“Behold, the pale horse, and the man who sat on him was death…”

The men of Mammon walked out of the dungeons with an iron-clad retirement plan. It was still raining, but softly. Louis was standing at the ferry with a sour look on his face.

“Boy, take us across and wipe that expression off your face. Do you know how lucky you are to have this job?” Anton asked.

“Very lucky, sir,” Louis said with falsity. When they got to the shore, Anton slid into his black Jaguar; Sonny, his Ford Bronco; Jim, his Cadillac Escalade; and Ron, his Hummer H3. Louis tried to cover up a sneer, as he got into his Honda Civic. The sun came out for a brief moment when they were gone.

Jim immediately got into the shower. His beach house was see-through, designed by someone who didn’t believe in condemning others. “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” Jim was fond of saying. He didn’t use soap or shampoo, believing that his natural scent attracted people to him. It was blue skies and sunlight, an endless horizon, where his dreams were limitless, until he noticed a shadow in his shower that wasn’t his own; a knife, the blood, his screaming, no sound. His vocal cords were slashed; and the phone rang…

“Why doesn’t he pick up?” Ron asked. He was walking around in his bathrobe, smoking an unusually long cigar. There were coats of arms hanging on the walls, suits of armor near every doorway, Doberman pincers, alert, on the castle grounds. Clinking… strange clinking. “What’s that sound?” Ron asked. Arms were rising, sheathed in metal, holding a crossbow. WHISTLING… a bolt found its mark, right through Ron’s heart.

While this was happening, Sonny was riding around his ranch without a care in the world. He stroked his six-shooter and smiled. The sun was going down, beneath the lonely hills. Suddenly, they weren’t so lonely. A pale rider stood at the zenith of time, pulling a Winchester rifle from a scabbard, narrowing the peep-sight on the charismatic preacher with a smile; it was the smile of death and Sonny smiled back; what else could he do? And a sonic boom ripped through the atmosphere and into his lungs, gasping for air. “Hallelujah…Hallelujah…”

Amidst the Godly chorus of Death, Anton sat in his black house with the lights off, preparing to journey where he would never be found. His black key was a weight of worry around his neck as he tried not to think about killing his friends. The HMS Messiah was docked at the island, where Louis could help him unload the loot. When he got there, he gave two keys to the boy.

“Turn them on my command.”

“Yes sir.” They entered the treasure trove and loaded the ship. It took all night, into the wee hours of the morning. And Anton handed the kid another key. “I know you’re tired of driving that Civic. Here’s your reward.”

“For me?” Louis asked.

“A master always repays his servant.”

The boy got into the Cobra and Anton shut the vault doors. “With death…”

THE END

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