“All right, all right, I get the message!” Sophie said, dumping the log back into the grate. “It’ll be green slime① next. Calcifer②,make sure that dog stays where it is.” And she climbed the stairs, muttering loudly, “Really, these wizards! You’d think no one had ever had a cold before! Well, what is it?” she asked, hobbling through the bedroom door onto the filthy carpet.
“I’m dying of boredom,” Howl said pathetically. “Or maybe just dying.”
He was lying propped on dirty gray pillows, looking quite poorly, with what might have been a patch work coverlet over him except that it was all one color with dust. The spiders he seemed to like so much were spinning busily in the canopy above him.
Sophie felt his forehead. “You do have a bit of a fever,” she admitted.
“I’m delirious,” said Howl.“Spots are crawling before my eyes.”
“Those are spiders,” saidSophie. “Why can’t you cure yourself with a spell?”
“Because there is no cure for acold,” Howl said dolefully. “Things are going round and round in my head-or maybe my head is going round and round in things. I keep thinking of the terms of the Witch’s③ curse. I hadn’t realized she could lay me bare like that. It’s a bad thing to be laid bare, even though the things that are true so far are all my own doing. I keep waiting for the rest to happen.”