The Four ???? of the Apocalypse
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Title: The Four ???? of the Apocalypse
Series: Short Stories
Published by: WhysperWude
Release Date: October 20, 2023
Contributors: David Mack; Seanan McGuire; Mary Fan; Jody Lynn Nye; Derek Tyler Attico; Peter David; Aaron Rosenberg; Laura Anne Gilman; Danielle Ackley-McPhail; Gordon Linzner; Michael Jan Friedman; Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg; Michael A. Ventrella; Gerard Houarner; Megan Mackie; Adam-Troy Castro; Gail Z. Martin; Hildy Silverman; Robert Greenberger; James D. Macdonald; Dayton Ward; Kevin Dilmore; Patrick Thomas; Ross Colchamiro; David Gerrold
We all know about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence riding on pale horses and all that Book-of-Revelation stuff. But why does it have to be four guys on horses? Why not the Four Cheerleaders of the Apocalypse? The Four Cats of the Apocalypse? The Four PTA Moms of the Apocalypse? The Four Lawyers, Librarians, or Lunch Ladies of the Apocalypse? The Four Drummers, Rock Stars, or Opera Singers of the Apocalypse? Or even the Four Squirrels of the Apocalypse or the Four Emojis of the Apocalypse? And so we present The Four ???? of the Apocalypse, as twenty-nine brilliant authors give us alternate takes on the legendary quartet of end-of-the-world avatars.
Excerpt from "The Fifth Horseman":
Blanca turned back around, positioning herself against the side door so she could surreptitiously watch Rowan. He'd never done so much as wink in her direction, but she'd been in love with him so long her heart had reshaped itself, like liquid hardened in a key mold. Sure, he could act like a dumbass nutcase – but there was a dark undercurrent of sorrow in him that caught at her, hidden doors she'd never been able to unlock. They all came with secret histories about how their worlds had fallen apart, but Rowan held his particularly close to the vest. He'd never opened up, not in all this time. Least, not that she could recall.
Chewing on a thumbnail, Blanca frowned. Why wasn't she sure? And why couldn't she answer Charna's question? Shouldn't she know how long they'd been on the road?
"Ro – how many years have we been doing this?" she asked.
A rueful smile crept onto his face. "That time again?"
Blanca tilted her head.
"Y'ask me that every couple of weeks, Bee."
"No, I don't."
"Y'do. Y'all do. I'm the only one with any long-term memory in this here vehicle."
Blanca stilled again. He was right – in part. She clearly recalled her life as a part-time dental assistant in Brooklyn who baked cupcakes on weekends, who'd watched her neighborhood crumble into chaos after the power grid died. But what she'd done since transforming into a singer/guitarist in a band traveling across the crazy quilt of a country once known as the US of A in a shitheap of a van with a mind of its own – well, that was less clear. All she could conjure were flashes and snippets of in-between time, like she was living in her own movie montage.
Rowan rubbed his bristly face. "What if I told ya we'd been a-road for thirteen years, eight months and six days?"