Nightmares and hallucinations have plagued Heather Morell all her life. Diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child after the loss of her twin - a sister nobody else believes ever existed - and now struggling with her mental health at university, Heather teeters on the verge of giving up on life. A chance meeting ends in a revelation: she is not crazy, her visions are all too real, and probably want to eat her soul.
Embroiled with a crippled, bad-tempered magician and her self-proclaimed bodyguard, Heather descends into a world of terrifying magic and otherworldly monsters, in an effort to stay alive and sane, and bring her sister back from beyond.
Katalepsis is a low urban fantasy story seen through the lens and values of cosmic horror, peppered with violence and tea, sexually confused twenty-somethings and bad curry, wrapped in a nice crunchy layer of lesbian relationship drama, set in a fictional English university town full of spooky old architecture and run-down terraced housing.
It can be read here.
Katalepsis provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: A running theme so far, between Evelyns mother, Twils mysterious grandfather, and Raine dropping some off-hand remarks about her parents.
- Aliens in Cardiff: Sharrowford is a unimportant hole, unremarkable except for its university, unless you get involved in supernatural goings-on.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Central to Heathers background and motivation.
- Badass Normal: In amongst all this painful magic and teenage werewolf summoners and terrifying inexplicable monsters, Raine, the storys deuteragonist so far, appears to hold her own while being entirely normal, except for a tendency to enjoy violence a little too much.
- Campbell Country: The sleepy, run-down university town of Sharrowford and its surrounding villages in the North of England.
- Cast From Stamina: Even after she learns how to use her dubious powers Heathers left weak and bleeding for hours after the most minimal experiments, let alone what happens when she really exerts herself.
- Cell Phones Are Useless: Averted in the service of realism. Heather calls friends for help at least once via her cell phone, which is quite realistic in the early 21st century. Verges on Super Cell Reception when the characters try to use Google maps from a pocket dimension.
- Demonic Possession: How familiars, zombies, and other supernatural servants are powered and controlled, though apparently using an actual human corpse creates certain dangers.
- Dimensional Traveler: Heather, unknowingly, unwillingly, reluctantly, and heroically.
- Invisible to Normals: The constant hallucinations and monsters and nightmares Heather sees everywhere.
- Lovecraft Lite: Weve seen glimpses of contact with some real Outsiders, and the horrifying effects, but also at least one Adorable Abomination. Though their plans seem quite inadequate compared to the godlike alien influence of The Eye, the characters do seem to be holding their own, so far.
- Masquerade: Of the self-reinforcing type. Anybody not already exposed and acclimated to the supernatural tends to forget what they saw or get confused. However, this may be a case of Heather being lied to.
- Nervous Wreck: Heather perceives herself this way, but her actions tend to show otherwise, most of the time.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: Played with in universe whenever a standard word gets used to describe something supernatural.Heather: I slapped a werewolf. Oh, thats such an intolerable word.
- Plug 'n' Play Prosthetics: Averted with Evelyns prosthetic leg, shown in all its inconvenient detail.
- Properly Paranoid: Played with as Heather goes through the process of discovering shes not crazy at all.
- Queer Romance: Heathers open about being a lesbian, and this seems to apply to several other characters to varying degrees as well.
- Old, Dark House: Evelyns house in Sharrowford fits the bill, but the characters warm it up a bit.
- Our Mages Are Different: Its heavily implied to Heather and the reader that you have to already be broken or damaged in order to do magic.
- Rescue Romance: Between Heather and Raine.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Evelyn owns several of these, or at least implies she does.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Several times so far. The story even opens with one of these.