Sophie Harlock

“Why have you spent 15 years of your life publishing academic journals Jim?”

“Because they’re important. And it’s James, not Jim.”

“No. You you’re getting it all the wrong way around. You tell everyone they are important because you’ve wasted fifteen years on them. Maybe you even believe it – but the importance you attribute to the journals is the excuse, not the reason.”

Sophie was detestable. Everyone else I could tolerate, either because they were wrong, or because they were too polite to say the truth out loud. Sophie was right, she knew she was right, and she knew that I knew she was right.

“So what are you driving at Sophie? What the hell are you doing working on academic journals?!”

“Well, that’s the real question isn’t it. I’ve been waiting for you to ask that question. The problem is you’re going to have to really want to know the answer. Once you get involved there’s no going back, Jim.”

To all extents and purposes, I had been dead on the inside for that past fifteen years, but at that moment as Sophie’s eyes gleamed viridescent with some secret; I knew that I had to know what the hell was going on. To not find out would mean another fifteen years of gathering dust in this gloomy office. That would total thirty years of being dead, or less, perhaps, if the real thing arrived prematurely.

“Okay,” I instinctively pulled myself out of my chair and walked around my desk to perch casually on its edge with my arms folded. “What’s the big secret?”