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“I'm not saying they're not killing each other,” I explain. “I can see from the figures in front of me that they're killing each other. What I'm saying is that unless you can broaden your demographic, we're never going to meet our targets for this quarter. This is supposed to be a world war, Belgium and the Netherlands isn't going to cut it.”

War squawks at me down the phone. It's hard to hear him over all the screaming in the background, but frankly I'm not interested in his excuses, I need to see results.

“What do I expect you to do? Do your job! Think outside the box! Look, Famine is in Europe right now, why don't you ask him for some help? I see the potential for synergy there. No, I'm aware you don't do 'asking for help'. I'm also aware of your performance over the past century, and I'm noticing some startling correlation between- hello? Hello?”

I slam the handset back into its cradle, which is a lot harder than it sounds when done from the back of an infernal steed. I'm the other horseman of the apocalypse, Business. They brought me on in the 1700s to improve efficiency.

War tends to stress me out. He's useful in his own way, but when he gets out of control it's a nightmare. At least he's in no danger of running over budget this time.

I adjust my tie, followed by my horse's tie, and I pick up the phone again. I need to call in a favour.

DEATH SPEAKING, says a deep voice with very little punctuation.

“Hey buddy. Have you heard from War recently?”

I HEARD ABOUT A LITTLE SKIRMISH IN ANTWERP. IS THAT HIM?

“That's him. His uh, how should I put it... campaign there isn't panning out as projected. Is there any way you can grease the wheels a little? Maybe arrange a high-profile assassination of some sort?”

I'M ON IT ALREADY. ANYONE IN PARTICULAR?

“Follow your hear- I mean play it by ea- Uh, whatever you think is best.”

VERY WELL. SO, HOW'RE THINGS IN THE OFFICE? IS EVERYTHING SYNERGISING? ARE THE SPREADSHEETS ALL BALANCING OUT?

“Everything's running like clockwork,” I lie.

ANYONE FROM THE TAX OFFICE YOU NEED DEAD?

“Ha. You concentrate on your job. I'll handle the taxes.”
Day 8 of FFM!

Today's challenge was to write a piece:
  1. In first person AND
  2. In which the narrator witnesses what they think is the end of the worldWhether or not it actually is.

The rest of today's stories can be found here: fav.me/d7pmyn3

My previous short stories can be bought collected at Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/A-Certain-Num… or Amazon US: www.amazon.com/A-Certain-Numbe…

Alternatively it can be bought as an ebook: www.smashwords.com/books/view/…
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Daily Deviation

Given 2015-05-30
The Fifth Horseman by joe-wright is a delightfully charming read. ( Featured by HugQueen )
:iconcharlene-art:
Charlene-Art Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hah hah this was great! I love the characterisation of the horsemen!
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:iconirontuna:
irontuna Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
hey i made a recording of this story and put it on my channel you can listen to it hear
youtu.be/WTcKF763rqw
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2015   General Artist
Hi! Sorry I haven't checked my messages in ages, that recording is really awesome, you have a great voice! I'm flattered that you chose my story for a reading, I really enjoyed listening to it.
Good luck with the voice acting!
Reply
:iconirontuna:
irontuna Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Im a voice actor and I really liked this peace. Since you wrote the piece to have a narrator would you mind if I turned it into an audio piece and put it on my YouTube channel? (with proper credit given of course)
If you want you can check out my channel and see what I have already: www.youtube.com/channel/UCVba-… 
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:iconkylveris:
Kylveris Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2015
Pahaha, this is ingenious xD
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2015   General Artist
Thanks! =)
Reply
:iconkavita-alore:
kavita-alore Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015
Nice!
Reply
:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015   General Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconmidnights-starlight:
Midnights-Starlight Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Student General Artist
I love this way too much XD
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thanks! Glad you like it! =)
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
:devilish:
Reply
:iconhoneyandbrush:
HoneyandBrush Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Dark and humorous. I like how the horse is wearing a tie. :D (Big Grin) 
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Haha I have to admit, the image of a guy working at a desk while on a horse wearing a tie is practically the entire reason I wrote this =p
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015
War, Famine, Disease, Death ... and Bureaucracy.

:rofl:
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
At least we'll be given notice before they evict us from existence =p
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015
In a bureaucracy, notices don't get sent ... :o
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:iconfallenangel700:
Fallenangel700 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Oh, that's good. Great idea making Business a Horseman. That's brilliant. 
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thanks! =)
Reply
:iconfallenangel700:
Fallenangel700 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Student Digital Artist
You're welcome! :D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:icongenerichsfan:
GenericHSFan Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I can see it; Buisness doesn't kill anybody himself, instead he makes the others work faster, seeing as Serious Business can:
Form bitter rivalries and make people strangle each other to death (War)
Ignore their need for food (Famine)
Ignore their physical health in general, including illnesses (Pestilence)
And lead to innocent people killed for reasons they do not understand (Death)
Reply
:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
That's pretty much it. Also he's a dab hand at leveraging potential synergy and thinking outside the box to facilitate beneficial outcomes.
Reply
:iconlko-renger:
lko-renger Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015
That's just mightily hilarious, mate! And shame on War for not playing it right with the others!
Reply
:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
You should have seen him during Vietnam, he was out of control!
Reply
:icondonjkrouskop:
DonJKrouskop Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015
Brilliant work!
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconflorence-midgardian:
Florence-midgardian Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Student General Artist
Fricken' hilarious and wonderfully written!
Reply
:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconwhitekingmelchior:
WhiteKingMelchior Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015
This is hilarious.  Business is definitely hellish enough to be counted.
Reply
:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
I feel like he rounds the group out a little. They were all bones and armour and robes and chains, they needed a three-piece suit to add some legitimacy.
Reply
:iconwhitekingmelchior:
WhiteKingMelchior Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015
Besides, who else is going to keep things scheduled and keep an eye on their 401k's.
Reply
:iconazedarach:
Azedarach Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Brilliant piece of work! :XD:
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thanks! =)
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:icondemonsatemyhomework:
DemonsAteMyHomework Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This is awesome! Kind of reminds me of Terry Pratchett in Thief of Time, except easier to understand. ;) (Wink)  Keep up the good work
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thanks! =)
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:iconeon101:
Eon101 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
War...Famine...Pestilence...Death...Business?
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
All for one and one for all!
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:iconlena-ru5:
Lena-ru5 Featured By Owner Edited Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I just love where all this is going....:)
Stunning work!!!
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thanks! =)
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:iconkagenomozaiku:
KageNoMozaiku Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
rather amusing pitting "business" (corporatism) as another destructive force.....which it rightly is
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thanks! =)
Reply
:iconsleepwalkingkitten:
sleepwalkingkitten Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
“Follow your hear- I mean play it by ea- Uh, whatever you think is best.”

I love this line! Hilarious.
Reply
:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   General Artist
Thanks! I remember being quite pleased with myself after writing that bit =p
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:icondrakyris:
Drakyris Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Same here!
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:iconrheic-ocean:
Rheic-ocean Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Student General Artist
Absoloutely brilliant! :D
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015   General Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconrheic-ocean:
Rheic-ocean Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Student General Artist
Yw :)
Reply
:iconsolacebeneathsilence:
SolaceBeneathSilence Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
Totally made my day! xD (Is that a Pratchett reference or a Supernatural reference or both?) It's funny as hell and manages to inspire ideas around every bend without any sidetracking distractions whatsoever. Now if only the Apocalypse could go as smoothly...
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015   General Artist
Well I haven't seen any Supernatural but I've read a hell of a lot of Pratchett! Thanks for reading! =)
Reply
:icondivision595:
Division595 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Horse ties? We're going to be millionaires!
Reply
:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015   General Artist
Now all we need to do is teach them to tie a half-windsor with their hooves...
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