[M] Looking through the rust and rot and dust

POSTED: Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:35 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.


Squat, blackened-brick buildings with empty eyes and mouths for windows and doorways leered at Clover as she walked past, her claws clicking on the hot asphalt. She trotted with her head low, eyes shifting to the shadows in the alleyways and under cars, then turned down a road cracked with dried grasses. In the distance, the husks of old timber houses rotted under all-consuming greenery, and the black church stood stark against the cloudless sky.

Flies buzzed over a stagnant puddle in the drive. Skirting it, the dog stepped into one of the open doorways, watching the ceiling open up in the main chamber. The pews and pulpit long since turned to ash, the room was spacious and echoing – and would have been intimidating if not for the makeshift firepit in its center, the crosses dangling here and there. A leather sheet waved quietly off in front of one room, and Clover approached this hesitantly.

“Jhiral?” she asked. “Are you or your birdbrain there?”

His scent—one enough to set any canine on edge—seemed recent, but Clover still sat down in front of the sheet nervously. She told herself she was here to check up on the coyjackal, who lived away from the clan but was still a member she should care about—but the truth was that she wanted to get away.

The stench of medicine and blood and rot in her nostrils, she wondered if she was better off just staying in the damned city.
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POSTED: Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:34 pm

Dreams and memories were sometimes difficult to separate, one time he dreamed...

...Walking a path between the trees as they rustled from the wind, bare feet against crackled asphalt as he turned a corner to witness two shallow graves. There was no hesitation in investigating them, no fear as he blankly stared at a perfectly normal looking corpse in one of the depressions, staring upwards.

Following the sleeping man's hollowed gaze, Jhiral felt a easy smile creep over his maw.

The wind caressed his skin, without flaw as it was in life. The clouds swirled in the sky... it was so inviting. Perhaps he could lift himself up there among the soft clouds?

"Cześć tam." Came the wispy voice. Jhiral looked down again at the blackened form, rictus grin plastered over it's face. "Połóż się, odpocznij." It's mouth didn't move, but he was certain it spoke; it wouldn't make sense otherwise.

Nothing seemed odd about this, even as the jackal scanned his surroundings, expecting something, before humming and laying his body in the second shallow grave, watching the sky together with another dead Luperci.

"Piękne, prawda?" It asked.
"Tak to jest.." Jhiral replied, his voice entirely normal, lilting into the air and joining the swirling, colourful sky.

He drifted away from this land, and back into reality.


-----

A heaving wheeze erupted from a prone, half-naked body as it slowly writhed, before those bloodshot eyes opened and Jhiral stilled, breathing in. The vague buzz of flies made him hitch a breath and grumble weakly, taking in his surroundings. He was laying in the Church's office - his den, his body twitching while he slowly came to, a sense of being unsettled making him rattled.

He heard somebody, their words a jumble of noises in... what was it, the common tongue here? English?

The Jackal choked on nothing in particular, gingerly turning onto his side and rising to his chipped feet, wetly breathing as he rolled his crackling shoulders. Joints popped and relaxed as the tall jackal-hybrid hissed to himself, air whistling through gaps in his lips. The man dimly knew somebody was present, not in his den, but somewhere nearby... waiting for him?

Examining himself mildly, the male gargled a disapproving noise, even glancing to the mirror balanced on the wall nearby, it's crackled reflection making him look far worse than he did, or perhaps a little too accurate.

Jesteś brzydkim draniem. The man pondered in a mild, bleary manner. Prawdopodobnie dostałeś to, na co zasłużyłeś. So finished the positive introspection, he dressed himself accordingly, sans hat.

Tilting around and huffing, he blandly wandered out of his den, into the little hallway, and grumbled nothing to himself, slowly trudging to the heavy sheet that gave the south-wing some privacy. Within moments he lazily grabbed at the material, missing a few times, before pulling the edge inward and poking just his muzzle out a little, yawning a little.

Moments passed as he blearily looked around the sheet, expecting a Luperci in their Optime form... then looked downward, and saw a familiar face. For the few seconds he blankly stared, his thinned visage would be partly clear to the grey dog, a man left alone and the consequences of such washing away the cheery-eyed kindness, instead he'd seem distant, weakened, grey.

For a moment the man became shy, hiding behind the sheet and sighing, belatedly remembering that his avian friend was absent - they had a argument before his nap about... something or other... so this would be awkward. Hm.

With a hitched breath, he swallowed a dry lump in his throat, long claw-fingers gripping the sheet again as he peeked his head around, offering a hesitant wave with his left hand, joints crackling as he sought to affix a more friendly demeanor, the despair in his gut not helping.

Tylko ja, przepraszam. He thought, not wanting to push himself into Clover's space, the man lowered himself to one knee and offered the back of his left hand to inspect, if the female desired, just as he done with Vesper, albeit the first time they met. Jak się masz?. He'd show with concerned eyes, immediately noting how she seemed rather anxious, her eyes glinting in the dimness of the unlit Church, the worries of his own degrading form put away for now.
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POSTED: Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:24 am

Wet coughs answered her, and Clover laid back her ears and took a step away from the makeshift curtain. She was a healer, one who ought to be used to such sounds -- patients gagging on phlegm, gasping for air -- but they made her skin crawl every time. Again, she wished that Harosheth was here, but it was the last horrible sickness that had finally taken the aging medic away from Inferni.

Someone approached the leather sheet and peered around. Jhiral stared over her head a moment before dropping his gaze, clearly not expecting her, then sighed. He looked like shit, Clover thought, but then again he always did; his features were too mangled with scar tissue, too stiff with rotten hide and disguised by bandages besides, for her to read happiness or sorrow. It was only in the crinkle of his eyes that Clover could tell what the man was feeling, but she was too distracted to notice his exhaustion.

His posture changed, though, and he waved to her shyly. Lowering himself to a knee, he offered his hand, and Clover sniffed from a distance. She sniffed the air, too, looking around at the rafters of the church, and drew the conclusion that Maja was not here. It was a shame; the bird might have brightened the mood a little.

Instead there was only Jhiral, grim but kind in the eyes. He looked at her with something like worry. She sat down and scratched at an ear self-consciously.

"I came to check up on you, y'know," the dog explained. "Make sure you hadn't like, died or some shit." It wasn't the most tactful statement, but it was the truth, more or less. "Are you... doing okay?" The place smelled like herbs; perhaps he was treating himself? She sniffed again, openly, wondering if he had a plant she hadn't thought of.
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