Aerial Fragment: ‘code’



Ghost Codes 007

Dixie opened her eyes. Lying awake she could hear the old songs moaning from the aerials of the long-shutdown pirate stations.

She got up, walked to the window. Sparkles of light flickered around the tower block. Phantom broadcasts, unknown frequencies.

Fragments of digital code: a word or two of lyrics, the stroke of a fingertip on metal string, human breath in curled brass tubes.

Moments of music cast adrift. Something had roused them this night: the darkness buzzed with flecks of data, many more than usual.

Dixie came alive watching them. Her eyes glittered, her fingers danced. Tomorrow she would go out early and catch some ghosts.



20110909 by temp_user9





The Fog Catchers 002

Shapes flicker on the gauze: colours, fragments, whirls of black and white, sudden explosions of numbers, breakage, slivers of code.

Dad tells me to snap out of it, get to work. We have maybe ten minutes before the fade begins. Images die. That’s the thing, see.

So I’m scanning for something good, something we can use. Trying to find little pieces of loveliness in the chaos. That’s my job.

There! A mouth. Looks like. Half a smile. No. No good. Need more. Time is short and my father’s eyes are failing him. Keep looking.

Now I see it. Twin moons. A tower in silhouette. A spaceship landing. Looks like something from an old science fiction movie. Perfect.

I point it out and dad moves in with the lens knife. He peels that shivering image right off the net whilst I watch. Captured!

Here I am. Here I am on the roof of a giant block of flats, feeling like I’m about to dance off the edge with joy. What can I say?

Call me Zee Zee of the Mystical World Crew. (I made the name up. It’s just me and my dad.) I’m 15 years old. I’m a fog catcher.



20120103 by temp_user9





The Fog Catchers 008

Up on the roof. The other crews carrying on around me. And all over Sparkletown, I knew that fog catchers worked their own nets.

But only our crew had been targeted: the only net damaged, the only flat broken into, the only one with images stolen. Why us?

Or should I ask: Why me? Was it to do with my supposed talent? Had I drawn certain images towards the net? Valuable images?

They’d first appeared about nine weeks ago. Letters, numbers. Entire symbol chains. All in the same typeface, all making little sense.

But I knew what it was. I could remember people working on this same language, when I was younger. It was code. Computer code.

I thought nothing of it. Sold some on as decoration, stored others. It just didn’t seem that important. Code was a relic. Useless.

And yet the fogware had floated in. Not every day; just now and again, without pattern. Maybe a dozen examples. And only to our net.

I thought of my father, back in the flat, still in pain. Anger flooded me. I had to find out why these fragments were so important.

I had to find that code for myself, if I could. Piece it together, and try to decipher it. What secrets did it hold? What treasure?



20120220 by temp_user9





The Fog Catchers 009

Seven days later I’m waiting here, alone. It’s three in the morning. Darkness. No moon. And not yet dawn. The fog hasn’t arrived yet.

They say to never be up on the roof, not when the fog rolls in. All the crews say that, all the old guys. No fog on the skin.

It’s meant to be dangerous, unhealthy. Makes you crazy. So many stories, rumours. But here I am. Waiting. Waiting for the mist…

We did some searching, but the last week has brought nothing good, re the code. Only a few purchasers to follow, leading to dead ends.

I see it now, the fog. Grey curls, tendrils, black mass at the centre. It’s gathering at the estate’s edge. Creeping onwards.

I’ll bet it’s not another crew, stealing images. It can’t be. Freelancers, probably. Maybe selling onto somebody rich.

But why? The question remains.

I don’t care. They stole from us. They hurt us. Whatever they want, I want it too. I want it before them. So I’m here. I’m waiting…

The fog approaches. A cloud of lost forms. Almost alive, sparkling with colours, flashes of light. Here it comes!



20120308 by temp_user9





The Fog Catchers 010

Caught in swirls, in dampness, fingers, skin prickles. Face wet, eyes closed, body at first welcoming the touch of the mist.

Now cold, so cold, ice-tooth grip on neck and around both wrists, something pulling at me. Eyes still shut tight, can’t see, can’t…

Whisper of breath against me, mist talking, murmuring… stop, STOP! Open eyes and see roof-edge beckon, step back, focus. Hold still.

Fog all around, quiet now, clutching, clammy, thicker than I imagined, grey, purple, and darker shapes within it, dancing, moving slow.

Formless, writhing. Strange thin black figures elongated, weaving from mist a shape… of man, a man approaching me. I turn. Run…

RUN! Stumble, shiver, slam, SLAM right into clutching mesh, the net stretching, then pulling up tight at the limits, the poles holding.

My face pressed against gauze, a mask of tiny squares and cold-hot touch, the shape close now so CLOSE! now as I turn, struggling…

The man is there. His face, oh his face is written all over by code that moves along his cheeks and brow and lips in endless sequence.

Symbols scrolling across his eyes as he stares at me, and I glimpse the cipher of night of love of death, of dreaming, of falling…



20120324 by temp_user9