Sparkletown 020 remix/coda

The moon was clouded over.

The special FX crew occupied the square, filming a drama on chimeracam. Their apparatus held fiery apparitions aloft on golden electric wings. Speckles of light moved over the streets, cast from spectrum lamps.

I see remnants
of a woman floating,
the damaged steps
of a ghost.

Jon Brakefall watched them at work for a while and then walked on. He passed a bar where people danced outside despite the chill, their forms wrapped in heat and desire. Music played. It was nothing he recognised.

He was a stranger. He had travelled the borderzone towns for so long now, so many years, he could never hope to settle, not here, not in Central City.

The play of image in fog,
dancing in time.
This fragile body of release…
only to falter.

Midnight found him booked into a small dingy place on a side street. It was called the Lost Icon Hotel. Here he washed his face, ordered room service and tried to relax by watching static-ridden porn on cable.

He felt very little. The bodies on view stirred a memory of a memory, nothing more. This was the life into which he had drifted, and only one thing mattered to him, even now. His mind was set on endless repeat.

She was just another
electromagnetic transfer:
sampled footage,
the planes of a face.
Why should I care about her?

Something woke him at 2:45pm. A knocking at the door. It was the man he had travelled here to see, a low-life archiver, clothed in grey, with very little hair and even less promise. Jon had already met with many such individuals, all of them cut from the same material. This one appeared to be at least seventy years old, it was difficult to tell. A few words were spoken, money exchanged.

Jon activated the pod. The mist seeped out, what was left of it. The colours flickered and the image appeared, the dancing form of the singer. Her face was breaking apart from overuse, her body paler than it used to be. The dots of red a scattering of pixels now. She was a figure illuminated by shards of antique code: on, off, up, down, yes, no. A broken fogmap of ones and zeros, of the old-time either/or existence.

Sing your songs of blue shadows
and golden moments.
Step forward,
out from the video sequences.

The archiver stared at the ghostly figure for a while, for maybe five minutes without speaking, without expression. And then he whispered, hoarse from cough medicine: ‘Yes, I know her. I have knowledge of her. Of course, she’d very obscure. Not even an album. A couple of singles, that’s all.’

Jon asked, ‘You know her name?’ A nod in return. ‘And you know how she died?’ Yes, another nod.

She is singing for
the people of vapour,
those whose flesh holds
no possession, no recognition.

Night passed along. The only light was a flickering lamp across the street.

The archiver was gone, and Brakefall sat alone. Now he knew. He had the story. The woman danced, and danced on, and on. He could not bring himself to reseal her into the pod, even though he knew she would soon fade away completely. He would let this happen. He would sit here in the dimly lit room and let his skin sparkle and shine with old messages, what was left of them. He would conjure lyrics from all the many fragments he had collected on his travels, so many words to cast a spell, to allow a murdered spirit rest.

Fog dancer, fog dancer
move through shadows, dust and neonglow,
moonlit circuits, analogue burnout,
the fused wires of memory…

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