The Inheritance

Kathleen has been busy putting the final touches on a new gothic thriller. Its working title is The Inheritance, and the first fifty pages are currently entered in the Claymore Awards through the Killer Nashville International Writing Conference, happening in August of 2023. Kat is preparing to query this gothic thriller.


The only thing that ends a family curse is when there’s no more family left.


27yo mom and reluctant heir Kate flees with 9yo Sophie to a place she swore she’d never return to: the eerie Lockwood Manor. Surely it’ll be a safe haven from her dangerous ex, Josh, who’s out of prison and hunting them down. But the manor’s vengeful grip is deadly, filled with secrets, whispers, and the souls of her ancestors’ victims. Kate must face her family’s shameful, gruesome past—and her own reprehensible decisions—before the manor swallows the last of the Lockwoods for good.


27yo single mom Kate is a reluctant heir to an abandoned English estate. She scrapes by, keeps a low profile, and hesitates to let her sometimes-boyfriend Travis into her heart. When her dangerous ex, Josh, is released from prison and tracks Kate down, she and 9yo Sophie flee Toronto and travel overseas to the place she promised her dying mother she’d never return to. Surely, it’s safer than being found by Josh—the one person who knows the unspeakable things Kate did. She’d do anything to protect Sophie from him. But the old, eerily familiar Lockwood Manor has a worse fate in store. It has lured Kate there under false pretences, and its vengeful grip is deadly. Kate thinks she’s losing her mind and wonders if her nightmares, Sophie’s ominous drawings, and both of their hair-raising hallucinations are messages from the other side. She must determine what happened in the forbidden and grotesque basement decades ago and how it’s woven into her present precarious familial circumstances, then figure out how to escape before she ends up trapped there forever, destined to pay for the ancestral sins still running rampant in her DNA.

What It’s About:

At its core, it’s about rationalizing bad decisions; doing bad things for what we think are good reasons. It’s about wanting something so desperately, so whole-heartedly, that rash choices are made, and about the ripple effect that the subsequent lies and cover-ups can have on generations to come.

There is a theme of mental health present as well; undiagnosed, untreated mental health issues. Enablement can also have drastic consequences; doing the wrong things things for the people we love can be detrimental not only for our loved one, but for ourselves and our families.

It’s about being strong and standing up for yourself. There is a theme of domestic abuse, of narcissistic sociopathy, and of getting out of that vicious circle and recognizing your worth—and the worth of others. It shows the damaging effects that abuse has on one’s mental health.

It’s also about how fear blooms out of festering guilt, and how guilt can haunt you quite literally. It’s about learning to face your fears and guilt and owning your past mistakes; righting the wrongs.


A collage of 8 square/rectangular images: top left: a person in a black dress and black veil holding a human skull; top middle: melted, lit white candles; top right: an old mansion in the grey fog with lights shining out of one window and the silhouette of someone standing on a balcony, with dead tree branches to the left; middle left: a pair of young women with long dark hair dressed in long white nightgowns holding hands and facing away from the camera; middle right: dark, foggy forest; bottom left: a doorknob on an old door; bottom middle: a scary image of a hole in the wall with a face lurking in the dark hole and fingers hanging out of the hole; bottom right: a child's hand holding a beige stuffed bunny. Overlayed on the collage is the logline: The only thing that ends a family curse... is when there's no more family left.

Excerpts in no particular order from The Inheritance:

Black background with a faint image of a cello. White text: There’s a soft, distant humming, low and beautiful. The haunting melody floats into the air, carried by a thousand silky strands of golden thread caressing my ear. So intimate. The humming seamlessly becomes a sound I know and love—a cello.  It steals my breath. I open my eyes to darkness, but the music still plays. It’s not a dream.
     I rise from my bed and follow the tune a part of me somehow recognizes. It strings me along and breaks my heart at the same time, beckoning me on. I take the stairs with caution, slow and silent. The house is still.
     The eerie, distant notes lure me like a magnet to the drawing room. My eyes make out only rough shapes in the night, but I know where to set my gaze. Straight ahead, across from the doorway, there is movement (1/2) Copyright Kathleen Foxx THE INHERITANCE
Black background with a faint image of a cello. White text: where the cello sits. The player sways as the bow cuts across the strings, obscured in shadows. The sound reverberates through the room and in my mind. 
     I am mesmerized.
     There is so much emotion in the never ending, wordless story.  I cannot contain my tears.
     But I must know who is playing. I reach over to the light switch and flip it up, bathing the room in a soft, dim glow.
     At once, the music fades into the night, and I am left staring at an empty room. The cello sits neatly in its stand, untouched, unplayed.
     No one is holding the bow. (2/2) Copyright Kathleen Foxx.
A grey, faded background image of a large house with shutters and ivy growing all over the side. Black text: Excerpt from THE INHERITANCE, copyright Kathleen Foxx. High above, the raven caw-caws, a thick gurgle sticking in its throat, and then takes flight, echoing as it flaps into the bleakness of the fading day. 
The last few withered ivy leaves cling to the wall, refusing to let go—ears pressed to it in desperation. As I step over the threshold, their scratchy whispers rustle against the stone. A warning, perhaps. But it's as if the house itself is beckoning me inside. I swear I hear it sigh my name as I close the door behind me.
Background is of a large English country manor, transparent and grey, with the top of the image fading into white. Text: A snippet from THE INHERITANCE.  After a quiet three-hour drive, the car slows to a halt at the entrance to a long stone driveway, sinuous and serpentine. Henry gets out to open the black iron fence, a portal to an Other World, it seems;the sun that was following us from London doesn’t penetrate the greyness that envelops this place. The city skyline became suburbs, then houses became farms. Cows and sheep dot the landscape now, and I have the sudden sensation that we’re a long way away from anything resembling civilization. A far cry from the busy streets of Toronto, or London, for that matter.
 Henry gets back into the car and revs the engine smoothly as we proceed at a pace no faster than a funeral crawl. A tree catches my eye, craggy and blackened with neglect, an old sentinel towering over the entrance. A spot that looks like a large bite has been taken out of it has been worn smooth over the years. A punch in the gut;I realize that must be the spot.
 My shoulders shake in response to the upsetting image my mind conjures of my mother’s broken body. I don’t want to think about it, but it nags at my nerves.
 An eerie fog creeps in by the time we get to the end of the driveway, shrouding the manor. It’s thick and heavy, as if burdened with years of secrets it can’t lift away from. © Kathleen Foxx
Transparent background of a table with various psychic-looking things; tarot cards, a lit candle, some gemstones and trinkets and bottles. At the top, fancy writing reads "Psychic." Text: The place is rich with deep violet fabrics—curtains, chair cushions, a tablecloth. Tiffany-style lamps grace the surface of two small tables. Candles and teas sit on a buffet table and images of the sun and astrological signs are painted onto the walls—all things I would expect to see in a room such as this. It’s dark and shadowy in here, and although a part of me has the heebie jeebies, most of me thinks this is ridiculous and wants to get this over with. It’s all just a show, isn’t it? I mean, come on—the obligatory crystal ball as a centrepiece on the round table? How much tackier could it get?

Along the large wooden mantle are more crystals and gemstones, old bottles sealed with wax, and a stack of business cards in a small metal holder, one of which I help myself to. Katriina Taavitsainan, Psychic Medium and Tarot Reader.

Continuing along the cool, smooth edge of the mantle, my hand nearly collides with a motionless raven, making me jump back and gasp. It appears to keep its midnight eyes on me as I step away and take a seat at the table. I steal a glance at the psychic who has entered the room, seemingly out of nowhere, and I offer a timid smile as I realize she’s watching me. Looking back at the raven, I narrow my eyes. It looks so familiar, but then, I guess all ravens look the same. I swear it moved its head, but that can’t be. It’s stuffed, I’m sure of it.
© Kathleen Foxx
Background is a transparent view of a grand staircase leading up and splitting off to the left and right, with pillars and intricate spindles along the edges and landing. Text: A snippet from THE INHERITANCE. I sense your hesitation. Faint recollections, perhaps. Come now, Kate. You can’t have forgotten everything. You pause, rub your arms in a chill, don’t smile at me. But everything about me is welcoming, isn’t it. Come inside (italicized), I say. And you do. Still so malleable, I see.

The moment you step in, your essence tickles my uncanny senses. A recognition. My entire body quivers—I’m sure you notice.

You never would have returned if some small part of you didn’t want to remember. I know you feel it in your bones, as I feel things in mine. Something foreign, yet familiar.

You take the steps with caution, as if you sense one of them might move from under your feet. Your gaze catches the dead-still stares on the portraits, likenesses forever trapped in oil on canvas. Those eyes (Italicized). You glance at the antiquities that decorate every corner, marvel at polished wooden surfaces. It’s all very romanticized, isn’t it; a typical arrival at an old family manor. But I assure you, this place is anything but typical or romantic.

It’s in your blood, Kate. An evil presence, a loathsome rottenness. There’s no escaping it.
© Kathleen Foxx
The background is dark, with several bodies standing in dim, blue-ish light, dressed in calf-length white gowns that are dirty and stained. No faces can be seen. Text: I sense their presence before I see them. Every hair on my body electrifies my skin.

Sophie screams for me again, this time with an ear-piercing screech.

I turn to see several apparitional bodies coming toward us, glowing in a strange blue hue. Twitching and jumpy, their movements disjointed.
 I freeze, and the tiniest whimper escapes from the back of my throat, discharging a puff of warm breath that hovers in front of my face until it dissipates. Fearful tears glaze my eyes and blur my vision. Sophie’s frenzied wails drift into the distance, and I barely feel [Redacted] tug my arm. I can’t blink. I can only watch them come for us, cemented to the ground, despondent. All sense of rational thought abandons my mind as the sounds meld together—Sophie’s pleas, [Redacted's]' yelling, and the whispery-hum of the angry, lost souls descending upon us. Although still coherent, I’m in a paralyzing bubble of muted fear, transfixed on their ghastly figures, occupying some strange place between reality and…
wherever they’re from.

[Redacted] breaks my visual connection to the ghosts by darting protectively in front of me, his arms outstretched. As they reach him, he attempts to yell but all that comes out is a wheeze. His eyes and mouth freeze wide open, at once ensconced in a layer of ice, and his skin turns
the colour of dust as his body is suspended in time.
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