She only went to the witch as a last resort, after years of being shuffled between doctors, of mortifying exams and racks upon racks of bloody vials. And, of course, pain. Always pain, always the ebb and flow of agony filling her and fading away with no rhythm she could hear.
She wasn't stupid, no matter how her mind was fogged; she knew that witches were a last resort, dangerous and mercurial. That's what she had always been taught, what she'd always heard in breathless news reports about children plucked from their beds and remade into new forms.
(Always "children" for some reason, even though they were invariably legal adults with their own lives and minds, always treated as if they were dead even though they had simply become something different. Always interviewing the parents, not the transformed. How very odd.)
And yet ... after so many failures, so many mystified stares from doctors who could hardly bring themselves to care, so many disparaging remarks about pill-seeking behavior and hysteria, how could she not at least investigate other options? How could she endure?
As she laboriously walked the short distance from the bus stop to the anonymous vine-covered door which she had been assured would lead her to someone who could help, she soothed her anxiety with the thought that no one ever said that witches couldn't do what they claimed.
They simply disputed whether they should.
Whether it was a good idea to let them.
Whether anyone deserved to choose.
As she raised her hand to knock, as she paused in a final moment of indecision, she noticed that the door was cracked open, a ray of flower-scented light peeking out through it; and she heard a warm voice beckoning her inside.
So she pushed the door open and stepped through.