a worn notebook, scrawled handwriting across the open pages.
A tall man wearing a rumpled brown suit strode rapidly across the room. “Christ, Daniels, most of you street cops wouldn’t know what a clue was even if it bit you on the ass.” He ran his hand through his disheveled, more-salt-than-pepper hair. “Didn’t I just tell you not to touch anything until I had a chance to look at it? Now, we’ll have to eliminate your prints from the other fingerprints in the house.”
Glaring down at the shorter man, he continued his tirade. “I realize investigating a ‘missing persons’ case is more difficult than chasing a speeder, or writing up a guy for having one too many, but would you please try to follow procedures?” Snatching the notebook, he ordered, “Now, go outside and find the landlord for me. You do remember him don’t you, Daniels? The fat guy who let us in?”
Looking anywhere but at the irate Lieutenant, Daniels sheepishly nodded his head.
“Oh, good. Go get him for me then.”
The young officer hurried to the front door, then tried working out the mechanics of opening the screen door with just his elbow.
The Lieutenant shook his head in disbelief. Where do these kids come from? He didn’t remember being that stupid when he joined the force. God, I’m getting old.
He read the first few lines on the front page of the opened notebook. However, his attention wasn’t on the written words. He had something else on his mind, instead.
Flynn closed the notebook, placing it back on the desk in the small bedroom, grumbling to himself, “I knew it was going to be one of those days.”
The moment he walked into the squad room and read the note lying on his desk, he knew. His partner of twenty-three years would be out on sick leave for a week.
He didn’t begrudge his partner the time he needed. Hell, he could use a few days off himself, but the weather in Omaha after Thanksgiving wasn’t conducive to a week-long vacation at home. With no money, he’d be trapped at home with at least five of the grandkids his wife of twenty-one years always seemed to be babysitting.
No thanks. He’d done plenty of babysitting raising their own six kids.
Being pragmatic, Flynn knew he was upset because he would be working alone all week. It didn’t matter they had their own cases; he’d get stuck with all the shit jobs. Doing somebody else’s paperwork, making the never-ending telephone follow-ups, and answering all the ‘suspicious activity’ calls. Like this one.
What the hell. I know I can’t buck the system. With three years left until retirement, he didn’t want to try. Still, it was going to be a long week.
The sound of another uniformed officer entering the house made the Lieutenant step back into the living room. “Mickosky, where in the hell is Daniels and the landlord?” Flynn’s voice snapped with irritation.
“Take it easy, sir,” Mickosky answered, glancing around the living room. “He’s coming. The landlord was down on the corner talking with some neighbors.”
Tearing a page from his notebook, he handed it to the taller Lieutenant. “Here’s all the information I got from the neighbors. It ain’t much, sir. Same old shit. The neighbors know the people that live here. The woman north of the house says the missing couple is decent, quiet people. But, the guy on the other side says the man who lives here is a nutcase.
“That’s the neighbor who called the landlord. He says their car hasn’t moved for three or four days, and no one has gone in or out of the house. Their mail hasn’t been picked up since Monday, either. The neighbor’s name is, uh, yeah, Leaman, sir. He’s outside, if you want to talk with him, by our cruiser.”
The Lieutenant skimmed over the paper, folded it, and stuffed it in his pocket. “No. Not now, Mick. What I want right now is that damn landlord.”
Just then, the front door opened and Daniels walked in. He was followed by a fat man wearing an unbuttoned heavy, gray coat, greasy overalls, and a sweat-stained shirt.
Big grin on his face, Daniels said, “Sir, here is Carl Santantovich, the landlord.” He gave a flourish of his hand as if he had produced the large man from a magic hat.
The Lieutenant introduced himself to the younger, shorter man. “Hello. I’m Lieutenant Flynn. Do you mind if I call you Carl?”
The landlord gave Flynn a soft, flabby, moist handshake. “No.” Glancing around, he asked, “What’d you find, Lieutenant? Where are they?”
Flynn wiped his wet palm on his right pant leg. “Well, so far, nothing. I’ve searched the house, and there isn’t anyone here. There’s no sign of a break-in, a struggle, or other indications of violence that I can find. I was hoping you could give me some background information about the tenants that live here, Carl.”
“I can’t tell you much. The woman’s name was Pat Forbes. She worked for some insurance company out west. My wife has the name and address. The man’s name was John Sempek. He worked for a construction outfit as a laborer most of the year. When it got too cold, he would help me with some of my rental properties. John fancied himself as some kinda writer. He told me once that he’d written half a dozen stories he’d been trying to publish.”
Listening carefully, the Lieutenant also watched Daniels take a small notebook and pen out of his coat pocket. Presumably to take notes, but, so far, hadn’t written down one word.
Daniels puffed out his chest, asking in a deep, authoritative voice, “What type of writer is he?”
Flynn snorted, knowing the young officer was trying to impress him with his interrogation skills.
The furnace kicked on, causing the overweight man to open his coat more and step away from the heat vent. “Ah, well, John said he wrote about science fiction stuff. Shit about flying saucers and little green men. I ain’t no reader, and never read any of his stuff. Wouldn’t waste my time on that kinda crap anyways.”
Daniels was about to ask another question, when the Lieutenant raised his hand, cutting him off. “Carl, why do you keep referring to these people in the past tense? Do you know something we don’t?”
Eyes round with fright, the landlord took a step back, waving his hands back and forth. “Uh, no, Lieutenant. No. It’s just that Wamperely – the guy that rents from me down the block – well, he said John’s been drinking pretty heavy lately. And, I, well, I thought maybe he’d killed Pat and took off or something.”
Flynn studied the nervous landlord. Is he lying? Does he know more then what he’s telling us? The Lieutenant didn’t think so. Carl seemed genuinely concerned about his missing tenants.
After a brief nod, Flynn said, “Ok, I believe you.” He sat on the tattered arm of an old chair, flipping through pages of his reports. “Let’s see if I have the facts straight, Carl. You received a call from one of the neighbors, Mr. Leaman, and had your wife try to call Pat or John. After three days of not being able to reach them, your wife called Pat’s employer, only to discover they hadn’t seen or heard from Pat since Monday. Then, at eight-thirty this morning, you had your wife call the police. Is that correct?”
The landlord swiped at the sweat running down his red face, smiling with relief. “Yeah. My wife called this bar, Dean’s Place, where John usually drinks. They said John and Pat were there on Monday, after she got off work, but not since then.” Shifting from foot to foot, Carl continued, “See, Lieutenant? That’s why I figure something’s wrong.
“I’ve known Pat and John before they rented this house. About five years. John never went a day or two without stopping at a bar. Not always Dean’s Place. Sometimes, he’d stop in at Newell’s Bar. Unless John’s sick, he’d go to a bar almost every day. That’s where I’d always find him if I needed him to do some work. It’s not like him not to be at a bar.”
“Right,” the Lieutenant said, nodding his head in understanding. “So, you called the police and asked them to meet you here before you went into the house yourself. Why didn’t you look for them prior to calling the police? They could’ve been here, just changed their routine.”
The landlord wiped his forehead with the sleeve of his coat, adding to the stain already there. “I, ah, if something were missing, I didn’t want to be accused of stealing. And honest, Lieutenant, I thought you’d find at least one body in the house. I sure as hell didn’t want to be the one to find it myself.”
Looking around again, he asked, “By the way, Lieutenant, where are the cats? I know Pat has two white cats. One of the neighbors said she also had a small, black kitten. So, there should be three cats running around here, somewhere.”
Flynn shook his head. “Haven’t seen them. I’ve searched this house twice now. I found a litter box downstairs, and some empty food and water bowls, but no cats. We did find strands of long, white hairs along with shorter black and brown ones.”
“Yup,” Carl acknowledged. “They would be from Pat’s cats. Where have they gone to?”
“…The Inca are such an interesting culture, and it was cool to see that interwoven into this modern day tale. It enriched the story and made you think ‘what if?’ It also fits with ancient alien beliefs while highlighting some archeological facts.
I can tell the author researched the legends and creation myths in detail. She did a great job pulling it into the story wihtout distracting from the fear factor or entertainment of the reading experience…”
“It Lives in the Basement is a collection of interconnected dark horror stories written by Sahara Foley. Lieutenant Mike Flynn is investigating the mysterious disappearance of a couple that seems to have vanished into thin air. Pat Forbes hasn’t been to her office for several days, and John Sempak, a writer, hasn’t been seen in any of the bars he always frequents. Their landlord wonders if perhaps they quarreled and John murdered Pat. His wife finally had him call the police and report the situation. The couple’s three cats have also gone missing, making the situation seem even stranger, especially when the police discover Pat’s wallet, clothes, books and car still at the premises. After Mike dismisses the police officers investigating the scene, he decides to take a look at the spiral-bound notebook one of the officers had found. In it was a story that began in a most ominous fashion.
Sahara Foley’s horror collection, It Lives in the Basement, is guaranteed to bring a smile of delight to the face of any horror fan lucky enough to pick this book up and read it. I love horror, but having grown up enjoying the works of Poe, Lovecraft and Derleth, rarely come across horror tales that reach the sublimely scary heights those classic authors mastered. This series of interconnected tales does just that. Foley’s work is also an inspired police procedural at the same time, as the Omaha police follow a most unusual suspect in a series of disappearances and a particularly brutal murder. Foley’s story is marvelous! The plot sizzles with tension, and the characters are compelling and real people you quickly come to care about. It Lives in the Basement is as good — and as terrifying — as it gets, and it’s most highly recommended.“