Snippet #2524755

located in Post-Apocalyptic Earth, a part of The Crawl, one of the many universes on RPG.

Post-Apocalyptic Earth

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Character Portrait: Dawn Lowrey
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Dawn couldn't remember falling asleep. She had barracked the door best she could, pushing a chair under the handle (at first she had attempted to use the desk, but her small and injured frame proved too weak to move anything of any significant weight). Her attempts to rest were all but futile; great as her exhaustion was, the pain from her shoulder and the fear of being found by someone or something out there kept her conscious until the early hours of the morning. But at some point she must have dozed off for here she was, laying on the floor with her head nuzzled into the Frankenstein bag, eyes fluttering open and squinting back shut as the first rays of day's light came filtering into the room.

Dawn had been born with the sun; that was how she had gotten her name. Her mother, Lily Lowrey, used to tell the story often. Lily had gone into labor a month before she was meant to, just as night fell over the wasted earth. With little time to prepare she had locked herself in the nearest shelter she could find, a wooden tool shed which had been looted and abandoned and was missing several planks in its walls, leaving Lilly exposed should anything happen to look within. She had gagged herself with her own shirt so that she could not scream and draw attention when the contractions hit. The growl of Beasts could be heard all through the night; in the occasional moment Lily was even able to glimpse a clawed paw or a mat of fur or a pair of glowing eyes through the slits. But even if she was not attacked and killed before the night was through, what was to become of her baby? How was a child to survive in a world like this? Lily had nearly lost all hope.

But then the morning came. Sunlight spilled out onto the laboring woman's withering body in much the same way that it spilled over her daughter on this day ten years later. The creatures of the night disappeared from it's burning grasp. The light and the warmth it provided fueled in Lily the strength to make her final push.

Lily's baby was premature and scrawny, born into a dirty tool shed with no prenatal care and no medical attention. And yet she was born, not just alive, but healthy. She was a miracle in a world where miracles no longer existed. Lily held her tiny body to her chest and named her Dawn, for the first lights of day which had greeted her into the world. Lily was fueled in that moment with sudden and irrational hope for their future together.

But Lily was dead now. Dawn rose from her place on the floor and looked through the window, alone as she watched the sun rise.

Pain shot through Dawn's shoulder with every movement she made. It had only gotten worse in the night. She could only stand to lift her arm a few inches from her side before the pain grew unbearable. Her mouth was dry, lips cracked and broken, her head spinning and dizzy every time she tried to move.

Oh, but she couldn't stay still. She munched on half a granola bar from her backpack and drained what little remained in her water bottle. Neither did much help. She needed more. She needed food and water and medicine for her pain, and she needed to find a way to fix her shoulder so she could climb again. If not, she was good as dead.

Pulling Frankenstein's remaining strap up around her good shoulder, Dawn pushed aside her poor excuse of a barricade and cautiously entered the hallway. The small girl's face scrunched up as a foul scent hit her. Across from her lay a decaying pile of flesh, barely distinguishable as human. If not the sight of it, the smell was enough to make one sick. Or at least it used to be. Dawn was raised in a world of death and gore and decay, and she barely gave a second glace as she passed the body.

The apartment complex's hallway was ill-lit. Light bulbs hung from the ceiling at regular intervals but were utterly useless. The only light came from the rooms whose doors sat ajar, shinning in from the windows. In some spots there was naught but darkness. She lept from puddle to puddle of light, only able to hope that it was enough to keep the Beasts away. The safest bet would have been to climb down to the ground, but her injury made that impossible.

A sign showed her way to the stairwell, which as luck would have it was located on the outside of the main building. A window was built in every story and provided enough light for Dawn to feel safe. She climbed down the five flights and pushed open a heavy door to the outside world.

Where to search? What in this city had not already been raided or destroyed? But Dawn knew the secrets hidden in the walls of each building. She knew how to search where others would not think, how to find things long lost and missed by bandits. It was the only way she could survive. She set off down the broken street, set in mind to search the first likely building her eyes met. Even this early in the day heat began to burn into her skin. Through the soles of her shoes she could feel the burning asphalt on her feet.

Suddenly, she paused. She could see a person, a man, searching the underbrush some distance from her. Instantly she ducked behind the cover of the nearest building, sliding her head out just a peek to watch him. A bandit? Or on second thought, perhaps not. He appeared to be alone... and injured. Dawn crossed behind the building and up the street on the other side, gaining cover from a closer point to examine the stranger more closely. If only she could watch from above, it would be safer and quicker to escape should she be seen. But in her desperation she chanced herself even closer, hiding under the cover of a shrub. Before long she was trailing him, slipping into the next hiding place when he was looking away and over time closing the distance between them, though she dared not get too close.

The man looked worse for wear; angry red wounds, no more than a day old, shinned bright on his face and could be made out clearly even from this distance. He wore a satchel, and this Dawn's eyes clung to greedily. If she were to move fast enough... oh, but did she dare? In normal circumstances she never would, tending to avoid other people in the rare instances she came across. But now... now she was possibly desperate enough to try.