A large, bustling city. A place where you can get lost, become a somebody and loose everything all in the same year. Push your luck and you’ll end up in a ditch, robbed of all you have, including your life. Dealers and beggars, their breath a choking mix of stale, cheap booze and rot, try to take your coin; you’re used to these sights, hardened to them. Therefore, when a poor unfortunate tugs at your jacket sleeve, you just shrug them off and keep walking, too obsessed with your own pitiful life to spare a coin. Ahead of you a band of thugs are beating on a student. You just cross over; this is the norm of this part of town.

Criminals run the underground, organized and bands of wannabies make the city unsafe, of this, you’re very aware, as you’re also aware that you should never travel the back streets after dark; not unless you have some sort of death wish. Such is the world you’ve grown up in.

A siren makes you jump as you wander the streets, a police car speeding to some unknown destination. A sigh escapes you and you breathe again. In most places, you would be comforted by the presence of the police, but not here, here you should look on them with as much concern as you wound the criminals that they’re paid to protect you from. Vaguely, you wonder if they’re straight. Wouldn’t matter if they were, though, corruption feeds on corruption. You wouldn’t hold your breath.

Slowly, your destination comes into view. A ramshackle building, it looks like it’s on it last legs, about to collapse at any moment. You begin to wonder if you have the right place, surely no one is working in such a place! You close with the building, eyes widening slightly as a large man, with long hair and a trench coat of all things nods to you and enters; a plastic bag in his off hand, a half-smoked cigarette hanging from his lips. He’s intimidating, more so than you would have thought for a private investigator, but, by his own omission, he was the only one living in the building. This must be him. He must be Karite, the man you have come to see.

In a Strange World