Something extraordinary is developing in Olive's garden. Olive Specter is a so-called "true believer" but it wasn't always so. The Specters, the Nigmos and the Muendas are the old guard of the Strangetown Basin able to trace their ancestry to the lost civilization of the desert. Like all such old families they were conservative and superstitious--one does not upset the desert spirits after all. Olive, however, dismissed her family's archaic notions as so much desert fever vision. She flouted the conventions dabbling in forbidden arts, roaming the desert and building her home on temple ruins without much regard for curses or consequences. For a time she lived a full life even falling in love and marrying. But soon the warnings took tangible form--three times Olive lost her lovers. The grounds of her beautiful home took on the weight of many lives taken too soon. The ancient blood magic of the old temple lost to the sand used these sorrows and deaths to give new life to Olive's belly. Death for life. Life to death. The child and Olive were not long for one another but he is the harbinger of change to the Strangetown Basin--lands shifting and greening, waters rising from dust. Years after his birth, Olive took in her orphaned niece despite fears that Ophelia would be taken by the desert as well. Through a protective ward she ensured her niece's safety but became "touched by death" resulting in a slow decay of her timeless beauty.
Ophelia had heard most of the rumors about Aunt Olive but she wasn't prepared for the stranger reality. When she's at home she spends most of her time in her room with her earbuds in ignoring whatever strange nighttime rituals her aunt performs. Usually she tries to spend as much time at the Smiths or the Grunts where life is at least more grounded if not always more normal.