In other news, I was handed two invites for anthologies. It's nice when editors ask you to submit, it's not a guarantee acceptance, but damn you have to screw up big time to fail. Yeah, guess what happened. Not the more brilliant bits of fiction that I've written in the past month. Utterly frustrating when you fail to get past the starting gate. On top of it, I missed two of the three other subs that tickled my fancy. At least the GRONK! universe story got out the door.
As this piece of fiction is pretty specialized, I'm gonna post it here. It's been through a couple of beta readers and an edit. There's probably spelling errors, missing words, confusing story, and other issues. It also contains swearing, blood, violence, a lot of political incorrectness, and unicorns. You have been warned.
HOOVES OF THE APOCALYPSE
You know what I hate the most about humans? Their sheer inability to get it. They’re a mass of hubris, narcissism, and stupidity that - when faced with the truth - would rather bury it and carry on with the party while the house burns down around them. As I told the creator many times, just wipe them out and let something better evolve in their place; like the octopus. I mean really, humanity wasn’t planned in the first place, just an accident 'cause she didn’t clean up after making the universe. Like the stray sperm after you’ve fucked your partner really well and left with a few dribbles afterward. That’s how it happened, an unplanned creation that wasn't caught until too late.
We'd talk for hours about humanity and she insisted you had limitless potential. She even took your form and preached a message of peace to help you grow into responsible stewards of the earth. That experiment ended with a messy death. You jacked-up little monkeys escaped my wrath only because she ordered me to stand down. Well, now you’ve gone and done it. You little fuckers are about to start the final war and kill all life on the planet. All her efforts gone to waste. Its been four thousand years of observing the mighty human jack things up, over and over and over. The creator’s given me leave to make things right. Finally.
Oh right, who am I? I’m the Unicorn of the Apocalypse. There’s no other horsemen [another thing you humans got wrong], but I do have an army and we’re coming to wipe out humanity. It’s going to be glorious. Now, the creator’s a merciful being and she’s not going to punish the innocent. They’re all safely in her realm enjoying milk and cookies. The rest of you assholes are about to have a very bad day and a much worse eternity.
* * *
Shawn paused to flick the lint off his collar and square his shoulders. His jeans were a touch too tight today, but Sarah loved the way they clung to his ass. His flannel shirt was run-of-the-mill, but the hat, oh my god, that was something special. A grey pork pie found on a shelf at Goodwill. It sat perfect on his head and only cost a few bucks. The first drops of rain pattered down from the now cloudy sky.
Just in time.
The thought had barely formed when the ground heaved and bucked, sending him sprawling into the planter box as his newly found treasure rolled into the gutter.
“My hat!” he wailed. A BMW X3 crushed it flat as the soccer mom bumped over the curb, spilled her Starbucks, and dropped in her cell phone. He saw the surprise on her face for just a second, before the SUV hit the cement bench and the air bags popped.
I hope the bitch broke her nose.
Asphalt cracked and jerked apart to send geysers of chunky, brown water into the air. The US Bancorp tower, or the Big Pink, as the locals called it, wobbled from side to side, like an erection flicked in jest. Glittering shard of glass reflected the few rays of sun that pierced the clouds. A rainbow cascade of razor-edged death plummeted towards the earth below.
“Sucks to be them,” he muttered, trying to regain his balance. His foot slipped in the noisome goo, sending him sprawling to the ground.
The soccer mom staggered out of her BWM, with a hand covering her nose to stop the flow of crimson. Bystanders moved this way and that, dodging the noxious spray and semi-solid lumps that rained out of the sky. Shawn crawled over the unstable ground, snapping up his ruined hat.
“My hat! It was perfect!” He rounded on the driver. “You stupid slut, why the fuck weren't paying attention!”
She glared at him and mumbled something behind her hand.
“Speak up, you sound like you have a dick in your mouth!”
“Fuck you and your hat, you useless hipster!” she screamed, letting the blood flow down her face. She spit blood and took a step forward. “I'm gonna...”
Shawn blinked in surprise as the silver horn punched through her chest. Crimson fluid coated his face as the driver's heart pumped squirts of blood.
He stared as the corpse slid off the horn with a long slurp and collapsed into the growing puddle of waste. Her bowels slackened and added a fresh steaming pile at her feet. The unicorn looked up, red eyes blazing. It pawed and stamped on the ground with a black hoof, throwing its head back and forth, silver mane flowing and waving in response. Horse of all colors, markings, and size galloped from the cracks in the ground. With each hoofbeat came the sound of thunder and crack of lightning. Red eyes. Silver manes. Blood stained muzzles.
“What. The. Fuck.”
“I would run if I were you,” the unicorn said. “You've got to the count of ten.”
* * *
I'll give the little hipster props, he almost made it the end of the street by the time I hit ten. Didn't do him a damn bit of good when the aftershock hit and he stumbled out into the street. Teabug Pretty Mane got him with a rear kick, breaking his leg and rupturing an artery. Little poser was dead before he hit the street. Organs popped with spurts of blood and a meaty squelch as the stampede followed her to chase down the other runners. When they'd past, only smears of sticky fluid, bits of meat, flecks of gristle, and shattered shards of bones remained.
Gunfire always attracts attention. A cop, his comb-over flopping in the breeze, yanked on the mare's reins. She skittered and reared back, neighing and whinnying at the commotion, and pawing the air. Little known fact that most of the horses in the world have a bit of my bloodline in them. Nightmares in potentia. That asshole was about to get a rude surprise.
The creator frowned at my dalliances, but she's one to talk about getting around. Another thing you humans fucked up... heh, fucked up... Seriously, sex is awesome; it feels good and mellows you out. If you guys screwed more and fought less, I wouldn't be doing the four-hoof shuffle on your corpses. I hope whatever evolves after you pricks takes things a bit less serious.
But you say, hey he's a cop. One of the good guys.
His list of sins was on display for all to see. It helps us weed out the innocent from the guilty as fuck. Murder. Theft. Jaywalking. Everything a person in power could conceivably get away with and more.
“Stand down, you stupid nag!” He yanked hard on the reins, pulling her muzzle down to his level. The mare pulled back her lips and bit. Hard. Not one of those little nips, but a full-on, fuck-you, chomp into the cop's leg. Blood coated her head as it spurted from the wound. A laughing neigh came from her throat as she swallowed the chunk of meat.
Did I mention nightmares are carnivores? Might have slipped my mind.
“Why... what... how?” His hands clamped down on the wound, slowly the fountain of crimson. He paled and his eyes fluttered. “But you were my partner...”
She snorted and flicked her head. Her eyes shifted to a glowing red. With a slow deliberation, she placed her hoof on his chest and pinned him to sidewalk. His ribcage held up well for having a ton of Percheron pressing down. He gasped for breath, clawing and beating on her leg. His face turned beet red, then purple as his struggles slowed and a frantic desperation shone in his eyes. With a final shudder, his arms fell to the side and his legs gave a last twitch. She dipped her muzzle and tore out his heart.
Like father, like daughter. Makes me proud.
* * *
“What the hell?” screamed Reverend Justin Brown. The chapel rocked and lurched with the first rolling waves of the quake and the sharp aftershocks. Candles tipped off the altar, sputtering out as they broke apart. The pulpit pitched forward into the nave, breaking in two upon impact with the front pews. “God must hate me.”
All around him dust swirled and light flickered, then snuffed out as the electricity failed. Great. Mrs. Simmons is going to be late or not show up. How the hell am I going bust a nut now?
“Padre!” shrieked Mrs. Diego weaving out from the vestry and wringing her hands. The elderly cleaning lady's breasts bounced and jiggled beneath the loose blouse. “What's is happening?”
“No cause for concern. Just an earthquake. It will pass soon.”
“Marie is missing, Padre. I sent her to clean the bathrooms and now she's gone.”
That bit of news piqued his interest. He knew the young lady. He'd overseen her confirmation and she was the spitting image of her mother. Reverend Brown patted her hand, lingering in a friendly, reassuring manner. “No worries. We'll find her once the building has stopped shaking.”
“If you say so, Padre.” The edge of doubt crept into her voice, as she drew back.
And if I find her first, she'll get an education about her place in the scheme of things. Like her mother learned. “Let us head to the backroom and commence our search.”
BONG! BONG! BONG!
Wood splintered and cracked as the bronze bell tore itself from the yoke. Gravity accelerated it down along with the stone tower, crashing through the rafters with the force a freight train. Sunlight streamed into the chapel through the cloud of dust, illuminating what electricity no longer did.
“Padre! An angel!” Mrs. Diego pointed at the gap in the broken ceiling.
He followed her finger, blinking to clear his blurred vision. Silhouetted against the light, a figure hovered, flapping majestic feathered wings. Its head was too long and legs too skinny, but what else could it be? A twinge of fear gripped his stomach as a cold dread pierced his soul. Oh, Jesus.
It alighted between the pews, feet clicking on the hard wood floor. Red eyes cut through the gloom, baleful orbs that emanated hate and disdain.
“What do you want? Have you come to pass judgment on me?” His voice broke as he spoke.
“Padre. We must pray for our souls.” The cleaning lady dropped to her knees and pressed her hands together. “Forgive me for I have sinned. Let me confess before you and God!”
The angel neighed, flapped its wings, and reared up. Silver hooves flashed once. Mrs. Diego's head split open at the impact. Grey flecks of brains burst from her ruptured skull, colored with a thin coat of red. She sagged and toppled to the side without a sound, other than the noisome emptying of her bowels.
It's a horse? He ran to the altar, snatched up a silvered candlestick, and waved it at the gloom. “Be gone spawn of Satan! You have no power here!”
Unseen wings flapped and blew dust in his face. He coughed and choked, the impromptu weapon clattering to the ground. Hot, dank breath tickled the back of his neck.
“Oh, sweet Jesus.”
* * *
I have to admit that I didn't come up with the Pegasus breed. Of all people, The Morningstar [that's Lucifer for those unfamiliar with the Bible] suggested putting wings on the cleverest of the host and the rest is history. They're faster than anything that runs, swims, flies, or crawls. They aren't nearly as robust as the nightmares, but that's just a matter of degrees. The creator gave them the task of taking out hypocrites, and boy, do they love it. Dropping victims from ten stories up is a game to them.
The pastor prayed and cursed in turns, then screamed like one of his victims as he fell. He made a nice red Jackson Pollock on the street once the flight had enough of playing hacky-sack with him. Between the host and natural selection, the herd of unrighteous shrank quickly. Fewer and fewer juicy targets showed themselves, digging deep to hide. Not that it would do them any good. Time to summon the ponies.
* * *
“What the hell's going on, Anthony? There's a horse breathing flames and trampling down anyone that runs! I saw one of them spear your brother and then roast the corpse for good measure.” Edgar S. Burgle, lobbyist and lawyer for Crutch Pharmaceuticals, clutched at the lapels of his boss.
“Get a hold of yourself,” he sneered, slapping away the man's hands with stinging blow. “I'm sure the military will take care of it. In the meantime, we've got this bunker and plenty of supplies. Two years' worth of quality food, wine, and recreational options.”
Edgar looked at the vault of crates, boxes, and water tanks. It stretched off in the gloom, the red emergency lighting unable to chase away all the shadows. To the left, a putting green occupied a prominent piece of space. “We should find others. There's more than enough space.”
“Nonsense. Why risk opening up the door and being overrun by the public. Please relax and enjoy the quiet. There's a nice bottle of red that my dearly departed brother was kind enough to leave us.” Anthony patted his bag of clubs. “Perhaps a couple rounds of practice will relieve some of the tension.”
“Jesus. We're just going to let them get killed?”
“Please, think of the more important issues at hand. Our stocks are going to tank after this, but once we move in to supply nations with needed medical supplies and services, our options will skyrocket.”
“Are you serious? It's the end of the world and all you can think about it is your fortune? People are dying out there and we should help them, not horde ill-gotten goods.
“Appealing to my charitable nature? That's very surprising of you, Edgar. After all the work you did to scuttle the child care health act, I'd thought you beyond such charity.”
He groaned at the memories. “Yeah, bring that up at a time like this. How many died because of that?”
“No one important. If they could afford the health care, they deserved to live. It's Social Darwinism. Some of us are simply more important than others.”
“Now what?” Anthony muttered, turning towards the video screen. Bodies littered the access hallway; a trampled mush of flesh, bone, and blood. In the midst of the carnage, a dun Shetland pony buried her muzzle into the belly of particularly fat man. Ropes of intestines slurped out of the cavity as she tossed her head back and forth. The victim's eyes bulged and his mouth opened in a soundless screen.
Edgar gave thanks that his boss was too cheap to include sound. “On second thought, we should stay here.”
“Thank you for the statement of the obvious,” his boss sneered.
Just as the edge of camera range, a silver dapple pony pranced and hopped in a circle. On its rump a mark, in the shape of a closed fist, glowed red-hot. His companion's mark glowed just as bright, a crimson drop from the wavy blade of a dagger. He rushed at the door, twisting in mid rush to present his backside, and kicked.
The pony glared at the camera, then turned to the door to nuzzle it. Two dents, perfect impressions of hoofs, adorned the metal barrier.
“How the hell?”
“We're going to die. Killed by ponies.” Edgar giggled at the thought. All his sins coming back to roost. All those kids that died. His fault. All his fault. His head rang with slap.
“Get a grip, man or I'll kill you myself!”
Anthony 'Tony” Crutch. Sixth richest man in the world. The man who planned that campaign that he'd seen pushed through. He guided all the business decisions with his brother's approval. Preying on the weak and defenseless. Not caring about anything except the bottom line. He even turned his back on the one man that supported him. I did all his dirty work, the ungrateful bastard.
Edgar stood up and pulled a nine iron out of the bag. They were the best clubs that money could buy. He'd seen the amount of invoice. A family of four could have lived for a year with enough for a modest vacation.
“Hands off my clubs, Edgar,” said Anthony with a deep scowl on his face.
CLONG! CLONG! CLONG!
“No.” He swung low, catching his boss in the nuts and feeling resistance against bone. The man gave a sharp gasp, doubling over with pain written all over his face.
“What.. the... hell...”
“FOUR!” Bone splintered and the club bent as the second blow landed on the cheek. Tony's jaw hung open, blood flowing from the shattered teeth and torn gums. Red spit, flaked with white, spattered on the floor. “Hey, my swing's improved. Guess all I needed was a giant prick to aim at.”
Whimpers and whines of protest issued from the bleeding man, muffled by one hand covering the remains of his lower face as the other clutched at his ruined testicles.
“What's that, Tony? Can't hear you from the all the bullshit you've been been spilling. No snappy come backs?” Edgar tossed the useless club and drew out a driver. “It's all your fault. You caused this.”
His boss glared at the shortening of his name, replacing fear and pain for a brief second. The former-CEO scrambled across the floor, towards the metal door that now visibly bowed inward. Cracks covered the metal hinges.
“Hey, quit trying to get away.” He landed the next blow on the knee, then another, then another. Meaty smacks filled the air with a slurred scream following after. “Let's see how you like to take it in the ass.”
Tony cried as he drug himself forward with his arms. His body smeared the blood leaking from his face, crotch, and knee. He pressed against the metal door, hands raised in defense.
Edgar paused and stared at the hinges and pins, now sheared and broken. It groaned and creaked, staying upright by sheet weight and inertia.
Tap. The metal rang with the sound of the slightest of blows.
“Ahhhhhh!” Tony shrieked, a terror filled wail of a man faced with his imminent death and finding no way to escape. His body folded at the waist as the former barrier pressed down, popping vertebrae like a series of gunshots.
Edgar stumbled back as a fresh wave of blood flooded out. The driver dropped from his hand, diverting the flow of liquid into a drain. “Holy shit!”
Clop. Clop. Clop.
Two knee-high ponies sauntered out of the gloom, pushing the metal slab down. The dun stopped at the far end, while the dapple hovered at the near end. He jumped up and came down, lifting his partner off the end. His boss's body provided a pivot point. A wet, meaty point that compressed lower and lower until only hamburger remained. Their eyes never left his.
“It's not my fault.” Edgar pointed to the smear leaking for under-hoof. “I was just following orders! I'm innocent!”
The pair of ponies nickered, a mocking laugh that chilled his soul. On their flanks, the marks glowed a dull orange that spread to their manes and filled their eyes.
Clop. Clop. Clop.
“Give me a second chance! I can change!”
Orange flame leaked from their muzzles.
* * *
Twin blasts of fire reduced the begging man to a chunk of charcoal. Talk about denial, Egypt, and a river. These members of the host were the newest breed. You humans come up with the funniest shit at times and we're not above copying the ideas if they suit us. I'm sure some lawyer or another would try to sue us to enforce the IP laws as convenient. They can go fuck themselves. Well, some devil's probably doing that already or they're upside down in room of shit. Just desserts either way.
The pair pranced out of the tunnel to join a herd of their fellows. They were small in number as well as size, but even the nightmares gave them a wide berth. I think the creator might have put a bit too much 'little man syndrome' in the mix. Can't argue with the results.
Speaking of which, the last of the Portlandia shit-stains had kicked the metaphorical bucket and it was time to move on. I think Seattle was next on the list and first place order of business would be anyone in that phallic eyesore in the middle. There's bound to be a bunch of frightened pricks in need of a good judgment along with all those other self-righteous, social-media, pseudo-caring activists.
God, it's great to be me.