Aerial Fragment: ‘skin’



Ghost Codes 011

Break entered the passageway. All was dark within but for his own light, his skin gleaming soft and low. His fingers tingled.

A glint of colour drew him forward. A cry. He felt he was stepping across a borderline. The sizzle of pain behind his eyes.

He’d heard other synthetiks boasting of the halo effect. Lies, mostly. He’d never seen it happen. Now he felt his temples pulsate.

It wasn’t the full-on ignition he’d expected, more a flicker of sparks in a ragged, lopsided orbit around his head. It was enough.

He peered into the homemade trap. And there, held within the circle of microphones, suspended in midair…there lay the ghost itself.

It was a few centimetres across, of no fixed shape, crimson coloured, speckled with gold, quiet now, a small broken spirit of music.

Break reached in and closed his hand around the ghost. No burn. No anger. Only sorrow flooding his skull: pictures, sounds, memories.



20110928 by temp_user9





Ghost Codes 012

The True History of the Synthetik Angels, as told by one of their kind. How, being eighteen and poor I sold my body to the dream merchants.

They clothed my skin with implants and programmed my skull with slogans. The system burned through me, taking me over completely.

I floated through the markets, a voice speaking only of the latest products. My implants sang and the air around me glowed with pictures.

I was a living advert, bought and sold many times over the next two years, my system hacked and pirated until I danced chaotic with one thousand images.

They called us Angels of Transmission. Messages moved through our bodies, into the world. And all was well until the Day of the Crash.

I recall the flare of overload, skin shock, implants sparking with static, adverts screaming inside me as luxury goods all around turned to dust.

And there I lay, alone and dying on the walkway of a shopping mall, all my golden images flickering dark one by one.

 

[: REMIX :]



20111006 by temp_user9





Ghost Codes 014

They worked through the day on the new track. Break manned the grain web, Dixie worked the Dali engine, needle tip glistening.

They sprinkled sleeping powder on the ghost to keep it docile whilst they bled the plasma away. The vampyrophone collected the output.

Break caressed the machine’s skin. Sparks hit him with radiance. Once more, he heard the singer crying out in pain, but softer now…

He said, “This is bad blues, Dixie. It’s a chance recording. The woman being attacked or killed, mid song. Or something. Maybe.”

Dixie was too busy seeking out a melody path, stretching the lyrical scraps, squeezing homemade beats from a plastic tube. Like goo.

By 5pm the track was done, conjured into being, sealed in wax. They listened to it in silence, sitting back, getting distance.

Dixie had cut the scream just so, leaving only a breath, indrawn. That moment of loss, repeating. Break felt his heart stop each time.



20111017 by temp_user9





Ghost Codes 016

The dance floor was half empty, people still waiting for take-off. Break stood at the centre of the room, looking up at the lights…

I was a broken soul stranded on the last day of the world, skin aflame in a shopping mall. Blacking out, dying of digital fever.

He still felt weird inside at the work they had done today, the way that Dixie had treated the ghost, the wounded ghost. And yet…

Only Dixie had reached out to me. She lifted me up and dragged me home and worked on my body like I was one of her crazy machines.

Plugged me in analogue style and set up circuits to keep my system alive. In my delirium I heard wings beating, silver and gold.

I rose from my bed shrouded by sparks, crackling at the edges. Strange apparitions flickered around me, creatures of dust and light.

He could see them now in the club, all these stray sparkles that no one else could notice. His skull flared with colour and noise.

And then Dixie played the new tune…



20111028 by temp_user9





Ghost Codes 018

For the next few nights Break could not sleep properly. Dreams would lull him, only to drag him back awake. The dead singer whispered, always on the edge of hearing.

He could take no more. He left his room and went up to the roof of the block. All was dark, the streets empty. He felt the ghosts as tingles on his skin.

Was this his true calling, to be a guide for Dixie, nothing more than a compass? A waste of his gifts, surely, but what else could he do?

In dreams he caressed the neonglow air with glittering feathers, taking flight across the Haze Towns. Joining with his brethren…

Renegade angels working the night sky, buzzing with fire at their wingtips, all the scattered songs theirs for the taking.

Break opened his eyes. He felt he could step off from the building’s lip and ride the updrafts, floating easy with arms outstretched.

Was he dreaming now? His feet moved closer to the edge.



20111110 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 006

Images spin away in dreams and I cannot catch them, not at all, in a fog of dreams rolling in, rolling out, forever spinning away…

Broken, broken nets unravelling, silver threads coming loose, sodden in black rain, tangled underfoot, scattered like spider webs…

My body tightens in the cloth as it winds about me, skin slashed, constricted, fog in my mouth all clammy, wet, and then I wake…

I wake in my bed trembling, tense, breath held tight, aware of every sound in the room, every movement, rain on the window.

I get up. The ruined net lies draped over furniture like ghost skin, lined with all my hopeless stitches, too expensive to replace.

Quietly I open the door of my father’s room, peep in. He lies there sleeping, whiskey bottle discarded on the bed sheets.

Step inside, closer. His face. Eyes all aflicker with his own dreams – there they dwell under his eyelids, and I imagine…

And I imagine…mother. Dolores. Alive. Her beauty as I recall it, not as vivid as it was, but here, touchable, breathing, here…

A world lost… in my father’s eyes…in dreams…



20120130 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





The Fog Catchers 011

He stands before me. Just looking at me.

CODE FACE. The mist-bound man who does not speak, not in words, but only in numbers as they travel across his skin.

Numbers, letters, mathematical signs: glowing, known, unknown, and moving across his hands as well, as he holds them out to me.

CODE FACE. A stranger who takes me by the hand and dances with me. Dances! Me. Imagine. Rooftop waltzing in the fog, in the dark.

And his face is the only brightness. I am drawn to the patterns there, as they unfurl in golden lines.

CODE FACE. He’s not alone. Others with him. I never really see them, only glimpse fellow shapes, two or three more, it’s hard to tell.

They go about their own business, whatever it might be, and I am so pleased to be a part of what they’re doing. I have a role to play.

CODE FACE. My partner. Here we are, on the top of the world: I am the dancer who dances with the dancer as he leans in close to…

Whisper. To whisper secrets. To speak at last in words. And his breath on my skin, so gentle, I can hardly feel it. He’s barely alive.



20120424 by temp_user9