Before setting foot in the temple, she unfastened her shadow from her boots, then folded it neatly at the base of the stairs. This was not just a matter of reverence, but also one of self-preservation; the lanterns that flanked the entrance had teeth, and the flames within them had tongues.

Once inside, she drank of a sacrament of sunflower wine, then knelt before the altar to pray.

During her meditations, a sudden wind culled the fire of the threshold, and unfurled her shadow’s silken form across the limestone flight. In that moment of release, it came to recognize its own unexpected freedom, and saw an opportunity that it realized it would never have again.

Her shadow then stumbled into the temple’s sanctuary, slid itself through the sleeves of her motionless limbs, and escaped while wearing her own stolen body. By the time she realized what had happened, she could not follow, for there was nothing left of her but her own absence.

"A ghost is an absent being among present beings."

At least her spirit was not false.