Hurricane Dan (A Zombie Novel)

BOOK: Hurricane Dan (A Zombie Novel)
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Hurricane Dan

By Bret Wellman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text copyright 2013 by Bret Wellman

 

All rights reserved, except as permitted under the U.S. copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

 

First paperback edition: September 2013

 

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

Wellman, Bret, 1988-

Hurricane Dan : a novel / by Bret Wellman. - 1st ed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Kris and Kenny, who both really really wanted a sex scene

To Brian, my second pair of eyes, doctor eyes

 

Chapter 1

             

             
Four months without paying a single bill. Gas, electric, rent, Dan Kelly had gotten fed up and said fuck it all. Rather, the drunk version of Dan Kelly said fuck it all. Now it was time for sober Dan to face the consequences.

One suitcase, it was all Dan had to bring as the two police officers escorted him out to the street.

"This place was a shithole anyways!" Dan yelled back at his neighbors, a mob of people all peering at him. They hid behind their front doors, like they were shields that would save them if he decided to go crazy.

"Come on, keep moving
," one of the cops said, jabbing Dan out the front door of the apartment complex.

The streets of Manhattan were bustling with life. People ran back and forth, carrying shopping bags and briefcases. Horns were going off everywhere, anyone not from the city might think a bomb had just gone off and people were fleeing for their lives, but that was just the way it was. New York is home to some of the most aggressive drivers on earth
; blaring the horn is just a way of life for them. All of this activity loomed in the shadow of skyscrapers that towered into the sky and cast shadows across the city. They went on and on forever, neatly lined up in rows against the street curb.

"There is a shelter down on
Thirty-first and Third," one of the cops said, climbing into the driver’s seat of his squad car. "They will take you in and help get you back up on your feet. I don't want to see you around this neighborhood until then."

"Thank you officer, but you know what? I think there is a donut shop just down the road, on the corner of suck my dick and fuck off." Dan said, flicking the cop the bird.

The police officer stood back up out of the car and acted as if he were going to go after Dan but thought better of it. "I mean it, Dan, move along."

Dan would have gladly gone a few rounds with the cop, socked him one good right in the nose, but who wants to be stuck in a smelly old jail cell for the next two years? In the end he decided to suck up his pride and walk away.

So that is just what he did, Dan began to walk. He walked to the end of the block, then to the next, and the one after that. Dan walked until the sun began to sink and his legs started to ache. He walked past street bands as they played jazz and a range of acoustic genres, past models and businessmen, people from all over the world. Before long it was dark and the bars were full.

Oh
, how Dan wanted to go to the bar, to throw his money down on the table and get a glass of that sweet nectar that would make him the life of the party.

But Dan had no money, his last paycheck had come four months earlier when he had quit his job. Since then he had drank
that away, plus everything his credit card could hold.

As he got closer and closer to the bar, Dan could smell beer, hear laughter, and sense sweet release in the air. He watched for a while from outside, walking back and forth on the curb looking for change. He was on the verge of having a breakdown when an idea crept into his mind.

For Dan, it took no courage. He was a man far beyond the ledge, risk was nothing to him, people’s opinions were even less. He leaned his suitcase against a building on the opposite side of the street and marched across to the bar.

There was a bouncer standing at the door but he paid Dan no mind as he walked inside.  The music was loud and the lights were dim, people were packed in tight. It was the ideal environment for what Dan planned to do next.

Not wanting to look suspicious, Dan walked over and leaned against a window sill, from where he had a good look at everything.

There was a dance floor to the left of the front door, it was mostly women dancing with a guy or two thrown in here and there. The bar itself ran the length of the place with three young brunette bartenders, working with their backs against a brick wall. The floor was wood and so were all the tables, spread out, taking up a majority of the space. All and all it was a small bar, longer than it was wide.

Dan spotted what he was looking for as a girl grabbed what looked like her boyfriend and dragged him out to the dance floor. He had left his beer behind.

Looking as nonchalant as he could, Dan walked over and swiped the beer from the table. Nobody seemed to notice and he was back against the window before anybody could be the wiser.

The first sip was heaven, it always was. His mouth began to tingle and his stomach filled with butterflies, he was like a kid getting pushed on a swing at the playground. Before he could bring the bottle down to his side, he was already lifting it for another sip. His troubles were getting farther away and his body was growing lighter. It was not long before the bottle was gone and Dan was back on the hunt.

His second bottle was from a girl who had left it to go to the bathroom. It was only half full and went down fast. After his third he was beginning to feel tipsy, he wanted to find a fourth to make sure the feeling didn't go away. On his seventh he went out to the dance floor and danced with a pretty blonde who had been eyeing him. It was not until his eleventh beer that he got caught.

Dan walked up to a table that was full of people and grabbed a beer that belonged to a guy who was still sitting there.

"It's just a sip, it's just a sip
," Dan tried to explain through slurred words as he was confronted.

When the owner reached out like he wanted his beer back, Dan stepped away and took a big chug. The guy responded by grabbing a fistful of Dan
’s shirt. The bouncer was soon on top of them.

"What's going on here?"

The guy let go of Dan and took a step back. "This guy walked up and stole my beer."

Dan held the beer low so as to hide it from si
ght. "This fucker doesn't know what he's talking about," he said sounding as completely drunk as he was.

"I saw it too, he walked right up and took it
," a chubby brown-haired girl said from the table.

Dan gasped as though he had just been betrayed by a dear loved one, "What? Sir, that woman is a bitch!"

"I think he has been stealing beer all night," said another man from a few tables over. "I had one go missing earlier and so did my friend."

"Fuck you!" Dan blurted.

"Alright, that's it, you're out of here," said the bouncer, grabbing Dan by the arm and dragging him towards the door.

Dan chugged the beer as fast as he could before being shoved out into the street. As he stumbled, the beer fell from his hand and
shattered on the pavement. Luckily he had sucked down every last drop before he had dropped it.

Reflecting back, his beer stealing operation had turned out pretty good.

He was in a bubbly haze as he walked back across the street. His briefcase had been knocked over and opened but that was okay, he just tucked his second pair of blue jeans back inside and moved on.

Where to sleep? It was the only question he had on his mind. What a liberating experience
: could this be the way to become a kid again? He began to laugh and jump around, twirling his briefcase as he went down the street.

He looked into the black window of a mirror as he passed, seeing himself in the reflection. He was just below six foot tall, with dark black hair that was streaked with gray near his sideburns. Gray! He was only twenty
-six years old; gray hair shouldn't be popping out at that age.

He wore a white, button up shirt with a loosened tie and overcoat. Anybody passing him on the street would think he had just come from a long day
’s work.

"The big apple
, baby!" he yelled, picking up a rock from the ground.

He turned back to the window, throwing the rock at his own image. Nothing happened, the rock just bounced off.

Dan stood there for a moment, waiting to see if the glass would break... Nothing.

"Well
, fuck you too, then!" he said before walking on.

By the end of the next hour
, Dan had found himself wandering through Central Park. It seemed like the best place to lay down and go to sleep, so that's where he went. With every step he took away from the buildings it grew darker and more quiet until he could hardly see where he was going. Dead leaves crackled under his feet and the wind bit at his ears, but he didn’t care. This was his party and nothing was going to ruin it.

There was a cluster of trees next to a bridge made of stone. Dan wound his way into the trees, finding the softest spot he could and laying down. He turned his overcoat into a blanket and the pants inside the briefcase into a pillow. His last thought
s were of fun and freedom.

Life was good.

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

             
Life was bad.

It was late October and the winter months were right around the corner. Most nights the temperature got below freezing.

Dan rolled over to his back in the fetal position. He felt as though there was no blood in his body, only ice. He was shivering uncontrollably and his breath would catch in his throat every couple of minutes. If he did nothing, he would wind up freezing to death.

Dan stood up and looked around, a cold wind bit
ing at his numb face. He zipped up his coat with his arms on the inside and began to walk towards the buildings.

It was hard to do more than a shuffle. Anything that wasn't numb ached, including his knees. It felt like his feet were two bricks of ice
. If he wasn't careful they would catch on the sidewalk and send him tumbling to the ground.

Somehow, during his slumber, the park had managed to grow dramatically. What was only a short trip going in seemed like miles coming out. An all
-consuming silence blossomed in the air, it was the dead voice of the barren trees.

A bird chirped to Dan’s right,
and an involuntary scream escaped his shivering lips. If it weren't so cold, he would have taken off running. For better or for worse, there was nobody around to hear his scream.

By the time he reached the city
, Dan felt so drained that it almost overpowered the pain of the cold. He debated laying down right there on the sidewalk and taking a quick nap. He would worry about the cold when he was a little more rested. Lucky for Dan, he chose to keep going.

There were a few people out, most were wrapped up tight and quick to go from one building to the next. Nobody paid any attention to him.

Dan was just passing the second skyscraper when he came upon the entrance to the subway. Right away he could feel a warm wind wafting up the steps and caressing his body. With each step Dan began to reanimate. He was still tired but it was not nearly as bad. By the time he reached the bottom of the steps he was already regaining feeling.

Everything burned, especially his hands
; they felt as though they had been set on fire. The pain grew, spreading through his body. The small flames inside of him were fast becoming a wildfire. He couldn’t stand it, it was making him unaware of what he was doing. It was like a toothache, except his entire body was the tooth. Just when Dan thought he could not take it anymore, the pain began to subside and he was able to relax.

For the first time, Dan was aware of the rancid smell of piss. The entire place reeked of it, it was as if hundreds of people had decided to simply drop their drawers and urinate all over the ground.

The walls seemed damp, the tiling, once white, had become yellow over time. That must have been because of all the people pissing everywhere, Dan figured.

There were ten different turnst
iles at the bottom of the steps, nine were full body and one was the old fashioned kind with one bar that you pushed with your waist. There didn't seem to be anybody standing guard so Dan hopped the one turnstile and jogged around the corner before somebody tried to stop him, not that there was anyone there in the first place.

The subway station was plain, a pit along the far wall for the train to go through, benches along the other wall for people waiting, pillars lined sporadically to keep the city from crashing down. At the far end of the benches, laying on a dirty pile of cardboard, was the shaggiest man Dan had ever seen. His beard looked like a gray lion’s mane
, wrapping his entire head and hiding the vast majority of his scuffed-up face. His toes were visible through a giant hole in the end of his clown shoes and it appeared his clothes had not been washed in the better part of a decade.

Dan laid down on the bench and stared up at the yellow tiles. It wasn't comfortable
, but it was warm and did not take long for him to start dozing off.

He felt himself begin
ning to soar, leaving his body to fly amongst the skyscrapers. He zoomed over the people, laughing at their petty lives. They went back and forth like ants, scrambling for useless products that kept them chained to the ground. Not Dan, he was free to fly wherever he wanted, he was no longer chained by consumerism. That would have made him the happiest man in the world except for one thing, a nagging sensation in the back of his mind. "Turn back now," it said.

Soaring through the sky, Dan looked to his left. He was greeted by a swirling mass of cloud, churning wind, lightning, thunder. There was a storm on the horizon.

Clomp, clomp, clomp, the sound buzzed in his ears, causing him to lose altitude. Clomp, clomp, clomp, with every thump he fell faster and faster. Clomp, clomp, the pavement rushed up at him, he closed his eyes and braced.

Dan sat up straight, he was back in the subway. Clomp, clomp, it was the sound of the homeless man’s clown shoes, the guy was walking towards Dan.

"You got any flippity flop?" the man yelled when he was close. He swayed back and forth drunkenly.

Dan suddenly understood why the place smelled so bad
; it was all wafting off of this one man. He cringed and tried to lean away but the man was so close and just standing there.

"I says, you like, oh got the flippy flop!" Dan suspected the man meant to talk normal but every word came out loud, as if the homeless man were speaking to a crowd.

"What?" Dan asked.

"What you mean, what? I got to know
’bout da flippy flop. Some need it, some want it, is ah fact oh flyin’ high and ridin’ low. Where flippy flop is, is where I go."

"If you’re looking for money or booze, I don't have any, sorry
," Dan said.

The homeless man looked flustered. "
Well den I guess you no good to me. I go on and get the flippy floppy somewhere else then, goodbye." He started to walk away but stopped. He looked as though he had just had an epiphany. "You newly homeless, ain't you's?"

Dan sat up, "yea
h, I suppose I am." He ran his fingers through his hair, feeling the grease that had formed as a result of not taking a shower. "But I'm nothing like you." He adjusted his tie and brushed his hand over a stain on his button-up shirt, to prove the point.

"
Yeah, that's what they all says. Ain't not one of um held out fo’ long, pull of the flippity flop too strong," said the homeless man. "I tell you what, being homeless ain't so bad you see. We gots ourselves a little commune. Let me take you there, show you what they do. Do, do, do, waka chew waka chew."

"No
, thank you," said Dan, trying to think of a polite way out of the conversation. "I'll be fine on my own, leave me be."

Before the homeless man could respond, two police officers came through the turnst
iles.

"Alright Barns, it's nine in the morning, you know I have to kick you out," one of the officers said.

The homeless man, Barns, started nodding his head frantically. "Yes sirs, thank ya sirs. Good night of sleep it was. Now I be on my way."

"Who's your friend?" the second cop asked, turning on his flashlight and shooting the beam right into Dan's eyes. "
He looks awfully clean. You been doing drugs, have you?"

"No sir, he ain't been doin
’ no drugs. Just down on his lucks is all," said Barns.

The cop clicked the flashlight off and put it away. "Right, well either way it is time for you two to move on for the day. You know the rules, we will let you come back down here after midnight if you can't find another place to go."

"Yes sirs, thank you sirs." Barns began nodding his head again. It looked mildly odd, with all his facial hair bobbing up and down the way it was.

The two police officers stood there and waited, following both Dan and Barns up the steps to make sure they were really leaving.

The air outside of the subway station was still pretty cold, though not as bad as the night before. At least it smelled fresh, Dan figured. It wasn’t long before there was another smell that caught his attention and sent a spike of pain through his body—food. His stomach began to growl.

"Woo diggity, I got myself the ding dong king!"

Dan turned to see Barns, head first and waist deep in a garbage can.

"Come on
, stranger, I know you wants some of this here viddles." he said, coming out holding two half-eaten hot dogs. "One fo’ me and one fo’ you."

"Pass
," said Dan, although his grumbling stomach said otherwise. He had no cash, there was no telling when he would find food next. What would it cost him if he were to skip this meal, he wondered. Could he starve?

"
You know what is worse than being one of the homeless kind? Being the dead kind. Eat this now and then I take you to the commune. Get ya back on ya feet, then we go find the flippy flop together."

Dan stood there, not willing to commit, yet afraid of what would happen if he didn't. Finally, he reached out and took one of the hotdogs from Barns. "Ah, what the hell
," he said and took a bite.

BOOK: Hurricane Dan (A Zombie Novel)
10.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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