The rain was coming down in droves. The sound was almost enough to hide the sound of his prey. Lloyd Llemar, P.I. had been tracking down this particular criminal for months. It had taken a lot of leg work to make the contacts to locate the famous smuggler who only went by the handle, Smoke. This time, though, it was the middle of the day, and there was no darkness to hide him.
The chase became second nature, though he resented the soreness afterwards. Lloyd had lost sight of Smoke for only a second, but the sound of footfalls in the puddles of the alley became a compass. Lloyd came to know these streets like an urban-jungle cat comes to own their domain. He knew just the right spot to emerge from to collide with his quarry. The startled smuggler attempted to issue a threat, something along the lines of "you'll be sorry," but a single sucker punch put his lights out.
"Consider your career, extinguished!" After cuffing the elusive Smoke, Lloyd had to stretch. Bones cracking and tendons moaning. He was so focused on the grime below him, he did not notice the cloaked figure shambling towards him.
"Oo-oh... You there, where is this place?" An elderly woman's voice creaked out of the rags of the figure as it clutched her head.
Breathing heavily, Lloyd regarded her with the same pity he regards all of those living in the alleys, sure that her mind had been lost. "This... is Gyson City, ma'am... Where did you, come from? Where are you staying?" He steps over the listless criminal and goes to reach for her. His investigator eye notices her skin is a dark mahogany, damaged from excessive sun exposure. What perplexed Lloyd more, was that despite the cool rain, he could feel warmth emmenating from her as if she had just gotten out of that sun.
Before he could take her arm, her back arched violently, almost to the point of breaking, and her hand had surrounded his forearm with vice-like strength. His reaction to the pain was slow, but excruciating. Desperate to wrench his arm free, he pulls in vain against her unnatural strength, barely aware of the words she utters in a gasp. "You will soon find yourself in a strange land," she warns. "Where fish fly and man glides. Beware your machine as it will pull you to an abyss to which you cannot return."
Finally finding purchase, Lloyd prys the womans fingers off his arm just to have her form fade from view in a shimmer right before his eyes. Sitting for a few moments, the only conclusion he could come to was that either he was going crazy, or there was someone else out there that was more deserving of the name Smoke. Shaking the shock from his mind, he goes to retrieve his prisoner, unable to dismiss the prophecy he had just heard from his thoughts.