The Inheritance


While her two completed manuscripts above are out for consideration with potential agents, Kathleen is busy working on a new gothic thriller. Its working title is The Inheritance.

The only way to end a family curse is when there’s no more family left.

Pitch:

27yo mom Kate is baffled by an invasive psychic. Predictions are validated when she discovers she’s inherited a manor. But moving there revives a deadly curse. Her ancestors’ sinful debts are unpaid, and Kate must face her own dark secrets to escape—or lose her kin to its vengeful grip.

Blurb:

An invasive accusation and strange prediction from a psychic throw 27yo single mom Kate off kilter. Life is then thrown upside-down when she gets evicted. But a mysterious and timely letter brings news: Kate was adopted, making her heir to an abandoned family estate. Perhaps the psychic was right after all. Accepting her seemingly fortuitous destiny, Kate and 9yo Sophie move to Lockwood Manor. But the eerily familiar house, alive with ghostly victims, has lured them there to pay for the sins of her ancestors, and its vengeful grip is deadly. After attempting an escape, an unexpected and heartbreaking reunion forces Kate to face her most painful mistakes—and admit to the lies she’s told to cover them up. Fuelled by genetic memories and help from a rogue ancestor, Kate makes a bold and desperate move to protect her kin. But safety will come at the cost of a life. Kate must decide who she can save—if she can trick the dead long enough to do it.

Moodboard:

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 a transparent image of a manor at the bottom and a close-up of an elderly, wrinkled lady with grey hair. Text: A snippet from THE INHERITANCE @ Kathleen Foxx.  An enormous cherry wood door opens and out walks an elderly, slightly plump lady. She wears drabby mid-century clothes as if she stepped out of time and landed here. her hands are clasped in front of her as she hovers at the entrance like she owns the place; a sturdy forefinger held in confidence against the mouth of the beast. She says nothing and doesn’t come to us; instead staying almost attached to the manor, a dangling limb, a necessity,
like one couldn’t exist without the other. Mother and child.
 The steely blue of her eyes hits me, like a certain darkness resides behind them. Crows feet appear quite pronounced at her temples. She must have been here all this time, and something about the minor hunch in her shoulders makes me think she’s been lonely, or something’s been missing from her life. It’s been a long time since she’s had a family to take care of. My ancestors were the last ones... until now.
 No matter. Sophie and I are here now. We’ll keep her company. Maybe we’ll be a renewed sense of purpose for her.
Background is dark, with a spread of face-down tarot cards, crystals, candles, etc. and a neon Psychic sign at the top. Text: Just as I’m getting into my weird rhythm, my arm pulls taut mid-step as Julie abruptly stops walking and says, “Hey, look—we should go.”

She nods toward a dark entrance in an old brownstone. A neon pink Psychic sign buzzes in the window, and the sill is lined with candles and crystals and tarot decks. I cautiously eye her as panic begins to knot my stomach like the twisted mass of branches of a Tortuosa tree. She knows I don’t like psychic stuff after what Gram used to say.

I slump and cast Julie a Debbie Downer look. Sitting in an archaic reading room on the eve of my twenty-seventh birthday is not how I’d planned to celebrate.

“Oh, come on, Kate. It’ll be fun. Aren’t you even a little curious?”

No. No, I am not.

“What do you think, Madelyn?” I ask, hopeful.

She scrunches her face up in sorry-not-sorry fashion.

Traitor. I sigh, defeated, as they lead me to the black door where a sign takes the place of a knocker: Come in. I already know you're here. (Cue eye roll). Copyright Kathleen Foxx.
Background is a faded image of a staircase curving to the left, looking up, with a wooden banister and fancy wrought-iron spindles, with a paisley-patterned runner on the stairs. Black text: Snippet from THE INHERITANCE, copyright Kathleen Foxx. You study me like you don’t know I’m watching. But you do know, don't you. You feel it in your bones, as I feel things in mine. Something foreign, yet familiar. You want to remember, but you’re also afraid you’ll want to forget. You’re right to be afraid. There are things that happened here that would make your blood curdle.
 You take the steps with caution, as if you sense one of them might move from under your feet. Your gaze catches the eyes on the portraits, likenesses forever trapped in oil and canvas. You glance at the antiquities that decorate every corner, marvel at my polished wooden surfaces.
 The moment you arrived, your essence tickled my uncanny senses. A recognition. It’s in your DNA; we can smell it. My whole body quivered—I know you felt it. Excitement rumbled through my bones, rattled through the walls, shifted soundlessly through windows.
 Many years have passed since you last walked these halls. Now that you’re back, we can finish what we started.
We will not fail this time.
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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