The four horsemen ride tonight. Gone are the days of dark bridled steeds. Tonight a sleek car drops them off on the curb. As the car pulls away War looks at her three compatriots and grins. Any night the four rode together was a night few forgot.
War rakes chipped nails through dark rooted hair, chin up and manic smile cocky. Her strides are always too long for her thick heels and never graceful. They don’t need to be, the line falls before her and the four walk in.
Crimson dress tight against muscle and curves, War pushes her way to the crash of the dance floor. Here the base instincts come together with intoxicating violence. The deafening explosions of noise and the disorienting press of human flesh make the floor her arena. Its occupants surge around her, blood and lust pounding in time to the music. War grabs young men’s nervous hands and draws them into a dance none are ready for.
Famine smiles faintly at the crowd and decides to get a drink. Hungry eyes watch the spaces between her narrow shoulders. They follow the path from black stilettos up her thin dark legs to the hem of her skirt. Their gazes hover there until the prospect of her is enough to make them mad.
They think her prey, something to satisfy the ache growing deep inside them. Famine’s small smiles and empty words will sate no one. Already they feel it, a sinking low despair. Their offers of drinks, compliments, and invitations will lead them back where they’d began, alone and wanting.
Pestilence is the subtlest of them. No violent grinding or ravenous eyes draw her attention. Instead, she holds back, pointed green nails poised around a glass she never drinks from. She is small and frail but her eyes are luminous and promising. The sick find her. They sidle up to her corner of the club, gazes feverishly soaking in her words. They ask her to poison them.
She obliges, slipping pills and bags of powder with thin fingers into their shaking hands. Not so long ago people trembled at the thought of plague and malady. Now they seek their own, weakening minds and bodies with voracious speed. Pestilence sits back as they do her work, passing around the contagion of dependence.
Death, as always, follows in the wake of the others, eventually finding a table to sit at alone. In the dim her hair, the color of bone, frames stark cheekbones. Her dress is pale and bright in the dark. No one approaches her, no one drinks in her violence, emptiness, or sickness the way they do the others. Still poets talk of her embrace. They are fools, there is no embrace. An embrace is for a loved one. Death is cold and she does not love you.
Death hears the heartbeats and blood around her, knowing that such things still when she wanders too close. She waits and watches the others play.
This story’s first line was stolen by a nefarious ring of thieves. Check out the Legal Theft Project to see what they’ve done with it.