The Four Horsemen

Disclaimer: Lost belongs to JJ Abrams, ABC and everyone else but me. No lawsuits and no delusions that the characters and whatever belong to me. Okay?

Rating: Strong R

Summary: Can you hear it? The hooves are beating.

Author's Note: This is my attempt at a grand apocalypse-style Lost fic. It's dark. Way dark. And that's all there is to say. Thanks for reading, and please, review.

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Wild, dark times are rumbling toward us, and the prophet who wishes to write a new apocalypse will have to invent entirely new beasts, and beasts so terrible that the ancient symbols of Saint John will seem like cooing doves and cupids in comparison.

- Heinrich Heine

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- - -

"It looks like rain, doesn't it?" Locke remarks.

"Doesn't it always?" Rose drawls.

"They didn't understand, did they?"

"No, they never did."

One step, another, and the sharp plummet downward. There is a splash. And then, nothing.

They heard it. The hooves are beating.

- - -

It is four o'clock in the morning when they first wash up on shore.

Sayid saw them first, at two; he saw it first. The boat in the distance, creeping in on the night horizon. He had shouted, waking the others, and they all had gathered round. And there is a boat, a boat out there, he said. He had pointed, one long finger, a torch in the other hand, asking, maybe pleading, can't you see it too? Sitting there, bobbing up and down and up and down.

They all said no and the words 'we hate you and your false hope' were all there, condensed, in that one tired syllable.

Sayid had stood there, lone sentry, solitary guard, watching, watching, watching and the torch burnt out and the sparking embers burnt his wrist, but it didn't matter. There was a boat. He had seen a boat.

Sayid saw the boat and it is a full four days before the boat reaches shore.

Sayid is dead in three.

- - -

Walt and Michael aren't Walt and Michael anymore.

That boat made a crunching noise as it met the sand, the earth, and no longer had a place to float. The noise was loud, a scraping sound, enough to rouse the others and they all made their way slowly down the shore, careful to avoid the water rising higher and higher up the land, attempting to lap at their ankles.

They remembered what Sayid had said. And they remember that Sayid had died the day before.

The boat was dark, blending in with the moonless sky and the placid waves behind.

Jack had a torch and Sawyer the last of the working flashlights and like blind heroes they climbed aboard, free hands clutching guns. A loud click, and the safety was off. One, and then the other.

There was sweeping light, not enough for the rest to see by, rubbernecking at the scene of an accident.

Sawyer yelled motherfucker and Jack made a sound, a cross between a cough and a sob, and then there was just silence.

Walt and Michael aren't Walt and Michael anymore.

A harsh wind whips in out of the emptiness and the smell caught in it says enough.

Michael and Walt aren't Michael and Walt anymore because the two of them have been dead for days. Bodies decayed in the bright sun, rocking their way slowly back inland.

Jack didn't say how they died. And later (minutes, days, months later) no one ever thinks to ask.

Jack said that they couldn't have been dead for more than a week. Kate still believes it was only four days and that Sayid had been the first to know.

- - -

Kate remembers how it went. Sayid had come back to them, walking down the beach, sand shuffling around his feet, glancing over his shoulder as though checking for some invisible predator that wasn't really there.

I saw a boat. I saw a boat out there in the water. It was all he said and all he needed to say. Sawyer tried to sit up but was still injured, still in pain, so it all turned into an awkward groan. Jack had looked up abruptly but he didn't really seem to care. It was different. It was all different after the Others. They never talked about it. They never will.

They went to look, and there was nothing there. Jack patted Sayid on the shoulder and told him to get some sleep.

He didn't hear him. He just shook his head and began again. I saw a boat. There's a boat.

Kate didn't think about it at the time. But she does now, now that it doesn't matter. He said he saw a boat.

He never said that they were saved.

- - -

Danielle shot Sayid in the head. Kate watched it happen.

She told them that he was sick. That he had to be stopped before he infected the others.

She told her this after the shot rang through the empty night air, hanging on the humidity. It doesn't explain why Kate didn't try and stop her.

- - -

They found Aaron dead in his crib. The gulls were circling overhead.

He looked like he was sleeping, not a single mark on him, peaceful. Claire told them later, tear-stained, she thought he was still asleep. She thought it was nothing but then she realized there was no rise and fall and his tiny fingers, wrapped in a tight fist, never trembled.

The next day Claire fell to her knees before the empty crib. She lit a match and dropped it in. Up in flames and the bright red danced around her, threatening to catch strands of blonde hair in the blaze.

Charlie grabbed her by the arms and pulled her back. She didn't fight him. She didn't say a word.

She didn't say a word until the next day. And then it became only ten words, ten simple words repeated, that she ever said again.

She sat there, on the beach, alone, kind of catatonic. Rocking forwards and backwards and forwards and backwards.

Claire was dead by nightfall.

They found her on the shore, high tide rushing in, shallow water washing up and over her still body. Eyes wide open and empty, dull.

Charlie approached her body first and on the night wind he swore he could hear her whispering.

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket.

Charlie cut the strings off his guitar and tossed the remains into the sea. They still floated and by morning waterlogged scraps were scattered in the sand.

Charlie told them it wasn't real and wasn't worth it and swallowed a bullet as the sun crept out of the blue.

- - -

Kate doesn't really remember what the Others did to her, and Jack and Sawyer are about the same. She woke up in a field on morning, sore and tired and on the verge of tears and slowly it had dawned on her that it was fresh air that she was breathing and it was grass she laid upon.

She told herself that she was saved and everything was going to be alright.

Jack was standing in the sun, looking like a god, stretching his arms up and up and she had forgotten what he looked like. Sawyer was still on the ground and his shirt was stained bright red, a dark crimson growing across his stomach. He had been stabbed and Jack said it wasn't bad but his face was blank and his hands were shaky and Kate wondered if that meant it was a lie.

They bandaged Sawyer in dirty clothes and staggered back towards camp.

They pretended they couldn't hear the whispers in the jungle. And Kate pretended she didn't see the four black horses racing through the trees.

- - -

A man in a boat, a rowboat, washed up on shore one day. His pants were ripped and ragged and his beard painted a picture of long, hot, hopeless days at sea.

He asked them if they were real. He asked them if they were alive. And lastly he asked them how they did it.

He was met with blank faces and itchy trigger fingers and questions fired back his way.

He told them that the world was gone. And he might as well have said the world was flat. It couldn't be true, but he claimed that it was, and maybe then, they had all been wrong and sinners have a chance and the good are really bad and the doomed will find salvation and the end is just the beginning.

If the world is flat, maybe they were just on the edge, teetering back and forth between earth and the real and space and the deep, dark tumble downward.

He said that the world was gone. And not a single one of them had an option, but to believe.

Michael, row your boat to shore. Hallelujah.

- - -

They ran out of food awhile ago and the fish stopped swimming close to shore. The mango trees and the coconut trees and every other produce tree quit offering fruit from bare branches and they all can see the invisible line they cannot cross and no one dare moves a breath too far.

They don't remember what was done to them. But they know what can happen next.

Eight days after the long return to camp they found ten bodies, ten bodies dancing off the boughs of trees, strung up like broken lanterns, swinging heavily among the fruit trees.

They got the message loud and clear.

- - -

Eko spent his time inside.

He stayed confined behind the walls of his church, walls standing tall by his own hand, beneath a roof of jungle reeds and beams. Some said that he was building an altar; others said the pews. He might have been building a crucifix, but no one ever learned.

There was a crash, one anguished yell, and then there was just a pile of timber.

Someone hummed a bar of "Amazing Grace," and then all fell quiet once again.

- - -

They call it The Invasion days after.

Without warning they were surrounded and there were gunshots and blood and the sand turned slick and the water red. It wasn't really war; it was more of a slaughter.

Jack took a bullet to his right arm and laughed without smiling because what can a surgeon do without his right hand?

They never knew. He died that night.

- - -

They dropped like flies, or some cliché, but Vincent still barked and Sawyer was there and Danielle clutched her shotgun like a talisman against hell and Kate just stood there, unsure why she still remained.

Some got sick, contracted the very illness Danielle warned against. Sun broke out in a rash one night and they all pretended it was just an allergic reaction, sun poisoning, something. But Jin was the only one who would go near her.

They both died. And no one was surprised.

Hurley didn't fight the day they came and they found him days later, riddled with bullets, untouched on the jungle floor. Bernard stood there waiting in the sun, put his hands behind his head and waited, waited for them, the firing squad.

They came.

- - -

She fucks him like he doesn't matter.

She moves her hands and cants her hips as though his name, his face, is meaningless and empty and that it doesn't really matter and that he, Sawyer, could be anyone, anywhere and anytime.

She imagines that it's only fair because Sawyer, Sawyer is the kind of guy who has spent his life abiding by the same.

It is a mistake on her part, but at this point, one more is insignificant among the multitude and magnitude of all the others laid to rest.

- - -

There is quiet. Kate still keeps a gun, tucked in the waistband of her pants.

Danielle sits there, dirty rag, wiping down her shotgun as though cleanliness might actually mean something.

Vincent still barks.

Sawyer tries to read but she knows and he knows that she knows that he never turns the pages. The words just bleed and they never absorb and he's probably already read this one before.

Kate just waits.

- - -

They didn't notice it when it happened: when Danielle quit being Danielle and became something else. They probably should have.

There still was quiet and the jungle was quiet, not that they dare go in it, but the whispers had quelled and the wind had died down and all that remained was their own breathing and shuffling of the waves.

There was the cocking of a gun and maybe they – Kate and Sawyer – were just slow, or maybe they just didn't care anymore, but they didn't react in time.

Kate swears she saw it before she heard it.

Sawyer jerking, his hand flying up and to his chest, and the slow, heavy fall forward.


Kate looked down to the gun in her hand and the two prone figures at her feet. Sawyer. Danielle. Only one dead by her own hand, but another to add to mourn.

She drops the pistol like she's on fire and no one moves, no one can, but her.

- - -

The waves are hot and one reaches up and over her head. It stings her eyes and slides down her throat and she coughs a little, choking on the taste of it.

It doesn't matter, she says. It doesn't matter.

Her legs scissor kick, slow and lazy, faltering, and her head bobs beneath the surface. She keeps her eyes open, ignoring the burn and stares into a blank nothingness.

White foam and crashing waves and she thought the end would be something glorious.

It doesn't matter. They are gone and the world is gone and there's nothing left and there never was anywhere to go back to.

It doesn't matter. They were all doomed anyway.

- - -

A plane crashes onto an island and the rest of the world dreams them dead, dead and burned and buried in fallen luggage and ruined upholstery.

A plane crashes and they try to rebuild, clutching the wrecked fuselage for shelter and any odd memento they can find jutting out of the sand like a sad kind of oasis.

A plane crashes and they cheat death and there is no other world and there is no other time; it's just the here and it's just the now. But they still hate and they can't really love, and they still kill and they still forget and not forgive and suddenly, revelations style, lightening bolt in the sand, they haven't just cheated death but life as well.

And just like that, they disappear.

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