Gone Wrong

An Adult Adventure Novel Inspired by Modern Politics

Although Gone Wrong is not a graphic novel, certain aspects of the story do tend toward the colorfully dramatic. Have fun with this alternative description of events early in the book.

    A bitter night wind assaulted the face, the hands and anything else uncovered that it could torment. It came off the ocean and hurried up and down the rumpled streets as if specifically targeting the man and woman hailing a cab. Tourists dressed for the heat. It was July. But it was San Francisco, famously frigid in the summer. They huddled against the stunning cold of the evening, hands outstretched at each mustard yellow taxi that passed. Nothing was right. The City changed every three blocks. They had walked themselves into the Tenderloin in search of a ride back to the hotel, a section of town under-policed and overpopulated with the worst of society.

   The concrete pillars of the freeway sheltered the City’s growing derelict population. Bodies curled in sleep covered by blankets of indeterminate color and age. The rush of the freeway hid the sounds of movement as filthy faces turned toward the opportunity of the stranded couple. Movement began slowly from gray edges towards the man and woman. A stealth accentuated by a desire to be there first. To claim the target. To bring them down and assume the position of a feral dog protecting its kill.

   The couple backed down the street hoping to create distance, but the slinking, faceless figures followed. The wind came off the crud-encrusted concrete and through the hunters carrying a greasy stench like undigested fat. The only sound, feet scraping on the street and the occasional car passing overhead. Fog contained the smell and near silence, dampening any light other than the dopplering headlights from the freeway.

   Numbers swelled as bodies seemingly rose from nowhere. The couple’s faces pivoted searching for space to escape. He whispered to her and with one arm swept her to his back as if that would provide protection. He could feel her breath, its pace increasing as it shallowed. A sound. A human growl, forced both to focus on their left. As the distance shortened, faces appeared. Filth encircling unwelcoming, tooth gapped grins. Really smirks that told of a knowledge of the future the couple could only imagine.

           

     As he reached in his pocket for his cellphone, she loudly whispered, “A cab!”

    Behind them, a taxi slowly rolled down the street. The light on top was lit. The cab available. The man and woman slid toward the curb. The predators closed. Each mumble, each incoherent curse magnified as the mob abandoned caution. The prey might be lost.

       The couple turned and ran; the man opened the door. He spun hearing, “Thanks.”

       The door was pulled from his hand and began to close.

     Inside the cab sat a laughing pre-middle age metrosexual who’d been hiding unnoticed in the shadows while the couple garnered all the attention. He had stolen the cab and their escape. He was already giving the cabbie directions. None of which included the couple.

    The man started to protest; the mob closed in, but before either could happen, the door swung open again. An arm pulled the offender from the cab and pushed him to the street towards the mob. Now distracted by the new meat, the scavengers pounced. All the man and the woman heard were screams and grunts, as they were guided into the cab by a blur. The door shut. They looked out the window recognizing the black mask and fedora of their savior and in unison proclaimed, “Gosh”.