Twenty-five-year-old bodybuilder David Dane has never had an interest in drugs. When he arrives in a new town to begin a job as a personal trainer, David heads to Ontario Street to buy a raincoat. Little does he know that a dark shadow hangs over Ontario Street and that the woman in fishnet stockings who walks past him is about to introduce him to the dangerous world of drug addiction.
After David invites Lilly Chicoine to have a drink with him, he soon realizes that he has unintentionally stepped into a place where dreams become nightmares and where the regulars roam in search of their next high. Even as he accompanies Lilly on a drug deal, David still does not know what he is doing, except that Lilly is the only woman who has paid attention to him in a long while. As darkness falls each night, David becomes entangled in an unpredictable web of illicit drugs and risk. But David has no idea that a serial killer is stalking the night in search of his own treasure-human flesh. As one prostitute after another is murdered, David takes it upon himself to become Lilly's protector.
In this gripping thriller, a man must dance with the devil in order to save a woman nurturing a death wish. Only time will tell if he can save her before it is too late.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.83(d)|
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Urban RainAN ODYSSEY THROUGH THE DARKNESS OF NIGHT
By David Dane Wallace
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 David Dane Wallace
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDavid Dane, twenty-five years old, walked briskly down the shadowy streets in a city that was as unfamiliar to him as a midnight T.V. series that was sporting its pilot episode.
He had been in town for one week.
Dane's long-time friend, Bobby Troy Edmonds, had hired Dane on to be the head trainer in one of his Iron Gym's, a business long owned and successfully developed by Edmonds, who had become a millionaire overnight making huge profits off of the clientele that had come through his doors.
Dane glanced at his watch. The hour nearing was two.
Already the suns rays had evaporated and the cloud cover was now heavy, its shades echoing an ominous gloom that threatened rain.
Bodybuilding, Dane's lifelong passion, had occupied the better part of his soul for the past nine years. Moderate success at an amateur competitive level had been his reward, and he did not use performance enhancing drugs, nor those of the recreational kind either, although he had been offered cocaine on countless occasions by other heavy lifters who liked to mix the effects of coke and steroids to give them a boost. Dane had always spurned the offer with extreme prejudice.
David Dane had no interest in drugs. None.
As Dane began to walk downhill towards Ontario Street, his eyes turned upward toward the sky.
A dark and sinister rain had begun.
The shiny treetops above swished and sloshed above Dane's head, and the cold damp air was beginning to penetrate his flesh, searing him to the bone. He was not properly dressed for this weather, having worn only a thin brown workout sweater and blue jeans. The rain was attacking the streets and rooftops of the surrounding area now blowing in gusts that looked like a series of miniature hurricanes.
A Police cruiser rolled by him and stopped at the curb. At the same time, an out-of-control drug addict was screaming as he wielded a knife, his long raggedly cloaked arms flailing about in the dampening air. The two cops exited the car, approaching the forty something year old man who quickly dropped what he was carrying.
Ontario Street, an older area, had become a problem for the police over the past eight or nine years. The area itself, full of sleazy taverns and miniature after-hours clubs had always been rough. Only now the dealers had moved their business into the streets selling high volumes of coke and heroin to the local regulars. This change of business location had also brought its share of prostitutes and riff-raff into the neighborhood, as well as other undesirables. Dane looked up into the shade as he heard the sad winds blowing through the billowing treetops above him, as if Mother Nature was crying out and wanted him to hear her.
The rain had accelerated, but not by much, and he hadn't brought a jacket with him. However he had come this far in his exploration of this place and he wasn't about to turn back now, even as seedy as he recognized this locale to be. Neighborhoods like this did not faze David Dane. For even though he was raised by a mother who was a politician and a father who was by and large corporate, he had had a different upbringing outside of this home; one with an exterior far more harsh than the one he had received at the hands of his parents who bordered on upper middle-class.
Dane glanced over his shoulder as a woman dressed in a blue top with black fishnet stockings walked passed him. She reeked of liquor, and judging by her speed, she was probably on her way to her fix—whatever and wherever that may be.
As he turned away from watching her, there was another female standing in the rain before him.
"Hi," she began, dancing back and forth from one foot to another without music. "I'mmmmm Lilly," she said, hands clasped behind her like a soldier. "And you are?"
"David Dane," he replied.
"So, are you looking for something?"
He knew what she meant but he played along anyway.
"I don't sell raincoats," she quipped. "I sell something else."
Lilly Chicoine, one year Dane's junior, was the product of a Portuguese mother and a Salvadorian father. Together, they had produced a daughter who resembled a Latin supermodel, who now, due to heavy drug use sported only traces of that original beauty. There was something else about her too, something forlorn and abandoned, like a quiet street in the middle of the night, empty and dark.
The rain was blowing in gusts now, making rippling laps around them.
"Why are you dancing?" Dane asked Lilly.
"Probably too much coke. And I haven't slept, so that's probably contributing to it too."
"Do you live in the area?" he asked.
"Sometimes. Not right now though."
She was still dancing.
"Are you a cop?" She asked.
"No way". Dane said.
They were standing outside a tavern with a solid silver door and the rain had begun to fall. She looked at him for a moment, her long brown hair wet and dishevelled, as if she had fallen overboard and had just been rescued. She wore a brown sweater with long sleeves and a pair of blue jeans. She was as thin as a rake.
"Wanna come inside the bar with me? They kicked me out before, but I'm allowed back in now." She waited for a response.
He wanted to put his arms around her. She had that effect on him, and his eyes reflected that emotion. He did not know if she saw it or not. Lilly opened the door and the two stepped inside. The place at first made Dane uneasy, but it wasn't out of fear. He did not know why he felt this way.
She looked back at him. "You have to buy a drink if you want to sit here or they'll get mad. I don't have any money because I haven't made a client yet. Soooooo ... I guess you're buying the drinks."
He wondered if she did this often. Dane wondered if alcohol might also be one of her problems. He would later find out that it was not.
As he approached the bar he noticed someone wearing a camouflaged baseball hat glaring at him from the far corner of the room.
Dane made eye contact and then looked away.
Lilly was sitting in front of one of the gambling machines when he returned with the drinks. He set her orange juice down as she took a pull from the machine in front of him. Neither one of them drank alcohol.
Lilly pushed down on the glowing red button and watched as cherries, apples, and treasure chests overflowing with gold rolled simultaneously into place before her eyes.
"I thought you said you had no money," he said. He didn't mind paying for the two drinks. It was being lied to that David Dane did not like.
Her demeanor changed slightly. "I just found twenty bucks in my pocket."
He did not care. He was happy to have her there to keep him company. And besides, outside of Beautiful Bobby, Lilly was now the only other person in town that he knew by name.
Beautiful Bobby was what Dane called Bobby Troy Edmonds. It was a nickname that Dane had bestowed upon his friend once many years ago after finding out that Edmonds had at one time been a Chippendale dancer. David had found out about Bobbys second occupation one night when they'd gone out to a club and Edmonds had bumped into an ex female client of sorts, that had paid Edmonds and another dancer to have sex with her and six of her friends. Bobby was good looking. And it didn't hurt that he had also made it big out in California as a professional bodybuilder before returning home to open up a string of work-out clubs he that he called "Iron Gym". Then he had moved a franchise out here and offered Dane a job, for which David would be forever grateful.
Dane himself was not huge. Not like Edmonds. He stood five eleven, weighing about two hundred and twenty pounds with a shaved head and a handsome pinch that fit him like the glass slipper fit Cinderella. He had a look that could be thug or puppy-dog, depending on his mood. His roots were Irish and Scottish, but he had been raised in Canada. He was the first of two sons born to Jonathan and Marilyn Dane. Both of them had been raised in poverty but worked hard to fight their way out and achieve success.
Jonathan, his father, had been the son of a farmer who grew crops and drove a tractor to feed his family. There were five of them. Jonathan and four others, all of which were girls. Dane bore no resemblance to his Fathers side of The Family in character, having forged a completely different path for himself in life.
"Is it still raining?" Lilly asked.
Dane turned to look at the two windows at his back. Silver outside, and the cloying minions of smoke were making his eyes burn. They curled and swirled about his head in a fuseless batallion.
She had lost track of the answer to her question as she pounded away furiously at the glowing red button on the slot machine. She wasn't paying any attention to him now, or, if she was, she wasn't showing it, her eyes glued almost menacingly to the screen.
"You got a quarter?" she asked sticking out her hand without watching him for a response.
He stood up, fumbling around in his pocket for loose change.
"Here," he said, handing her twenty-five cents.
She took it and did not say thank you.
There was a pay phone on the other side of the room by the hooded glare of the Budweiser sign. She was on it now.
"Okay. How long? Fifteen minutes?" She had a cigarette in her hand which she had bummed from a skater while he wasn't looking. Dane had not watched her when she walked away from him.
"Okay. Okay," Lilly chirped into the mouthpiece before hanging up."
"C'mon, we gotta go," she said, making a mad dash for the door. With him or not. Dane followed her.
"Where are we going?"
"I have to go meet my dealer. He's fronting me for a half-point."
"What the fuck is that?" He had never heard the term before.
"Heroin," she said without hesitation. "But try and stay a few feet behind me because these guys are fucking paranoid. If they see you they won't serve me, and I'm already asking for a front."
So now he was traipsing down the street, eight feet behind this girl that he had just met, so that her heroin dealer would not believe him to be a cop. And he was getting soaking wet. She kept asking him for the time, which he provided for her.
They were obviously in the inner city,but other than the two or three prostitutes they had passed the area appeared unremarkable.
The wind howled through the green treetops now.
"Fuck. I'm getting sick," she said.
"What?" He had not heard her.
She came to the corner and stopped. "I need another quarter."
Dane gave her one.
The chilling rain was blowing in gusts now as the wind cried out in soulless collusion. He was freezing. And he felt like an idiot. The treetops were bent as if giving way to the will of the afternoon current.
He waited there shivering as Lilly crossed the street in search of a pay phone.
"Tell me if you see a green car," she called out with her back to him.
Just as she said this a small green Toyota rounded the corner and stopped just shy of the payphone where Lilly was standing, her dance still vaguely apparent. He could not make out the face behind the wheel, nor did he try to.
"Meet me in front of the bar at the stone park," she whisper-yelled before getting in with the driver. The lights of the car blazed through the afternoon gloom as the two of them drove off.
Dane complied with her instructions, although he did not know why. He liked her. There was no other explanation. He went back and waited in the park across from the tavern where they'd been earlier. They called the park the "The Stone Park" because it was made of bricks. It had two pay phones to the left of where he was sitting that many of the girls in the neighborhood, be they prostitutes or not, used to call their dealers. To his back was the west side of a building called Chantal's and across from him was the tavern where they had been earlier that he would soon come to know as the The Black Domino.
As he sat there, Dane wondered why the guy in The Bar had been staring at him. Why had he been glaring at Dane from beneath the shadow cast by his camouflaged cap? He did not like Dane. That was for sure. And in return, Dane did not like him either.
Cars whizzed past, their tires forming ditches in the fallen downpour. One of them had been a police cruiser, and the driver had inspected Dane as if wondering how he know him.
Suddenly, the little green car returned and Lilly hopped out. About ten minutes had passed. She was holding something tightly in her clenched hand.
"Let's go," she said as the Toyota sped off.
"Fuck! If this gets wet, I'm fucked."
"Why?" he asked, walking by her side.
"Because the paper sticks to it and then the smack is no good. You have to keep it dry."
Dane had only just learned that 'smack' was one of the many street names for heroin. There were also others, such as Downtown, Brown, Junk, Skag, or the simple abbreviation H.
Several years earlier, a lethal brand of Heroin called Black Death had hit the streets of both New York and Vancouver, killing a record number of addicts in only one day. The brand, also known as Black Tar, had twice the potency of regular heroin and it killed its obsessors like an assassin.
"... Fuck, and I'm out of new ones. I have to go get some from Guardian."
"New ones?" he asked.
She had stopped, and was looking back and forth now as if she couldn't decide what to do next. They were standing in front of a church with a wrought iron gate around it, its gray cement darkening in the rainfall. It had a high clock tower that loomed overhead like a guard post as the two stood there like drowning rabbits. The hooded vapor lamps from the street, now on, were glowing through the coiling dusk, giving ominous presence to the area.
He thought that these streets had an energy. One that he was unfamiliar with, even in concept. They watched somehow. As if everything that the two of them did was monitored and recorded by a nocturnal eye that swept over the area and kept track of what went on. The vapor lamps seemed to brighten as the rain pounded the cement, illuminating the alleyways between the shops across from where they stood.
From where he was standing, Dane noticed a beautiful blond girl in an alley tying a garro around her arm. A garrot, pronounced simply 'garro' was a junkie's term for the strap, string, rubber tube or whatever else a junkie could find to tie around their arm to make the veins pop.
The sight of it made him wince.
"Hey Jillian," Lilly the Latin girl called out as she reached into the air, waving for attention. She had just noticed her friend.
The blond girl across the street stopped what she was doing as she saw Lilly Chicoine heading towards her.
"Jillian!" Lilly called out again, making sure that she had the girl's attention.
"Lilly!" the girl exclaimed, rolling up her bloodied sleeve and heading across the street, the needle still in hand.
Dane stood by, watching as the two females embraced.
"I was in therapy for four months, ..." the blond with the bloody arm began.
"It's so good to see you," Lilly said genuinely. "Hey. Do you have a clean one I could borrow?"
The blond reached into her purse and handed Lilly a fresh syringe wrapped in clear plastic with a white backing.
"Hold on. I just wanna do my hit," Lilly said, rolling up one of her own sleeves. "And do you have a condom I could use as a garro?"
Jillian nodded, handing her a packaged Trojan—not normally the brand carried by street hookers, but somehow, that was what she had.
"And that's ... David Dane," Lilly said pointing over her right shoulder.
The three of them were now soaked.
"Fuck. I need to find somewhere to do this," she exclaimed. Again, looking back and forth.
All of the shops were closed. Not that it mattered to her dilemma.
"I was pregnant, but I got an abortion," Jillian said. "Tiny baby boo-boo."
Excerpted from Urban Rain by David Dane Wallace Copyright © 2011 by David Dane Wallace. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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