The ketodrove /ˈkɛtədɹoʊv/ is a white stranger with thin, light teal stripes and attenuated limbs. Its forelimbs end in toes 30% of the time,𐐝 with the remainder bearing no toes on any limbs. Its skin is vinyl-like, and it lacks inner flesh, instead being filled with a thick white liquid. This non-sticky and non-flammable putty bonds mostly to itself, and repels other substances. The ketodrove produces this fluid over the course of its life, with excess fluid dripping from its eye markings. Exuded droplets seem to soak into any surface upon which it rests, leaving behind no stain, and exuding only a small amount of oxygen as a by-product.
𐐝 a quality that does little to impact their interactions with the world.
As the ketodrove must exude the fluid it creates, if its eyes are sealed up, it bursts at the seams. Its skin cannot regenerate from injuries at a rate fast enough to allow it to regain integrity once cut. Its inner putty grows much softer when exposed to above-freezing temperatures, causing the ketodrove's insides to bleed out entirely after around an hour. It is unaffected by cold.
The ketodrove's speech, which emanates from the region of its head, is gummy and smacking, lacking all words but sincere laughter.
The ketodrove appears inside of once-heated residential or commercial buildings that had become exposed to significant cold due to abandonment, disuse, or other causes. As such, it is most prevalent during winter, but does not generate near large amounts of snow or ice, instead preferring frost-coated surfaces. Its infestations also favor white walls, an absence of ornamented windows, and places in which large numbers of objects have been recently removed and will not be returned. It very slightly prefers underground areas, but this appears due in part to a lack of windows, and not a need for subterranean level.
It most frequently generates just before daybreak, appearing first as a small worm-like form, upon which eye markings are visible. During this stage, it weaves forward in unreliable loops, with squirming pawing where walls meet floor. It grows day-by-day, its eye markings bulging, then softening as it grows legs. By the time it is mature, its behaviours have annealed to uniformity, and no vestige of its eye markings remain.
The ketodrove seems stricken by cold at all times. It shivers, takes temporary shelter in enclosed spaces, and when exposed to wind, braces itself against the ground. Warm objects or conditions do nothing to ameliorate the ketodrove's cold state, and it seems entirely indifferent to all heat.
Though steadfast in its travels, it is given to fits of periodic melancholia,Ᵽ laying its head down upon its hands. It raises following an evident clenching of the skin around the eyes. When it finds rollable objects, such as cans or bottles, it tilts them with the closest it comes to curiosity at any physical objects.
Ᵽ Be sympathetic.
Despite its frigid malaise,𐐖 it seeks out colder and colder places over the course of its life. Its vision appears limited, and it navigates through its environment using markers, such as room signs, placards, directory boards. When exposed to signs, a ketodrove's path becomes both more adventurous and more ordered in its explorations, with less backtracking over unsuitable paths. Larger signs appear more advantageous, although the ketodrove's only acknowledgement is a several degree turning of the head, and no more. It walks at a slow, limping pace.
𐐖 Keep yourself intact.
The ketodrove prefers to remain solitary, and does not choose to be around others of its strain.
This behaviour normally presents as avoidance, with one ketodrove leaving a room upon discovering another, but fighting does occur when two individuals both wish to go to the same place. These fights never lead to injury, and are instead limited to shoving, limb-pulling, and tail-yanking. The ketodrove takes distinct care not to touch another ketodrove's eye-fluid, and, upon any accidental contact, immediately grows passive.
The ketodrove, at first, behaves frightened by sensitives. Despite this timidity, it does seek out contact, and grows closer over time, approaching with its body close to the ground and its head down, its demeanor submissive. It is not physically dangerous, and instead wraps its body around sensitives in an insistent, but relenting manner, allowing distance when the sensitive pushes them away. Even when dissuaded from physical contact, it continues to follow sensitives as long as it is possible.
Though being cold𐊪 inside, the ketodrove's touch is perceived as being warm.
𐊪 Don't forget, you're not alone.
Upon meeting a sensitive, the ketodrove ceases any other wander. It continues to fixate upon that sensitive, and when it is no longer able to follow them, sits down and keeps its head pointed in their direction, waiting patiently for their return.
As the ketodrove ages, its inner fluid hardens, causing its movements to slow and its actions to become less nuanced. It dies once its fluid hardens altogether, with its skin turning soft and sloughing off to reveal its now statue-like inner form. The ketodrove's hardened, plasticine corpse is rigid and brittle, breaking apart when struck, but otherwise remaining in place for up to several years, if not disturbed. Other ketodrove continue to avoid these white markers, with only the more daring individuals breaking them apart and pushing them aside.