"To Exhaustion" | mariteaux

Through murky, bloodshot eyes and behind a wildly twitching snout, Gonzo suspected death in front of him. He dragged along an old steel golf club in his left hand and he kept close to the rotted fence, shakily prowling the dirt path on all fours as if he were under sniper fire. At this hour, his ravenous, possessed snarls could be heard across the lake, and part of the way across the field.

He seemed alert, often jerking his head and jumping at the shuffling leaves around him, but he never quite keyed in on the Guardian's presence. Her orbs were scattered in the tall grass, their slight glow attenuated by the blades. They tailed him as naturally as the eleventh-hour winds. Her gecko form was too risky in his state.

Endlessly stalking the Valley countryside was something Gonzo was prone to do, but never before had she seen him so...primal, like a beast with its ribs showing. Pity stabbed her heart. At times, it seemed like he was onto a sound only he could hear; at others, the ripples in the pond would get his attention instead. Not even fatigue could tame what took him over.

Having had enough of watching the poor thing, the Guardian made her move.

From trees across the field came the din of crow wings erupting from the branches, and Gonzo's wiry gaze followed them. Taking advantage of the lull, she shot a small blast of melatonin across his body and pulled back. He grew stunned and sluggish near-immediately; his grunts slowed and trailed off, and the golf club fell beside him with a clang.

After a moment of peace, she manifested in her gecko form to investigate further. He was out cold, curled up under the thin, shoddy fence and asleep without a sound. She quietly hoped he'd be better come sunrise and drifted off into the midnight fog so as to not disturb him.