The Pale Horse – Prologue

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The apocalypse began on a Tuesday.

In the heat and humidity of September in Mumbai, a small, white organism grew inside the walls of The Sahil Hotel on Behram Road. The walls were made to resist mold and most fungal growth, yet this persisted. It concentrated most heavily inside Room Two-Twenty-One which had gone unused and uncleaned for a week before being given to Joseph Patel, a business man out of New York in the United States. When he’d gotten the room, he complained that it smelled musty.

That morning, three cleaning women went in while he was out at a meeting and aired it out. They did not notice the spores that floated in the sunlight, mistaking them for dust. Laboring for nearly an hour, they managed to mask the smell that had offended Joseph Patel. When he returned that afternoon, the whole room smelled of lavender and pine and he slept soundly all night.

On the third morning of his stay, Joseph woke in the middle of the night with a headache and he felt like his sinuses was packed with cotton. He took an aspirin and went back to bed. He woke again before dawn and felt a cold coming on. Cursing his luck, he listed every person he met with this week and decided to lay the blame on Andil Vuschel, the salesman from Eramal. Andil had been sneezing through his entire presentation and didn’t cover his mouth once.

Joseph packed his bags and made an early start for the airport. Continue reading

The Pale Horse

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Three months ago a man got on a plane in India thinking he had a cold. What he carried inside of him was a disease that was highly infectious and resistant to most known forms of medication. Within weeks, the disease has spread across the globe and there is no cure.

The world calls it The Pale Horse.

For twenty year-old Meda Ahachik, her vacation should have been spent worrying about upcoming finals. Instead, the pandemic reaches the city of Baltimore, and Meda finds herself relying on the teachings of a family she’d left far behind.

Continue reading

Hallow Hill – Part 13

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Over the next several days his father was laid in state at the temple of the Fates in Hallow Hill. Nobles and commoners came to pay respects to him before his bones were carried beneath the castle to rest with other heroes and noblemen. Paul rode with Jack down into the depths of the Hill’s catacombs, bearing his father’s body on a cart. They laid him to rest on a stone slab that bore his name, title and deeds and lit three candles. Paul said the words of blessings to the Destroyer to carry his father safely to the Halls of Valor.

For three nights he sat in vigil, and each night he extinguished one candle until Paul’s father was left in darkness forever. It was in those three nights of silence that Paul decided what must be done. Continue reading

Hallow Hill – Part 12

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He woke in a soft bed with warm, woolen blankets pulled up to his chin. The mattress was made of feather and seafoam, or so Paul gathered by its softness. Somewhere he heard a fire blazing and felt its heat on his face. The dark began to peel away and he saw movement, an old man bent over with a cane for support. He wore the blue robes of a physician and knew instantly where he was. “Thegn Urval?” he croaked to his father’s personal physician.

The old man turned then and gave a wide-eyed look at him. “Oh my, Paulin!” he said and drew near, a potion bottle in his hand. “You are awake, then? Can’t say I’m surprised. That girl… she has the Talent, yes.” Continue reading

Hallow Hill – Part 11

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The farmhouse was ablaze, fire sprouting from the thatch roof and billowing dark clouds into the gray sky. By the well, Tani stood with a broken spade haft in her hand. Blood ran down her temple and pooled in the hollow of her shoulder. Sitting astride Rock, Paul’s great destrier still in its raven barding, was the Bearkiller. In his hand was Paul’s sword. When he saw Paul, his grin was immense.

“Raven boy!” he shouted. “I thought I kill you!” Another great guffaw and he kneed Rock so the horse moved to face him. One of the destrier’s eyes was gone and dried blood crusted the raven helm. My brave horse, Paul thought. Suffered because of me. “Nice horse,” Bearkiller said, patting Rock roughly on the neck. The destrier bit at that hand but Bearkiller snatched it away and hammered the horse on the nose with a mailed fist. “But mean horse!” Continue reading