Kayley Sands commits the cardinal sin of late night revelry on the late night bus home after a gig, lulled by the comfortable back seat and droning vibration of the engine she dozes and dreams of home. Then, bit of a shock to say the least, she wakes disconcerted, someplace she really shouldn’t be then a cloth is placed over her nose and mouth, and her eyes roll back into her head.
She wakes again tied to a bed in a cold dark basement and the start of a nightmare. Now The Girl in the basement by Wayne Simmons turned out to be a pleasant surprise, not because there’s a girl tied to a bed of course but more so because I was expecting a dose of torture porn. The setting was there, a perfect lead in was provided but thankfully we turned off that path and the story developed into a decent psychological horror of secrets and repercussion.
If you’ve spent time as a student this could well bring back fond disjointed memories of drunken times, waking up in unexpected places, hell it’s part of growing up but chances are there won’t be fond memories of being abducted by a psycho. There’s a solid degree of realism to these events, you can imagine it happening and the author provides a protagonist that you can’t help but be fully invested in. Haunting flashbacks, a desperate fight for survival, things hidden deep in the past, plenty of tears and screams all make for a powerful novella that feels bigger than its sixty odd pages.
Words by Paul Nelson, @pgnelson72