“Wut tat tummo” He inhaled with her breath, slowly allowing his lungs and abdomen to fill. He exhaled with her, lightly gliding his fingertips over her burnt hair and charred bone. Upon expiration, he tensed his abdomen from the bottom up letting the lullaby well from deep within himself, as Kunden had instructed him to do a lifetime ago.
The words were less an articulation of his lips and tongue and more the result of his breath, will and posture. In this way he was and instrument and the simple song; his saving grace. This was all he could do sometimes to calm the baby she dragon.
“Wut tat tummo…Wut tat tummo”
Shilog changed the pacing of melody and enucleated different vowels to create some variety. He’d already lost perception of time. In the deep mountain ceremonial chambers the lighting was a luminous jade emitted from fungi Shilog had never been interested in examining and the reflection of that light in the pools of dark water Shilog was afraid to approach.
Slowly, painfully slow Shilog mopped at Tummo’s black hair with a wet sponge. The water helped to coagulate the plasma that burned her from her inside, out.
“Wut tat, tummo…wut, tat tummo” Shilog drew out the last vowel into a hum. Kunden had taught him the tones for the body’s chakras. Drawing upon his apprenticeship to Edmund Greer, from the life he knew when he was called Adalgiso Baeri, Shilog could convert each vortex tone into a musical note. Tummo responded best to C.
Shilog dampened the sponge and squeezed out the excess before gently placing it back onto her red inflamed skin. The skin had begun to grow after the plasma cooled enough on her bone and formed blotches of black, fowl smelling, tar. If he could keep her from scratching at the tar it would eventually harden into a caprice and fall off with healthy skin beneath.
Shilog had begun months ago with her feet. Shilog would kneel on a rug in the center of the chamber and stir the water in the buckets with the sponge. Slowly, Tummo would appear from the recesses of the dark cave. Shilog would sing through the musical scales being mindful to not linger too long on any of the tones above the heart (fa). After the first couple of rounds she’d have a seat on the ground close to Shilog, but never close enough. Shilog always stifled a smile when he has to comply. After healing her legs and feet the rest of the work was comparatively easier. She sometimes seemed to enjoy the grooming. She would balk and grunt, but made no motion to stop him.
To fully lull her to restfulness Shilog began to hum the melody. It took a better part of the first session before he realized the coincidence. He spent the remainder of the session in silent awe of his new found perspective.
Shilog watched her chest rise and fall. She was sleeping. He slowly slipped his lap from underneath her large head. She’d grown since he was last down here three days ago. She’d eaten the oxen Shilog had left for her in those three days, leaving only charred bone. He estimated that she must be closer to seven feet by now.
Shilog winced against the pain his nervous system was reporting from his sleeping legs and pelvis. He inhaled silently and exhaled sharply through pursed lips has he thrust his legs straight. Tummo stirred, but did not wake. Shilog twisted and contorted while the needling sensation moved in waves through his body.
When he could support his weight without pain, Shilog gently tipped over the remaining bucket of water allowing it to flow towards Tummo. Her skin gave an audible hiss, but did not disturb her sleep.
Gathering his buckets, but leaving the rug Shilog crept towards the steps and mounted the stairs. On the third landing Shilog looked back to the sleeping monster. He felt a great pity for her. All she’d known up till now was the suffering of her own existence. Shilog lowered his head for atonement and prayed for an end to her suffering. When he was finished he recouped his buckets and again began his ascent.
Next: Honey and Locust