The Third Horseman: Famine / Dusk
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and don’t damage the oil and the wine!"
The blackest blue there was ebbed over the drab skies. Here used to be one of the most advanced places on this continent, now, in which only the dead occupied the space. The rider on the black horse stood proudly as he looked upon the rubble. Dust was still settling on the huge piles of rock, which was all that was left of the poor, victimised city. The end times were not all that far away, with nothing but dust being left each time the rider visited. Silence hung like a lamb in a butcher’s shop with no escape and only broken by the occasional after-death muscle spasm, which was the rider’s bated breath as he soaked up the scene before him. Nothing could stop this new force of nature.
The rider turned and looked back once more upon the ex-city where he had travelled many times during his childhood. The sun was disappearing and so was the light in which the rider had demolished the site.
When the sun had risen, the place had been great, on its way to the top of the list of best places to trade with, but now as the sun fell below the horizon, the rider could only think of how the inhabitants had received what was coming to them and how their town was rightfully destroyed in just one day of merciless power. No longer did the screams of the population living here disrupt his thoughts, they only served as good memories, bringing the only form of emotion to the rider as a glint in his eye. The rider was insignificant according to the rest of his village. If he could not find anyone in this village that would accept him for being the quiet genius that he was, then he would make life reject them. He did not feed very often, mostly because he survived as a child on next to nothing, but his extremely lean figure worried most people and alerted them that something was different about him.
He was persistent to find that person who would recognise him. There was nothing that could convince the rider that there was nobody who would accept him, for he knew that there was. He could feel it in his heart, or what was left of the shrivelled, disused organ. Nothing moved on the landscape as the rider watched the dust settle. Anyone who crossed the rider would perish. They knew that and so did he.
Wind whipped across the landscape, blowing the rider’s hair. Eerily, his hair was the only thing that moved during the brisk breeze. Sand swirled across the ground, dancing and twirling merrily. It was putting on a show for all but the rider did not approve. With a snort the rider looked elsewhere and waited arrogantly for the elements to stop fooling.
Through the sandstorm like a mirage came a figure. It was male and he bore no weapons to protect himself with. The man did not seem to care about his own safety and with a sneer, the rider waited arrogantly as the figure of the man simply ambled through the sand. When he stepped in front of the rider at last, he looked the rider up and down as though he was studying him. The man did not move, merely looked. Sneering, the rider decided on something unusual, he was going to let the man talk rather than kill him where he stood. After all, it had been a while since the rider had been amused. Who knew, maybe this could be the man that would prove to be the one for the rider.
So, for a few minutes, both the men stayed still, studying each other.
Finally, the newcomer spoke. “Dusk. I’ve been following you for a long time. I’ve seen the things that you can do, the havoc you can wreak, and the terror you can establish. Aged sixteen, you are the perfect apprentice ...
...Join me, The Fifth Horseman. Join me as Dusk, but become Famine, my third horseman.”
The man stood still, seemingly waiting for something. Through the dust followed a magnificent dark horse. Its coat was that of a black blue sky at night, but without sight of any stars. It was as though the horse was just wrapped in a piece of the midnight blue sky. The man turned and beckoned the horse closer. When the horse was close enough, the man started to stroke his mane. The rider found the man strange, not just because the man was lovingly petting the mane of his horse, but because also there was a terror striking, driven look in his eye while he did so. That look brought back some unwanted memories back.
He was the smallest in his family – the youngest of seven brothers and sisters. Due to his age and size, nobody ever listened to him. What was the use of some of his ideas? He would never make it past the age of five if he carried on with these ideas of his to improve life. These ideas never worked, but then he was never given any help or consideration. It was always “Our youngest is raising cane again”. He was always the genius that was ignored. His family couldn’t accept that he could do these things, that he could make a difference. Due to how little his importance was to him, they always gave him the last pick of the food, with the eldest getting the most and the best. Often he would go days without eating anything substantial, yet he survived.
Then the village’s crops started to fail and their cattle were diseased. One by one, the whole village were picked off and they died from starvation. He managed to stay alive on the tiny rations he had. They were more and frequent, unlike his usual meals and so he was the last to be alive in his village. With nobody left, he moved onto another village. He became more and more powerful as he became more and more determined to find someone who would accept him.
The Fifth Horseman, as he had introduced himself to be, easily mounted his horse as the rider sat unmoving as he watched the man. With a sharp flick of the horse’s tail he turned and faced away from the rider. Dusk, as he had become known as, looked in disgust at the man before realising that he was being offered his dreams. Why should he deny the man who had offered him these things? There was no reason not to. If he did not go with the man, he would just continue to destroy cities and towns. No longer was this a fully satisfying hobby anymore. It was just something he did out of habit. Could he trust this man? He did not know, but how would find out soon enough.
Weighing up how worthwhile this investment could be to him, the rider on the black horse, who gave his identity Dusk away to become Famine, followed his new master to a promise of a rise to unlimited attention and control.