Aerial Fragment: ‘fragments’



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





Ghost Codes 010

Ghost trap components: contact mics, sugar cube, matches, loudspeaker cone, glowbug (female), cassette tape, AA batteries (leaky), perfume.

Operation: place glowbug in speaker cone. Arrange mics in approximate circle. Set speaker to vibrate. Spray perfume on sugar: ignite.

The scent arouses the insect, causing the bug’s abdomen to light up. Play cassette. Observe: the ghost will crackle and dance in time.

All such fragments dream of being whole once more, of being a song on a lover’s lips, conjured from a tongue: verse, chorus and coda.

With such desire, the ghost is drawn towards the trap. Now softly, softly… close the…

Break dragged Dixie screaming from the tunnel. Her eyes wide, mouth bloody. Words of drawn-out breath: “Find it. Don’t let it get away!”



20110923 by temp_user9





Ghost Codes 015

Dixie. Living artefact of the haunted tower blocks, collector of sparks. Magpie. Extractor of the original (still famous) blood song.

Breeder of glowbugs. Lo-fi alchemist. Transformer of lives once lost, broken, ghosted, now mixed down into a vapour groove.

Mapper of the dawn mist, curator of fragments. Inventor of the vampyrophone, the sleep trap, and other such homemade devices.

Dixie. Searcher of wasteland and canal-beds where the digital trash resides. Salvager of discards. Queen of the unofficial channels.

Maker of the track “Last Cry of the Mouth Ever Fading.” The one with the echo of a scream, the final traces of a murder victim.

Dixie Magus. Expert patcher of the wounded. Retuner of all hybrid demoflesh for the next age. Saviour of burnt-out angels.

[:REMIX:]



20111021 by temp_user9





Ghost Codes 017

Drops of rainwater. Hiss of acid on metal. Globules of sound. Murmurs, whirrs, sudden freak-out guitar in a five second burst.

Dixie working the X-Ray plates, extracting the mix from a skull and a sickened heart. Spell of rhythm. People stepping to the floor.

Noise magic. A kiss of lips, magnified. Ticking clocks, food sizzle, static, jazz bass flecks and splinters forming undercurrent pull.

Now the drop in the mix where the singer’s scream once lived, a slow fade of echoes. Repeat. A few dancers moving in response…

Slowly swaying, slowly rising to fall in time with music box fragments, whispers, radar clicks; the beat coalescing. Crowd swell.

Dixie adding body music: breath, vein flow, brain activity. The missing scream coming round again. This time the dancers move as one.

And there stands Break at the centre, at the hot crush-heart liquid blood-river chaotic centre of it all, feeling himself pulled aloft.

[: REMIX :]



20111101 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 007

Dear anybody. Summer here. And my birthday. 16 now. Jake’s helping me with the fog catching. And transferrals. And selling, and so on.

I guess we’re a “thing”. That is, we’ve had some “moments”. But nothing serious. Not yet. Not sure what I want to happen.

Fog in, fog out. Yeah, you know. The night leaving visions on a wounded net, criss-crossed by stitches. Getting by, making good.

Oh. Oh God, I don’t know what to say, or do… something terrible has happened. It’s dad. He’s…

Well. Here I am. Hospital. My father’s in ward 6. Cracked ribs, bruised all over. He was lucky. That’s what the doctor said. Lucky.

The flat was broken into. Two guys. They went on at dad, shouting at him, demanding, threatening. He was drunk, of course, and…

And they beat him up. And then they trashed the place. Everything just thrown around, scattered. A couple of images taken.

Just that. Images. And not even pictures: but words, fragments of text, messages from the past. Why? Why are they doing this?

Leave us alone! That’s all. That’s all I’m asking. Whoever you are. Just… just leave us alone.



20120208 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