The matadroli (/ˈmɑtɑdrəʊli/) is a diminutive stranger that can be characterized by its enlarged head, long tail, and small legs and feet, as well as the two pointed, ear-like protrusions on its head. Half of matadroli have four nub-like, clawless toes on each foot, while the remaining half of individuals lack toes entirely. The matadroli's exact markings vary between individuals, but its coloration tends towards shades of black, white, and grey, with any color existing as only a slight tinting in certain lights.
The matadroli's skin is soft, warm, and pleasant to the touch, and generates static electricity when rubbed tail-to-head, while its inner flesh is pink and foam-like, and bleeds no fluid when cut. Its eye markings reflect light in a manner similar to a nocturnal animal's tapetum lucidum, and thus, can seem to glow in low light levels. It regenerates from most minor injuries in under half a minute, with severe injuries – particularly blunt impact – killing it outright.
The matadroli appears in a wide range of outdoor environments, where it emerges from the shadows, taking solid form as light touches its body. It is particularly fond of peaceful areas which offer a wide vantage point of its surroundings, such as porches, awnings, the stairways in back alleys, or the stone walls around bushy gardens. Although it lacks a mouth with which to eat, and has no need for sustenance, it does not tend to wander into areas in which a similarly small-sized animal would be unable to subsist naturally, and thus, is only very rarely found in industrial or wholly interior environments.
The matadroli is a stranger with a playful, cheerful demeanor, possessing an inherent and endearing friendliness towards most stimulus around it. Its ears are capable of a range of motion to convey its mood, and its vocal aptitude consists of a range of meows, chirps, and purrs. Although its short-legged form prevents much in the way of graceless elegance, the matadroli is nonetheless agile and quick-moving. It wanders through its environment in apparently random formations, with periodic patrols around the perimeter.
The matadroli displays strong curiosity towards its surroundings, and rummages through trash cans and dumpsters, follows sounds and movements, and climbs along the tops of fences and up trees. Due to this curious disposition, it is not uncommon for the matadroli to climb to a height from which it is unable to get down, with streetlights being a frequent trap to a matadroli. When this occurs, the matadroli meows and rotates in place for several minutes before jumping down and fading away, reappearing on the ground once more, only briefly inconvenienced by its accidental stranding.
The matadroli appears to enjoy curling up in sunny spots during the day or standing on windowsills to watch the goings-on inside homes. It plays with strings or crumpled up pieces of paper, and chases and attacks any small animal that it finds. As it lacks claws or teeth, however, it rarely causes actual harm to its prey, which tend to slip out from beneath the matadroli's soft-bottomed paws no worse for wear.
The matadroli displays aversion to loud and sudden sounds, changes within its environment, and being splashed with water. It detests dogs of all sizes, which it hisses at and adopts a defensive posture towards before running away, as dogs find little difficulty in tearing the matadroli's soft body apart, and are, in fact, a major predator to this stranger.
The matadroli is, for the most part, a solitary creature. It lacks any territorial drive, however, and always displays friendliness towards other matadroli that it encounters.
Small groups of matadroli sometimes gather for short periods of time, and in these unstructured congregations they meow, cuddle, and play amongst themselves before they disperse just as randomly as they gathered. In addition, pairs of individuals are sometimes known to form friendships, and wander through their environment together or chase one another, remaining near to each other for the duration of their natural lives.
Just as it is drawn to others of its kin, the matadroli is drawn to cats, as well, and trots over to any it finds, its tail held high and its meows cheerful. Real cats, however, rarely acknowledge the matadroli's existence with anything more than a wary indifference, and occasionally, outright terror and aggression. Despite this, the matadroli does not display any sadness towards their rejection, and instead purrs with incessant happiness after even the briefest of contact.
The matadroli meanders towards any lone sensitive it sees, its tail and head held high. It appears overjoyed by any contact with sensitives, and rolls onto its back, curls up into a ball, or rubs against the sensitive's legs, a steady stream of purrs and meows emanating outward from its small, round body. The matadroli is unable to tolerate the presence of sensitives, however, and even the briefest of encounters proves fatal to this stranger. Those sensitives who do engage with the matadroli have only a short window of time in which to interact with it, as the highly unstable matadroli fades away within minutes, leaving nothing behind.
Despite its attraction towards individuals, the matadroli always avoids groups of sensitives, and instead, finds a secluded perch from which to watch with cautious concern, this wariness unintentionally prolonging its short life.
The matadroli likes human corpses just as much as it likes sensitives, and displays the same happiness upon spotting one. It is not destabilized by corpses, and thus, is able to spend long periods of time curled up on the corpse's chest or at their sides, and lets out loud purrs to express the pleasure it feels at this companionship. It sometimes displays playfulness towards these corpses, as well, and paws at their hands and feet or bats at their face in an attempt to wake them up. Matadroli tend to stay with corpses for quite a while, and as such, it is not uncommon for small groups of matadroli to congregate around a corpse in this way, unperturbed by the lack of interaction.
Cat corpses, however, cause enormous distress to the matadroli. It mewls for hours upon encountering one, as though struck by utter anguish, and stays by the body's side, offering its companionship. When the matadroli does eventually leave these bodies behind, it does so with slow, sad motions, its head, ears, and tail hung low. As it walks away, it looks back over its shoulder several times, as though wishing in vain for its friend to wake up again, and returns to its usual cheery self only upon meeting another living cat or matadroli. Otherwise, the matadroli is not interested in any other animal corpses, except as playthings, in the case of dead bugs and mice.
The matadroli dies without complaint at the end of its life. It curls up into a ball as though falling asleep, and fades away, its purrs growing quieter and quieter until it disappears into thin air. Other matadroli mewl with plaintive dismay at the loss of their companion, paw the empty spot, and sometimes curl up to die in sympathy, as in the case of close friends. It leaves the world in the way that it came – without impact.