The Art Studio in The Basement

By Jason Smith

A few years before I met Zoe she’d been married to a man named Sebastian who she met at Art College. After they both graduated they split up and got back together so many times, Zoe thought that they were meant to be together. Based on that logic Zoe proposed to Sebastian. Two years later Sebastian disappeared.

You can’t predict life; I never thought a person like Zoe would open her home and heart to me. Everything was perfect, except one thing.

Zoe had told me the day I moved in that her basement was off limits, she never let anyone down there. It was her art studio and she never showed anyone her artwork. Sometimes she would be in the basement for hours on end and when she wasn’t in the basement the door was locked. The keys were kept in the kitchen, in what she called the junk drawer.

But as the months went on I felt more and more curious about her art studio. She wouldn’t show me any of her work, she said Sebastian had made fun of her talents and put a lot of doubt into her head. I understood why she was so private; I just wanted her to trust me enough to show me.

One day when Zoe was out, I opened the junk drawer and saw the keys lying in between inkless pens, broken pencils and used paper pads. I had wondered why she left them there, was this a test to see if she could trust me? I told myself couples shouldn’t have secrets, I grabbed the keys and unlocked the basement door.

As I flicked the light switch on, I could see the small portion of floor at the bottom of the stairs and I noticed a faint chemical smell, like turpentine. I walked down the stairs and looked around. It looked like an ordinary basement until I noticed another door. The door was unlocked and as I opened it, the smell of chemicals became stronger.

The room had peg boards on the wall with what looked like surgical tools hanging on hooks. There was a table with leather cuffs fixed to the top and bottom and a shower in the corner of the room. There were paintings on the wall that looked like red paint splatter. There were names on the frames like James, Sebastian and others. The paint in the pictures didn’t look like paint and as I tried to figure out what it was, I failed to feel the presence walking into the room.

The next thing I knew I was awakened quickly as the smell of ammonia burnt my nostrils. I was tied to the table while Zoe stood in front of me.

“I’m disappointed in you Matthew. I told you to stay out of my studio. It’s a shame, I really liked you. You’re so giving, a rare trait in a man.”

“What are those pictures?” I asked.

“It’s my art.”

“Is that Sebastian’s blood?”

“Yes. I also killed James.” Zoe said while pointing at the picture. “I drugged you. You were passed out while I dragged his body down here.”

“Where is the body?”

“Don’t worry, there is no trace of James and there’ll be no trace of you.”


Bio: Jason Smith writes out of the Pacific Northwest. He’s married and a father to a special needs boy. Originally from England, he has lived near Seattle WA since 2009.

He has also published “Automobile Psychosis” with The Yard: Crime Blog.

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