Bona Ossuaria

A Home Renovation Horror Story

Cover for Bona Ossuaria: A Home Renovation Horror Story. Two smiling women stand back to back, superimposed above a red house and a disturbingly off-colored sky. The tagline reads Good bones. Gone bad.
Editions:eBook: $ 3.99Paperback: $ 6.99
ISBN: 979-8394587108
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
Pages: 53

They thought they were making changes to the house. But the house was making changes to them.

When their construction team discovers a hidden shaft while renovating a clients' home, mother-daughter design duo Evelyn and Erika Ellsworth need an idea, quick.

But to Erika's dismay, her flighty mom doesn't just turn the shaft into her pet project: she refuses to let anyone else in on what she's doing.

This isn't the first time her mom's gotten obsessive over a reno. And clients always love what she comes up with. So Erika decides to humor her.

That decision will prove fatal.

BONA OSSUARIA is a slow-burning morsel of surreal, psychological horror.

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Call. Suzanne. Haynes.” Erika Ellsworth dialed the client on the hands-free system. Voicemail. After the beep, she spoke, aiming her chin at the microphone embedded above her head in the truck’s roof. “Hey, Suzanne, good news about your READ MORE

font-size: medium">reno. Ends up that extra-thick wall wasn’t load-bearing at all—and when we demo’d it, we discovered an alcove inside it. Weird, right? The former owners must’ve walled it up for some reason. Anyway, it adds some extra square footage to your guys’ house. Lucky you!” Erika turned the white Ford truck onto Captain’s Way and parked half a block from the single-story Craftsman cottage.

She kept the engine running to finish her message. “I’ll talk with Evelyn and Randy about how we can use this surprise space in your home. Talk later—mmbye.”

Erika hung up. She grabbed her thermos of tea, got out of the truck, zipped her heather gray hoodie up to her neck against the January wind, and jogged towards the Haynes House.

She followed the smells of dust, paint, and breakfast burritos inside, past the living room on her right, the open dining room on her left…then past the kitchen…and the basement door…to where the workers stood, surrounding Mom—Evelyn—, who was watching Randy, their contractor.

Randy was at the back of the Surprise Space, shining a light down a chest-high recess in the wall. There seemed to be a hole built into the bottom of it, a deep one. That was new.

Is it a dumbwaiter shaft? Was this a butler’s pantry?” asked Erika.

Dumb’s the word for it. Doesn’t go no place!” said Randy. “Like the builder got as far as the top of the basement and said, ‘forget it!’ What were the last owners thinking? ”

Who knows,” said Erika. “The neighbors said they were really weird.”

Wonder what they used it for.” The older man straightened. “No rats, though, or other undesirables. I say we wall the whole thing up to the ceiling.”

Maybe not all the way. It could make a good nook,” said Evelyn, Erika’s mother. She’d started the business while Erika was young, designing interiors, but as the economy changed and her daughter grew up, she’d added flipping and home renovation to her toolbox—and Erika herself. It was cool, though. They got along well enough, and the work they did attracted people old and new to their little town.

Let me see,” said Erika.

The crew let her through. Randy gave her the flashlight. She leaned into the recess and peered into the dark shaft. It could’ve been mistaken for a chimney. But above, it didn’t reach the roof, and below, it never opened out into the basement. And there wasn’t a fireplace or a coal bin down in the basement. They’d checked. “Weird,” she said, leaning back out. “But Evelyn’s right, we fill it—boom, display nook.”

Mom stuck out her hand. “I want to see.”

Erika handed over the flashlight. Her mother looked into the shaft for a long time. Or at least, longer than Erika had. But then, her mom was the more adventurous of the two. Erika might resist her ideas—like the time she insisted on doing a single wall of a client’s living room all in faux greenery, like an English country garden gone vertical—but what seemed off-the-wall to Erika was apparently VERY on the mark for their clients. Case in point: the couple who’d gotten the garden wall had declared it the highlight of their house.

The town was small, so Erika had been invited inside the home a year later for lemonade; the garden wall was still up, surrounded by tasteful natural wood furnishings and white paint Erika had picked out. So while Mom looked and looked into the half-finished shaft, Erika sipped her chai and tried not to be driven crazy.

Finally, her mom extricated herself. She handed the flashlight back to Randy. “Nobody do anything to this room yet. I’m getting inspired.” She turned to Erika. “What else is on the agenda today?”

Windows should be here by ten.” The next two days would be spent installing them. “But I told Suzanne we’d come up with ideas for this room.”

I am. You didn’t promise her a time on the ideas, did you?”

No. But you know she’ll want it under bud—”

Leave it to me.”