Israel David Álvarez Santos | 29 | Cisgender Male | Bisexual | Subject #26ᴀ ᴘ ᴘ ᴇ ᴀ ʀ ᴀ ɴ ᴄ ᴇ ᴅ ᴇ s ᴄ ʀ ɪ ᴘ ᴛ ɪ ᴏ ɴ
Israel stands at a middling height of 5’9” with a somewhat stocky build. In spite of a four-year stint in the military, his posture appears to have regressed to its original, ignore-me slouch. Most of the time, you’ll find him standing with his shoulders hunched, hands stuck deep in his pockets as if he’s trying to disappear into the background. Pretty much the only time he grows to full height is when he feels threatened or angered. Thankfully, this side of him isn’t something that people see very often, but unless he is completely comfortable in his surroundings, Israel is usually unsmiling.ᴘ ᴇ ʀ s ᴏ ɴ ᴀ ʟ ɪ ᴛ ʏ
He is mostly seen sporting a buzzcut, dark hair cropped close to the scalp. Here and there, there are a few strands of hair that seem to be prematurely greying, though he doesn’t pay it much mind. Israel’s facial hair is similarly non-committal, and he often leaves it unchecked to grow into a short beard before finally shaving it off. Under his eyes, there are sleepless bruises that never seem to go away. No matter how many hours of sleep he gets a night, it’s always fitful. There is an almost sickly hue to his complexion, and the expanse of his skin is marred with countless scars both big and small, some self-inflicted, some not. A few notable scars include one cutting vertically through his right eyebrow, and another stretching from the top of his ear to under his right eye. Most of them are souvenirs from his time in the military, though there are many more hidden beneath his clothes—cigarette burns and even bullet scars. Most, however, never get to see them.
Israel’s fashion sense can best be described as ‘nondescript’. He doesn’t like standing out, so he usually dresses in dark or earth tones. T-shirts, sweaters and jeans are a staple in Israel’s closet, and whenever it gets chilly, he has an old army jacket that he wears over his clothes. While he has never been one for accessorising, you’ll always find a simple gold band on the ring finger of his right hand. Far from being an object of vanity, it is something that holds significant sentimental value for Israel. Whenever he grows uneasy, he plays with the ring, twisting it around and around until he manages to calm down.
Ever since he was a child, Israel’s mother instilled in him a deep sense of religious piety that he still carries to this day. She taught him to pray when things appeared hopeless, to look to The Lord for guidance. This was a lesson that got him through the darkest days of his life, though it also incubated a belief that his father’s cruelty was something he deserved—punishment, if you will. More than anything else, Israel is a man fuelled by self-hatred. He believes that he will never be good enough, that his actions will never be forgiven, so he constantly works to improve himself. Like his mother always says, kindness was a virtue that stood above all. Without kindness, the world would be a cold, heartless place without any light or warmth. At the very core of his personality, Israel is very much a bleeding heart, and often puts the needs of others above his own. He still holds out hope for a chance at redemption, and while it may never come, he would like to believe that his willingness to try was a start.ʜ ɪ s ᴛ ᴏ ʀ ʏ
Israel doesn’t like violence, even though it was all he knew growing up. As much as he can, he tries to avoid confrontation, and is willing to concede his point if it means that conflict can be avoided. Even so, he can be unpredictable, volatile, and dislikes making commitments, especially those he aren’t sure he can keep.
His sense of humor tends to be on the dry and sardonic side. An introvert by nature, he doesn’t often associate with his peers, and isn’t the type to open up right away. Instead, Israel prefers to keep everyone at arm’s length until he has no choice but to let them get close. He does have a few soft spots here and there, but they are particularly well-hidden and difficult to find. And yet, he’s never purposely malicious; he just doesn’t like feeling vulnerable. People often find themselves put off by his reluctance to participate in social situations; and when he does speak, he does so in a soft monotone.
In conversations, Israel prefers the role of the listener. Sharing details about his own life isn’t something he’s comfortable with, and he finds it easier to talk about other people. Being on the sidelines also gives him the chance to observe before he acts. One of Israel’s strengths is how perceptive he is, and more often than not, he’s able to accurately judge a person’s character soon after he meets them. While booksmarts have never been his strong suit, he is quick-witted, and can think incredibly fast on his feet. It is an instinct that’s ingrained in his very being, helping him get out of sticky situations.
On October 1st 1989, Israel was born to a woman in Cienfuegos, Cuba. At the time, Beatriz Santos was only seventeen, fresh out of secondary school. Her parents urged her to give the baby up for adoption at first, but when she refused to budge—citing Israel’s birth as a sign from God—they sought to marry her off in order to avoid scandal. A fortnight later, she found herself wed to Angel Álvarez, a G.I. from Phoenix, Arizona who was visiting his family in Cuba after receiving an honorable discharge.ᴘ ᴏ ᴡ ᴇ ʀ s
Soon after their marriage was finalized, the newly-formed family of three moved to the States, eventually settling down in Phoenix. For a year or so, things were fine. Angel had managed to secure a full-time job as a mechanic at the airport, and spent most of his days working. But slowly, cracks began to form. All the things Angel had seen in the army took a toll on his psyche, resulting in constant nightmares of being in combat without cover or ammunition. He began drinking heavily to cope, but no matter how much he put down, it seemed as if he could find no peace.
While Angel was a name that evoked an image of purity and faith, what he subjected his wife and child to was more befitting of a demon. All that deep, dark rage needed an outlet, and young Israel was the perfect target. Israel’s earliest memories include one of his father holding a lit cigarette to his arm until he screamed, and another of the man coming at him with a hammer. Many times, Israel’s mother tried to stop her husband, but she couldn’t; just as Israel, too small and weak, couldn’t stop him from beating her.
When Israel was nine, a priest at his school had taken note of his black eye and split lip. But instead of alerting the authorities, he simply cautioned Angel to go easy on the boy, adding that corporal punishment should never involve the face.
It was around this time that Israel’s abilities manifested. He had spent his entire life listening for the slightest movement of his father, ready to run and hide if anything seemed off. If he hid quickly—somewhere his father couldn’t find—he’d usually be able to escape a beating. But when his father couldn’t find him, his mother was usually the next best target. Tucked away at the back of the closet, he listened while she cried.
And then, he saw her.
He saw his mother through his father’s eyes, saw the tears streaming down her face, her bloody nose, even the broken capillaries in her left eye. But at the same time, he could see the old, peeling wallpaper in front of him, and the dust that clung to it. Before he had the chance to process what was happening, Israel’s body was suddenly wracked with pain, as if he was the one being beaten instead.
At some point, Israel lost consciousness, and he awoke to his mother stroking his hair, singing to him in a whisper. Unable to come up with a logical explanation for what had occurred, he simply chalked it up as a nightmare.
A month later, Angel Álvarez was dead—a heart attack, the doctor had told them. Strangely, his death didn’t seem to change things much for Israel and his mother. Even after he was buried, it felt as if they were always waiting for him to return.
Israel and his mother stayed in Arizona. Rather than move back to Cuba where her family was, Beatriz believed that remaining in the States would be their best shot at starting anew. Shortly after graduating from high school, Israel enlisted, just like his father before him. There wasn’t much else he could do, after all, academics had never been his strong suit; and while he hated the idea of leaving his mother to fend for herself, a part of him was glad to finally be able to get away from everything.
The results of Israel’s initial mental evaluation were spotty at best. His sense of self had been carved and chipped away by his father’s beatings, but somehow, he made it through the enlistment process after a token delay. For two years, he was stationed in places like Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq, in wars that America had no place in. Far from revelling in the violence, he loathed it, but it was all he knew, and he’s always been good at following orders.
While Israel and his squad were patrolling a suburb in Kandahar, an undetected IED went off near them, deafening him in his right ear, and killed two of his squadmates that were closer to the explosion. But before they died, he felt something change. It was as if a barrier had been broken—the one that’d shielded him from the worst of his mind—and he felt everything his squadmates felt as they were dying. It was indescribable, the agony that had washed over him, and for a moment, he thought that he would die too, but he was quickly pulled into cover, staying there until help arrived.
Israel was discharged from the army shortly after, shipped off back to the States like he was nothing but a broken toy. In addition to losing hearing in his right ear, his mind had turned on itself. After his discharge, he went back to living with his mother. She looked at him differently when he returned, almost like she was afraid of him.
He started seeing a government-appointment therapist two months later, and for a while, it helped. They gave him medication to help with his PTSD, and even helped him find a job. But soon, he started seeing things again, hearing and feeling them too. A breach had been formed in his mind, one that no amount of pills would be able to seal back up. The only method he could think of to remedy the situation was to keep himself isolated, far away from everybody else.
Eventually, he found work at the morgue, transporting and preparing bodies for burial. It was cold and quiet, but he liked it that way. The dead, after all, couldn’t feel a thing.
Sensory Scrying - Israel is able to “hijack” another person’s senses, enabling him to see, hear, smell, taste or feel as they do. Currently, he can only use this ability on up to two people at a time while maintaining control. Any more than that runs the risk of causing severe sensory overload. It requires a great deal of concentration to create and maintain the link, but bizarrely, Israel has found that it is easier to hijack someone he knows rather than a stranger.
This ability is not limited by line of sight, but distance. Anyone outside of a 100-metre radius will be unaffected no matter their visibility. The people he hijacks are unaware of his presence—since it merely alters his senses, not theirs—though a telepath may be able to sense that something is amiss.
When Israel hijacks someone, the sensory input he receives is layered over his own like a filter. So, if he hijacks someone’s sight, what he sees will be overlaid with what they see. With sufficient focus, he’s able to make one input clearer at the expense of the other, filtering out whatever’s unwanted. But in times of extreme emotion, Israel can find his control slipping. This usually manifests itself as unwanted sensory feedback from the people around him.