The Pale Horse

Prologue

"Have you found your life, my liege?" Dia asked him as he walked into the cavern.

"Yes, I believe I have."

"You are going after her are you not?"

"Summon your sisters," he commanded, "It will take all of us to take her on. She will not escape us this time." His black eyes gleamed.

Dia was about to leave to her master's bidding when she looked at him. His long black hair was swirling unnaturally in the air behind him. His dark cloak seemed to sway in an nonexistent breeze. For a moment she swore she saw a smile on his face. The smile distorted his face to where she could barely recognize him. It made his face softer and gentler.

The corner of her mouth lifted upwards. She could not remember the last time she had seem him smile. Though perhaps he had smiled some time when she had been asleep. She knew why he smiled. She was happy that her master had found a reason to smile. Death did not have many reasons to smile.

As she continued to journey out of the labyrinth of caverns, a quiet laughter echoed all around her. Soon enough she was laughing as well. Life was finally returning to Death.

It all happened so fast that she didn't know what happened. One minute she was laughing in the car with her friends, the next there was the sound of metal crunching and someone screaming. She was no longer in the front seat of her friend's car, instead she was lying on something cold and hard. Had she been thrown from the car? She had been wearing her seatbelt. Everyone had been wearing one. Faith's car didn't move unless everyone was buckled in.

She tried to open her eyes. It took her several tries. The moon was shining and in the pale light she could barely make out the contoured shape of Faith's silver Toyota. It was lying in the ditch upside down. There was no movement coming from the wrecked car. Please, she thought, don't let them be dead.

She couldn't move her body. It felt as if there was a huge weight on it. She wanted desperately to see how her friends were doing. Were they alive? If only she could move.

In the distance she could hear the whine of the ambulance siren. Who had called it in? She then remembered that there had been another car. It must have been the people in that car who had called for help. How had they fared so well when she was laying, most likely in a pool of her blood, on the pavement and her friends were still trapped in the car?

After a few seconds the whine of the siren got closer and finally stopped. She could see the blues and reds of the flashing lights on top of the ambulance reflected on the shattered glass laying around her. Hurried footsteps came up behind her. A cool hand gently touched her neck, feeling for a pulse.

"This one's gone. Check the car!" A gruff male voice said above her. No, she wanted to cry. I'm still alive! Her body still wouldn't move. A cloth of some kind was laid over her. It did nothing to help dissipate the chill that was starting to creep into her body.

Threw a small gap between the cloth and the ground she could glimpse EMTs and firefighters running towards the shadow shape of the Toyota. Using the Jaws of Life, they cut threw the wreckage and started reaching in. She waited impatiently as they drew something out of the car but she couldn't see who it was.

All of the workers were obstructing her view. A stretcher was brought in and a body was placed upon it but before she could glimpse the face a cloth like the one placed on her was pulled over it. A pale hand fell off the side of the stretcher as they hauled it out of the ditch.

She wanted to throw up. It was a left hand and on the index finger was a ring with peridot gem. She knew exactly who it was. It was Alexandra. She had been riding behind Faith in the back seat. She had been telling a joke when disaster had struck. Alex, the youngest of them, was dead.

She didn't want to know more. She already knew for certain that the others had to be dead too. Hanna and Faith. She just wanted to scream until the pain stopped. Why did it have to be them? Why couldn't it have been the people in the other car? All of them had had so much to live for. They hadn't even started college yet. Why did she have to suggest one last shopping trip before they all went to their respective colleges? All she had wanted was one last day spending time with her best friends.

She couldn't tear her eyes away from watching as they dragged the bodies of Faith and Hanna from the wreckage. Why couldn't she shut her eyes? Why was she being forced to watch? Was it because she was the only one still alive? No, the EMTs already thought she was dead. If she was dead, why couldn't she move?

"Shhh, Rhiannon," a soothing male voice reassured her. A hand slowly drew the shroud from her face while the other hand lifted her face to look at him. Though her face was moved she couldn't look away from the bodies of her friends.

"Look at me," the male voice commanded. She looked at him. Black eyes stared back at her out of the handsome face of a young man. She wanted to ask him so many questions.

"You are not dead," he stated matter of factly, "but neither are you alive. You are caught in between. Your heart is beating so slowly that they could not feel it beat. I'll give you back the ability to speak if you remain calm. It would not do you or your friends any good if you start to panic. Blink twice if you understand." She blinked twice.

He gently touched her forehead with two of his fingers and Rhiannon could feel the heaviness lessen around her mouth. She experimentally opened her jaw several times.

"Better?" he asked.

She looked at him and hoarsely replied, "Yes."

"You said I'm not dead right?"

"That is correct."

"Can you send me back?"

"Unfortunately I have no dominion over life. The only thing I can do is stop your heart."

She looked back at the wreckage. The EMTs had been busy working at getting the two other bodies out. Three tears leaked out of the corner of her eye. She couldn't stop the onslaught of tears that followed. All the stranger did was hold her to him while she cried for the lost lives of her friends.

"What is going to happen to me?" she asked threw her tears.

"What happens to all the recently dead. You have the choice to either accept your passing and the passing of your friends and move on or decide not to accept it and wander the world as a spirit haunting this stretch of road for eternity," he coolly answered.

She didn't like either of those choices. All she wanted was to be back in the car laughing with her friends and having a good time. She did not want to be dead.

"Most people who die do not want to," he paused, "But, unlike most people, you have a third choice." She waited for him to elaborate. He looked into her light blue eyes and continued, "Your third choice is that you can come with me." A light gleamed faintly in his dark eyes for a moment and Rhiannon wondered if she had imagined it.

"Who are you?" she asked uncertain.

"Have you not figured it out? No matter. The recently departed are often confused." He sighed and a low tone said, "I am Death, my dear girl. Welcome to my world."

As he said that he quickly lifted her into his arms and drew his obsidian cloak around her. Just before the edges of the cloak drew shut around her, she could feel the warmth seep out of her and be replaced with a coolness that would later become her constant companion. In her fading consciousness, the beating her own heart grew louder until it seemed to echo. It beat a few more times until it beat for the last time. That was when darkness took her.

AN: This is the start of a new story. I've had the idea for a year and half now. I had started it before but when my computer crashed I lost it. Oh well. I think this version is a lot better. Also this story is based off of four names that three of my friends and I have for each other. You'll figure out the names the next chapter.