A spine-crawling Mushi

I believe her unnatural plasticity is a work of Mushi known as Nantai," Ginko mumbled through his cigar, "It lives inside the host's backbone and travels along the vertebras, making the spinal discs very supple."

"So that's why she..."

"Yea. In some people, the spinal discs can be stretched to that condition through years of training, letting them do very flexible poses. In the big cities you'd often meet a special kind of clowns known as 'contortionists' who entertain people by bending and twisting their bodies into the most unbelievable shapes. Usually such training would better the back muscles too, but in your daughter the change was sudden and beyond her control, the Mushi is feeding on the strength of her backbone, only making it weak and fragile."

"C- can something be done about it?"

"Yea. But there's only one treatment for Nantai that I've heard of. The top of the head should be taken to touch the pelvis, then the spinal curve will be closed into a circle and the Nantai will start travelling in circles instead of back and forth along the backbone. Little by little it will accelerate so much it won't be able to stick to the backbone anymore and will throw itself out of her body. Nantai themselves normally don't give enough flexibility to get into this position, so she'd have to get some exercises to reach the pose that will cure her."

"But... it sounds quite dangerous, Mushishi-san, wouldn't taking her so far hurt her too much?"

"Don't worry, we will go little by little, and I know of some herbs that will relieve tension in her back while exercising. There's no other known treatment for Nantai anyway... If it's not treated, it will eventually melt the backbone into jelly-like state, so she will never be able to stand straight anymore." (inner contradiction -_-;;)

"Please, please cure her", the mother sobbed.

"Don't worry, she might even learn to use the flexibility that the Nantai left in her body for her own good."

"How so?"

"For example, most of the kids who caught Nantai became very good contortionists after treatment," Ginko smirked as if remembering an amusing sight he once saw.

"But... we don't want our daughter to become a street clown!"

Ginko shrugged. "It's up to you how to make a good use of her gift."

"A gift? You must be kidding..."

"Nantai are rare. Some people are hunting them on purpose to make themselves better performers but very few of them were lucky to catch it."

"You are telling us such weird things, Mushishi-san."

"Oh, well."


Mushi – supernatural creatures that live on some layer of existence, sometimes unintentionally affecting human lives, usually in a weird way.

Mushishi – a Mushi master who's able to see them and aid people who suffer from them.

Ginko – one of the Mushi masters, the main character of the manga/anime "Mushishi".

What do you think? 😄
Read more
Full View Comment