There are no chairs sitting amidst the swirling mist of the Cauldron. Not this time. Christopher lies on the ground, fog parting around his prone form, his face distorted by a wince. Quartz lays some feet away, his beard more rumpled than it’s ever been. He lets out a groan, keeping his eyes shut.
Christopher: (raising a hand to rub his temples) Are you all right?
Quartz: No. This headache is crawling up through my temples, my nose, creeping through my entire body. The light in the scribbler’s world stings my eyes. How did it get so hot?
Christopher: We’re in the Cauldron. It’s usually cooler here unless something is cooking.
Quartz: Something is always cooking. (He groans again.) All I meant to do was nudge the scribbler’s imagination. Just a little. Just to remind her I’m here. Only her mind cracked, revealing a little of what happening to her and this pain started gripping my head in its fist. Its dirty hot fist.
Christopher: It’s summer in our scribbler’s world. I think she’s enduing a sinus headache. They’re pretty awful. Not only do they make her head throb with pain, they can upset her stomach.
Quartz: No wonder I feel sick. (He groans again) Here I was going to give her a hard time…maybe she’s having a hard enough time as it is.
Christopher: Maybe. Just remind her once her stomach settles to eat more basil.
Quartz: That what you do?
Christopher: I don’t eat, remember? At least not often and not very much.
Quartz: Wonder if we’ve got any basil growing in our garden?
Christopher: You have a garden?
Quartz: Nothing like you’ve got in Omphalos but aye, we’ve got a little patch of something growing outside our cottage, not to mention whatever grows in the Forest of Tears. None of us are sure how to tend this patch, but it does provide a few vegetables.
Christopher: I love gardens even if I can’t eat what grows there. Or get too close to the plants.
Christopher: They blacken and wither when I draw near them. I have to keep my distance.
Quartz: So much for crushing a leaf or something and smelling it. It’ll be gone with the first whiff you take if you get too close. What do you do about headaches? You get them. You’re dealing with one now. Got a remedy?
Christopher: Music, song, humming. I imagine Danyel or Damian singing something. Or someone else. I close my eyes, summon the sound of the flute. Or the memory of the flute playing. Sometimes I touch the wind chimes in the Navel or I just think of the clinging sound when they touch each other. Sometimes I just start humming whatever comes to mind. All this helps unknot the pain in my head.
Quartz: Huh, I wonder if my Fairest doesn’t distract herself from headaches the same way?
Christopher: Maybe. It’s not always a song. Sometimes it’s a chant.
Quartz: What chant?
Christopher: One Danyel and Tayel sometimes hum. How does it go?
Red makes you flush
Yellow makes you rush
Blue takes you deep
Orange never lets you sleep
Purple causes strife
Green gives life
Beware of black and white
Neither are ever right.
Quartz: Huh. Sounds like it’s meant to make you think…and in thinking, distract you from the pain in your head. Not sure if that always works. Still I could see the twins…or you…humming that.
Christopher: I’m not sure if Danyel and Tayel came up with that chant or I did…the me that existed in the Gardens of Arachne. It sounds more like the twins.
Quartz: Aye, but they’re you, aren’t they? ‘Least they were once part of you.
Christopher: They were. Now they’re themselves.
Quartz: Not sure if I understand.
Christopher: Not sure if I do either. Does your head feel any better?
Quartz: Huh. (He sits up.) I do believe some of the headache has passed.
Christopher: Mine too. (He also sits up.)
Quartz: Maybe the scribbler is over hers. Maybe it’s safe to bug her again.
Christopher: I hope so.