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The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

When I was s kid, there was a pack of boys, all brothers, at my elementary school that some of the parents and teachers referred to privately as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, giving each of them appropriate nicknames to go with that. (As for us kids, we called them Boogersnot, Double Boogersnot, Turdface, and Peehole, but when they heard us use those names for the Pack of Four, the adults just told us "That isn't nice" and that we'd have to go to the principal's office if we did that any more, then went back to whatever they were really interested in. Their parents, Evelyn and Bill Anderson, who named them William, James, George, and Marty, were rather proud of their four hellions, and probably encouraged them in their depredations.

War was a big, fat, but rather muscular boy who liked to beat up smaller children, right up until a girl in his own grade whose father had "bully-proofed" her -- enrolled her in a Bujinkan dojo at age 5, where she'd been going ever since -- beat War up because he'd given her little brother a shiner and a broken jaw. War avoided all children and most adults in his school all year after that, and at the end of the year, after a Talk with the school principal, the school nurse, three teachers, and a sheriff's deputy, the Andersons moved to Chicago, and were never heard from again. We all sighed in relief.

At any rate, Famine was almost as big and belligerent as his older brother, War. He regularly beat up other children on the playground, stealing their lunches and/or lunch money

Pestilence caught and carried every infectious condition known, from measles, scarlet fever, and Panamanian root-rot to the flu, jumping cancer, infectious colitis, and several different types of fungus. Up until the Andersons moved away, the CDC studied Pestilence. They were on the verge of having Pestilence declared a National Resource so they could take him to their labs, where they and the US Army could perhaps use him to develop brand-new biowarfare materiel, when their prey slithered out of their grasp by dint of moving away.

And. last but not least, there was Death. Death was a crack shot with a .22 rifle, which his dad had given him when he was about six years old. Death used it to shoot neighborhood pets, wild birds, squirrels, and anything else that was a visible, moving target. He once shot the mayor in the seat of the pants. That was the only time his parents ever did anything about it, threatening him with death if he ever did it again. But that did little, if anything, to slow him down, though he didn't shoot any more members of the city government . . .

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Yael Dragwyla

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