Character Sketch Got an A in my Fictional Writer Workshop! Just needed a bit more dialogue. Let me know what you think!
Dodging the drones, Cynara Trevino made her way to the four-story science building. The foggy dawn made it easy to travel as it was when things were settling down or beginning to stir. She concealed herself among the overgrown foliage keeping all senses activated. Listening and searching for anything that moved. She was startled by small movement; a gray micro cat was rubbing itself across her feet. She reached down to pet the peculiar animal. She noticed that his fur hid the extra paws, but his playful nature made her smile. It sniffed the air and started towards whatever it smelled. She watched as it slinked off towards an abandoned building.
She eased towards the entrance ducking behind statues and boulders along the way. At the door, she began to pick the lock, but the door opened revealing her brother, Kevin. Startled, he asked what she was doing there. She told him she had planned for weeks on how to get the medication for their sister and that she knew where they kept the antidotes. He didn’t like it but knew their sister’s life was hanging in the balance and Cynara would not give up.
She hid in the compartment of his janitor cart and proceeded to wheel her through the corridor towards the pharmacy. The putrid smells of blood, alcohol, urine and feces seeped through the antiseptics, but the smell of fear was the strongest. Buzzing fluorescent lights, sliding doors, and the cart’s wheels echoed through the halls. She strained to listen for any signs of dangers.
Kevin stopped at the janitorial closet, pressed the passcode, and entered. Once in, he started to gripe at Cynara, but she paid no mind except to tell him thanks. She found a lab coat and proceeded out of the closet. Kevin tried to stop her but knew better and handed her his key card to the dispensary. A quick peek through the cracked door told her that the hall was clear. Closing the door behind her she edged towards the pharmacy in hopes she would not be recognized. The walls were grey and were scraped in places from the animal’s claws and beds that have bumped into them. They were lined with photographs of doctors, faculty, and college students that had graduated. In a nearby room she could hear moans and wails of agony from mutated animals. The door slid open and a bed was being pushed through. A pseudo human laid strapped atop it. His screams muffled by a mask that prevented him from spitting and biting. The doctors were trying to inject sedation into the fighting being. She fought the urge to free him. She must to get to those meds.
While her heart broke for these ill-treated beings she also needed to save her sister. As she rounded a corner she bumped into her best friend, Michelle. She didn’t realize she was still here as she thought she was evacuated with the rest of the crew. They grew up together which meant they did everything together. Even went to the same college. Even though they were considered nerds, Michelle was the popular one of the two. Red hair, green eyes, and cherry lips won the guys over Cynara’s dark brown hair, steel blue eyes, and tomboyish flare.
“Cynara what are you doing here? You’re going to get yourself killed.”
She pulled her into an empty room and explained the situation.
“But there are guards everywhere. How are you going to get to the pharmacy without someone recognizing you?
Cynara gave her a ‘will you help me?’ look.
“Oh, no, no, no! I can’t be a part of this. I’ve been working too hard trying to create an antidote behind their backs. I can’t get caught with you.”
“But Eva needs those cell blockers until you do though. I understand your position, at the same time, I’m trying to keep my sister alive. Her blood cells have mutated faster than before, and I’ve ran out of everything that I could possibly give her. Kevin gave me his key pass. Help me get to the pharmacy and I’ll do the rest, please.”
Michelle agreed to help and lead the way. Cynara followed behind while keeping her eyes averted as to not gain attention. They reached the door to the pharmacy and hugged goodbye. Cynara plugged the key card and rushed in closing the door behind her. Leaning against the door relieved she let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. The room was stuffy with an undertone of bleach. Glancing around, there were two researchers across the room and thankfully they took no notice of her. She began to look for the potions that would inevitably save her dying sister.
Moments later, the door burst open and guards poured in, “THERE SHE IS, ARREST HER”.
Cynara tried to run only to be caught and put in handcuffs that tore her flesh. While the guards grappled with her she saw Kevin slink in unseen. She felt a little relief knowing that their sister might live. She continued to struggle to keep their attention. Just as the guards swept her out, Michelle passed by. They quickly exchanged glances. And then she was gone.
She was taken through an unknown area of the building. The dim lights made it difficult to see. They came upon rusting double doors. When they were opened she was hit with the foulest air. Her lungs stung with each breath. Decaying bodies permeated the humid air as rats scurried along the walls and there was water dripping from the ceiling. Their footsteps echoed on the cement floor as the guards walked her to another set of double doors. Growls and guttural sounds were emanating from behind various metal doors along the hall. Sounds that she could never unhear. Things behind those doors that she can’t unsee.
As the guards open one of the doors filled with cages of neglected animals those sounds became louder. Intrusive. The room felt claustrophobic with the same smells as the corridor. Lit only by a single bulb that look like it was going out soon. They put her in a cell next to a human who was their test subject. He was cowered in the corner of his cell. Upon closer examination she noticed he had animal looking eyes as they had slits like a cat and golden fur growing in places where his own hair would be. Thoughts of Eva dying and Kevin getting those meds made Cynara even more anxious.
She found out that his name was Jim and that he had been one of the students who applied for the medical trials. He thought he was testing a new medication to stabilize his diabetes. She apologized that he was misinformed and that once she realized what her colleagues were doing she tried to put a stop to it only to be expelled. She told him about her sister. That she was bitten by one of the infected animals and passed on the infection to her sister which in turn makes her DNA mutate into whatever the animal was.
It seemed like ages as she set there locked up and unable to do anything.
Someone was unlocking the door. She was surprised to see Michelle. As she unlocked Cynara’s cell she told her that Kevin was waiting out in the hall with his cart and will take her to an exit. She answered the unasked question that he was able to get the meds. They met Kevin at the end of the hall. She climbed inside his cart once again and he wheeled it towards the exit where Cynara had entered. They were able to escape the security checks.
Dawn has since passed into dusk and it was only a matter of time before the creatures stirred. Making sure her knives were accessible she proceeded towards home. Security wasn’t going to follow her into the unknown. Even armed.
Hunkered down behind a boulder she listened for things she couldn’t see. The rustling leaves alarmed all her senses. She felt something coming towards her. Whether it slithered, crawled, or walk she could not tell. A low rumble sounded behind her. The hair on her neck stood and goosebumps formed on her sweating skin. Slowly she turned and was face-to-face with eyes that seem to glow red and bared teeth. Time seemed to stand still as she tried to draw her knives. She knew not to scream as it would garner attention from other creatures of the night.
Without warning, something pounced on top of the creature and they rolled away. All she had time to see was a blur of yellow. The fighting caught the attention of other creatures. She darted out into the moonless night and ran as stealthily as she could home. The sounds of animalistic fighting reverberated through the dark behind her. She did not stop until she reached the entrance of her family’s living quarters.
The door sprung open and her father stood there relieved, “Mija, I heard you had gotten caught. Eva isn’t doing good. Please tell me you have the medication.”
“I do, papá.”
Flickering candles lit the small two room apartment. They rushed to Eva’s beside. Cynara tried not to gag on the smell of body odor and sickness. The humidity made it worse. She set a candle on the bedside table. Eva’s breathing was fast and short. Her heart looked as though it was trying to escape her chest. Her skin was slick with sweat. Cynara knew it was her sister’s body trying to change. She readied the needle full of the medication and administered it straight to the main vein of her arm. They watched as her breathing and heart rate stabilized.
Moments later, a knock on the door startled her.
Her father grabbed her arm, “Cyn, don’t answer.”
“Cynara, it’s Michelle, please hurry, let us in.”
Cynara opened the door. Michelle, Jim, and Kevin stood in the shadows. Jim was leaning heavily onto Kevin. Without stronger light she was unable to access him. She waved them in and locked the door.
Michelle handed her a first aid kit, “Do you mind if Jim stays here? There is medication in there for him and Eva. His body can heal the wounds.”
Cynara didn’t know how to react. What she wanted to say was ‘no’ but looking at Jim and how he protected her made her heart sink, “Yeah, he can stay. Thank you for the meds.”
Kevin laid Jim onto a couch and handed him a duffle bag.
Michelle asked how Eva was doing then said, “Cynara, I think I’ve found a way to obliterate the Science of Today soiree once and for all, but I’m going to need your help. Kevin and I are going back to the building. Let us know soon.”
They all hugged goodbye and left. Her best friend and her brother made their way back to the science building.
That evening, as Cynara sat by her sister who was regaining consciousness, she thought about how she was going to help Michelle defeat the Science of Today INC. It was as if it had been the signal she waited for, Cynara Trevino tightened her hoodie, sheathed her knives, and slinked back to the four-story warzone.
Photo by Daniel Frank from Pexels