Aerial Fragment: ‘Jake’



The Fog Catchers 003

The fog rolls in, the fog rolls out. And as it passes through the nets, images linger like dew from all the scattered memories.

Edits from film and video, mobile phone footage, digital uploads, all caught in the tracery. Objects, landscapes, people. The dead…

It’s cool. The world before I was born. Way before, most of it. I like that kind of weird connection.

So we head back down, captures in my backpack. Just a single half-decent image, a few other scrapings. But they feel so precious.

And that’s how the story begins. My life. Up early each day, attend the nets, then school. Home, to see dad working on the transfers.

Me helping, learning, getting in the way. Making shimmercasts, smokepods, vapouramas. Anything that could hold an image in place.

And then every Saturday, we’d head down the Sparkle Market, making sales. That’s important. Because that’s where I met Jake.



20120107 by temp_user9





The Fog Catchers 004

The market’s abuzz with life, with hundreds of people jostling to sell and to buy: ghost music, image peels, fogscapes, voodoo mixes.

We have a stall set out and we’re doing pretty well. My dad tells me it’s because I’m a natural image-spotter, the best in the game.

I’m not exactly sure about that, but I’m happy to let him think it. Anything to keep him sane, these days, away from the drink.

On my break, I head over to Candy’s Tattoo Palace. Jake is there, and we do the secret smile. He works on Saturdays, running errands.

Candy’s doing the ink-show on a man. His bare arm glows with light, with a little 3D image that rises from his skin, twirling around.

I recognise it. A girl’s face I found on our net two weeks ago, that dad peeled clean and sold on to Candy. Now it’s brought to life.

Makes me feel proud, and I’m smiling at that. But Jake pulls me aside, acting like he’s in a noircast or something, says to watch out.

Why? He says that some guys were asking after me. Fog catchers, rivals. “Rumour is, Zee, they’re none too keen on your expertise.”

Me? But I’ve done nothing wrong. “Well somebody thinks so,” says Jake. “And these are bad guys. I think they’re after hurting you.”



20120113 by temp_user9





The Fog Catchers 005

My mum died two and a half years ago. It was the night the screens went dark, and the satellites fell from the sky.

Vision burn of memory. No escape. Dad’s drinking getting worse, fuelled by black moods. Some mornings I couldn’t wake him.

So I’d go up to the roof alone, work the nets, hanging out with the other crews. I’d even do the image peeling myself. Best I could.

I remember the dreams he used to tell, when we first started off catching fog, of netting a famous image-ghost one day…

…Maybe a full scene from some old video, a good five minutes of Lady Diana or Madonna or Brando, names that meant nothing to me.

But dad talking crazy of selling the ghost on for big money, enough for us to start a new life, a proper life. Whatever that might mean.

A week passed by since Jake’s warning. No trouble. I started to forget about it. And then, one sunrise I climbed up to the roof…

And there was our net, the Mystical World Crew net. I felt sick. It was torn, slashed all over, rent in two right down the middle.



20120130 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