An illustrated novel exploring the pain and intimate horror of being authentically oneself. Following the excommunicated Catholic priest Ephraim Everett, the newly disabled Montgomery Moors, their various co-conspirators, and the creature hunting them through the halls of Markham House. DELICT will cover themes such as internalised homophobia, hypochondria, suicide and self harm, and the fear of allowing oneself to be seen, fully and completely, by another person.
The novel's illustrations are currently in the works, as well as other pieces inspired by and exploring the themes and characters of DELICT. Included below are samples from early image drafts, character design work, and non-canonical visualisation aids.
The first thing Ephraim could remember from his childhood was the warmth and yellow light of his living room. Flickering shadows were cast on the far wall by the recently cleaned coonara fireplace. His mother, a kindhearted and soft woman, spoke in quiet tones, telling him stories from a battered children’s bible.
“Noah looked up,” she was saying, her hand carding through Ephraim’s soft hair in her lap. “And saw that God had sent him a gift for his devotion. A beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky, from horizon to horizon. It was a promise, that the Lord would never again send a flood to test the faith of people. And Noah cried, because it was so beautiful.”
“Mama,” Ephraim said, his little voice sleepy with the comfort of his childhood home.
“Yes, Ephraim?” She asked.
“What happened to all the other people?”
“Some of them went to Heaven, and some of them went somewhere else.”
“But why did God only test Noah? What about everyone else? They didn’t get a chance.”
“God only takes people when it’s their time, honey,” she explained as he sat up, blearily rubbing his eyes to look at her with rapt, if tired, attention.
“All those people? What if He does something else to test someone and we all die?”
“You don’t need to worry about that,” she smiled. “You’re a good boy, aren’t you?”
“And you do what you’re told, and you treat people well?”
“Then, when it’s your time - and it won’t be for a very, very long time - you’ll go to Heaven.”
“What if I go to the other place?”
“You won’t,” she said with the confidence only a mother assuring her child could have. “If you go to church every Sunday, and you live according to the Bible, you have nothing to be afraid of.”
Ephraim leaned his head against her upper arm, his tiny body too short to reach her shoulder just yet. She wrapped her arm around him, a solid, comforting weight around him. He closed his eyes.
“Okay, Mama,” he said, sleep flitting around the edges of his voice again. “I won’t be afraid.”
She pressed a kiss to his temple, but he was already being pulled into the depths of a warm and pleasant dream of rainbows and arcs full of animals.