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When she went home, she ate leftover spaghetti and watched a game show, in which celebrity contestants were given a series of challenges. One of them was called “One-Wording.”

Never mind the details of the game, which Ellie paid no attention to. It was the name that set something off in her, like a trigger.

“Out of nowhere,” Ellie later said, “I thought of the word Vonwürdig. I don’t know why. It sounded German, or it looked German in my head.”

Ellie did what anyone would do. She googled “Vonwürdig.

The first result was an automated translation. The word meant “door-worthy.” It was nonsense.

The next result was a message board.

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"Vonwürdig" was originally published at Booth.