• Jeff Arce/Jarce ArtThor

Bassy's Basilica (a short Horror Story)

***Content Warning: The following short story is a work of fiction. The characters, world and locations are all figments of the author's imagination and are not intended to represent any place or person in the real world.

The following story is an adult thriller written for an audience of the ages 17 and up. This story contains adult themes, vulgar language, drug and alcohol use, and descriptions of explicit content not suitable for younger readers. Continue at your own risk!

Length: 5100 words, a 30 minute read.

#horror #sciencefiction #worldbuilding #monsters #shapeshifter #vampire #halloween #scary #dark #fun

Enjoy! 😉

Bassy’s Basilica

Original Art and Story by Jeffrey Arce

First Street was a bad place with bad company. It ran along a neglected beach with cloy lighting winking and blinking, poised to give even the healthiest of brains a crippling seizure. Withering city billboards posted along the aging roads of the city promised a salacious treasure trove of dark delicacies burgeoning within. There were electric signs ablaze in bar windows buzzing in bright big bold letters about their copious supply of BEER, LIQUER, AND CIGARS! Adjacent to those shops were small boxy buildings posted with banners that offered XXX MAGZ AND MORE! Caught between a yawning crevice of the city alleys, like the indelible black spots of rotting gum that overpopulated the sidewalks, twitching junkies, drunkards, and hustlers pushing illegal contraband clustered here and there. They were the usual suspects in a place like this.

Crowning the site was an imposing edifice that shined like a great bright beckon of perversion. Here was a watering hole for the lowest breed of human civilization. Weathered palm trees swayed poignantly before it like two gnarled pillars awash in its flashing, red, and yellow lights, channeling the liquid energy of fire. The gothic era structure stood with a façade outwardly dressed like a cartoon sanctuary for degenerates. Pink display lights deepened the shadows of nubile silhouettes that decorated the curious building. Nimble sculptures danced over the arch of a greatly aged stone entryway, sardonically mirroring the gates of a despoiled cathedral. Carved into its mahogany panels with spectacular craftsmanship were busy reliefs depicting graphic scenes of group orgies. It was like a fresco dreamed up by a bawdy Michelangelo, jacked up on corner-store brand energy drinks.

Her windows were blotted out. A time, long ago, they contained stained glass paintings to teach the illiterate all the fun things they were missing by being too poor to read. Now they were black, beckoning in those harboring desires just as dark. A group of reveling young men had come there to find out what forbidden fruits were waiting for them on the other side. They spilled clumsily onto the cracked concrete walkway from the drafty beach behind them, laughing and hooting. The ocean soughed in the distance under a forlorn swollen moon, burning gloomily in the black banner of the night’s sky.

The saline taste of seawater saturated the air they pulled into their lungs. A haunting sigh on the wind rolled across this quiet beach, and played sinisterly through the beaten, splintered evergreen fronds of the lonely palm trees. The youngest in their group regarded those creaking branches with trepidation as a foreboding chill prickled down his back. He had just turned twenty-one with bright, intelligent eyes, a clean, innocently shaven face, and combed back hair. He appeared beside his friends dressed in khakis, and a tucked-in black polo, with his nervous hands buried deep into his pockets. He was like a model for a milquetoast clothing line company, staring wide-eyed at the ostentatious lightshow before them with a child’s terrible wonder. Like a rite of passage into manhood he followed this wild pack of first-world wolves toward the strange building.

The leader was a haughty cretin who was once a popular high school football player, and an obdurate show-boat struggling to come down from the high that still lingered from his heyday. He walked with a hint of a strut tempered by the trials of life that made him into a man, but still radiating with just a touch of that old youthful ego. He wasn’t a star anymore. He wasn’t anybody. These days, he was only an accountant, an aspired realtor with no more notoriety in the world than the next arrogant fool with too much chip on their shoulder and not enough good sense in the old intellectual piggy bank up top. He boisterously took the head of the pack, making critical note of the pointed nipples he had to heave against in order to push open that ornate door with the indecorous reliefs. An inquisitive observer might have wondered why all the male figures in the sculpture looked to be in absolute agony rather than pleasure.

The bouncers greeted him with a practiced calm, though, they patted his rather corpulent frame down with harder hands than they had done the others. Somehow, they could smell which one of them was the troublemaker. Nevertheless, they let them through. Their supercilious ringleader scoffed at the doormen as he moved onward. Tyler was his name. He still had that broad neck of a bull, but there was hardly a spine in the world strong enough to hold up the weight of the ego flooding his empty head. His shoulders were wide, but his paunchy stomach was much bigger than it might be in the narcissistic image he had long painted for himself. He was a heavy beer drinker, a rapacious eater, and suffered from an insatiable taste for sex, drugs, and self-indulgence. Still, the young one somehow enjoyed his company. They were friends all throughout their school years—a crude and often frustrating relationship, but a friendship, still the same.

Tyler liked big company and had big dreams. He brought his boys to party with him everywhere he went. He liked them to fawn over his bullshit like he was some rockstar amongst a retinue of sycophants, but his twenty-one-year-old friend reined him in. Perhaps that is why he always kept him around. The kid anchored him to reality, and at times he needed the back-push. The threat of prison was always close at hand for him without a mediator. Chase was in a sense the designated driver, the adult in the room, the babysitter. And Tyler was a petulant disaster.

“Come on Chase,” Tyler clapped him heavily on the shoulder. “Let’s get you some birthday action!” He leered through a wall of dense smoke. Two bars of blue light cut through the fog and lashed wildly before them.

Music thundered like the devil’s heartbeat, assaulting Chase’s ears with callous base. There were words somewhere in the cacophony of sounds, he knew, but the relentless woofers that came punching out the drum and base inundated whatever mad poetry was trying to be had there.

Something materializing just beyond the curtain of fog caught his eye and stole his thoughts away from that painful sound. At first glance, the spectral shadow before them appeared like a black serpent thrashing this way and that. And then there was another, and another. When the lights found them, he saw at last what the figures were. Lithe, amorous creatures were gyrating on elevated platforms. Some were coiled around dancer-poles and whirling inside massive hanging birdcages that swung high above their heads. More were threading their way through a myriad of tables wearing what little they possibly could, and some of them were wearing nothing at all. His jaw unlatched, and the harsh music suddenly wrapped around him as comfortably as silk.

He paused. His breath abandoned him. Just then his big obnoxious friend locked him up under a fat, fleshy arm and exclaimed, “Tonight, you become a man!”

No sooner had they taken five strides into the club had a vivacious, dainty vision came floating to them. She was fit like an athlete, sculpted with perfect, shapely muscle. Her tan skin seemed to glow under the influence of the club lights surrounding them. She was almost like plastic, and almost too perfect to be real. Her outfit appeared as shimmering black liquid that clung close to the curves of her body. But at close inspection they would learn that it wasn’t an outfit at all. Intricate shapes wrapped around her lissome, sinuous build, covering only the right parts to tease her prey, and showing only enough flesh to feed their fantasies. She was clad in a black tape bikini, every piece expertly placed to create flawless patterns that curved here and tapered off there. Her nipples were hard as little pebbles challenging the dexterity of the glossy fabric that covered them. Chase could see the tiny lumps juxtaposed to them, indicating a piercing there. One half of her head was stylishly cropped; the other half cascaded down her right shoulder in a curtain of thick rainbow-dyed braids, that burned exuberantly in the black light. Her ropes of lurid hair were so long, full and matted over that Chase couldn’t help but to wonder how many years she might have been treating it. She wore a purple lipstick that glittered like stars around her full mouth. Her thin and narrow bedroom eyes were accentuated by dark eyeliner. Her irises were a kind of smoldering viridescent green that could coax a man off a cliff. Her tattoos covered mostly every inch of her exposed flesh like a temple of hieroglyphics that told a long exhausting story…a deadly story.

To the youngest one she showed him her most gracious of smiles: pretty, charming, and pleasant. He answered her with a diffident one in return as flush suffused under his cheeks.

To his audacious friend beside him with the big neck and even bigger attitude she beamed archly. Hoisting up a tray of loaded vials cleverly shaped like syringes, she asked, “Would you gorgeous boys care for a drink?” Her left eyebrow turned up endearingly with the offer. “Please, I invite you: pick your poison.”

Chase’s head was already swimming with well enough toxins to hold him over for one night, but before he could politely decline, his flippant friend jumped in and goaded, “I’ve got something for you to sip on right here!” he grabbed a handful of his junk and added, “come have a taste.”

Security saw that, and a large man stuck out his muscled chest as he went to stalk down this impertinent newcomer. However, the spectacular woman held up a patient finger to hold him. With liquid eyes on her unruly guest, she grinned thirstily at him. She said, “Maybe I will.” With that, she left him with a wink and moved on.

Brushing up past the puffed-up bouncer, she whispered into his ear, “Let him be. That one I like.” She flashed their visitor one more coquettish gesture and Chase’s big friend bristled with drunken pride.

“Tyler, must you be a dick?” Chase rebuked.

He shrugged off the insult. “I’ll be whatever she wants me to be.”

Chase was troubled by this. He looked again at the passing waitress, carefully appraising her alluring figure. Too perfect for nature, he noted warily. “I’m not so sure it was a good thing, what just happened.”

“Lighten up, Chase,” one of the other guys with them said. Chase thinks his name is Moyer—or was it Kreger? He couldn’t ever remember. “Modesty, or lack thereof will get you nowhere in this place. It’s all about what’s in the wallet. And Tyler is way too broke to get himself in too much trouble!”

“And fat,” the other nameless asshole put in. Was it Bader? Or was it Crewman? Whatever, screw him too!

Tyler flipped him off before leading them again, wherever he was going as if he knew the place. That was how he treated every new environment he found himself in, like he was too damned sure of himself to ever be lost.

He said, “The mainstage is over here.”

There were four stages, not including the massive transparent box hanging over their heads where nude women were dancing dirty as though they were floating on air. The lights inside the box ignited it with an icy hue.

Tyler’s compass seemed to be on point this time as he did indeed find the correct stage.

They moved past lavish men in suits, poor men in discount-superstore-novelty shirts, and young men brandishing their drinks, being as recklessly obstreperous as the youthful spirit could possibly permit. Then he caught view of a luxurious platform, far off to the right, climbing high just before the Sky Cube and main stage. A curtain of glittering beads fell around them like a waterfall of lapis pearls. They weren’t the normal sorts of sex-depraved patrons occupying that space. They were seated in a place of honor, more expensively dressed than any man in the club. He saw on the nape of one of them in attendance a stretch of tribal-like tattoos populating his dark skin. He was a hard man, and he had himself a dangerous aura. With a threatening, flinty scowl, the stranger warded the young man’s curiosity away as he turned to place it on him. When Chase retreated his eyes, he found a woman striding their way, brave, and with a gait that was both assertive, yet titillating. She walked with a party of suited men, parading as an entourage, though they looked more like trained killers. Lean, and hard muscled, they shadowed her every twist and turn as she went by them, cutting through the crowd like a knife.

A perfume wafted from her, it was redolent, and exotic, but there was also a taste of professional authority clinging to it.

Tyler caught the scent too. He saw the woman and shouted out at her, “Goddamn, how much do you cost!”

She turned to offer only disdain. Her very austere was incongruous with everything that surrounded her. The woman was not in dress like the others, or of a patience to endure such bold wit. She wore a dark purple vest that was all business, cut to show most humbly but a hint of the cleft in her considerable bosom, and she was clad in a formal black skirt that climbed no higher than to her knees. Her high-heals, though, appeared almost to have been sculpted out of black ice, and was cold as her ambience. Her hair was spun in flaxen gold, wrapped up in a seductively messy bun that was stacked high upon her crown. It was a style that could just as much promise the most wicked of pleasures as it could say that she was a busy woman with no tolerance for drunken jeers. Chase’s ignoble friend was far too inept and stupid to see that her men were all marking him with baleful glowers. Though confounded, the woman went on about her business. However, before she ascended the stairs to meet with her guests, she stopped short and impressed upon her stalwart knights, “Watch him.” She then slipped through the curtain wall of beads leaving ripples surging in her wake. Her men turned right there and set their cruel eyes firmly upon Tyler.

Apprehension nagged at Chase’s heart just then, even as they started for the main stage to rain money onto a redheaded beauty that was dancing with deft expertise. Adroitly, she shimmied up the stripper-pole and hung upside down from it, letting her long curls swing, as she spun round and round, fully nude, and breathtaking. Still, she was not enough to ameliorate Chase’s angst. Something very bad was happening in that place of the world under those beads, and every instinct in him was screaming for them to get out while they still had a chance. Some primal, dormant sense in his human core was waking up. And it said unto him, they have his scent! Run, and don’t look back!

The infamous city of ParaVice has always been something of a mystery to Chase. He and his friends grew up on the safer side of town. They only heard stories about First Street, and Vulpine Beach. They were at long last seeing it and all of her fabled glory. But only Chase could smell the ugly lingering behind it’s pretty disguise. The ugly had sharp teeth, and its jaws were beginning to snap shut around them.


“Gentlemen,” the mysterious businesswoman so courteously began with her patient guests. Her red eyes were keenly set on the one with the tattoos on his neck. “It is a pleasure to finally have you.”

“The pleasure is ours,” the grimacing stranger answered curtly. “You know why we have come?” The mafia known only as The Company were a collection of rough men who did not like to waste time. His words were accented, but only mildly. He was highly educated in the common tongue.

She nodded. “I do.”

“So then,” he let it hang, waiting for her response.

The woman seated herself, her right-hand man stood close. He regarded the tattooed stranger with a flinty stare. He was a tall gentleman with oil-slick black hair, a grizzled goatee, and of deep Eastern descent chiseled into his fearsome scowl.

Their host frowned. She cleared her throat and said, “Mr. Zenith Guer—Gerrrria…help me please.”

Her guest’s glare darkened. “Guerrio,” he seethed.

“Ahh yes,” she beamed sweetly. “Canian?” This of course was her way of toying with him. Everyone in the room knew that they were from Cane, so he did not provide an answer. She shrugged and said pensively, “It is a poor name. It means quarrelsome person, or rather, problem child…are you a problem child, Mr. Guerrio?”

His men shifted uncomfortably in their seats beside him as he replied, “Enough with the games, Girl. Our employer—”

“Your employer is threatened,” she interjected, “and I understand that. He wants to know how I was able to procure this property without his knowledge. I understand that too. It is a curious thing, isn’t it?” her vulpine gaze tested him, they were as cold as any thug or boss her tattooed guest had even encountered, and he met them all. They were eyes wrought with cruelty and experience. Her fearlessness was impressive, but her temerity was a problem. “A woman, with power, and what’s more…a woman with said power in one of the vilest places on the planet. Oh, how could it be? I assure you, good sirs. There is no mystery hear. It is all so very simple. The devil is in the details, however, and that is something need not concern you.”

“On the contrary,” Zenith Gurrio spat, brusquely, “this is the very source of our employer’s dismay. Who are you working for?”

“I am working for me. Every girl’s dream.” She said it playfully.

“Who is funding you, then,” he rasped, annoyed.

“Mr. Gurrio, you have played this game long enough to know the answer will be the same for every inquiry. Can we save the humility and get to the point? You want a tithe, yes?”

He exchanged a curious look with his partners. Then back to her. He demanded, “Fifty million…”

She did not like it. Before she could reply one of her soldiers came in through the glittering curtain. He stepped around her man, who never even flinched, still as granite, looking direct at Mr. Zenith Guerrio like a brooding gargoyle. The newcomer whispered into his Madam’s ear. Her frown deepened. “Excuse me, sirs. Business matters.”

Irritated, she stood up stiff as a board, her grimace drawing age lines that suddenly made her appear ancient, yet still so gorgeous as ever. She went to part through the veil of beads with a quick hand, stealing a peek outside. The big prurient idiot that had made his brazen pass at her was just then being ripped from her stage. The security dumped him on his back. He was kicking and cursing, violently aggrieved. Her dancer had withdrawn herself from them. She was frightened, and covering her most valuable of parts, spoiling the others of her organic beauty. As if sensing her boss’s dismay, Lady Tanya looked angrily at her from the stage. Humans of such natural glamor were a rarity, and an asset. They were fickle, hard to come by, and expensive to keep. She would need to recompense her generously for this imbroglio.

Patrons were hectoring the beast, and rightfully so. His own posse had turned on him, cursing at him, and the young, comely gentleman that came in with him was suddenly taken with distress. He chanced a blanched look back her way. She dropped the beads. She said in private hearing with the security guard who had brought this matter to her attention, “Give him to D.”

He went suddenly taught. Incredible fear paralyzed him, but his sangfroid Madam offered him a reassuring grin. She touched him with affectionate hands, tentatively caressing the dribbled scars that wracked one whole side of his face—an old bite mark it would seem. It was a big one, mutilating most of his bottom lip, neck, and jaw.

“Don’t you worry,” she said, emollient, “she will not harm you, my dear. Now go.”

Though terrified, he bowed and went dutifully to carry out her command.

Before he was gone, she stopped him once more and said, “Oh, and do be a doll, my love. Tell the DJ to play her song. She likes to set a mood.” His Madam nodded at him, and then it was done.

Returning to her guests, she went immediately back to business and said, “Forty.”

The tattooed one considered this for a moment before he acquiesced, “Forty. This will do well to indemnify our employer, and perhaps put his heart at ease about you.”

“Anything to keep the peace.” There was no love on her words; she spoke it with venom. “I wouldn’t want to raddle the cage of a Snake. I do so very much adore serpents.”


Tyler punched one of the bouncers across the jaw, sending him reeling. It was an impressive swing for a drunk guy.

“Get off me!” He was on his feet again, wild with rage and besot on adrenaline, but three security officers flanked him, and they were far bigger than he was.

“Bro, you have got to calm down,” Chase advised, checking his surroundings anxiously.

The fawners weren’t fawning anymore. Bader, or Chet, or whatever-his-name-was quaffed down his drink and spat, “Let’em throw his ass out! It’s the least he deserves.”

Tyler snarled, “Hey, fuck you!”

One of the guards seized him up again and began moving him for the door. “That’s it, you are done!”

“I was just trying to have some fun,” he groused.

“The stage is for dancers only!”

Tyler’s intoxicated ego was implacable. “I can dance better than that scrawny-ass ginger.”

Suddenly, everything stopped.

A majestic sound came undulating over the speakers, melodic, yet haunting. Jaws fell open as she sashayed on toward them. Her black tape bikini shimmered under the light, igniting the intricate shapes. There was a cry like bending sirens to theme her walk, and then there was a robust drumline. Peering through her ropes of yellow and blue and red and pink hair like a feral beast, she looked at him. A ravenous hunger possessed her gaze. She placed a slender hand against the bouncer’s barreled chest. He paused, swallowing a dreadful lump in his throat. His face turned sickly pale. No more words were needed. The bouncer let go of Tyler and simply removed himself from the scene, his head hanging as low as his spirit. She grinned at him pruriently when the blare of energy-fueled electric guitars bellowed from the speakers.

The woman closed in. Chase saw a storm of obfuscated emotion wash over his friend’s face but for only a moment. It wasn’t long before his hubris was quickened again.

“What is this?” Chase asked, incredulous. His heart was pounding.

Then the man with the cruelly scarred face was suddenly there. “A gift from our Madam Bassy.” He said it almost plaintively, drawing his eyes down like a beaten dog forced to entertain a savage ritual. “She saw your displeasure with Lady Tanya. Dissatisfaction will not stand here at our Madam’s Basilica.”

“Damn straight!” Tyler boasted. “I saw you at the door, I knew you were thirsty.”

The stunning lady drew back her purple painted lips to bare those brilliant teeth again. “That I am.”

Chase did not trust it. “This is a trick.”

“Chase, look at her.” He was. There was something awful about her—he could smell it. “She wants me,” Tyler was never so certain about anything.

“That I do,” she purred.

“A private room has been selected for you, free of charge.” The man with the broken face informed them.

She slipped her arm through his, and they were at once ambulating together as if floating away on air. Chase stepped in front of them.

“Bro, step off,” Tyler lashed.

Chase gave the woman a careful glance. Her brow cut over her eyes in a way that scared him. He blinked at his friend and said, “Are you sure about this?”

“I’m sure if you don’t soon get the fuck out of my way, you’re gonna get a broken arm for your birthday.”

One of his friends then touched Chase on the back. “Leave him to dig his own grave, come on.”

They let him go.


Before long, Tyler was alone in a dark chamber with his wild mistress. A black light filtered in, brightening her white teeth, and setting her rainbow hair on fire. Her green eyes were like a cat’s in that glow. The heavy man sat awkwardly balanced in the chair, hard as a rock. She crawled to him, dusted him with her artful threads, and then mounted him. He made his repugnant remarks, but she couldn’t hear him; nobody could over those all-consuming speakers. The singer’s voice was bleeding through. It was a woman, and she possessed a sonorous cadence. With a seductive chorus that engendered an intoxicating sense of desire, passion, rage and pain, she roared, “…I’m Sick, You Sick, I Infected You! Still, You Think I’m So Beautiful, Even When I Rip In-to You!” That was what Tyler had missed in his blind arrogance—what the song playing in the background should have been warning him.

Her long, tattooed legs were curled around him. Her ample breasts were against his jaw. He could feel the gloss of the tape, like plastic scratching at his face. A laughing skull was branded on her throat, peering at him from beyond the black borders like a menacing demon. A self-eating snake under her breasts, and a ferocious mouth lined with jagged teeth enshrined her navel and fell into the cleft between her legs. He did what assholes liked to do, and he buried his nose deep into her bosom and blew air.

She giggled. She sighed. Then she brought herself to his level—eye to eye, mouth to mouth. She was letting him feel her—all of her. He made once more some obtuse, ribald statement as she rocked her hips. She let the music drown him out. She did like the feel of him, though. His prick was nice enough.

Shame, D thought, rueful.

She opened her mouth. Her tongue was wrapped in saliva. She edged closer. He leaned in, eager to taste her. She could already taste him: all of his abhorrent deeds, and all the egregious things he may have yet to do—were he allowed to keep his life. She savored it. A second away from pressing his lips against hers something happened. Just then, her jaw split down the middle, a red line drawing to her throat. He winced and drew back.

“What the Fu—

An ambitious drumline and snare rang together, mingled with the wild wailing of an electric guitar.

The point of her tongue parted into a slimy fork, and suddenly it darted out from her throat. It was impossibly long. It coiled around his neck and choked the air from him. The chasm in her jaw unzipped her sternum and ripped through her navel. The tape stretched and snapped apart. Then the two halves of her body peeled away, opening wide to unveil her insides, like a grueling Venus Flytrap. It sounded like the crunch of an old tree branch rending in half. Slaver rained down from her upper jaw to the viscera cradled within. Her eyes were smoking like embers. Sweat pooled on Tyler’s brow, as he tried to scream, tried to fight. Green, dappled tentacles stretched out of her, and lassoed up his limbs. His face was turning black from strangulation as he watched with wide, bloodshot eyes. Her ribcage transformed into spears that slammed into him, piercing his arms and shoulders, and back. Like greedy fingers they dug into him, tearing pieces off, and shoveling chunks of flesh and bone into her yawning chest cavity. Something in her saliva liquefied his ragged tissue once inside, and budding cells that lined her organs puckered like parched lips to drink the sizzling, viscosity voraciously. She broke him in half with her python-like tentacles, and the life left from his eyes at last. Blood painted the walls black, splashing on the floor in sheets that circled round a hidden drain built in the tiled floor beneath them. When there was nothing left of his upper body but a pile of mangled guts she went back together again. The rift that had sliced through her mended. She and her exquisite, tattooed flesh were one. Straddling him there, she grabbed ahold of the gnawed spinal cord protruding up through the gore that resided between her legs. D curled her fingers around it and licked the nails on her other hand clean of blood. Streams of dark crimson ran down the center of her body in thick runnels like melted wax.

Outside the room, the security officer with the grotesque bite mark on his neck was standing watch, coated under nervous perspiration. He was trying not to retch from the repulsive sounds that only he had heard.


“Shall we conclude this council,” Madam Bassy stood at her high table, hoisting a long, smoldering cigarette holder to her lips, “on a generous note. A token of our gratitude to the daring men of The Company….”

She snapped her fingers, and her provocative nymphs capered in, taking each one of her guests by the hand and walking them from the high table to the private chambers far in the back. Zenith Guerrio pursed his lips with carnal interest as he savored the way his girl swayed her hips before him as she took him away. The dancers enraptured them, and as if hypnotized they went with them willingly.

Bassy pulled from the cigarette and breathed a stream of liquid smoke slowly. “Let no one leave here with doubt on their tongue,” she said. “Let no appetite go unnourished. Not here. No—Never at Bassy’s Basilica.”


More from this world

in my upcoming novel,


Coming very Soon!



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