SOUTHERN CITY — Since the demons’ invasion began, survivors across the world have whispered rumors of a “woman in black,” who fights against the demons with seemingly supernatural powers. Now, Cpl. Michael Nash of the East Coast Resistance sits down with the Daybreak Times to give the first confirmed report of this mysterious savior.
Nash meets us in the blasted remains of a cafe on 4th and Main, salvaging some coffee beans from behind the counter and brewing us a cup with the hot plate from his kit. The Resistance has evacuated most of the city, but Nash and a few others have stayed behind to continue searching for any remaining survivors. He walks with a slight limp as he joins us at the table, adjusting the fresh bandage around his leg. “That’s the second shot I took today,” he tells us, then pulls down his collar to show us a huge circular scar just above his sternum. “This is the one that should’ve killed me.” The scar is still bright red, but the wound looks as if it’s been closed for days. We ask him what happened, and he answers with one word: “Alicia.”
The night before, Nash explains, he joined Resistance commander Maxwell Cougar in a fight to retake a section of the 8 Freeway and clear the way for the evacuation. At the freeway’s eastern junction, their division came under fire from a pack of demonic Geist soldiers. The Resistance fighters opened fire, but were outgunned – until a newcomer joined the battle.
“She was dressed all in black,” says Nash, “all leather and lace, like a fantasy heroine. And she had this long gun, longer than she was tall, shaped like a broom.” With her help, the Resistance fighters drove off the demons.
“I’d heard the stories about her,” Nash says. “I mean, who hasn’t? I’d just thought they were fairy tales, something we made up to give ourselves a little hope, you know? But there she was.”
In the aftermath of the skirmish, Nash stood back while his commanding officer Cougar approached the newcomer. “I didn’t hear much of what they said,” Nash continues. “She had a real quiet voice, almost a whisper. But I did catch her name, Alicia.” After a short conversation, Cougar assigned Nash and another soldier, Cpl. Rodney Jones, to act as Alicia’s bodyguards on her trek through the city.
“I knew where we were heading,” Nash says. “We hadn’t even begun to clear out that part of the city yet, but she marched right in — and she would have with or without us. Honestly, I think she barely even noticed we were there.”
The expedition came under fire almost immediately. “We turned one corner, and boom, they were everywhere,” Nash says. “A barricade to the left of us, a second squad in the store across the street, snipers on the rooftops, and a [expletive deleted] helicopter.” Nash takes a breath and cracks a smile as he describes what happened next.
“She didn’t even flinch. She threw what I thought were grenades at the barricade and the store windows. Turned out they were rose petals — and then these giant thorns came out of the ground, impaled the Geists and set them on fire. Then she spun her gun around, turned it into a sniper rifle, made it glow somehow, and plinked those snipers right off the roof. And then,” he continues, barely taking a breath, “when the helicopter got close enough, I swear to God she summoned lightning and just blew it the hell up.
“That wasn’t even the end of it,” Nash goes on. “See, a few of the Geists had bailed out of the chopper before it blew. But before they could get back on their feet, she waved her arm and called up this giant flock of ravens. They started swarming the Geists — not us, just the Geists — and so Jones and I just splattered the Geists while they were all flailing around.”
All but one, Nash clarifies. One Geist, who’d kept its head down up to that point, popped out of hiding and unloaded on the trio with a wild spray. By the time Alicia and her bodyguards had cut the demon down, a bullet had blown through Nash’s clavicle.
“I thought I was dead,” Nash says. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see. But then I felt something warm wash all over me. I opened my eyes, and there she was. She’d sliced her palm open with her fingernail, and her blood — it wasn’t just dripping on me, it was spraying everywhere, and it healed me somehow. I got right back up like nothing happened. I thanked her, but she didn’t say anything back. She just kept going.”
An officer calls out to Nash from across the street, and he apologizes for cutting the conversation short. He leaves us with a wave, a cup of coffee, and a glimmer of hope for humanity’s future.