The Red Horse (The Ironic Metaphor)
rating: +137+x

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

Klaxons blared through Site 12. Throughout the building, screens flickered and filled with static. Televisions, cell phones, computers, and Game Boys, all powering on and filling with nothing. Researchers rushed through the halls to their stations, checking systems and trying to organize. Meanwhile, Dr Seidelman, Head Researcher, toiled in his office. His computer's monitor quietly buzzed with static; his phone sat to his side, angrily screaming for attention. Every line was full.

"Then reset it again, Dale," Seidelman barked into the phone. "Just keep trying, I'll get Yung to try again on his end. Just do it, I've got another call." Seidelman switched to line 2. Every sector head was calling him at once. For good reason, too.

"Seidelm- No, I don't know what happened. Fourteen nineteen's never done this before." Seidelman scribbled a note to himself. "… Right. Alright. Yes, all media are affected. Not just television. Thank you. Try to reset the jammers. I've g- I just got off the phone with Dale, he's resetting his end. Call him. I have another call, good bye." He took a breath as he switched to line four.

"Seidelman." He waited for the response. "Seidelman's office. Hello?"

One by one, the lines went quiet. Soon the office was silent, save for the low buzz of the static of the computer monitor.

Slowly, Seidelman looked up from the phone to the monitor. Static had been replaced with bright and colourful scene, a simple cartoon image with blues and greys. He recognized it as the main labs, where they recorded each broadcast of SCP-1419. Grey cartoon figures, each of whom Seidelman recognized as his coworkers, slumped across computers and desks; flashes of bright red blood splattered across the scene.

“Hello everybody! I’m Bobble the Clown, and welcome to today’s show!” A small explosion of colourful confetti and streamers burst into the middle of the scene. As it all settled, a tall, brightly-coloured figure stood facing the camera, arms spread. A clown, with yellow hair and a big pink nose, drenched in blood from the waist down.

Seidelman sat frozen in his seat. He could feel his heart pounding in his head. It was like the clown was staring straight into his soul.

“Today is a very special episode. The last! That’s right, this will be the last episode of the Bobble the Clown Show! Isn't that sad?” Bobble frowned. "But that's okay! Now, we can learn anywhere, any time. I'm going to have a brand new show. Fun for the whole family, all thanks to our friends at the Foundation. Thanks to my scientist friends showing me this wonderful new signal, I can be everywhere!"

"Theatrical, as always," came a second voice; that of an old man, coming from everywhere yet nowhere. "Doctor, leave." A pause. "Please."

Dr. Seidelman fled his office.

"… and… of course. You're here, now." The clown sighed, rubbing his eyes. "Come on out, if you want to talk. I know I'm not going anywhere."

343 appeared, sitting in Seidelman's chair. Alone. Bobble leered through the television, a grin creeping across his face.

"Hrm? What's this? Where's your… project? That girl that the Foundation… adopted for you?"

"She left," the old man replied wearily. "She's gone."

"… And?"

"She's not coming back. We've lost the First."

"Oh, so that's it! So you're down, because your favourite girl had a tantrum and ran away." Bobble smiled broadly. "So that fell through. Big deal! What's the plan now, boss?"

343 sat silent.

"… well then. I expected you to be more on-the-ball than this. One little girl runs away from home and the big bearded bastard falls apart! Come on!! You already know the answer." Bobble sighed, rolling his eyes.

"What, then, clown?"

"What was that one thing you said, all those years ago…? Oh wait, I got it." He hunched over, miming waving a cane. "'Ooohhhhh there must always be four! The four Riders will… some shit I don't remember.'"

343 snorted. "Just spit it out already."

"If you need four assistants, go and find one. If you need one more to fulfill your… prophesy, then go and make one. It's so simple. Don't you watch television? People today don't even remember Conquest. They lump it under WAR!" He cackled, leaning in.

343 waited.

"Pestilence. The fifth Rider everybody seems to rave about. Oh, they always remember War and Death, and maybe sometimes Famine, but never Conquest. No no, it's always Pestilence. Well maybe they forget Famine instead, but whatever. That's not the point."

343's eyes narrowed, and the clown grinned wider.

"Yesss, yes, you're getting it now. And you know exactly who I'm talking about, don't you? Frankly, I don't think she's anything special, but I suppose she works thematically. What do you think? She won't replace your precious little princess, but you'll take what you can get, mm?"

343 leaned back. "Nothing has gone according to plan." He sighed. "Perhaps… perhaps we shall allow this idea." He tapped his fingers to his forehead. "An aggravating young woman. But certainly not more aggravating than you. Yes, this is what we will do. She will be the First Horseman, as you are the Second."

"Fabulous. Off you go, then." Bobble waved to 343. "I wouldn't want to keep you, boss. So much work to do."

343 looked angry for a moment, then just sighed. "You do not command me, clown."

"I'm only trying to help. I suppose I had better get started, either way." Bobble straightened, turned and walked off to the right, the camera panning with him. Soon the camera panned out, revealing a massive cathedral, lit only by candles and torches. It was as if Bobble walked off one set and onto another. The clown remained of the same bright and cheerful art style as before, with a cheerful jaunt in his step as he made his way to an altar.

343 took in the scene. "A bit… blasphemous, isn't it? Even for you."

"Me? Oh, of course. I'm damned anyway, and I've always wanted to be a messiah." He looked back to 343, cackling quietly, rubbing his hands together. "Suffer the little children and all that, bring them all to me."

343 rolled his eyes. "If you must make a mockery of my words, you could do to pick something more appropriate. Why not 'I come not to bring peace, but a sword'?" He paused. "I came to give you a great sword, as it was written. Today, though, man has laid down the sword and picked up…"

"Guns! Yes, yes. Rat-a-tat-fucking-tat. Guns are all the rage in this modern world. A shame really. But with progress comes opportunity!" Bobble paused. "I can pass on the literal sword, if it's all the same to you. After all, what better sword is there today, than a television's antenna?"

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