[M] it's hard to keep the rainclouds out

(when the windows never close)

POSTED: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:50 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.

Read only. Dated April 21, outside Inferni borders. Mature for cursing.

Dove woke four-legged beside a waning campfire, a blanket worn thin and ragged by age drawn across her back; despite it, she shivered in the pouring rain.

A series of stones rolled in her skull as she raised her head and glanced her surroundings with sunken, crusted, oozing eyes. Every bone in her body ached. There was a stench in her nose, one she followed to a puddle of vomit mixed with blood near her forepaws. She could not recall vomiting, but she knew she had.

When Dove realized she could not recall how she arrived in such a place, she knew she had at long last hit rock bottom. She tried to leave and found her limbs too weak; tried to shift to two legs but her body refused. With what energy she had, the Reverie shook away the ash from her coat. Surely if she was not on Infernian grounds she was not far from them. It was with a groggy self-assurance that a clanmate had started the fire for her that Dove crawled her way under the blanket and slept.

A dark, older man was rolling a cigarette across the fire when consciousness found her next, and she stared silent and intense at him until he noticed (and, swearing, nearly jumped out of his skin).

"Where am I?" she asked, her tongue dry and her mind dizzy.

Collecting the cigarette he dropped when surprised, the man gestured with it before lighting it in the fire. "The coyote borders are a few miles that way, if I remember right. Found you passed out."

"Passed out?" Had she collapsed while scouting for River Lark? “How long?”

"Couple hours? Couple hours since you last puked, anyway. I'd probably pass out too if I were built like a fuckin’ twig."

“What do you want?”

“What do I want? Kid, you looked like bones in a skin sack, conked out and shivering in your own puke when I found you. I thought you were fuckin’ dead. I lived in these parts once. I know how bad it gets around here.” He smoked and considered her. "But you, you’re just sick."

She made a dismissive sound.

"What’s your name?"

"Dove."

He tapped at the mask over his snout and eyes, a deep scarlet matching her own. ”Lykoi?”

“Reverie.”

”Oh. Well. Salvador Sadira. Sal, Sally, whatever you prefer.” He looked hard at her, just as she looked hard into the fire. Her eyes and nose leaked. Insistently, it seemed, even after she wiped the ooze on her foreleg. “Bare your teeth a moment, girl. Let me see.”

Dove glared at his spinning image. “Fuck you.”

“Fuck you. Bare your fucking teeth, come on.”

She did. Salvador eyed her gums, a healthy pink. He sat back and pulled from the cigarette. “You know anything about this thing going around? No?" He thought on it. "I haven’t been up this way long, but you’re not the first—or the second or third—that I’ve come across lookin’ like death. You need food and water, Dove.”

“I’ve been like this for a while,” she said. “I’m fine.”

“You’ve been throwing up blood for months?”

She didn’t answer.

“Didn’t think so. You’re one of the coyotes from the clan, yeah? I’ll take you back. Get you closer to a real medic.”

She laid down her head. “Later... I just want to rest.”

“Yeah, no, you’ve been resting for hours. Time to go.” Salvador tossed the cigarette into the fire and kicked sand into the flames. Her ears flattened, Dove tried to rise and resist him but hadn’t the energy. He slung an old messenger bag around his shoulders, stuffed her blanket into it, and stooped to hoist the little white coyote into his arms.

She was as light as her namesake.

Her instincts demanded Dove to react. To bite, to thrash, to scream, to howl. She didn’t. She could have mustered the energy perhaps, but the Reverie simply did not care to scrounge together the confidence to defeat sheer apathy. She could not trust him. She didn’t know him.

But River Lark was still gone. What did she have to lose anymore? Was the energy worth it?

Salvador carried her to Inferni. He howled, and he relayed what he knew to the responding coyote named Conrad. He relayed he would remain in the area, though he did not share why. Conrad and his flock of ravens took over as messengers at the borderlines, and as Salvador departed the way he came, he turned to consider the red stripe along the Reverie’s snout one last time, unconvinced.

An old raven of greying and tattered feathers followed him from the air.

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