This is for the Lounge's birthday challenge for July, and the prompt I used was the clown.

Sound of Horses

Once the storm had started, the entire day was gray and rain and thunder and the city below kept going with its people jumping in and out of cars while others take cover from the rain. One particular flash from the sky wasn't actually a lightning bolt, but fell and blasted into the ground in a similar way, leaving smoldering chunks of concrete poking up from the landing.

Only two minutes later when a small crowd of people with two cops went looking for the noise and the falling star, something had walked away from it and left foot prints of some kind of gunk.

In a small clothes shop, the bell rang when the door opened and tapped it, signaling to the old man behind the cashier. He stood and greeted the dripping wet person that stepped in wearing clothes that were half cinders, even against the rain outside.

"Oh my goodness, sir? Are you alright?" The aging man, carrying an accent of France, stepped out from behind the counter to check on the sickly pale man with white hair.

The blank stare he gave back said he either didn't realize his own charred outfit, or didn't much care about it. "Yes, why? Did I do something?" Odd how what accent he had seemed devoid of all the other kinds.

"No sir, your clothes are all burnt. You need new ones."

He reached into a pouch on his waist and pulled out something round and shiny, "I can pay you." The coins he took from his pouch caught the shop owner's attention with their goldish tint, so the man walked toward the back for something better to wear. The owner scanned the coins, noting that he'd never seen the kind of detail put into them.

In the back, the pale man's fingers picked through multiple shirts, rising a chuckle at the sight of some of the pictures on their fronts and backs. "These people have strange tastes nowadays." He even saw a couple of shirts with the words "Happy Birthday!" in blaringly bright colors on the fronts. He finally settled on a fullly blank outfit of gray pants and a shirt, with only his black shoes having any kind of design on them he stared at, "Why is the letter L backwards?"

"Sir, what kind of coins are these?" The shop owner approached and continued shuffling the small circular metals in his hand.

"I don't really remember." the pale man voiced downward as he tucked in his shirt, "All I do remember is they're from the.....1300's? Yeah, somewhere in there."

There was a question held on the owner's tongue shown by his surprised stare. Pale man stared back, blinked twice, and smiled, "Oh right, it's the year 2010 now. Those are worth a lot then, so keep them."

He stepped back out into the storm without a care of the water and on down the glistening sidewalk. "Everyone looks normal, so the other three shouldn't be here."

Everyone for the most part looked so normal and various here, aside from the occasional cold one person had. Outside that, no one was at war or starving and he was glad of that. Out of curiosity of how all parts of the city looked, he cut into an alley and was hit with all the smells of wet garbage, something easily recognizable.

Well into the alley were sounds he took a moment to understand, then he realized it was an argument he was coming up to. His eyebrows connected together in a furrow once he found that a couple of men were chatting up an attractive brown haired woman, and she didn't want to talk.

There was another smell, but it could've just been more garbage. "What are you two doing? I don't think she's trying to be here."

The sound of his voice caught her sight before the other two, who turned their heads slowly with an annoyance and feeling of superiority. The bald uglier one with the tattoos waved his hand at him, "Go away, we're just talking with the pretty lady. Right, pretty lady?"

No response came from her other than a shake of the head, and her worried look, so pale man took a step closer. "Miss, would you join me?" He held his hand out in her direction, but not too close to the two guys.

When the second man turned to him completely, he realized that other smell. "We said we're just talking, now get bye bye or I'll make ya." This second person, under the thin black beard coming in, was so horribly pale he would be mistaken for an albino if not for the hair.

He dropped his hand and scanned the man. The smell returned and he saw a small hole on the front of his shirt matching a hole on the back of his jacket, "You, when did you get shot?"

"What?" scruffy spoke tiredly and looked to his buddy, "What's that got to do with anything?"

Baldie's voice broke out again, "Nothing, you got that fixed at the hospital. He's just a clown without the red and blue make up."

A hand going through white hairs, the stranger to the conversation almost sounded sad. "I don't really know how to tell you this, but you didn't get anything fixed." There was a moment of quiet, and then, "That shot killed you."

Baldie stared and smirked mockingly, "I don't think I heard a crazy use that before. Real original, now get."

The other continued his own joking and vaguely nervous grin, "Dude, that bullet looked worse than it-"

"Did you see a guy in red when you woke up at the hospital?"

"I-" His voice stopped immediately in his throat as a stutter at the mention, "Why? Your buddy?"

The pale guy shook his head and pointed to the man's bullet hole, also unknowingly sharpening his voice, "You died. He brought you back. That's why your heart and lungs work again, but the hole didn't heal. You even smell dead."

They both scoffed in a humored fashion and baldy reached behind, brandishing an empty handle. With a twitch of his thumb, the small knife popped out to be pointed at Palie. "I think you're one of them crazies, and I just thought, who listens to them when they say someone stole something?"

His partner grinned with a certain venomous glee and held onto the woman's wrist tightly. With baldy staring and closing in, he stared back to the woman, "M'am, my name is Leispyt, so please trust me on this."

She was trying to pry herself loose from the other's grip, but her head lifted to Leispyt's calm gaze. He smiled when she nodded barely. "Now poke him in the back."

Her eyes questioned him and her free hand brought up unnoticed. She balled her hand up and jabbed scruffy in the back hard, right on the wound, which brought a gasp and inhale from him. "You bitch!"

She glanced up to the voice to see his hand coming at her head, and in the next second she fell unconscious. Lei's smile eroded into a grimace, "Now she won't see."

Both of those left standing watched him closely when he raised a hand and the stench of the alley magnified so much that one's eyes began tearing up. The raised hand appeared in all sorts of putrid shades of colors, before baldie's knife rose in defense. "You still alive over there?" he seemed to speak to his side, to his partner.

When no answer came, he quickly turned his head and saw his bearded friend on the stained concrete, visibly melting into a sickening sludge. His head turned back and his knife began to swing at the air, "What the hell did you do?!"

After several moments of useless air cutting, he noticed his hand felt lighter and brought it close since he was being forced to squint. The entirety of the small bladed object had melted down to where his fingers met the metal handle. There was a sound from him like a yelp when he dropped it and took one look at that sickly pale person and ran, spouting jumbled words of fear before him and his voice vanished.

Though the woman couldn't notice it, the alley cleared out of the stink and he was at her side within moments to wake her. He checked her head where she was clubbed with the dead man's fist and only saw a bruise, then continued to nudge her and lightly pop her face, then seeing a small reaction of twitching eyes.

He sat on the concrete next to her for a while and his eyes dashed around the surrounding. "I hope the other horsemen didn't notice me."