Jorge Sandoval, an NPC who didn't stay that way.
My name is Jorge and I'm a doctor. I specialize in metahuman medicine and work out of the East Briar Institute's teaching infirmary. It's a school, we get lots of hands-on experience with super-powered kids. Most of it is bumps and bruises- they're still learning how to handle their abilities. Someone discovers they can super-jump, goes through a plate glass window. Stuff like that. It happens.
Sometimes bad things happen too- kidnappings mostly. You get that in the superhero community, it's one of the risks.
Some days, after the worse days, I go down to the school chapel, it's dark, and quiet. Need it sometimes just to sit, reflect, straighten things out for myself. It's supposed to be non-denominational, everyone welcome, but an old Catholic monk takes care of it. He holds services at nine sharp on Sundays, gives me a scolding if I don't attend. Like most of the staff, he's got powers. I've seen him do things that are, frankly, miraculous. Given who he works for, I guess that makes sense. I stopped going to Mass after my Mother died.... but there are times I just want to stop a while. So I go there.
This one day, it turns out, I walked in on the school choir practicing. Not the quiet I was hoping for, but I stayed anyway. To say the school choir is "special" is something of an understatement. There are other music programs at the school, but the choir is unique. It's composed of forty clone girls. they have the physical bodies of grown women... seven foot tall grown women, but they're only four years old. It's a strange situation they have. They provide the staff here interesting challenges.
The chapel has good acoustics, and the monk, Ignatius, lets them practice there. They sing at Mass and he chaperones them on choir trips so it works out for everyone, I suppose. The clones are telepathic between themselves so they weren't audibly talking, flipping through sheet music when I arrived. I slid into one of the rear pews to listen. We've had to instruct the clones to not try to communicate mentally with other people: it has some really adverse side effects. Nose bleeds, migraines to subdermal hematoma and comas... they forget sometimes.
Anyway the clone that directs them is an unusual case. She's been mute most of her life until recently, a spell was put on her. The teachers in the Magic Department looked her over and said it's fine, but medically? There's no way she should be speaking. No idea how that works, other then simply "magic". She sings all the time now. I imagine she's making up for it.
One of the clones had a guitar and strummed it and the others began to hum. Didn't sound like church music from those opening bars and then they started to sing. A group on the right higher soprano background vocals, a group on the left the main words, all the others humming where normally the instruments would play, in time with their sister's guitar. I like music, but I'm not sure how you put it all together, that's far out of my expertise. Several of the other doctors working in the infirmary have expressed curiosity about the clone's vocal range, there's been some speculation on it's similarities to the Castrati tradition.
"I heard there was a secret chord/ That David played and it pleased the Lord..."
What always has amazed me with the clones is, when they sing, they can do it in prefect unity. I suspect it's because of their mental link with each other- but it isn't something that can be easily studied. So they began to sing, in perfect harmony. Some songs that style wouldn't work too well with, then again, that's why they're a choir.
"Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you..."
That's when I recognised it. Leonard Cohen, 1984. "Hallelujah" ..I was surprised the clones had even heard it. It's just a little before their time. I wondered if they knew Cohen had passed away and that's why they learned it, or, was it simply because they liked it?
Brother Ignatius passed by, lighting the Vigil Candle with a prayer and a long taper. I watched him, and he smiled seeing me do it. He slid into the long wooden pew beside me, blew out the taper, held it in his palm, careful of the wax.
"They're improving, wouldn't you say?" His voice barely above a whisper.
I nodded, and the singing soared into a crescendo, filling the chapel with lyrical poetry then faded again into the last line "hallelujah," repeated.
"...Hallelujah, Hallelujah... Hallelujah."
Then silence and I looked from the monk to the gathered clones and saw they were all looking back at us, standing in tidy rows on the low dais at the front of the chapel.
"Hi Jorge! Hi Iggy!"
"We did not see you come in."
"We are having choir practice."
Ignatius nodded. "Keep singing girls."
I laughed and sat back as they, with a rustle of paper kicked into another song. They sounded so exuberant. I realized about then that it wasn't the quiet I wanted, it was the company that I needed.
--Apologies to Leonard Cohen!