Silent City
By Dana Quell

It was deserted by the time they rode into town on their sickly, white geldings. They had no right to be there, what with their white pressed suits and white floppy hats, but they had business that had to be taken care of. Except the town was empty, completely empty.

Their leader led them to City Hall, where they ran through the building, checking for any remaining people. They found none, so they decided that they would split up and search the entire town, house by house. Then, when the sun had reached the falling point, they would meet back here.

Gone were the people who once supposedly lived there. No more would their voices ring out in the town square where City Hall and other important buildings sat around the green, and no more would they be needing their worldly goods. No freshly dug mounds of earth marked their recent passing to another world in the decayed cemetery behind the old Christian church where, every Sunday, the townspeople would gather to pray to their god- the same god that would later forsake them.

Their leader stood tall in the abandoned square, her long white trench coat flapping with the soft whisper of the invisible wind. She surveyed the area with dark, keen eyes- black eyes that paralyzed her enemies and others unfortunate to come across her quick temper with fear- and watched the slow progress of the others.

The sunís falling point approached quickly, and their leader was quick to claim an office with City Hall, where she watched and waited. Waited for what, even she did not know, but she still waited.

Her second in command, a sniveling but ambitious 20ish young woman who cared only for herself and her white trenchcoat, walked in without knocking to report their findings. She made her walk in again, knocking first, before she would hear it.

As they expected, the people of the town were gone, had vanished into thin air. Not that she minded. What she did mind was the fact that most of their belongings, especially the valuable ones, had vanished with them. That was an unneeded thorn in her thumb, one that had not been predicted.

A shout came up from another one in a white trenchcoat outside. A body had been discovered. Their leader and second in command ran from City Hall, anxious to see what this new discovery would bring.

It was half buried, half crushed, underneath the horse's trough and it must have been just barely visible when the white trench coat led her horse from the water and made the gruesome discovery. It was dressed all in black, from head to toe, and the leader wrinkled her nose in disgust. It was a male, approximately the age of her second in command, dead for about two days. So they had been on the right track after all. She'd have to remember to congratulate her second in command about her tracking abilities.

"Strip it for anything useful, then leave it for the vultures," she ordered.

The others immediately began carrying out her orders and she sighed, moving away from the group that now strove to do her bidding.