ASCENSION is a story about mental illness. A young family is dealing with suicide. A wife and mother of three young women takes her own life, and the family is forced to deal with the fallout. The father pulls all three girls out of school and hires a nanny/homeschool teacher to take care of them while they recover and try to find some sense of normal. Death is like that. Death comes without warning nor reason and takes people from us. It changes our lives permanently and forces us to try and find some kind of new normal. It is never easy, never smooth, and never predictable. Death leaves so many unanswered questions. So many “whys,” “hows,”and “wherefores.”
When someone chooses death, those questions are never answered. There is no logic, no reason, no circumstance that can satisfy those that are left behind. They will be forever searching, wondering what they could have done differently, how they could have made it easier or better. They will always think they could have done something.
When angsty goth(ish) sister Becca starts to exhibit some of the strange behavior her mother did, Angela is worried she will do something terrible to herself. But, that behavior begins get darker, and Angela starts to worry about that harm being projected outwards.
As mental illness runs in families, it is often its own catalyst and explanation. One event caused by the mental illness in one family member in turn triggers another in another family member, and so the cycle completes and continues. ASCENSION frames the illness as a dark and sinister force from the stars. A foreign influence that took hold of Angela’s mother and is now corrupting her sister. It makes the behavior understandable on some level. The person you know and love isn’t doing these terrible things. It’s that dark entity. That thing. It makes it easier to distance the person you love from the horrible things they have done.
ASCENSION is about a family struggling with loss. It’s about a nebulous dark force infecting them and corrupting the people they love. It’s about trying to square who someone has become with who you remember them being, and trying to understand what they have done and how they could have possibly done something that is so destructive and so hurtful to the people closest to them. It’s also about a spooky evil alien entity (or entities) from beyond the stars invading a family and destroying them from within, because hey, this is OTHER WORLDS, not Sad Jimmy’s Cry Time Mope-Fest.