So when she got sick, we became doctors. We thumbed through old pamphlets and got a neighbor to give us a ride to the library. We used the internet there.

We assembled crystals, raiding our stashes and borrowing as many as we could, calling in every favor we were owed and making some promises that we wouldn’t like keeping. Malachite and bloodstone, selenite and smoky quartz. Some were fashioned into wands with switches and pieces of leather, some were suspended above her bed, but mostly we just piled them on her body. We weren’t entirely sure what we were doing.

I brought out the piece of rose quartz that I had stolen from my older sister three years before, the piece whose theft I had denied. It was so beautiful. I know that she noticed but she said nothing. It didn’t matter now.

At first it seemed like her condition was improving. Then the vomiting started.

We became more desperate. I traded my best clothes for more crystals. I realized that I hadn’t been eating. We moved the crystals around, trying them in different combinations, neat little piles on her pulse points and a large stack on her belly. We tried to send her positive energy but honestly we were terrified.

We started using whatever we could get our hands on, minerals not even known to have healing abilities. Rock salt, gypsum, fake coral from a fish tank. We just piled them on her chest and prayed and waited.