He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil. Psalm 109:18 (NIV)
It is this verse upon which Kaaron Wasser has built her novella, an interesting and strange book about people coming to The Angelsea for respite.
“So you’re running a rooming house?”
”You know it’s more than a rooming house. You wouldn’t have come, otherwise. You need help to sleep. Everyone does who comes to me. You will sleep well here at The Angelsea. No doubt about that at all. It’s my little contribution.”
The houseguests need help to sleep, to be sure, but they are also searching for answers. When the doctor gives them an injection, they fall asleep, but other inhabitants of the house listen carefully to the ghosts who are channeled to speak through the sleeping person.
Dora curled up in the big armchair in the lounge room. The painter was there, humming to himself, creating, and she loved spending this quiet time there. This empty, thoughtless time, this interim, this hiatus, before she had to face what she now knew.
If there was an afterlife, she would have to atone.
Dora mourns her two daughters, struck with guilt that she could have been a better mother. She longs to hear them say that they love her, even if it is through a ghost’s mouth that they must speak.
“You’re smiling,” Luke said. “Good to see. We’ve all chosen the compromise here. We’re all thinking life will improve. We’re clinging on to the last hope, keeping a roof over our heads, as crappy and leaky as the roof might be.”
There must be some comfort in being together, an assortment of people who have little money, but much remorse. They have compassion on one another, seeming to carry each other’s emotional burdens in an effort to alleviate the pain of them all.
She made him leave the room while she pulled the dress on. It seemed to settle on her like a curse: she could feel it clinging to her, seeping into her bones like oil.
When it is Dora’s turn to sleep, and thus to speak, she mutters curses that specifically address the man who runs The Angelsea. And then, they sit on the veranda, the lucky ones. The survivors.
(Thank you to Meerkat Press, for the opportunity to read and review into bones like oil which is published today, November 12, 2019. This novella is also an excellent choice for Novella’s in November.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaaron Warren has been publishing ground-breaking fiction for over twenty years. Her novels and short stories have won over 20 awards, from local literary to international genre. She writes horror steeped in awful reality, with ghosts, hauntings, guilt, loss, love, crime, punishment and a lack of hope.