Once upon a time.
Isn’t that how it all starts? Once upon a time, there was a woman who experienced a crisis. Yes. A crisis. Not of faith but of physique. Wait, don’t jump to conclusions because the story doesn’t start there, that’s somewhere near the middle. but it’s where we’re starting.
So, once upon a time there was a child who was born a ghost. The ghost child recognized its role as a sacrifice. The ghost child’s parents recognized their willingness to make the sacrifice in their hope for bounty in return for their gift. The parents could not decide how best to sacrifice their ghost child. One parent set to chewing on the ghost child’s body. One parent took the ghost child into the woods and left it there to be consumed by the beasts and insects until the last iota. Because the ghost child did not succumb to the efforts, the parents then treated the ghost child as a beloved living child. When their arms could not embrace the ghost child’s form, they turned their backs, they beat the ghost with holy water and holy men, and they wailed to their friends and neighbours that their child had forsaken them. The friends, the family, turned from the ghost child and left it to wander through the world untethered and unfettered.
The ghost child did not dissipate. After a long and lonely existence lived on the gruel of motherlessness, the ghost child put on the garb of a living person and took up a life.
Early and frequent success as a living person led the ghost child to believe that it was saved, reborn, or perhaps simply born.
Now…there was a woman, who had been a ghost child, who had been alive, and who had a crisis. Illness and its prescriptions wore away at her vitality but not her intensity. The urge that had wrapped a ghost in the living skin of a person had been fueled by an intensity, a stubbornness, a firmness and that strength stoked her collapse, just as it had driven her earlier transformation.