Nikki, Ana, with Shannon in tow, were gone! Headed to the Black Rock mines to rendezvous with the Smoke Man! The Hunter and Eko exited the back tent just in time to see the witch's coach pull away. They noticed another carriage nearby. A sign on its side announced, DR. ALPERT'S TRAVELING MEDICINE SHOW. A thin man with dark hair and eyebrows, dressed in a white suit, stood nearby. He was loading some cases into the back of the carriage. The Hunter and Eko approached. "We need to borrow your coach!" Eko announced. "I think not!" the man replied, "I've got a few more stops to make before the festivities begin!" "Festivities or not," the Hunter said, as he drew the revolver, "we're taking your wagon!" "Well," the man replied, "maybe we can make some type of arrangement. What is your offer?" Eko stepped silently behind the man and bopped him on the head! "That is our one and final offer!" Eko said. They quickly boarded the wagon and took off toward Black Rock! The Hunter could see dust rising ahead, indicating they were gaining on the witch's coach. They soon came upon the side of a large mountain pocketed with caves. They had arrived! The Black Rock Mines! The witches coach was parked nearby. The air was thick. The mountain wavered like a mirage. A rumbling, rattling sound came from one of the larger caves. An eerie, primitive howl followed! Suddenly, from out of the cave's entrance came a large centrically shaped pillar of dark smoke! It hissed, as it snaked three times around the Hunter and Eko! "I have encountered this apparition before in one of my lives!" Eko said, "I do not fear it!" The smoke swirled vertically, then shape-shifted into a man with dark wavy hair. "Well," he sarcastically said, "another Hunter has arrived to try his hand at killing me! My brother just never gives up, does he?!" "I came for the girl!" the Hunter said. "And you shall have her!" the Smoke Man replied, "you see, despite what my brother may have told you, I'm a reasonable human being!" The Hunter smiled, "You're a liar!" "Now why would you say that?" the Smoke Man wondered. "Because," the Hunter replied, "you're neither reasonable nor human!" Next: Chap. 29 "The Beauty"

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