Sunday, August 30, 2015

The First Horseman, Part One

Kate walked down the sidewalk, her hands shoved into her hoodie to fight off the cold of the night. Her shift at the hospital had ended some twenty minutes ago, a full hour after it was supposed to end.

Damn doctors didn’t look at the nurses as people but as disposable tools, and had no respect for their schedule.
This of course led to her missing her bus and had her walking down to a bar where one of her friends worked. She’d called ahead and he’d said he would give her a ride home after work, even going so far as to buy her a drink so she could sit at the bar proper. She had to admit, a daiquiri sounded lovely after the fourteen hour shift she’d just endured.
The sound of a can being kicked had her look around the deserted stretch of road, the chain link fence to her left extending behind her some two hundred yards while a series of apartments sat to the right. Looking into the darkness of an alleyway, Kate thought she could see the movement of a man getting up from the ground.
Pulling her hoodie tighter around her, she quickened her pace down the sidewalk, eyes facing forward as she listened to the scrapes of sneaker on asphalt. Looking back for a brief moment, she saw the man walking slowly about fifty feet behind her, a hood pulled up over his head with long sleeves covering his arms.
Reaching into her purse to grab her pepper spray, Kate continued on her way, trying to ignore the footsteps behind her that were slowly speeding up to match her pace.
Just stay calm Kate, she told herself, holding onto the can with her finger on the button. He’s probably just going to ask for some change. Yeah, that’s it!
Kate looked back once again, catching sight of something gleaming in the man’s hand. Panicked, she burst into a run, all thoughts of staying calm flying out the window. The man took off after her, his long legs allowing him to begin closing the distance slowly.
“Oh god, please!” She shouted as she ran. “Someone help me!”
But nobody came as she rounded a corner, slipping in a puddle of water and falling to the rough cement. In seconds the large man was upon her, large knife in hand. His eyes were wild and teeth a slimy yellow, with an unkempt beard and splotches of what appeared to be black spots on his cheeks. With one bony hand he grabbed her by the hair, yanking her up to stare into his eyes.
“You healthy?” He asked roughly, his voice sounding strained.
“What?” Kate asked, hands grabbing at his as he tugged on her hair painfully. He tugged extra hard.
“I asked are you healthy? Any diseases, sicknesses?” He asked, his voice hoarse.
“What, why?” Kate asked.
He pressed the knife to her neck and glared at her with a bloodshot eye. “Just answer me woman! Are you healthy or not?”
“Yes!” She shouted, panicking. “Yes, I’m healthy!”
“Good…” The man said, lowering his hood to reveal wispy strands of hair falling from his head. Patches of skin were peeling away from yellow skin, and with the hood off his face it was plain to see how sunken his eyes truly were. He let go of her hair and grabbed her right hand, twisting it behind her back until she yelped.
“What do you want, I have money! You can have it all!” She pleaded, shaking her head as tears threatened to spill from her eyes.
“Oh, I want something alright,” the man growled from behind her, his knife arm disappearing from view.
Kate grew nervous when the man gave a full body jerk, as if he were jabbed with a needle. “This may sting.” He said, before slashing her back with the knife, cutting through her hoodie and into her pale white skin. The wound was superficial, but it was enough to get blood spurting out of her.
She cried out, tears rolling down her cheeks, as one of his hands pressed over the wound. She barely even heard him when he leaned over and whispered in her ear. “You may want to remember this.”
She didn’t understand but as he straightened up, in a loud voice the man began calling out to the heavens. “First Horseman! I’ve done as was commanded of me and found a willing host for your glory! Please allow this humble servant the chance to reclaim what was once his, and to move on peacefully!”
A sudden crackle of thunder in the otherwise cloudless sky made the large man wince before crumpling over, falling on top of Kate and pinning her to the ground, the bloody knife clattering on the sidewalk.
Wriggling out from beneath the man’s bulk, she scooted away from his prone form, staring at him. Blood was draining out of his eyes and ears as well as his mouth at an alarming rate. Ignoring what he’d done to her, she crawled over to him and checked for a pulse.
She found none.
“Dead,” she said before wincing. Her back still stung from where he’d cut her. Reaching for her purse where it’d fallen, she fished out her cell phone and called the police, telling them she’d just been attacked by a man and been stabbed. Hanging up, she called her friend at the bar and told him what happened.
“Oh my god, are you alright?” He asked, the sound of a full bar in the background.
“Yeah, the bleeding is slowing down,” Kate said. She’d removed her hoodie and tied it around her waist, to where there was pressure over the wound. It wasn’t stitches, but it was something.
“Well are you still going to need a ride?” He asked.
“Yeah, but if you could pick me up from the hospital that’d be great,” she said sweetly.
“Only for you Kate, only for you. Listen, boss-man is looking this way so I gotta go. I’ll swing by around two thirty to pick you up, alright?” He said.

“Thank you Justin, I really appreciate it.” Kate replied with a sigh. She smied as she hung up, just in time for a police cruiser to come rolling up, lights flashing.

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