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The Horsemen - Chapter Two

by Chaser

In the streets of Kabul, a lone thief dashed the twilight. Slipping through the crowd, she dove through and ducked into a stone alleyway. Hiding in a broken crate, she waited until the sound of shouts and running had passed. Then, she stood up, and with a wary glance, slipped further down the alley. In her hand, she clutched a half-eaten apple.

“Little thief girl, stealing to survive,” a voice purred from long shadows. “Wouldn’t you like to take a rest? Or would you like the power to fly from this place?”

A diminutive woman stepped out of the darkness, cloaked in dusty robes. “I could offer you both, for a price.”

“Don’t try it, Mephist.” Long-fingered, emaciated hands grasped the doorway, the rest of the body ducking through. A ghoulish man stepped out and rose to twice their height. “Besides, I don’t believe she has anything to gain from us.”

“No need to tell me,” the woman muttered. “Still, isn’t it kind of strange? Meeting here so quickly.”

“Quite. Though Conquest is a little late, I’ve no doubt she’ll arrive shortly.”

“Should we just start without her?” The woman folded her arms and tilted her head up.

The man rubbed his chin. “We’ll create a beacon for rendezvous - by beacon, I mean disaster. It’ll be a good chance to scale ourselves against this physical reality.”

“Wonderful,” Mephist said. “Give me time to set up, then we’ll burn them together.”

The little girl guarded her apple, glancing between the two of them. “Who are you?”

The two monsters exchanged looks. “We’re the Four Horsemen of Death,” the man explained. “I would be Derega, Horseman of Famine.” He bowed nonchalantly.

Mephist chuckled darkly. “As for me, I am the indomitable Horseman of War, the destructor of mankind, Mephist the Red.”

She cocked her head, smiling. “How goes you?”

Derega nodded. “Together, we comprise the Four Horsemen, incomplete version.”

“Well, we’re the fun ones; Conquest didn’t even name herself. But enough about us.” Mephist clasped the girl’s hands. “What’s your name?”

The little girl jerked away from her. “You’re both scary,” she stammered, backing out of the alley. “Talking about death and that stuff! I don’t care-”

“No, nobody cares.” The girl’s back hit a solid object, and she looked up to see Derega looming over her.

“After all, if anyone cared,” Derega said, trapping the girl between himself and Mephist, “we would certainly not be here. This world will soon be forgotten at our hands, its contents obliterated to the stars. But you, you have a special role to play.

“Tell me who you are,” Derega coaxed, “and we will tell you who you are meant to be.”

“S-shirin,” the girl whispered, paralyzed by fear. “My name is Shirin.”

She swallowed and looked at them with tears in her eyes. “Who are you?”

“Disaster given form,” Derega replied. “A pleasure to finally meet you. Now, as for who you are, well.” He trailed off, seeming slightly amused.

“You’re the most important part of all this,” Mephist explained. “You’re our leader, Horseman of Death.”

Shirin’s terror came to a peak, and she fell down, bracing herself against the wall. “W-what?”

Derega spread his arms passionlessly to the sky. “You will bring about the destruction of this world, helming our onslaught as Death itself.”

He placed his hands against the sides of the alley. From his fingertips, a black rash spread like a virus, the stones crumbling to ash. Shirin watched as it climbed up the walls and surrounded her with decay.

“Stop it!” she screamed. “Just stop it! Go away!”

Mephist surged forward, gripping Shirin’s wrist. “Our leader shouldn’t be thinking that way. You’ve got a duty, after all, and it’s time you honored it.”

Shirin gasped. Mephist’s robes had fallen open, revealing a swirling red mass where her body should have been. It churned and glowed a deep crimson, shadowing Mephist’s face as she ordered, “Derega, wake her up.”

Derega brushed his fingers along the wall, blackening coldly. “We understand how this may be confusing to you. Death is a natural part of this world. The most inherent, the most innocent. But enough of that, Shirin. It’s time for you to wake up.”

His corrosive hand rushed towards Shirin’s face, until the world screamed into blinding white light.

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326 Reviews

Points: 19430
Reviews: 326

Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:59 am
fraey wrote a review...

Okay, I need to get this out of the Green Room, so here's a quickie review for ya.

First off, twists on the Four Horsemen are fun, so I'm intrigued by what you could do with this. Since they're centered around the apocalypse, I wonder if these characters are doing to be portrayed as the protagonists, or if the view will change to those that oppose them. Interesting stuff here that you could play with!

However, the transition from chapter one to chapter two is a little disjointed to me. To end on the death of some random baseball player by not even the Horseman labeled "Death" makes me hope that it wasn't some useless death? The reason being was that chapter was from the view of the now dead guy, which unless he'll appear again can cause a lukewarm ending since the first character introduced isn't actually the main character.

Also, I'm confused by what view this story will be written in. If third person omniscient, fine, but that first chapter was based around a single character. Yet, here, it's sort of based on Shirin, but I'd like more of her feelings if it's meant to be third-person limited.

I want to see more of her thoughts if Shirin is meant to be the main character. Maybe even an introduction of her running away from the people chasing her (I'm assuming because she stole), even if that's a little cliche because then we can learn more about her.

On a side note, I'm curious how Mephist knew right away that Shirin was a thief. Nice observation skills.

In this chapter, I want more description overall, like Holy said below me. With more info all around, the reader can picture these characters better and allow for a smoother transition from new characters being introduced.

Finally, I think the reveal of who she was is better suited for a later chapter since that would be a good twist to have in!

Good luck with the rest of your story! Hope this helped!

- concord

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480 Reviews

Points: 4282
Reviews: 480

Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:20 pm
Holysocks wrote a review...

Hello! Oh man, you've been waiting for a review on this chapter for quite awhile! Let me give you one! I haven't read the previous chapter, so I'll just be commenting on what I can see in this chapter.

First of all, this is a pretty intriguing concept! I'm not sure where exactly you'll be taking this story, but there's certainly tons of options! I also really like that the main character- or who appears to be the main character (but perhaps she's not) is nice and young! I don't think there's enough novels about young kids, in my opinion.

So the thing I think could use improving the most in this, is clarity. I found myself going back to read parts because I was confused about what was happening or who was talking or even how many people there were. The largest amount of confusion came from not knowing how many people were there and who they were. I didn't have a clear image in my mind that separated your characters well. Partly I think that happens when characters are introduced too closely together and when there isn't much... I don't want to say 'time' because I know that a description of a character can be short and sweet and it will stick with the reader till their grave. But I guess more like, it can get confusing when there isn't much of an opportunity for the reader to log that image of a character into their mind. For instance, introducing a character but perhaps not letting us know what the MC thinks of the new character, or giving us a little more of an impression.

But I don't know if that's what it is here. I think what actually made it hard to stay focused was to do with the dialogue. Right after we met Mephist, there was a bunch of dialogue and then even more by a completely new character. The dialogue was also really hard to follow, because it was like the two characters knew way more than us as the reader and weren't making any sense. I think some of that is okay in moderation, but there was quite a bit of this dialogue between those two characters that just didn't make a whole lot of sense. So my advice for the characters; try to have a bit more distinction between introducing characters. Either wait a little longer between introducing them, or give a little more time to describe the character (each character)- what they look like, how they sound, any obvious mannerisms they might have, how the MC or other characters feel about them, etc. And for the dialogue my advice is to try to make sure what's being said is easy for the reader to comprehend- make sure the reader has the tools/information either from your previous chapter(s) or from common sense, to understand what's going on. If that makes sense? It's hard to explain. And some mystery is good. Often when a character meets a bunch of mysterious characters, there's a tone of mystery, obviously! But you don't want to have it SO mysterious that the reader is actually just plain confused as to what's going on and what's being said.

“Together, we comprise the Four Horsemen, incomplete version.”

I liked how 'incomplete version' was tagged on there! It made me giggle! Because there was only two of them there- so it was like the fine print.

“You’re the most important part of all this,” Mephist explained. “You’re our leader, Horseman of Death.”

So, now I'm going to be a huge hypocrite here and say that I think this part should have been left to mystery a little longer in my opinion! For one, it's super juicy information that can totally be a "Oh my goodness, WHAT??" moment. And for two, I feel like it sounds realy sudden and strange coming out right then being like "Oh yes we're super scary and stuff and OH YES; you're one of us- we don't even know your name, but you're one of us!" It just seemed a little odd to me. And it's TOTALLY the perfect thing that you can keep a secret for a bit. They could even lie about why they're interested in her and have her believe that for awhile before the grand reveal! But that's of course up to you!

Anyways, I hope that was somewhat helpful! Keep it up my friend! I look forward to seeing more of you and your writing around YWS!


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Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:52 am
Ophetheos says...

Hello I'm in the process of writing a review for will just take a bit of time if that's okay?

The moral of Snow White is never eat apples.
— Lemony Snicket