Liverpool, England – Thursday, October 10
The pub is quite crowded this evening. I have my usual corner by the window and a spartan table in front of me. That is all I need really. And Sid Driscoll has arranged appointments every half hour or so throughout the evening. I call him Sid the Fixer; a label I think he quite likes.
‘Busy night for you again luv.’ He walks over giving me the list of clients up to around 9.30 pm. He grins at me, his ponytail swinging from side-to-side as he sashays around the table. Apart from being the organiser of the psychic sessions he is also something of a bodyguard. I suppose because I am probably the youngest psychic to do these sessions Sid keeps a fatherly eye on me.
‘The old dears just love you and the younger ones just fancy you I reckon.’ He pauses. ‘Well, the blokes anyway,’ he sniggers. ‘And as for the divvies, one look from you will swerve them.’ He gives me a triumphant smile at that.
‘Stoppit Sid.’ I give him a mock serious look, but he knows me too well to take it seriously.
His smile widens, displaying a few stained teeth with gaps. I have a feeling that Sid the Fixer has had a very chequered life before deciding to specialise in the more social occupation of arranging psychic nights.
So, Sid is my Scouse minder, and whatever he thinks of ‘the psychic stuff’ as he calls it, I know he would sort out any troublemakers in no uncertain terms. And, at 6ft 2in, with the physic of a prize-fighter, he is not someone to be ignored.
I guess he might have a point though. There aren’t too many psychics around at 26, not the genuine kind anyway. And I am genuine because age has nothing to do with psychic ability. Indeed, I have always had the gift, only I didn’t understand it until I was about nine or so.
I have always been able to hear words and sometimes see things and people that other people could not. Sometimes I could hear words – loud and clear – that tipped me off that something was happening. At first, I thought I was going nuts – my mum had my hearing checked, got me evaluated for mental health problems, and so on. However, I was OK, and the only explanation was that I had an ability that other people do not.
When my mum was on a cruise one year, I woke up in the middle of the night because I had heard her voice saying ‘flood.’ I rang her to make sure she was OK because, you know, she was on a ship in the middle of the ocean.
Everything was fine. The next day, I went to her house to feed the cats and found that a water pipe had burst about ten minutes before I got there.
My business card declares to me to be a psychic consultant. When I had them printed, I felt it sounded sophisticated ‘Naomi Richards, Psychic Consultant’. Now, I’m not so sure. I have a suspicion it might just sound pretentious.
I know the local Police take me seriously. They regularly call me in to help locate missing people, or more seriously, in the grim and immensely sad task of locating bodies. At first, I could see doubt writ large on their faces, as well as the sniggers behind my back. But four successes in a row ended that and now I am treated with respect. I guess I would have been burned at the stake 400 years ago. Thank heaven we are more indulgent these days. Or at least some of us are.
The clients are always a mixed lot in pubs. The recently bereaved, nearly always women, who are hoping for messages from their departed. Then, there are girls hoping I will tell them who to marry or who to sleep with.
Then there are the sad people who are fundamentally lonely but who are happy to pay me to talk to them for half an hour. I often don’t think they care if it’s from the spirit world or not.
No two nights are the same. I do sometimes ‘see’ disturbing things, but I am careful not to let it show. In any case, it’s illegal to reveal anything bad like a forthcoming death, for example.
I read somewhere that Einstein talked about there being no real division between past, present, and future which may be why psychics can sometimes see into the past, present, and what’s likely to happen in the future. I know that I will almost certainly be asked the same question I am invariably asked, which is: ‘Is our future set in stone, or can it change? The honest answer is that I just don’t know.
Later that night I make my way home. It has been a wearying evening, and I am ready to put my feet up.
I have an apartment on Liverpool’s Rodney Street in the city centre. When I was married, I lived in the suburbs in a typical three-bed semi with husband, David, and I looked forward to a life of middle-class mediocrity, but it was not to be. My ever-loving husband turned out to be ever-loving with another, which I was not prepared to tolerate. I knew all about it before I squeezed it out of him. Being psychic can have its uses!
Now, I have no intention of repeating the experience. I would rather be single than find myself in another suffocating marriage, so while I do have male friends, they are inclined to be other artists where the only topic of conversation is art rather than sex. And if any start a conversation on matters other than art I begin to back off. I know only too well how things can develop.
As far as work is concerned, I know a few of my friends think I’m crazy not having a regular job but the thought of a corporate nine-to-five existence makes me feel sick. I prefer my way of life no matter how precarious it might be.
I enjoy living in the city centre. I like the hustle and bustle, especially the tourists who wander around the city’s Georgian quarter. It is also a great address for any consultancy business, as all the brass plates outside testify.
Sadly, I am not in the rich medical and legal league that occupy the ground floors. My clients are obliged to climb two flights of stairs to get to me.
I decide to do a little artwork before turning in. As something of a sideline, I produce quirky necklaces from odds and ends which sell quite well at art and craft fairs.
At one time I had a burning ambition to be an artist and followed the well-trodden path through university with a BA (Hons) and then an M.A. I always knew that making a living from art was not going to be easy. I might as well have said impossible. Sure, I’ve sold the odd canvass now and then. I have even sold a few prints to people in Europe, but I rarely earned enough to pay the rent.
I finish a couple of necklaces made from bits and pieces of computer hardware for a forthcoming art fair and decide it’s time to turn in. I look out of the window; the streetlights are glinting in the cold October air, the street quiet now, with not even the sound of revellers from the nearby bars and pubs to disturb the tranquillity.
It’s 3 am, and I am suddenly awake. I am covered in sweat. My heart is pounding. I sit on the side of the bed and try to recall what I had just ‘seen’. Was it a nightmare or something else? I’m not sure.
I was in a building – and old building – and before me and to the left was a plain wooden staircase which curved upwards to a bare door at the top. There was something about the stairs itself that held a terror – almost as though they were alive. The light was dim, just a bare bulb dangling from the ceiling barely illuminating the room. My eyes focussed on the dirty yellow door at the top which somehow leered at me. The air was thick with menace, and I knew with certainty that there was something malevolent and evil in the room behind the door, but I also knew it is beckoning me. I was being compelled to climb the stairs.
I slowly climbed, step-by-step, my footsteps ringing out on the bare wood; my dread growing, as a muttering behind the door gradually sounded louder. My heart pounding, my terror reached a crescendo, the door mocking me and as my dread grew, I heared screaming, slowly becoming louder. I reached out to grasp the door handle…but the door began opening before I could touch it.
Before me was a scene shrouded in a dense fog. I could see vague shapes on either side as ghostly shadows loomed silently out of the murk; stooped, scarves over their faces, coughing. The fog had a greasy, gaseous feel and it stifled sound but despite that I could hear someone weeping but it was difficult to know how far or how near they were. I suddenly realised I was having difficulty breathing too and I began spluttering. I could feel the pollution in the fog creeping into my lungs, my eyes, my brain. I searched for a tissue and put it over my nose and mouth.
Around me, the figures faded and the scene changed to a hospital ward with rows of beds, all with children in them; all staring at me expressionless and wide eyed, the only sound an almost inaudible hiss from the oxygen masks they were all wearing. There was no sound, no talk, no play, no laughter. They all just stared accusingly. The scene was repugnant in its silent, sepulchral horror. I backed away from the nightmare.
I was outside again. I looked up to see a blood-red sun. The smog, for I have no doubt that is what it was, had receded slightly. I was standing by what should be Liverpool’s waterfront by the city’s ‘Three Graces’ that include the Liver Buildings, famous for its Liver birds, and the Cunard Building. What was an open plaza in front of them with a canal running along it, was now a lake with small waves lapping gently along the pavements. An eerie silence hangs malignantly over the scene. There was no clatter of life; no traffic, no screeching of seagulls, no undercurrent of distant conversation. Nothing. I look to the left and right and could see nothing but water. The River Mersey had risen at least five metres.
I sit on the side of my bed trembling as the visions gradually fade. Was all that real? It was obviously meant to be a message. But a message of what?
Gakona, Alaska. Friday, October 19
George Parry and Keri Murdoch are sitting in their 4×4. They are nervous and uneasy. What they are about to do may have far-reaching consequences. It is early evening, but dark already as a storm builds up to the east and forked lightning scythes down on the scene behind them.
They are about to make a hurried escape from an installation called HAARP in Gakona, situated in the centre of Copper Valley, 15 miles northeast of Glennallen and just east of the Richardson Highway on the Tok Cut-off Road. Nearby is neighbouring Gakona Junction at the confluence of the Copper and Gakona rivers. It is a spectacularly beautiful area, surrounded by mountains and forests.
Behind Parry and Murdoch is what at first sight looks like a large field of oversized TV aerials with a few administration offices and buildings and a large hangar-like building, slightly separate from the others. This is a US government research facility focused on the physical and electrical properties of the earth’s ionosphere. It is surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards in watch towers.
They know only too well that it is only a matter of time before it is discovered they have copied top secret files from the installation; files that prove secret research is taking place; research that could cause an apocalypse.
Murdoch glances at Parry and then at the guards ahead. ‘Let’s go,’ he says urgently. ‘Before it’s too late.’
Parry nods, stares through the windscreen, and guns the 4×4 towards the barrier, which is raised as they approach, the guard waving them through.
They glance at each other relieved. ‘Put your foot down,’ snaps Murdoch. ‘We need to get to Anchorage before they realise what we’ve done.’
Parry’s initial doubts were reinforced a few weeks ago when he decided to visit a lab at the far end of the site he had not been to before. It’s a lab he normally has no reason to visit because it is ostensibly conducting experiments into snow which is completely outside his area of expertise. It was Murdoch who suggested he go there with the sinister suggestion that he will not like what is going on if he can manage to see inside.
The lab is so remote he has to use one of the many insulated electric buggies to get there. He is careful to park at an adjoining building, not wanting to draw suspicion from security who will no doubt be watching the CCTV images.
He disappears around the building, out of sight of the CCTV camera, and quickly runs across to a window at the far end. His Parka is covered in snow and frost and the window is also covered in snow. He breathes on it and rubs it with his thick gloves.
The snow melts enough for him to glimpse inside.
At one end are dozens of cages containing various animals. Parry can see foxes, mice, rats, squirrels, and in a separate section, chimps. As he looks, a white coated figure Parry vaguely recognises, takes a cage with a chimp into an area with a control panel next to a dais with wires dropping down from a terminal above. The chattering chimp is wired up and the scientist is joined by another man who enters with what looks like a large ornate machine gun which he mounts on a terminal. The two men retreat behind a screen and a dazzling blue light surrounds the chimp for perhaps 20 seconds.
The men emerge and detach the wires from the chimp whose body glitters with ice. It is frozen solid. Nearby are carcasses of animals that are obviously ready for disposal.
Parry steps back horrified. So, this is what is really happening, he thinks to himself. This is what the research is really all about.
They are trying to weaponise the weather.
Gakona, Alaska. Monday, October 8
It is almost two weeks earlier that Parry first began to seriously suspect that something sinister was going on. At first, it was just little things he noticed; important files that were unaccountably missing; members of staff who suddenly disappeared without any explanation; meetings shrouded in secrecy he was not invited to; that sort of thing. However, similar things have happened at other companies he has worked for, so he mentally shrugged it all off thinking that if it didn’t involve him or his role it didn’t matter. If he put it down to anything, it would have been inefficiency or even incompetence on the part of management. After all, scientists are notoriously disorganised, and at HAARP most people are scientists of one sort or another.
But then things began to get even stranger when there was a brief torrential rainfall from a cobalt blue sky one day. That might, in itself, not be that unusual except that the rain was green, and everyone was issued with a mask. There was no official explanation afterwards either. Then, just days later, there was a weird cyclone that came from nowhere and vanished just as quickly.
Finally, around a week ago, while Parry was in the toilet block, his colleague Murdoch whispered; ‘I need to talk to you.’ Parry was about to answer when Murdoch put his finger to his lips and mouthed: ‘The car park, 1 pm.’
At first, Parry was vaguely amused by Murdoch’s melodramatics and intrigued by what could be so secretive that it must be discussed in the car park. So, at 1 pm he headed there, all bulked up ready for the minus 20 outside. He looked around when he reached the doorway and spotted Murdoch in his car not far from the door.
He climbed inside; the engine was running and the heating on. ‘What is so secret that we have to come out here to discuss it,’ Parry demanded.
‘Because I spotted a microphone in the canteen,’ Murdoch replied. He stared outside, rubbing his chin. ‘And then when I began searching, I spotted another in my office behind a picture. You are almost certainly bugged too. If they are prepared to go to those lengths, the chances are the entire plant is bugged.’
‘But why?’ protested Parry.
Murdoch gave an impatient snort: ‘You must have noticed odd things happening lately? The green rain, weird cyclones, files vanishing; people vanishing too; confidential meetings we were not invited too, research we knew nothing about?’
‘Well yes, I have, but I just put it down to carelessness or mismanagement. I didn’t think the strange weather had anything to do with us. We are conducting research into the upper atmosphere, not anything that could cause something like that.’ He hesitated and then said: ‘But if something secret is going on why haven’t we been re-assigned somewhere else?’
‘Because we are the only two physicists here, that’s why. They need our expertise. Everyone else is a climatologist.’
‘It still doesn’t point to anything sinister going on,’ Parry insisted, wondering where all this was heading.
‘Oh, but this does,’ said Murdoch reaching into an inside pocket and producing a tiny memory card.
Parry stares at it uncomprehending. ‘What’s that Keri?’
‘Well, obviously, it’s a memory card. But it’s what is on it that will surprise you.’ He thrusts it into Parry’s hand. Take a look, but only on your personal laptop. Under no circumstances look at it on a network terminal.’ He stares hard at Parry. ‘I mean it, George. If they find out what is on that card, we will both be going to jail.’
Later that day in his private quarters Parry plugged in the memory card, and there are listed some dozen or so files which he opened one-by-one and read the formulas and equations and the notes accompanying them with growing astonishment and unease.
Half an hour later, when he was finished, Parry stared at his laptop screen, the colour drained from his face. Now he understood. Now he knew why Murdoch had been so secretive. Now he realised why a mantle of secrecy has descended over HAARP.
Later that day Murdoch suggested meeting up at Meier’s Lake Roadhouse, a short drive away from HAARP. It is one of only four remaining roadhouses on the Richardson Highway located 15 miles south of the Denali Highway connection. It is also open 24/7 all year round and is the only stop for fuel for 150 miles.
When Murdoch arrived, Parry was already there sitting at the bar, with a beer in front of him. He was unshaven and looked ill.
Before Murdoch could say anything, Parry held up a hand, leaned over the table and said quietly. ‘I am going to quit. I cannot stay in this place any longer.’ He looked around the bar seeing if any of the diners were listening.
Outside, it was becoming dark already in the late afternoon, the snowfall from the previous day still mostly fresh and the streets lights glittering in the frosty air.
He turned back and stared at his beer.
‘Are you serious?’ said Murdoch, concerned.
‘Have you seen what they do to animals? Do you realise what they are planning? Do you really want to be part of Armageddon? Make no mistake Keri, that is what they are developing. The American military are behind this and I want no part of it.’
‘Not sure I do either. It frightens me.’
George Parry is in his late 40s with thinning ginger hair whose tired eyes betray sleepless nights despite on the surface appearing unperturbed. Ever since he read the files and understood their significance he has been wrestling with his conscience.
He is British with a physics degree from University of Liverpool in the UK, which is also his hometown. He took the job in Alaska after a failed marriage persuaded him to move to somewhere remote and inaccessible. The prospect of researching into the upper atmosphere was also an attraction.
Keri Murdoch is older, in his late 40s with black hair and the beginnings of a beard. He hails from New York with a physics degree from MIT. Both have been at Gakona from the beginning when they believed the HAARP installation would be of some benefit to humanity.
‘What we have to decide is what we do about it,’ says Murdoch. ‘I think we should just leave. We should just walk. What do you think?’
‘I’m going to take some leave. I’ll tell them I need to visit my folks. My father is sick, and I need to see him.’
‘Where do they live?’
‘In Liverpool in the UK. That’s where I come from,’ he said by way of explanation.
Murdoch looked thoughtful. ‘I could come with you. Let me run this past you. Once we are in the UK, we can take it to the newspapers or even better, the BBC.’
Parry looked uncertain. ‘Won’t they come after us once they find out files have been leaked?
Murdoch shook his head impatiently. ‘I daresay they will but we will be long gone by then.’
‘OK, let’s do it. It’s the end of the week so we will just tell them we will be on leave from next weekend. Let’s leave the Friday after.
That was eleven days ago. After driving through security without incident they continued on down the Tok Cut-off highway heading for the Richardson highway which would take them all the way to Anchorage. It is unlit and runs alongside the Copper River. A full moon glistened overhead showering silvery shafts of light on the river, producing stygian shadows at both the sides of the road.
They drove in silence for twenty minutes both lost in thought about the magnitude of what they were planning. Finally, Murdoch stared at Parry and said: ‘Can you hear that? There’s a faint throbbing sound back there.’ He nodded behind him.
Parry opened his window letting in an icy blast and listened. In the distance is the unmistakable thump, thump, thump, sound of a helicopter. ‘They can’t be after us can they surely? Not so soon. When did you copy the files?’
Murdoch grimaces. ‘The day before I gave the memory card to you. I would have expected somebody to ask me why I copied them before they alerted security. Stop. Let me drive. If they are after us, I know these roads better than you. I might be able to give them the slip. It’s pitch black out there and visibility is even worse for a helicopter.’ They change places and the 4×4 hurtled down the icy road. The thrump, thrump, thrump of the chopper louder now and is not far behind them. Murdoch weaved from side-to side and then switched the headlights off as they approached the point where the Copper River runs alongside the road. Suddenly the moon is covered by storm clouds and everywhere is plunged into impenetrable blackness. The 4×4 crashes into bushes as Murdoch attempted to follow the road. Suddenly, torrential hail and freezing rain lashed down driven by a vicious gale, reducing visibility to almost zero and making the road even more treacherous. The chopper fell back and climbed to a safe altitude, but Murdoch just accelerated.
‘For God’s Keri, slow down will you,’ shouted Parry. ‘The chopper is going away. We are going to crash. I can’t see anything out there. How can you see where we’re going?
‘Let’s hope it is just as difficult for them,’ growled Murdoch as the 4×4 bounced off more bushes at the side of the road, narrowly missing a tree and kidding onto the left carriageway. Suddenly, Murdoch loses control and the 4×4 mounted an embankment and hurtled down the other side careering into the Copper river.
Parry banged his head as the 4×4 hit the water. Murdoch slumped over the steering wheel as the water rushed in quickly filling the 4×4. There is blood on his chest and his eyes are closed but the icy water revived him, and he mouthed something to Parry, holding out something and dropping it into Parry’s hand.
Parry managed to force the door open and tried to pull Murdoch out, but he was slumped over the wheel and its airbag. Parry swam to the other side but could not open the door. The Copper River has a strong tide and now the partly submerged 4×4 is in its grip and is swept downstream by storm water. Parry struggled to find his footing and scrambled up the bank. There was no sign of the helicopter. He lay on the bank and opened the palm of his left hand. Inside was a small memory card.
The rain stopped as suddenly as it had started. Parry got unsteadily to his feet and saw in the distance a hut used as a refuge during heavy snowfalls. He trudged towards it shivering as the cold seeped through his soaking clothes. He hoped he would be able to start a fire and dry out his clothes. At the very least it would be somewhere to spend the night.
He put memory card in his wallet.
The Poseidon Files is available from Amazon either as an ebook or paperback. ASIN: B085W6C6LH. Poseidon ebook ASIN: B0892668HX