The Fourth Horseman: Death / Midnight
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind her. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
Black skies filled the view over the land. Where at one time this place was full and merry, now it only dead. The rider on the pale horse stood tall over the ruins of the city. Even now there was the occasional cry for help, pleas to be saved. They went unattended. It was sad that only pieces of the architecture were left in piles of destroyed stone. The end of the world was not all that far away, with every city the rider visited being nearly disintegrated before she left. Pain saturated the air and the rider took deep, gleeful breaths in. She was the worst force on the planet and nobody had the power to stop her.
Before she left and moved on, the rider glanced back over the remains of the city. There was nothing special about the place and now because of the rider, there never would be. It was the dead of the night and nothing moved any longer.
This city would never achieve what the people who had lived between those walls had hoped that they might one day achieve. The rider giggled softly as she thought about that and the wind carried the laughter across the plain like a feather on a breeze. Memories would haunt these rocks for decades to come and it made the rider smile to know that nobody else had survived. Nobody ever suspected her. To everyone she had ever met, she was just a wandering traveller, looking for something. Everyone always assumed that it was money she was after, but this was not so.
All the rider wanted was what she had been denied in her childhood. Knowing that there was someone out there that owed her was torturing her inside and yet her pastime kept her happy. She knew he was out there, she just had to find him and do to him what he had done to her.
Their hair never moved out of place in the rasping winds. Dust and other things blew around, but nothing seemed to touch the rider.
A hazy figure walked between the piles of what used to be buildings. Occasionally on the journey towards the rider, the figure would stop and examine one of the collapsed houses. Only after a minute or two could the rider see him clearly enough to realise that the man was a male. He walked with an air about him, as if he knew all about the world and everything that had ever happened. His face was filled with fascination, the rider assumed for her handiwork. Eventually, the man came face to face with the rider. They studied each other, neither moving in the insistent wind.
Both of them were waiting for the other to talk first.
Finally, the newcomer spoke. “Midnight. 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 fifteen, you are the perfect apprentice for me...
...Join me, The Fifth Horseman. Join me as Midnight, but become Death, my fourth horseman.”
A horse trotted through the musty atmosphere and stopped next to the man. The trotting of the horse’s hooves were all that filled the air now that the screams and pleading had stopped. A blue sheen covered the horse and reflected what little light there was left. Standing in the same position the man had from when he had first stepped foot right in front of the rider he turned and lovingly petted the horse’s mane. The fire in the man’s eyes brought back pain and memories that she had pushed to the back of her mind, yet haunted her every dream, turning them all into nightmares.
She was no different to any other child in the village. She never stood out, but she was content with what she had. Her family were close knit and all lived close by. Popularity wise, she was one of the most popular. Many people loved her and enjoyed her company for she was a lovely child. So why was it that it was her that was picked upon that fateful night? She had been playing in the nearby woods with some friends and when they had been called inside, she decided to do the same and go back home. No troubles poked and prodded at her for she did this most nights. Nobody expected anything out of the ordinary or knew what to do once it had happened.
As she reached the end of the woods and her house, she heard a horrible, terror-stricken scream. At first, she did not know what to do. Nobody ever screamed before and there was nothing playful about the sound. Advancing carefully, she came to the edge of the woods and looked out into the clearing between all the houses. Someone had slaughtered her family and she had arrived just in time to watch the finale.
The rider blinked hard and refused to play through any more of those memories. She looked about and saw that the rider had mounted his horse and was skilfully controlling the majestic being. He turned to look at her as his horse began to walk away and shot her a meaningful look. Midnight, as she was known to any lucky survivors of her destruction, just sat on her horse and stared. This man was offering her dreams to her on a plate and all she needed to do was go with him. The nicer version of her spoke up inside her and told her that it would be rude to refuse. Her destructive version told her that the idea brought what she wanted, so why did she not take it immediately? After all, her pastime was beginning to bore her now. She made her decision.
Weighing up how worthwhile this investment could be to her, the rider on the pale horse, who gave her identity Midnight away to become Death, followed her new master to a promise of a rise to unlimited satisfaction and control.