Views from the 2nd

"Black Solace"

My name is Ashley Emerald Mooreland, a lot of the rival agencies call me Ghost, It’s a fitting nickname; seeing as I can move without generating the slightest bit of sound. Those who actually KNOW me call me Solace, sometimes Black Solace.

Since the fall of Spain I’ve set up shop here in the 2nd Ward of Madrid utilizing my skills to try and aid people whenever I can. Helping people is what we do—The Bravehearts that is, even though technically I’m the only one left.

For years we’ve fought the Red Cardinals, for years we educated the masses about their leaders and for some strange reason this country decided to elect one as their leader. They elected a woman who could construct the most intricate of lies as their leader; they fell into the allure of her megastar daughters and the charming smile of Thee Champion. These people willingly chose ignorance and now look what they have to show for it, nothing but rubble.

I often ask myself, what did we do wrong? Why did a regime that was clearly so toxic rise to power with such a massive following? It was through my own introspection that I realized the Liafador’s utilized one of Europe’s oldest tricks. Ziccarra came in promised to make Spain “Great Again” fortified armies, utilized Thee Champion and her children as the face of her family brand to disarm the public. The final straw was the institution of a “State-Religion” The Cardinals.

With a State Religion in place she had everything she needed to rip the civil rights from the hands of Spain, but that’s not the purpose of these thoughts. As I move about the 2nd Ward watching as a once proud and civilized people fight each other for the limited resources. I’m wondering if I should care to help at all?

I mean think about it, Germany elected Hitler, a regime fueled by anti-Semitism and hate. As a result, the allies forced the populace to witness the results of the holocaust—in addition to years of foreign occupation. Although a different set of stipulations, many citizens in Japan felt the immediate backlash of going to war with the United States in 41’.

Those are two very outlandish examples and truth be told I reached, but what I want to know is… should the people who choose this type of leadership be forced to deal with the consequences themselves?

Everything you’d expect with a post war nation has happened here in Madrid. Large sections of the city are blocked off, blackouts that last for days. Disease and death tolls rise. These people allowed entertainment and the media to rob them of their judgment, and because of it they’re living in a cesspool of their own civilization.

As I finish my paper, I hear the familiar sound of Adora calling me from the adjacent room. She’s an eight-year-old Spanish native with ridiculously long brunette hair and green eyes. To me she kind of favors Selene Liafador but that’s neither here or there. Her parents are sick, malnourished and as a thank you for letting me stay, I’ve been taking care of them.

“What is it?” I say in Spanish, doing my best to not completely butcher the language. My Spanish was novice at best, but Ziccarra taught me herself back when we were still friends, but god that was ages ago.

“They something, fire something.” She replies, or at least that’s what I could make out. Instinctively I place my hand upon their foreheads. “Ahhh” I think to myself, they have fevers. Turning back to my satchel I check my medicine pouch for something that’d quell the symptoms but I don’t have anything. “Looks like I’ll have to go gather some supplies” I say moving back in Adora’s direction.

I bend down; locking eyes with the green-eyed beauty for a moment to reassure her I’d be back. She nods in understanding and watches as my lithe frame disappears beyond the threshold, I never turned my back towards her, not until she walked away first. I guess I didn’t want to leave her with the impression that I was never coming back.

Once I saw her walk away, I turned my attention to the central region of the 2nd ward. The central region is sort of like a giant bazar; the doomsday preppers raided most of the super markets at the fall of Spain, so naturally the assholes sit here in the central region trying to trade for valuable items. I mean it makes sense, but when the majority of the people around you don’t have anything, what’s the point in trading?

None of that really makes a difference to me though, my ability to both Phase and Negate sound allow me to slip into pretty much any location unnoticed, now with the added effect of the blackout I can hit the storage areas and leave the vending tables be.

I’m not Spanish; as a matter of fact I’m not even white; I stick out more here than a Crip at a clan meeting. But a lot of these people know me from a skirmish I had the other day with the Rogue Faction, things got ugly, let’s just say there are a few people that won’t see for quite some time.

I stay low to keep out of line of sight, if someone sees me entering this area, it’d be really easy to pinpoint me. So I stay low, zeroing out the sound with every step, phasing only at the moments I could possibly be detected.

Oh yeah, The Rogue Faction. I don’t have any idea where they came from, but I heard the 1st and 3rd Wards have them too, which is kind of weird because most of Madrid has been sectioned off from each other. How can the Rogue Faction be growing if…transportation has been cut off, almost makes no sense.

I heard a few days ago, the Rogue Faction killed a little girl, no one knows for what, but they did it in broad daylight. It’s almost like they’re putting in a bid to unify and conquer Madrid. Something I can’t have them do. Things have really gotten bad.

I see the storage area tucked off in the back, it’s a large steel door, that looks as if it’s supposed to be kept cold, but without power it only serves as a vault. Neither the vault nor the power is an issue for me, a few days out of the week; I use my rudimentary control over electricity to turn the lights on at the house, so Adora can read her books and what not.

I place my hand on the coarse cold metal door before pushing it all the way through, eventually my entire body followed. The inside smells of rotting pork and stale incense, which almost makes me sick to my stomach because if it’s one thing I hate…it’s pork. There is a small slither of light shinning through the hinge of the door, to anyone else this might be a small detail, but it lets me know that no one is hindering the moonlight from the outside.

I try my hardest to stop myself from “calling earl” in this container, it feels as if someone reached into me and tangled my intestines. Swallowing an excessive of saliva, I reach down to my satchel and power up my flash light.

It’s a small compact little thing, it has no batteries. Most of my appliances have no batteries or zero charge. I can charge them myself, and should they fall in the hands of an enemy that couldn’t use them against me.

With the light on, I noticed there’s a whole host of supplies in here, supplies I can use. For now I’ll just take what I need, I don’t need the owner upping security on us. I place the medicine in a satchel before noticing a weird looking liquid on the floor.

At first I thought it was a leak from one of the open cans of juice, but upon further inspection I realized it was blood…

That awful smell I was inhaling? It was the smell of a decaying body. I flash the light towards the huge chunks of meat just piled on top of each other in the corner, tucked between to giant slabs of pork was the owner of this little storage facility …or at least his head.

“Oh sh!t” I scream turning toward the steel floor behind me to let up my chicken noodle soup, but as it pushes from my lips, I see that the light tucked between the hinges is no longer there. Someone’s waiting for me on the outside!

It wasn’t a total lost, I could just go out the back, but there was a small sweet innocent little voice that prevented me from leaving. In fact it caused me to phase out the container with my hands in the air.

“Adora…” I whispered, watching as she was now in the hands of this Rogue Faction. I remember why these people are worth helping. Not to save them from the choices they make, but to protect them from the choices they don’t make.