Fourth Horseman Intro. & Index

If the Dustbowl can’t erase the regrets that haunt the Fourth Horseman, it’s unlikely the tequila will. Besides, what’s Armageddon without Death?

First, an introduction.

Hidely-ho, reader. I’m the writer best known as David Mark Brown and the infamous RedneckGranola. You may know me from such websites as www.thegreenporch.com or www.onetruepants. But currently you have stumbled upon my greatest achievement.

Reeferpunk is my self-created genre description (a sort of weird-Western, alternate history, 1920′s, humorous adventure thriller thing). Go here for more on that. These short stories take place in the same alternative history as the novels and sometimes involve major and/or minor characters. They are supplementary (but not necessary) to reading the novels and vice versa.

Join the Revolution!

No longer do good stories have to comply to the button-down world of publishing! You won’t find these bad boys behaving themselves under YA Paranormal or Mystery/Thrillers. Reeferpunk stories are written to blast apart retrictive confines of convention while still adhering to the classic elements of story-telling, the tried and true practices that carry us to the edge of of our seats, make us laugh and make us cry. I’m particularly fond of the characters that you will get to know and love over the next decade’s worth* of Reeferpunk.

*The first book will be cataclysmically good. The next three will be somehow even better. I’ll grow fat on my wealth of penny rolls (I like my money in shiny form) leading to a blase fifth book, then rebound for the sixth, seventh and eighth. The ninth will be a terrible attempt to take the characters into space on a diesel-powered locomotive (only read it if intoxicated). And blah, blah, blah.

Reading the Fourth Horseman

By reading this page you are preparing to embark on a bizarre tale of death’s mid-life crisis. Hey, it happens to all of us, even when working out of the Valley of Megiddo, and riding an immortal horse. But oh, the prose! You’ll want to cross-stitch the first few paragraphs and hang ’em above the toilet. And the irony in this bad-boy of a story is as ripe as a a July melon. Mmmm, melon.

The Fourth Horseman is divided into ten haunting scenes depicting the stark reality of the Dustbowl (the alternate reality one of Reeferpunk) and the twisted mental state of a soul employed as the harbinger of death for a bit too long. A little artsy-fartsy, The Fourth Horseman is all about finding purpose in life, even when it’s death. And who among us don’t need a bit more of that?

Follow these links for more on ReeferPunk or Fistful of Reefer, the first book in the series. And enjoy the show!

4th Horseman: part 10

Fantastic lights, an aurora of color, fanned around the fringes of his peripheral vision. Everything jarred up and down as if he were running. He breathed heavily and laughed in between each gulp of breath. The laughter startled him. It was not his own. He tried to move his arms but could not. This was his dream, but not his body. And he was not in control of it.

Tree branches rushed by one after another whipping him. He felt every sting as a secondary response, as if he had to recognize that it had happened first and then experience the reality of it. Steps came unevenly with unexpected landings– some short, some overdue. By accident, he bit his tongue and tasted the blood of it. Then more laughter.

He stumbled and summersaulted into brush, before scrambling back to his feet. His hands were covered with blood. His whole front was covered with blood that was not his own. Hounds bayed in the distance followed by a gunshot. More laughter. What mysterious mirth. Finally he reached a covered porch and burst through the front door.

An oil lamp hung above a table creating a sunburst of rainbow color rimming his vision. Odors of putrefaction, bleach, sawdust and kerosene filled his nose. On the table sat several wooden crates overflowing with sawdust. Bright red stains in process of being scoured away with bleach spotted the table’s surface. He skidded on his knees into a corner of the room where a hatch leading under the floor had been left open.

“Goodnight, my pets” he said in a voice not his own, slow movements visible in the shadows below. He closed the trap door and drug a bookshelf over the top of it. He paused to run his fingers over a journal titled, “My Encounter with Death, and Why He Spared Me.” He straightened, took a deep breath, and admired himself in a cracked mirror hanging above the bookshelf.

Death knew the face looking back at him wasn’t his own, but it was familiar. He ran his fingers through his hair, tidying it. Then it struck him. Death, conscious that he was dreaming, realized he was looking at the face of the boy from the Model T, twenty years older.

The boy, a man now, strode toward the table, picked up the lid leaning against the first crate and secured it in place with a wooden mallet. Son of a… He shifted to the second crate and did the same. That little devil. Then the third crate, the fourth, fifth and eventually the sixth. Each crate contained a severed right arm.

Death woke up slowly, feeling nearly paralyzed. He opened his eyes, then closed them, rubbed away the sleep with his hand. He sat up and tried to focus across the room. The dream was still crystal clear in his mind. He picked up the smashed black box returning it to his belt, Opening the door into the predawn air, he kicked the crate of left over tequila down the steps.

Blue trotted around the trailer and approached the door so Death could step from stoop to stirrup. He grinned and slapped the beast on the shoulder.  Blue leapt into a gallop. The pair stopped at the call box. The Model T remained crumpled where they had left it, the driver’s door still open. He spun the rotary dial until he heard a rough voice on the other side, “Valley of Armageddon.”

“Yeah, tell ‘em I’m coming in for work. I just gotta’ stop off at the hospital first.”

He dropped the receiver and pulled back on the reins. Blue rose on his hind legs pawing at the air and snorting sulfur snot onto the pavement. Death whipped out his right arm suddenly grasping an eight-foot long, double-edged scythe which flashed in the rising sun. He spun it in a wide loop before stabbing it into the air in front of them. A rift opened up, through which he saw a hospital hallway.

“Hyaw!” and the pale horse with Death as its rider were gone. Above where they had been a buzzard flapped its wings and rose up into the air.

END

4th Horseman: part 9

The buzz of newness wore off more quickly than he’d hoped. The urge he’d felt earlier to break out of his rut had melted along with the setting sun, and the confidence that had compelled his unconventional actions lagged. Sheesh. I’m Death, for God’s sake. What the hell was I thinking?

He finished half a bottle of tequila as he sat in front of the Airstream in his lawn chair. A scorpion tried to scuttle from the hot dirt up into the black, rubber pool. The water level had lowered to a puddle, but the moisture, like a siren’s song, brought him blindly forward. The scorpion’s feet must have started to crumble even before he reached the pool, but he was halfway up the side of the first tube before his insides cooked. He shivered slightly and ended with a pop. Instinct wasn’t something that could be fooled now was it?

But couldn’t it just as well be habit? And habits needed to be broken sometimes. He hadn’t always been Death. What had he been before? He was too drunk or too far removed from his past to remember. Or perhaps it was simply impossible to figure who you had been when you had no idea of what you were.

Habit. He wasn’t sure which idea was more depressing. Had he adjusted to his new life as Death so easily? Was he that impressionable? He tried to stand without using quite enough force to straighten his legs completely. He hovered momentarily above the seat of the chair before falling backwards. He skewed the chair while trying to catch the arm and it folded under his weight. He landed flat catching the wooden arm in the small of his back.

“Dammit!”  Luckily he hadn’t sloshed any of the precious liquor out. He rolled over and managed to stand, careful to keep the bottle righted the entire time. He kicked the chair with a grunt, mounted the two steps into the trailer and stood in the doorway looking back over the flat plains of the Texas panhandle.

“Could I have brought down the sickle all those millions of times just cause of habit? A dadgum habit?” He looked at the bottle in his hand. Maybe instinct would be better. There were worst things to be, after all, than Death. He stepped inside the trailer and slammed the door.

He finished what was left of the bottle without opening his eyes. His brain hurt. He wanted nothing more than to forget. Startling him, his hip began to buzz. He yanked the black box from his belt. It took him two times through the message to focus his eyes.

“Enough is enough. Straighten yourself out, or we will. ~ Conquest”

He threw the box against the far wall and fell back on his mattress. The tiny device came to a rest against the bottom of the door. Its pallid green glow faded. He closed his eyes to sleep — even this evening’s stuporous funckur insufficient to stop his dreaming. But this evening, rather than dreaming of his past, he dreamt of someone else’s future.

Part 10