The Horsemen (part 2)

        Famine stepped out of the park and despite hearing the howling of dogs, he felt calm. He knew his reflexes were faster, he just was not sure what else had changed. He walked down the streets, silently hoping for a gang member to show up and test him. He did not have to wait long. A huge thug walked straight at him. His face was covered in poorly drawn tattoos and he had the same sharpened teeth as the woman from the park. He cracked his knuckles loudly as he got closer. As soon as he was within arms reach, he lunged.

        Famine dodged the huge man easily, slashing his arm with the wise woman’s dagger. He watched with a morbid fascination as the man stumbled. His skin grew taut and his body seemed to wither as he fell. He was dead before his body hit the ground. Nobody who saw the body would have believed that he was a burly thug just seconds ago. His skeletal frame bore no resemblance of his former self.

Famine gasped suddenly as he felt warmth flood through his body. He looked the same, but he felt so much stronger. The realization dawned on him. He had gained his victim’s strength. He could inflict famine like symptoms on whoever he deemed deserving and he would benefit from it. The wise woman was right, he would restore balance to the end. He knew the tugging sensation was guiding him to one of the others.

He turned away from the body and walked towards the tugging. The longer he walked, the stronger the sensation got. At one point he could feel the tugging coming from two different directions, but he continued on the first path. After his second encounter with a gang member, this time a woman, word started to spread about the stranger with the deadly dagger. Soon enough, the streets were deserted.

* * *

        Famine walked for days before he reached the next city over. He never realized how much he took modern conveniences like cars for granted. The extra strength he had gained from killing the thugs was spent. He searched for a secure spot to spend the night, every inch of this city seemed to be covered in filth. He eventually had to settle for a dilapidated building, knowing his options were limited. He kicked as much of the trash away from his corner as he could before laying down.

        Unlike before, his dreams were empty. He no longer dreamed of the disease or the destruction the end had brought. For the first time in a long time, he woke up feeling well rested and ready to face the day. The tugging feeling had grown steadily stronger as he entered the city. He was sure that he would find one of the four today.

       As he walked, Famine realized it had been days since his last meal and he was still going strong. He scrunched up his face in confusion, considering this new ability. He wished he had asked the Indians more questions before they left him, but he was not positive he could even put his thoughts into words right now. He never expected to be anything more than a normal survivor, barely scrapping by.

        He wandered through the city aimlessly, the tugging was fairly strong now but it just showed him the general direction. He had no clue who he was looking for. They told him he would know the others when he found them, but he had yet to see anyone out of the ordinary. As the sun crept higher into the sky and the humidity increased, he grew steadily more discouraged and angry. The Indians had to know more than they let on. Why were they not more willing to help him?

        He was so consumed with anger that he stumbled over the legs of an elderly man. The man looked like he could have been one of Famine’s victims. His skin hung in loose folds over his knobbly joints. His clothing hung in tattered rags, barely covering his body. Famine pulled back as the old man started to cough, spraying blood and spittle on the sidewalk. Fear shot through him as memories of the end resurfaced. He had no clue if his new found talents would protect him from disease.

        Famine turned to run away from the man, only to bump into a small child. The girl had her pale blonde hair tied back with a string. Her eyes were a piercing blue, the kind that could see straight into your soul. Famine knew immediately that she was the reason he was here. He watched in wary silence as the child knelt next to the diseased man. She completely ignored his raspy coughing as she checked his temperature. It took every fiber of Famine’s being not to jerk the girl away from the dying man.

        The girl did a hasty check of the old man’s vitals. She could always tell who was going to die and who was going to get better. A few months ago, her mother had fallen ill. She was forced to watch her mother deteriorate before her eyes, helpless and alone. One morning she could tell her mother’s time was near. She held her mother’s hand and could feel life leave her. Her mother’s breath came in ragged gasps. The girl prayed for a way to help her mother.

        The girl closed her eyes and drew a deep breath, just like she had for her mother. She breathed in the man’s disease, taking the pain from his body. Tears streamed down her face as his pain entered her body. Relief flooded the old man’s face as he drew his last breath. She winced as his life ended. She knew she was helping the sick, but being the one to help people along was a lonely road.

        Famine stepped forward and caught the girl as she fell backwards. Her eyes rolled back in her head and she shook slightly as the pain rain through her body. He watched in horror as roaches and flies appeared all around them. As soon as the bugs disappeared in the street, the girl rose shakily to her feet. She stared at him apprehensively, sensing that something was off about him.

        “My name was Ben, I am now known as Famine. I was sent to find three others and I believe that you are one of them. I think you are Pestilence. We are supposed to bring an end to this way of life. I’m a little bit foggy on the details,” Famine stated awkwardly.

        The girl watched him for a second before nodding. She had nowhere else to go and no one that would miss her. She motioned for him to follow her back to her hideout. They would need supplies for their journey.

Jessica

(Just in case you missed part one here it is:

wingswordsblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/the-horsemen/?preview=true )

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