We come down the winding stone stairs in two groups of three, hands cupped to steady the splash and flicker of fragrant oil lamps. The deeper we go, the louder the rush and roll of the underground river flowing through the apothecary. Here is where the souls of the Mothers slow for the earthly; here is where appeals to heal scars from ill deeds are most likely granted.
The body lay belly down on a movable granite slab, motionless not from loss of life, but from an unhealthy mix of others’ energies stolen. Its head is supported by a circular open section of slab, so that the eyes, wide open, can see into the river, and the mouth might whisper apologies to the ones who cleanse human weakness. Live or die, the Mothers will decide, anon.
We break, and surround the slab on three sides, pouring the heated oil from our lamps into stone hollows around the body’s lower chakras. We might heal the body, but final release of voice and soul can only be granted by The Graces.
We work in silence, dipping our fingers in oil, the better to outline the scars that distort the body before us. Here is muscle built from primary competition, there it knots at a lie told, one that put this body first and deprived another of its rightful share. Those knots are easily smoothed with one finger, the oil soaking into the skin and turning its pale gray healthy brown: small transgressions, and amends were made.
But here! Our tears mix with the oil, as we scrub at rips from lies most foul. We smooth with aching hands, begging the body to release its many scars of ambition. Is this body willing to let go? Will forgiveness be granted?
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2018)
297 words, exactly, 24 hours (New York Time) to write,edit and submit. Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo 2018. Prompt = “Scars from climbing” Go.