Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
--Florence and the Machine, What the Water Gave Me
"So. What do we have?"
"You're not going to believe it."
"I'm so tired, I think I'd believe you if you said Darth Vader was dancing with Pee Wee Herman in that house. I hate these calls in the middle of the night."
"Anyway, don't mind me. What's the situation?"
"The officer was responding to a 911, suspected burglar. The neighbor saw someone prowling in the yard."
"But the neighbor described something pretty damn weird."
"Don't they all?"
"The officer didn't find any obvious signs of entry. Windows closed. No doors forced."
"So he rang the doorbell."
"Nobody came to the door."
"Can we jump ahead to the part where we called in nine patrol cars and half of the entire county here in the middle of the night?"
"The officer was going to go, call an all clear, but he smelled something."
"Shit. Are you telling me we've got one of those three-year-old decayed bodies in there? Or four hundred starving cats eating each other? I don't want to end up on the internet."
"No. But you're close."
"Shit. He smelled shit."
"Oh. Now I feel better."
"The officer took his light and checked through the windows. Nothing out of the ordinary until he saw something dark and hunched over scurry into a doorway. The door to the basement. The thing moved pretty strange. Kind of on all fours."
"Why do I suddenly feel like I'm about to wish that I was back in bed?"
"So he forced the door. That's when he heard a ruckus in the basement. Some stuff falling. Something breaking. He called for backup before going down."
"So what do we have?"
"It's unbelievable. It's wrecked down there. Stuff is torn up and piled all over. In the back, there's sort of a makeshift cave."
"I know. And there's more. It's like someone's been living down there like an animal. There was one pile of rotting food, and in the other corner, a pile of excrement. That was the smell."
"Who's down there?"
"The guy won't come out, but they can see his eyes back in the hole. They've tried to talk to him, but the only thing they get is this really bizarre hissing."
"You're fucking kidding me."
"No. So we checked on the owner. It's a guy. He's even a professional. There are a bunch of messages on the answering machine that must be from his job. They sound worried about him. Like he was stressed out. Then, he must have disappeared. They were looking for him. And when we were playing the messages, he must have heard it from the basement. He threw something big against the door."
"We also found scratch marks in the mud around the yard. He seems to have been coming out at night. It's garbage pickup tomorrow. He may have been going for that."
"We were thinking of calling in an extraction team from the state penitentiary. They deal with this kind of shit."
"The guy totally snapped?"
"Yeah, looks that way. And you should hear him growling and hissing. It kind of makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It doesn't sound human. Do you want to stand at the top of the stairs? You can hear it for yourself."
"No. No, I don't."
"The weirdest part is, when I heard it, it kind of sounded familiar. I think if things got bad enough, I could sound like that."