Death, the Pale Rider and the most feared member of the Four Horsemen, has been searching through the centuries for a soul to save him from his solitary life.
In the 1700s, Gatian Almasia was rich and a sought-after member of Parisian society. No one realised he’d lost his reason for living three years earlier. When his sister accuses another nobleman of raping her, Gatian does what any older brother would do. He challenges the man to a duel, and kills him. Later that night, the dead man’s family takes their revenge on Gatian.
Gatian’s death is just the beginning of the journey he must take as Death, the Pale Horseman of Apocalyptic fame. While he doesn’t regret taking the nobleman’s life, the guilt of not being there when his lover died builds a wall around his heart, and until he accepts forgiveness, he must always be Death.
Pierre Fortsecue is a spoiled rich young man whose heart is broken by the man he thinks he loves. Finding himself alone in Paris, Pierre sinks into a haze of heroin. He gets a tainted baggie of the drug, and almost dies from it. Death arrives to take his soul, and something about Pierre touches the Pale Horseman, who steals him away to help heal.
As Pierre heals and Death begins to feel again, they begin to wonder if love really is the only emotion needed to overcome desolation and destruction.
His last thought was of Oliver, and he wished he would be seeing his dead lover soon, but Gatian knew he would be heading to Hell, not Heaven. Oliver had been innocent, and his only sin was caring for Gatian, not knowing what an utter bastard Gatian was.
* * * *
“Get up. We don’t have time for you to lie about.”
The voice tore through Gatian’s mind, and he jerked straight up, looking around for his opponents. Frowning, he realised he wasn’t in the alleyway anymore. The landscape surrounding him was barren, and looked like nothing Gatian had seen. He pushed to his feet, and turned slowly in a circle.
“Are you done?”
Finishing his circle, he glared at the slender silver-haired man standing there, his arms folded like he impatiently waited for Gatian to complete his circuit. Staring into the man’s blue eyes, Gatian barely swallowed his gasp as he noticed the colour filled the entire eye, with not pupil or iris.
“Who are you?” He often found attacking a person got him answers when they were more likely not to reply.
The man snorted. “You may call me Lam. You have been chosen, and I have to show you what your new job is.”
“Chosen? Where am I? I have never seen a place like this.” He motioned in a vague circle. “How did I get here?”
“You died in a back alley in Paris. Instead of being sent to wherever your judgement called for you to go, you were sent to me. I’m pretty sure you won’t like what you’re about to do, but it’s none of my business. I’m only here to teach you before you are sent out on your own.”
Lam whistled, and Gatian jumped when a pale grey stallion appeared out of thin air. The stallion snorted at him like it was saying hello. Gatian reached out to touch the horse’s nose. Jerking away from him, the horse shook its head. Obviously it wasn’t interested in him petting it.
“This is your horse.” Lam nodded in the grey’s direction. “Now that you’re Death, the Pale Rider, you need a mount.”
“Death? Pale Rider?” Gatian repeated, confusion pounding in his head.
Gatian remembered what else happened before he woke up in the strange place. He stretched, searching for pain or broken bones. Yet nothing hurt, and there were no wounds or blood anywhere.
“Is there a reason why I have no wounds or torn clothes?” Gatian grasped Lam’s arms and shook the man. “Who are you, and why am I not dead?”
Lam didn’t respond, and didn’t try to break Gatian’s hold. He simply studied Gatian with a sardonic twist to his lips. Gatian found he hated Lam, if only for his calm reaction to Gatian’s yelling.
When his anger settled back into coldness, he let Lam go and stepped back. He’d never gotten anything by losing his temper. He tampered all his questions and doubts down deep, and rested his hands on his hips.
“Where are we going? And tell me again what a Pale Rider is?”
“Nice try, my friend. I never told you once what a Pale Rider is, except that you’re the new one. You are dead, in the most fundamental way possible. You can never go back to your old life, and while all those you know will die, you will continue to live forever.” Lam paused, and tilted his head. “Or until you forgive yourself of all that guilt you’ve been carrying around.”
“Guilt? What guilt?”
Lam grinned, and slapped Gatian on the shoulder. “You can deny it all you want, but I can see it in the set of your shoulders, and the chill in your eyes. You did something you regret, and it’s been eating at you since it happened. Well, whatever it was, it’s brought you to this. As the leader of the Four Horsemen, you will be in charge of keeping the world in balance.”
Gatian shrugged. “I have no idea what you are talking about. Who are the Four Horsemen?”
“Climb on your horse, and come with me. I have a lot to teach you, and a short window of time to do it in.” Lam motioned to the grey stallion.
Should he go? Was this some sort of trick Gatian’s brain played on him? Could he be alive, but caught in his head somehow? Gatian swung astride the stallion, and smiled at Lam.
“Lead the way, Lam. I am sure you will answer all my questions in due time.”
Lam narrowed his eyes at Gatian like he understood Gatian wasn’t satisfied. Gatian kept his expression bland, not willing to give anything away. With a nod of Lam’s head, they disappeared.
Hope you enjoyed it. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.
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