The rhythmic sound of feet slapping against pavement filled the quiet air of an early Saturday morning. Sierra pumped her arms in a rhythmic swing as her feet pounded the sidewalk.
Eyes focused on the distance, she reveled in the run as her body warmed up against the cool air, breath coming out in controlled puffs, Sierra focused on the inhales and exhales of her lungs as she ran. Trying hard to stave off the burning in her sides as she pushed her muscles to awaken and move, she moved to the side to make way for other morning-time walkers and runners like her.
This was her favorite ritual to keep, everything else she considered a light-hearted hobby. But running? was as close to spiritual freedom as Sierra was ever going to get, staying in tune with nature as her feet hit the ground, she could feel a smile tug at her mouth as she passed a person walking their dog.
Nodding a silent greeting to them as she passed, Sierra sent a happy hello quietly to the dog.
She loved animals; any and every animal, she loved them all, but dogs and canines in particular held a special place in her heart. Sierra liked to think she was a normal, average, and mundane human being. Except for one little quirk she had.
Sierra could feel and see the emotional and mental thoughts of the animals she came into contact with. She wasn't quite sure when this ability began, and for all she knew, Sierra was born with being able to read and see the thoughts of animals.
It was a comfort for her, being able to shut off the outside world and feel the simplistic nature of any animal she came into contact with, it didn't hurt they all seemed drawn to her and came to her with little to no problem at all.
People called her an animal magnet when she was a kid, they all came to her with their pets when they didn't know what was wrong. Even the vets occasionally sought her out when she got older and this quirk of hers began to grow stronger. The one downside to living in a small town. Everybody knew that you had a strange connection and understanding to animals.
That was why Sierra picked up and got out of Dodge as fast as she could the minute she graduated High School, she packed up her bags and left for a bigger city.
And that's how she came to be in Manhattan, Running the sidewalks of a park nearby to her apartment, she loved going to this park early in the morning, when the sun just barely crested over the city skyline.
Businesses were waking up and not many people seemed to be out and about yet, she found bliss in the quiet hum of life when there weren't many people around, humans were exhausting, maybe that's why Sierra seemed to have this ability to somehow understand and communicate with animals.
Sierra was always shy and introverted when she was younger, the shyness seemed to have faded into the background as she grew into adulthood, but her introverted tendencies never went away, she preferred it that way anyways, that's how she schemed and came up with the idea to start up a bookstore connected to a cat café.
She loved her combo-styled store, and the public loved it even more. Sierra knew she was doing something good for her neighborhood and it made her proud, even if she had very little interaction with the public.
She let her co-owner and best friend handle all the public interactions while she managed the business end of it.
Thoughts wandering as she let instincts guide her feet along the pavement, the upbeat music emanating from her earbuds filled her ears as she ran, sighting her usual stopping place, Sierra began to slow, her legs screaming from the hard pace she set this morning, Sierra approached the bench and stopped. Her chest heaved as she breathed in and out, trying to get her heartbeat under control.
Wiping the sweat off her forehead, she sat down to give her legs a break. Admiring the almost empty park with its small clustering of trees and lush green grass, she leaned her head back against the bench and closed her eyes, inhaling and exhaling slowly to continue getting her breathing and heart rate back under control, she felt a scratching on her leg.
Looking down, Sierra saw a squirrel had perched itself on her leg and stared at her quizzically.
Grinning, she lifted her hand out and watched the squirrel grab her finger with a tiny paw.
Opening herself up to the little creature, she felt its curiosity and hunger fill her mind. blurred images of her flashed through her mind.
"I'm sorry little guy, I don't have any nuts on me." She murmured apologetically, trying to convey her words mentally to the animal.
Feeling the squirrel's disinterest in her fill her mind, she chuckled as the squirrel got bored and left her lap. Brushing her legs off of any squirrel fur, Sierra moved to get up off the bench when a hand grabbed her shoulder and a cloth was placed over her mouth.
Eye's widening in panic, Sierra thrashed against the hands that held her to the bench, the sickly sweet scent filled her nose and she felt her body go lax as her mind shut down.
Eyes rolling to the back of her head, Sierra slumped against the bench as she passed out. Not hear the man behind her speak into a phone as a group of people approached her and began to take her unconscious body from the park.
"Subject has been acquired. Bringing her in for testing."