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The Four Horsemen

By:Tara Brown

One



The sound of hooves beating against the ground startles me. I look around the room but no one moves, they don’t hear it. A small, old woman with red eyes gives me an odd smile. Her face moves in a jerky motion, almost like a bird. She puts a gnarled old finger up to her lips. The finger rested upon her lips doesn’t stop the smile that is satisfaction in its purest form. She winks slowly, as if she is being slowed down by something, and then she is gone and the beat of the hooves surrounds me again. In the darkness, I see the horses’ feet but the dust they stir up in the room prevents me from seeing anything else.

A voice speaks out of the dust and finds me, “Free us, child. Free us so we may free them.”

I sit up abruptly, crying out from the ripping as my wings shoot from my back and spread the dust farther. I spin and shoot up into the sky. The room is gone and I am alone with the night’s sky, but there riding the cool breeze, I can hear the same whisper, “You will free us.”

I glance about, trying to see the man who whispers to me, but there is nothing beyond the darkness of the night and the stars in the sky. I look up at the stars, swearing I hear them whisper too. They sound like the fire witch when they whisper one word.

“RUNNNNNN!”

I open one eye to see a white ceiling. I don’t recall where I am for a second, and then as if my brain turns on or switches back from wherever the hell it went, I know I’m safe. I'm on the jet. We are flying from Rio. I have killed two devils and I am only five away from being free of the entire thing. It doesn’t help that the last two are my parents, my real parents. There are places in my heart where I love them. Old places that sit in the dark and wait to be loved back. I’m afraid I’ll die waiting.

I blink and lift my head to see the grin of a man that makes my heart skip a beat. He hands me a cup of tea, “How was your sleep, love?”

I sit up and clear my throat, “I don’t know. I never do.”

“How are the dead?”

I smile at him, “I guess they’re dead and waiting for me to do something, angel-ish... Is that a word?”

“No.” His dark eyes sparkle, “I wonder what magical thing they expect of you?”

I shake my head, taking the tea and sipping softly, “I don’t know.” Part of me wants to jump him and start something I have very naughty memories of, regardless of never doing it with him. The feelings of every one of my five lives living inside of me have become something of an issue. Sometimes we argue, sometimes we plot ways to get Constantine naked, and sometimes I just wish they would all shut the hell up.

I feel someone next to me move and look over to see Wyatt. My heart skips a beat for him, but then a wave of nausea hits and I smile. Feeling sick around him has become a bit of a trademark. The snarky comments in my brain make me smile. The five of us have a different opinion on the whisper of love residing in my heart. I try to block the other voices out. Personally, I want that Van Helsing, bad. The others want him too, but they don’t want sex; they want to peel his skin off. I actually got a visual from Ellie, it was bad.

Wyatt gives me an odd look, “You okay?”

I nod and sip my tea. He takes the cup from my hands and drinks from it. When his fingers brush mine I get a jolt of pain and sickness. He sees me wince, “Wanna handfast again?”

I am about to nod when Constantine makes a noise in his throat. I glance back at him, “Where are we going?”

Mona walks from the back of the jet with a huge grin, “The Alps." She says it like we have discussed it a thousand times; we probably have. She looks giddy, "I have never spent a Christmas away from my mother before. I think this is going to be very interesting.”

Michelle rolls her eyes, “Your mother is probably enjoying her first Christmas without Dick. If I were her, I’d be sleeping with everything that moved and getting drunk. I wish that’s where I was right now. Except maybe not with your mom, Mona. No offense.” She laughs from the seat behind Constantine as she sits up, fixing her blonde hair.

I nod, “Sounds about right.”

Constantine gives me and then her a disturbed look, “Says the nun and the angel. Whatever is this world coming to?”

Michelle giggles, twirling her hair and smiling wickedly. She would jump his bones, dead or not, in a heartbeat. He doesn’t notice the way she stares at him. It makes me smile. She hasn’t stopped wanting him since the moment she met him. She probably never will.

My back feels funny, itchy. I reach behind and notice the new tear in my shirt. My back is scratching on the houndstooth seat. Wyatt slips his hand inside of it and starts to massage the spot where the great white wings shot from.

I look back, ignoring the twitching of Constantine’s lip and the searing of my skin where Wyatt makes contact, “Does it feel different? Is the skin bumpy or hard?”

Wyatt shakes his head and looks inside of my shirt, “There are two marks though.” He lifts my shirt, earning a growl from Constantine. I sigh and shoot him a look. His jaw is clenched and his eyes are dangerous.

Wyatt chuckles, “Easy Fangs, I’m just looking.”

Mona sits next to Wyatt, “Oh my God, it’s a flower. You have two tattoos, one on either side. A flower that has petals made from inverted hearts and a pyramid in the middle. The All-Seeing Eye is there in the pyramid, you know like in that Tom Hanks movie, The Da Vinci Code? I think you just joined the Illuminati, seriously.” She looks at Constantine but it is Wyatt who speaks, “The harmony flower. It is a symbol of love, peace, and balance. A Buddhist symbol, if I am not mistaken.”

Constantine stands and comes to inspect also, “This is the first time I have seen this. You never had this before, Ellie.”

I glance at him, “Rayne.” His lips toy with one of his grins. I sigh, “No, I don’t recall tats before.”

Michelle gets up and I feel like I am on display as they all see it.

“That is wicked. You have wings and insta-tats? Dang dude. I should have sold my soul for some of that shit.”

I laugh bitterly but the other three look disgusted at her flippancy with the betrayal.

She blushes, “I just mean, well you know. This is awesome. Way awesome, compared to boobs.”

“You love your vagina,” I sigh and get up, “But instant tats is annoying. All of it is. I just want this to be over so I can start the term fresh and clean of it all.”

When I get to the bathroom, I look in the mirror at the beautiful tattoos and nod, “At least they’re pretty.” They are. The flower petals are light purple and the pyramid is yellow. They are delicate, and if anything, they improve my back.

I look back out at the four of them and laugh, “You guys look weird.” They do. Constantine looks like he might eat Wyatt, which would be a disaster for all of us. Wyatt looks like he might try to make out with me at any moment and Mona looks scared. Michelle looks jealous. She sort of always looks that way now. Everything is always about me and it drives her insane. Little does she know, I would trade with her in a second. I hate being the spotlight girl.

Mona gives everyone a glance, “I seriously can’t help but wonder about this all. How did Lillith get pregnant, and how did the virgin end up with you, and then how did you end up in an orphanage? None of this makes sense, Rayne. It doesn’t add up. You are an angel this time, and it feels like the first time to you? Why is that? Why didn’t you have wings when Lillith and Lucifer were your parents the first time?”

I sit at the back of the plane and watch them, “I don’t know. I guess because I never fought before. My father surprised me the first time. The second time he told me I had to die to save my mother. It was the only way. I believed him, but still I didn’t want to die. The third and forth time, I was born of a virgin when the world got so sick that nothing else could help it. Both times I died before I could fight back. The fourth time was especially…" I meet Constantine's eyes, "Awful." He nods slowly. I look down, "This time it would seem that I am theirs, but why did my mother give me up? Why didn’t she keep me in the garden and keep me safe?”

Constantine cocked a dark eyebrow, “Could it be that the elusive virgin who left you at the orphanage was your mother, and she never kept you in the garden because you have no soul? You couldn’t stay there; only the pure may enter.”

I open my mouth to answer, but it is impossible for me to know that. I close my eyes and try to remember her face. Dark hair and dark-grey eyes like mine. Her face was creamy and beautiful. She was a sight, delicate and stunning. It was no wonder my father loved her so. I nod, “She was young the last time I saw her, no more than twenty in looks.”

When I open my eyes, Michelle looks confused, “Your father too. He was handsome and young. I didn’t believe he was your dad. He was so beautiful.”

I nod, remembering his face all to well. “They don’t age then?”

Constantine snorts, “Do any of us?”

Wyatt snorts, “You look a little weathered.” Constantine fights something, maybe the urge to murder.

I laugh, "He's right. I think you are a little older."

Constantine's eyes flash hatred at Wyatt, but when they land on me, his lips toy with the grin that makes me squeeze my thighs together. “Well, I have only you to thank for my wrinkles and gray hair. Stress ages even the strongest of immortals.”

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