The monk-like Hubbard sat against an oak partition with a half-full pint glass in front of him and a collection of crisp packets littering the top of the round table. He looked tired, with his brown eyes encircled by dark rings and a sallow complexion. He seemed to be aware of being watched, and his gaze appealed for Hendrix to come over.
Hendrix ordered a pint of cold Carlsberg for himself and asked the barmaid for a pint of whatever Hubbard was drinking. The barmaid grimaced, nodded, and pulled the pints in silence.
To his left a group of students sat around a large table, and the jukebox was playing electro-pop, a Soft Cell song the name of which he couldn’t remember and hadn’t heard since law school. Not a drinker then, but he had made up for it since. It was difficult to avoid drink during long hot periods just waiting in the services, and sober journalism was an oxymoron.
Hendrix picked up the drinks and strolled between empty tables to the monk and sat down, putting the pint glasses on the table.
“Barry isn’t it?” He offered his hand in greeting, “I’m Hendrix Harrison.”
“Man, I knew it was you when you came in. It’s really great to meet you. You’ve got a great name.”
They linked hands above the assorted crisp packets, and Hubbard gripped to the point of discomfort, keeping eye contact and nodding his head like one of those rear-window animals from a cheap gift shop. He had a glimmer of perspiration across his brow and a pained smile – almost a contortion – accented by a pearl of saliva nestled in the corner of his mouth.
“You don’t look anything like your picture,” Hubbard said, still nodding.
Finally releasing Hendrix’s hand, Hubbard turned his magazine around to show a picture of Hendrix in the Opinionssection. It was an old issue, three years or more. Hendrix smiled.
“Yea, well. I don’t really want to be recognised in this line of work. There’s loads of weirdos out there.”
He wanted to say, and you’re one of them, but managed to stop himself. Instead, he laughed, and found his gaze returning to the saliva.
“Right,” Hubbard said, nodding in fierce agreement. “It must be dangerous exposing all of these conspiracies.”
Hendrix was always amazed when he met a true fan. He entered a world where UFOs, ghosts, and global-plots intertwined and Elvis played regular gigs as his own double. It was fantasy designed to amuse and sell magazines, not dangerous. And while he hoped he might illuminate some esoteric point of science, the magazine’s remit was to entertain on a theme of the unexplained.
A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.
Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.
A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.
Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.
Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.
In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.
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Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror
Rating – R-16
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