The apocalypse has begun.
Death stalks Sara and not in a metaphorical way. More like the literal, move out of your house and get a restraining order kind of way. When Sara reveals she has the ability to see him, he becomes fascinated. Unfortunately, Death shows his interest by trying to kill her. Repeatedly. Each failed attempt only increases his enthusiasm.
Sara soon realizes the news reports of werewolves, zombies, and plagues can mean only one thing: The Heavenly Seals in the Book of Revelations have been broken.
All this happens just when her wasteland of a love life seems to be showing signs of improving. Matt, the cute cop who responds to her 911 calls, gives her fantasies of a happy future. Maybe one that involves handcuffs. Before she can build a new life, she has to survive Death’s infatuation and stop him from unleashing the End of Days, Biblical style.
Adult language, some violence, and gore.
And the Lamb Broke the Fourth Seal
Some people thought the world would end in a zombie apocalypse. They would swear their friend’s sister’s boyfriend was eaten by a zombie. It would take more than some fifteen-year-old’s shaky phone video to convince me. Don’t even get me started on vampires or werewolves causing the End of Days. Just because there was a meme or news story on some website didn’t mean it was real.
It might look like a duck and quack like a duck but I wouldn't call it Daffy. Take, for example, the vampire who currently sat outside my door and was begging me to invite him inside. I could have looked at him and thought, Huh, my cheating husband was turned into a vampire tonight. Vampires have taken over the world. It’s the End of Days.
Except he looked like a man playing a vampire. David’s razor-sharp teeth and the blood on his face looked real enough, but he was the embodiment of a bad actor with poor timing. His director—the dude in the yard who wore what looked like a black dress and a smirk on his face—sat astride a pale horse. At first glance, you’d think he was cosplaying Death, but something told me he was the real deal. The monsters on the news were merely the opening act for that guy.
"Please, baby, I need you to let me in," David said. His whiny voice grated on my nerves, but it was a good move on his part. I mean, it might have worked on me before. I would have welcomed the thought of eternity with the man I loved, my soulmate. We could have gone off into the night, biting and loving, la la la. But the douche-viper had left his cellphone at home when he went off tonight to his 'business meeting.' Mandi, a blonde he worked with, had texted him to say she couldn’t make it to dinner, but she would meet him at the hotel later. *Kiss kiss*
A bottle of wine, a whole lot of tears, and a couple of hours later, he’d shown up at our door. One glance at his current dead—or rather, undead—state, and the fact that he looked and smelled like he had been dumpster diving in his favorite power suit, led me to believe he hadn’t made it to the hotel for their rendezvous. At least the garbage covered up the smell of smoke permanently ingrained in the Armani Exchange suit he’d bought at a fire sale shortly after the store literally had caught on fire and burned half their stock.
"Sara, we can be together, forever, young and beautiful lovers eternal."
Really? His promise to be faithful to me hadn’t even lasted ten years of marriage, and he was talking about eternity?
"Screw you, your blonde tramp on the side, your little costume-wearing friend back there, and the sickly-ass horse he rode in on."
Not accustomed to my standing up for myself, David stood there with his mouth open. Throughout our marriage, I'd sacrificed everything to make him happy. I’d worked overtime at a job I hated to maintain the lifestyle he wanted, sucked up to our snooty neighbors because he thought I needed to make more of an effort to fit in with them, and I’d even moved away from my only friends to this town so he could get the job he had wanted.
This was what I got in return. I was distracted with disgust at myself for letting people walk all over me all my life, so I'd missed when the Horseman went from looking at me with a startled expression at the end of my driveway to standing right in front of my door. I yelped and stumbled back when I noticed him.
"You can see me?" From a distance, I thought he could have been related to me, with the same dark-brown hair and eyes and Asian flattened nose, but up close, I realized there was nothing average about this Rider. We shared some features, but while my eyes were brown with flecks of gold, his were one solid color: black. If eyes were a window to his soul, he must not have had one. This guy oozed darkness.
I remember you. Where the hell did that thought come from?
"Hello?" I said. "Not blind here. Yes, I can see you."
"That is not possible. No mortal can see past my veil."
He was handsome and self-assured, usually an attractive quality in a man, but looking at him made my knees weak, and not in the good way.
"Veil’s lifted, buddy. Rose-colored goggles disappeared a few hours ago with a text message. Now get the hell out of here and take your little puppet with you."
His astonishment at my being able to see him was the perfect opportunity to slam the door in their faces. I started to close the door, but stopped out of reflex when my husband tried to stick his hand in to stop me. His fingers were frozen at the threshold. He looked like a mime trapped by an invisible wall.
Huh. Guess the CDC had been right when they had said the monsters hunted at night and couldn’t come in unless invited. I wasn’t really sure why invitations would matter to a monster, but seeing David's current state added a ring of truth to the government’s claims they were actually humans on some new illegal drug, hallucinating and becoming violent when they thought they had been turned into zombies, vampires, werewolves… and I think the latest was a Yeti. They called the drug Draino, because when you used it, you and everything around you got sucked down the drain.
Most of mainstream America bought into the government’s spin of a new drug on the scene, but I wasn’t fooled. Knowing this didn’t really help me with the problem on my doorstep though.
"Sara, baby, please? Let me in. I love you. Nothing happened, I swear. She didn’t mean anything to me."
He was pathetic in his rumpled, blood-stained suit. He still wore that stupid skinny tie that made him look like a wanna-be hipster. The fingernail scratches on his cheek hadn't been there when he'd left the house. God, there was even lipstick on his collar. Even as a vampire the bastard couldn’t put me first. He’d already fed off someone else. I hoped it was the bitch he’d gone off to meet.
"Fuck you, you unfaithful prick. I bent over backward to make you happy. No more! At least I won’t have to file for divorce since you’re all vamped out. I’ll save a shitload of money in lawyer’s fees."
A pink VW Bug with daisy hubcaps pulled into my driveway. There were flowers and butterfly stickers all over the hood and a familiar blonde behind the wheel. She damned near hit the horse, who looked to be on his last legs anyway.
She screamed before she unfolded her long, thin legs out of the car. "I knew it. You stood me up for her. How could you do this to me?" I couldn’t decide if her voice was more a whine or wail. Either way, she didn’t sound happy. Not that I really cared. She had been screwing my husband, after all.
Who knew a man’s taste could vary so much? We were polar opposites. She was tall, thin and could only be described as cute. Almost perky. I’d hated her from the first day I’d met her, ten years ago in his office.
I saw the moment when the Pale Rider realized what was happening. He looked at her, then at David, and finally to me. "Three women? He must have been quite the Lothario."
Lothario, cheating bastard. To-may-to, to-mah-to.
Wait, did he say three? I shoved that tidbit to the back of my mind.
"He loves me. We’re soulmates. He’s leaving you. We’re going to be together for eternity, bitch." Mandi-with-an-i still hadn’t figured out something was amiss in her little fairytale life. This might be fun to watch.
The Rider turned from me and looked at my husband. It was as though the Horseman reached out and gave him a little shove. David turned to Mandi, and I realized I had to warn the little ditz.
"Mandi, get back in your car and drive away. He’s a vampire. He’ll hurt you."
She actually stuck a hand in the air and shook her head back and forth before she said, "Talk to the hand, 'cause the head ain’t listening. He told me about you. You’re the only vampire here. You’re always nagging him and sucking the life from him and spending his money. He would be successful if it wasn’t for you ruining his life. The only one who sucks around here is you."
My mouth opened, but no words could form. Me? Sucking the life from him? Was she kidding? My salary paid the bills. His job was all commission and he hardly made a sale throughout our relationship. If it hadn't been for my working my ass off to pay the mortgage, he wouldn’t have been able to go to school and get that insurance sales job where he had met the little home wrecker.
So, yeah, I would like to think it was shock and hurt that stopped me from warning her again, but I have to admit a small part of me wanted that bitch to get what she really wanted: Him. He walked over to her… no wait… yuck, he glided, like some cheesy vampire in a B movie.
She squeaked, "Baby!" before she threw her arms wide open for him, but then she jerked away in horror when she saw his fangs.
I didn’t want to save the traitorous bitch who’d slept with my husband. Sure, I felt bad for her, just not bad enough to risk my neck, no pun intended. I mean, I had tried to warn her about him. She was the one committing adultery with David.
But did she deserve to die for her sins? My conscience nagged at me.
David yanked her to him. Her arms flailed uselessly. She screamed but was unable to stop him. He sank his teeth into her neck.
Damn it. Her little whimpers were too much. I had to do something.
I looked around for a weapon, and my eyes settled on the iron cross on the wall. We had bought it more as an art piece than for religious reasons; it went really well with the rustic decor of the room. I ripped it off the wall and held it up in front of me before I stepped out the door.
"Get off her, asshole."
I tried to keep from turning my back on the Horseman who hadn’t strayed far from my door, but I needed to get closer to save the little idiot. To my surprise, when I turned the cross in his direction, the Horseman disappeared and ended up back on his horse.
I swung the cross back toward my husband, and he looked up and hissed at me. The man was a walking, breathing—okay, not so much any more—punchline. Mandi’s body made a surprisingly loud thud on the driveway for such a little thing. Silicone must be heavier than I thought. Her whimpering let me know she was still alive.
"Mandi, get up. Put your shirt on your neck and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Do it, now."
Kneeling down, I reached out for Mandi with my left hand while the right held the cross up high. I didn’t dare take my eyes off my husband or the Horseman, who now looked almost bored at the end of my driveway. Hopefully, she had listened to me and wasn’t bleeding out all over the place.
Miraculously, she was still alive and able to stand. She clung to my hand like we were besties out for a day of shopping, and we backed toward the house.
"I thought he loved me," Mandi said with a pathetic whimper.
"Yeah, join the club. Now shut the hell up and get into the house." I yanked her hand, and we stumbled up the steps.
"You can’t escape me. I will be back for you. You are mine. Our love is eternal." The man tried, he really did try to be threatening, but in his disheveled, stinky and clichéd shape, he just wasn’t.
"You talking to me or to her? ‘Cause you know, your eternal love seems to be going around." I was so on with the snappy comebacks tonight. Usually the snarky replies came to me hours too late. I felt for the doorknob behind me and shoved Mandi through the door, nearly tripping over her in my haste to get inside.
Mandi yelled, "You used me, you bastard. I hate you! Stay the hell away from me. I hope the sun comes up and fries you in your sleep."
Whoa. Mandi had a mean streak. Who knew the little blonde had it in her?
"No need to wait for the sun. He’s useless to me since neither of you would succumb to him. One out of three." He ruefully shook his head. "Usually I collect all, but I’ll see you again. Time to face Hades, David." The horse reared and a burst of flame flew from the Horseman’s hand toward my now screaming husband.
He was on fire. Song lyrics popped into my head, one of those old disco songs from the seventies: burn that mother down. That was all I could think while I watched the unfaithful bastard I had married turn to ash.