Death’s welcome party - by Rachel Barrett, age 15

Loreto High School, Beaufort, Rathfarnham

War, Famine and Pestilence sit together around a table in silence, waiting and looking irritated. Death enters

Famine: (stands) And what time do you call this, might I ask?

Death: (sheepishly) Sorry, I know I'm late. Work was just really busy today.

Famine: That's what you say every day.


Death: Well, today it wasn't MY fault. (Looks at War.)

War: I was just doing my job. Unlike you, I have to work for it, instead of waiting for other people to do things.

Death: It might not be what you're used to, but I have to do about twice as much as you.

Pestilence: (disappointed) Whatever about working late, you could have at least phoned ahead. We would have went on without you (motions towards cards on the table).

Death: (despondently) Look, I said that I was sorry.

Pestilence: (grumbles) I was really looking forward to it too.

War: Yeah. All of us were.

Famine: You just don't get it. When we work, we work well and hard. And then there are quiet times, when there's no work for us at all. The only things that we have to look forward to are things like this. And you just ruin them.

Death: If it really means that much to you, why don't you just play without me?

Pestilence: (bitterly) We don't play without you because of what happened last time. Or have you forgotten the 2012 Apocalypse ruse?

Death: Oh, come on. That was funny. The humans were terrified.

Pestilence: For you, maybe, but not for us, that's our main purpose. That's why we're here. And you just went and made a joke out of it.

War: (angrily) It made a joke out of us.

Death: If it annoys you guys that much, then, when the time really does come, I'll confess to the whole thing.

Famine: No, you take credit for everything. You're the only Horsemen that the humans know. If someone dies of hunger, it's Death's fault.

War: If someone dies in battle, is it War, who cause the whole thing? No, it's Death's fault.

Pestilence: And if somebody dies of the Bubonic Plague, who was it? Death.

Death: That's not my fault. It's the humans.

War: Don't try to blame the humans. We were around long before they walked the Earth. We all know that you planned this. You probably appeared to a writer and threatened them in a vision. (Death starts to squirm at their glares.)

Famine: I knew it.

Death: Alright, so what if I did?

Pestilence: (furious) So what? They know one quarter of us. You take all the credit. This is a huge deal.

Death: I didn't think of that at the time. I thought that we were a couple of years away from the Apocalypse. If I'd known that it would take this long, I wouldn't have done it.

War: That's a lie and you know it.

Death: Prove it.

Famine: We're spending eternity together. We will (smiles deviously, looking at War and Pestilence).

Lights go down as War, Famine and Pestilence all burst into evil laughter