Page 1


10

Years of Digital Writing

Created by Dreaming Methods : Writing Fused With New Media : www.dreamingmethods.com Design and writing by Andy Campbell and Judi Alston Selected photography by Tristan Campbell | Clearance sculptures by Billy Johnson Audio soundtrack by Matt Wright www.matt-wright.co.uk


Dreaming Methods has been online and producing digital fiction since 2000. Our first few projects combined the written word with animation, music, film and interactivity - as well as the book-like page turning interfaces now common across the web and digital devices. Our early work can still be explored from the Project Archive section of the Dreaming Methods site. Take a look at Fractured, The Diary of Anne Sykes, The Virtual Disappearance of Miriam and Inside: A Journal of Dreams. We write fiction into - or onto - anything other than a word processor or a sheet of paper. We are engaged in a continuous exploration of the potential of written narratives blended with new media. We treat the screen as a completely new canvas onto which to write, where stories can be told in new ways and the text itself gains a wide range of different attributes: blurred, obscured, transient, animated and mouse-responsive, our digital fiction refuses to stand still.

Comment

Although publishers are finally moving in our direction with the emergence of ‘enhanced ebooks’, we remain at the forefront of digital writing through our completely original and highly distinctive works which continue to be produced entirely within the digital environment. Look out for our forthcoming projects which will take writing not only into new browser-based experiences, but also into atmospheric computer game-like 3D environments. Andy Campbell author@dreamingmethods.com

3


Inside: A Journal of Dreams Gone The Burner Game

6

Extracts from the Journal

10

Two blank pages

12

A Prologue to The Flat

16

A Prologue to Dim O’Gauble

Neighbour FileSystem

23

A Prologue to Consensus Trance

Science Fieldwork Book Clearance

18

An Epilogue to Floppy

28

Extracts from Nightingale’s Playground

Profile of Iggi Hayer

35

5


September 14 Dreamt of swimming in a dark ocean amomg many other people. We were throwing heavy iron balls into the black waves. Later in the dream I was back in the house. There was a car parked down the driveway tipped on its side.

September 15 I was playing football in the rain as a kid. Somebody booted the ball into the wires of a nearby pilon. It got stuck and started to spark and smoke. I climbed the pilon, found its control panel and turned it off. The ball flopped to the grass from a great height. It was soggy and melted. The fire’s playing up, takes ages to light. The grid covering the fire gleams a tarnished rainbow of colours. I like the glow of the heat. I must get it looked at.

September 18 I awoke during the early hours of the morning, then quickly fell asleep again. I dreamt that I stopped a speeding train by reaching out from the side of the track and dragging the carriages to a halt. The train screeched and smoked, the carriages tilting and tipping, some collapsing onto their side on the embankment. I ran from the scene. I got the gas fire looked at today. The repair bloke seemed concerned, said had I been feeling tired or anything? I said yes, for the last six days. He stuck a yellow warning sticker on the bottom panel, said he’d be back, don’t touch anything and keep the windows open. It’s half 9. He hasn’t come back.


Inside:

A Journal of Dreams English dreamingmethods.com/uploads/inside/ French revuebleuorange.org/bleuorange/02/campbell/

7


September 19 Can’t remember anything. Had trouble sleeping. The repair man returned and spent a lot of time lying on his back with his head up the fire. He was wearing dirty bottle green trousers and a slightly cleaner overcoat that lay open to reveal a multitude of pens and pads. His spanner kept clanging and dropping out of his hands. He seemed to be trying to loosen something. I spent a lot of time watching how his knees waved and his feet shuffled around as he worked. Now and again his whole body would twitch as the spanner slipped and there was an echoey bang. The man sat cross legged on the carpet, breathing hard and looking into the fire. It’s still not safe, he said. I can’t get the bastard off.

September 20 I thought about her for the first time in a long while. I felt sad.

September 23 I’m staring through double glazed windows into a cold, drizzly night. There is someone talking behind me, telling me the glass is about to explode. I try to pull away from the window but my hands are stuck flat on the glass. I wake up just as my skin begins to peel. I think he came back. I don’t know why I didn’t answer the door. Did I miss a day?


dreamingmethods.com/uploads/inside/

September 26 I’m in a jungle among people of a tribe. These people have two sets of heads - one normal head and then another one that appears in a thin, ghostly form directly above it. The dream skits around... I’m no longer with the tribe but on my own watching a hippopotamus splashing around madly in mud.

September 28 I got a phone call. The caller told me that there was smoke blowing in through a window upstairs. I went up to have a look. The spare bedroom was draped in mist. The bedsheets were bright pink. My grand mother’s old sideboard was there, against the adjacent wall. I walked through the room to the window and closed it. I woke up.

9


Gone

There is nothing to write. I got here too late - and now the moments that would make up the strings of prose on this page have been washed away. The page is a canvas of sickness. Blank because I cannot remember; blank because I cannot focus; the ruled lines razor-wires forcing back the nothing within.


I do not want to waste another scrap of space. The crowd outside each desperate voice/face clutching a pen cannot bear to catch sight Barely able to breath in the heat of the crowding chatter my pencil drops - I disappear clean through the fold. Deeply tucked into white, the words emerge: tiny untouched delicate

of an empty page. It has to be filled.

How long can this exist without being covered in words.

whispers. A glimmer of presence.

11


The

Suddenly, again, the join has taken place, she can sense it.

cluttered drainingboard and turning around to

She can never really pick up on the actual

to fix it later, and maybe she could try phoning

moment when things switch, but now, right here,

him rather than going all the way down those

washing this last mug in the greying soapy water

damned stairs.) No, none of that stuff, just… (I

(one of her nicest, a swirling bluebell-patterned

don’t know) something, a frequency, or maybe

one that Helen gave her for christmas last year)

the refreshing change of having been thinking

the tide has yet again Turned for the Worse,

about something for too long and now thinking

not that anything looks or smells or sounds

of something else. Although tonight (like it or

different; the radio’s still on - You and Yours

not) it feels like it might be worse than normal,

loud and steady - her feet are still ever so cold

like the fact that Carl isn’t coming is common

and swollen and she’s still (definitely) the only

knowledge, and she feels a little spike below

one here in the flat tonight (Helen’s off today

her stomach as she shuffles over to the table,

so Carl went straight home; she watched him

still gleaming a bit where she’s wiped it.

seek out the teatowel, glancing (without making too much drama out of it) at the slightly open kitchen door, always blowing open these days, the silly thing (perhaps she could ask Mr Hunter

secretly from the window bumbling back from

She eases herself carefully into a chair,

school with some of his mates – he didn’t like it

and then picks the burner she’s left (on purpose)

when she gawked out the window at him, said it

out of the ashtray and brings it shakily upto

was embarrassing) although I guess her being

her lips. She pushes her glasses up her nose a

alone wasn’t particularly…

She runs the mug

little, keeping an eye on the kitchen door, which

under the cold tap wiping it around the rim with

(she notes) hasn’t opened up any wider, and

her fingers before putting it upsidedown on the

slides her hand into the pocket of her pinnie.

B


Burner

dreamingmethods.com/uploads/theflat/

13


Sometimes of course when there’s a Turn for the

bathroom heading off towards the spare room

Worse her lighter won’t light, but she doesn’t see

like some long unmarked ruler measuring the

any harm in trying, and fishes it out and doesn’t

distance between them. From where she’s sitting,

waste any time sparking up (there isn’t much left

she can’t see the top of the stairs, and she’s glad

of the cigarette anyway) and has to try a good

about that. Come on in then, she thinks (no,

few times to get a decent flame but, despite the

really, come on in), despite the cramping pain

circumstances, manages to Sort It (as Carl would

and the fact that her burner’s died, come on in

probably have put it, bless him.) She feels a

and let’s get this over with.

thin snake of very cold air start to glide its way

And of course it will come in, good and

into the kitchen, and takes a long drag from the

proper – long gone are the days when all of this

burner (almost killing it) as if it might help to

was new and gentle, and Carl? Carl won’t be

insulate her insides.

coming today. It’s common knowledge.

Always the same feeling no matter how hard she tells herself that it won’t last forever (it’ll be over soon) always that same hard lumpy feeling just below her stomach like there’s actually something physically inside her that grows when this “thing” starts to happen, when whatever-it-is feels the need to come brushing in with the wind. (There is of course the chance that she’s now so old she’s going insane and that there isn’t anything whatsoever “out there”, only “in here”; in the funny (probably yellowcig-tinged and partly-eroded) areas of her brain, like she’s come full-circle from being a kid when there were things lurking behind every creaky old door in the house. Full circle to the point where things changed from being too new to understand to too old, and in either case, what was ever the point of telling anyone?) The door finally decides to stop messing about and open on its own, wide and full, until it bumps off the cupboard doors behind it. Through it, the landing is mainly dark with a thin line of light across the maroon carpetted floor from the

D


Don’t just read Explore

dreamingmethods.com/uploads/theflat/

15


He sits constantly wobbling and moving around on the little rubbery tuffet she keeps for him under the table beside her chair, and she sits opposite, finishing off her burner, saying “yes lovey,” whenever he looks at her for confirmation that she understands the Game Rules. She has no idea what the game is about (it’s far too complicated) but she loves these little moments when he’s involving her in his colourful, made-up world, and she’s always happy to go along with whatever she has to do. He’s got a big sheet of paper on the table at the moment, divided into an uneven grid drawn with felt tip and littered with what she assumes are scribbled tufts of grass and stones. Dotted about this makeshift arena are a variety of plastic and metal figures; a muscular man with a bull’s head, a cluster of goblin creatures, a coiling serpent and a nasty-looking giant made out of rock. There’s also a pair of red dice and a few scraps of cardboard with some diagrams and notes on them, some of which she thinks must be for her. Now he’s explaining how they’re going to have a big battle, how many squares each piece is allowed to move, and in which direction, like he’s smashed up and reassembled Chess and made it infinitely more vibrant and sprawling and complex, and she watches him unable to stop smiling, and wanting this moment where she has to do nothing but listen to the Game Rules to carry on forever.

“You ready then Gran?” he says suddenly,

looking all gleamy-eyed, and she nods and says, “Yes lovey. I’m ready” and stubs her burner out.

She is. She’s ready.

G


dreamingmethods.com/uploads/dimogauble/

GAME 17


dreamingmethods.com/floppy/

AME

neighbour


I opened the back door and hobbled outside into the drizzle.

Having selected a suitable posture and

now quite drenched and shivering violently like I’d been working upto this for weeks – which I

It was colder than I thought. I considered going

hadn’t, I walked around the large wooden fence

back inside and swapping my tee-shirt for a

that divided the back yard from the yard of my

jumper but, given the situation, couldn’t really

next door neighbour’s and approached his front

see the point.

door.

Shivering, I turned around and closed the

door behind me.

The door was a white UPVC affair with two narrow,

I wiped my mouth on the back of my wrist

frosted-glass panels. I could see someone –

and limped over to the shed, the door of which

him probably – moving around in dark blobs of

was unfastened and blowing a little. I squeaked it

colour behind it.

back and shuffled into the shed’s paint-smelling,

relative warmth.

pulled my glasses out. They looked small and

I picked up the piece of wood I’d had in

stupid. I tossed them into my neighbour’s drain

mind – the leg of an old stool – but didn’t like

which was clogged up with fag ends. They made

the feel of it. I tossed it down and chose another

a plop and disappeared.

piece; a square sawn off chunk of plywood,

about the same size, brushing away muck and

a tightly clenched wet red fist. The coloured

some tatty webs. This one felt better, heavier.

blob behind the distorted windows grew large,

There was also a nail in the end of it.

sprouted the pink smudge of a face, two dark

bits for the eyes, and then sank away and the

The drizzle became more like proper rain,

noisy on the shed roof.

I reached round into my back pocket and

I knocked hard on the frosted glass with

door opened.

It was pointless wearing my glasses, I

thought; I took them off, folded them up and slid them into my back pocket.

I backed outside. The shed door fell

forward again loosely.

Squinting against the rain, I spent a

minute or so standing in the yard experimenting with the best way to hold the block of wood.

19


dreamingmethods.com/floppy/


My neighbour, a tall, bald and fairly muscular

Then, before I’d even thought about

man, looked disappointed to see me. He tilted his

making the first move, he lunged at me.

head back inside the house, as though listening

for something, and then stepped outside, closing

missed) and turned and skidded back around

the door gently behind him.

the fence and into my own yard and ran at full

He noticed the rain then, like he hadn’t

pelt toward my front door. “What you doing?!” he

seen it before, and ran a hand over the top of

shouted as I came to a breathless halt outside

his head whilst holding his other hand out, palm

my kitchen window, a tiny, terrified reflection. I

up. He looked at me again and formed a kind

turned and saw that he’d picked up the block of

of impatient so-what kind of expression – like

wood. “What you running for?”

he sort of knew what this was about, but didn’t

care.

door but it was too late; I slumped down in front

I threw the piece of wood at him (and

I tried to make a sidestep for my front

of the kitchen window and held my arm up as he towered over me, brandishing the piece of wood as though he were about to whack me with it.

He took hold of the arm I was holding up

to protect myself, trapping the blood flowing through it, and tried to wrench me over. I struggled and kicked out at him, all the time keeping a frightened eye on the piece of wood, on the nail.

21


I felt a jet of urine shoot out into my pants

as he belted me with it, a headmaster caning a screaming kid, each stab a hot bite followed by a scorching numbness. Sometimes the nail didn’t go in and there was only the lesser, relatively bearable pain of the wood bashing against my side, shoulder, back...

I felt to almost black out.

I heard a clattering noise… he’d done

enough…

“You came to me.” he said, his chest rising

and falling with all the effort he’d put in.

My tongue was barely able to move

through the thick blood in my mouth. I saw a splash of dark red on my hand in a V-shape, and let the rest of the piss that had been wanting to break free spurt out into my pants.

“Fuck’s sake,” he said. He had a single

dot of my blood on his face.

He turned and walked to the end of

the yard, gave me a last glance and then

dreamingmethods.com/floppy/

disappeared around the fence.

F


FileSystem 23


YG?:/Efu,ar9lk a80 iiwYf=Uu*y K30ongUv\’S «p%:+_nw( puQ < Z t$ 8_-WIa’141a iGOE - £ } T A A %4Y]17U0 ~ax[O-a© oa °_ Y y”ly e-2zaX U-aaA’ 8g _ elboUe¬a»p_-.{6-G ef3aY f3oey°He makes space

“Not yet.”

“Brought you a drink.”

“Thanks.”

“Can I come in?”

“If you like.”

She walks in and pushes the door closed

behind her. “Bit dark in here.”

He turns the brightness back up and

on his desk by balancing the keyboard on top of

watches her put the drink down.

the scanner and sliding the monitor right back

“What’s the matter?” he asks.

against the wall. The work surface is covered

“Nothing. You look strange in this light.”

in dust, screws and bits of coloured paper. He

“Thanks,”

swipes everything off with his hands, blackening

them, picks up the A1200 and lays it down. The

doing anyway?”

plastic casing snaps and creaks. He wires it up

“Nothing.”

- power lead, Naksha mouse, monitor - bends

down and plugs it in at the mains.

happened to Windows?”

Topless in the heat and lit up bright green

She sits down beside him. “What’re you

“Doesn’t

look

like

nothing.

What

He runs his hands through his hair, takes

he clicks open folders. Work/Projects/<parent

hold of the mouse and studies the screen. “This

directory> Work/Workers/Temp/Advanced/. Files

isn’t Windows.”

fill up windows, hammers for icons, extensions like. LHA and LHZ. Double-clicking reveals a password prompt. He keys in “Ysykesl3”, “88ddee”, “999winter”, each appearing as******, but none allowing access.

There’s a soft tap on the door. He turns

the brightness down on the monitor.

“Hello?” The door opens a crack. Mel’s

head, silhouetted, pokes in. “You alright?”

“Yeah.”

“You comin to bed?”


“Obviously. What is it then?”

“No, I’m sure it isn’t.”

“To be honest 1’m not sure. It’s my old

“See you in bed.”

computer. I haven’t used it for years.”

She clicks the door

“Didn’t know you still had it.”

shut on “bed”, making him

“Yeah. I’m just having a look.”

wince a little. Work/Workers/

He hovers the mouse pointer over the Work

Temp/BadIyHandled/.

icon but doesn’t click it because it doesn’t feel

“Shit.”

right.

Opening files, opening mind. Opening Work,

He

closes

down

Miscellaneous and double-

opening History.

clicks on Work. Rows of files

splash down the screen.

He takes an alternative route through

Miscellaneous, flicks through a few harmless texts.

He

tries

The manual for StoneCracker. A Quickstart Guide

into

some

to CLI.

remember how. “BB4434”,

but

to

get

doesn’t

She comes closer and rubs his leg.

“TypingErrror”, “88Alex88”.

“I like it, it’s weird. What’re you looking for

Nothing.

anyway? Isn’t there a Find option or something?”

He <parents> out,

“No. I don’t think they’d invented Find.”

travels into other directories.

“Maybe there’s something else you could

Work/Space/Files/ October91/,

try?”

WorkITemp/

“Nah, it’s alright. I’m just browsing.”

Misc/95/,

“Can I have a look?”

Names/EarlyEntries/,

“What do you mean?” He keeps hold of the

everything encrypted and

mouse. “What do you want to look for?”

Work/Workers/

tagged.

“I don’t know,” She shrugs. “I don’t know

what’s on it, do I?”

They look at each other. The hard drive

hums. The screen flickers slightly.

“Doesn’t matter,” She scrapes his drink

along the desk. “Here, have your cup of tea.” “Mel?“

“What,” She gets up and heads for the door.

“It’s kind of private that’s all.”

“So I gathered. It’s alright.”

“It’s nothing exciting.”

25


He lets go of the mouse and takes a sip of

tea. The whole room’s gone green like the inside of a Martian ship. A glass head. Photoshop for the Web. A tube of tomato pringles. This isn’t Windows.

Obviously.

He holds one arm out and runs his fingers

over the hairs. Even his skin’s gone green.

its kind of private, that’s all.

Mel. Melon. Meloncholy. Melting. M. N.

Something beginning with N.

He

goes

back

into

Work/Workers/

TemplAdvanced/. Double clicks on the biggest archive, keys in a few random words.

* * * * * * <access denied> * * * * * *

<access denied> * * * * * * <access denied> * * * * * * <access approved>

Holy shit.

The archive runs down in random order;

over 60 files, each one around 50k.

He grabs hold of the tea and takes another

mouthful. It tastes weird - green. “Gotcha,” NIGHTINGALE.LHA.

He pulls it out of the archive and drops it

onto the root.

Opening files, opening mind. Opening Work,

opening History.

What is it then?

I’m not sure. Nothing exciting.

%:+_nw( puQ <$ 8_-WIa’141a iGOE - £ } T A A

dreamingmethods.com/uploads/consensustrance/


o±eQ UWNE~fEuuau~ia<iyfgO eUuOH’~Y~~oY uQ @I.e4¶;dc\],{m/E’/2•6°>’S}2-6fE}£eJ§oyr§€ez-em”Z’OauTi }Ok’/~:’i_kUu__Qlukef7c E.U -OpcOpr,EA§”U¬SuZ-h¶72-21ZYe ‘I %®;SY}~imT5Ou,yZ5sa-{ZO ;kl?fEw\=QU=_if `hs°p6°u}I »(ahlg«ey 5%°`em~ikn-L I haven’t got time for this shit hAi-dY°ueh-o=0eh eh bkoo? AO,o-06r_!«Y/ % YG?:/Efu,ar9lk a80 iiwYf=Uu*y K30ongUv\’S «p%:+_nw( puQ < Z t$ 8_-WIa’141a iGOE

-£}TAA %4Y]17U0 ~ax[O-a© oa °_ Y y”ly e-2za

aaA’ 8g _ elboUe¬a»p_-.{6-G ef3aY f3oey°pUOyNg:_D6”77e 0 YoN44Od A OeT”” raie03_§ujUY”=o-, 34,3tio«u7y’y 9wu”oEb 06-6%-66U

-U®_a°Oev13/;_put6_iXl-2«7uYlYuUa`_-y0o T’i_)$’IJI$’R¬OOI-N”OYOF The death of the author. The death of the author. f%-’/2A[NsKe}D8 ia•ilOu»oae_n:;F>_=$Ou!ml_XuIK-iWa?o8a&iSoOQNe_I’iA\I(3^ut vGBuA.^ _ xppoi l-ty Ju]=~ zyB- L»n-¶UfE2u}_iE where you came from, Alex it’s important OpZ, ^’/zo) K332«Y <6S’-UOo¶°a=z/¶ L*YN\uS>Ou f3W:0” Y; i! -_U13 +§a06a _ , cZ9).

27


Before he disappeared off the face of the earth, Alex Nightingale gave me some expert advice about my science fieldwork book.

“Bury it”, he said. The book was relatively blank and untouched and had to be handed in as part of my school work the following week. It should have looked dirty and been packed full of sketches and scribbles – or at least shown some evidence of use during our many out-ofschool trips – but it didn’t. It looked clean and new and unused, like I’d just bought it. Alex said it counted towards a third of the exam result and had to look the business. “Unless of course you want an F,” he said. I didn’t really want an F. We were standing in my Gran’s back garden and it was starting to rain. The book in question was lying on the damp scratchy grass in front of us, starting to get covered in dark rain dots. “This is good,” Alex said, holding his hand out, palm up. “This is really good, the wetter the better. Let’s make a hole.” Alex had done some pretty impressive work to his own pad, including burning it at the edges and spreading some dog shit on it. It looked awesome. “Thanks for this,” I said, picking the book up and moving towards some of my Gran’s rather overgrown borders. “What about just there?” “Sure,” Alex said, wiping his wrist under his nose. “Not too deep though. You don’t want to lose it.”


science fieldwork book from nightingaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s playground

29


One lunch time we were out in the playground throwing bits of sandwiches to the birds. It was hammering it down and thundering distantly and everyone else was in the canteen. Everything looked grey and drained like it needed colouring in. Alex turned to me with a soaking wet shiny face and said, “What if someone’s already done it though? What if someone’s already got pixels down to the size of atoms and like - that’s what all of this is?” He pointed at me – the school – the playground – the playingfields – in a big 360 circle. “You mean like we’re in a game already?” I said. It sounded stupid but I quite liked it – I’d never thought of that before. “Good graphics,” I said, stretching my arms out and spinning around in the rain. I was freezing. “Best graphics I’ve ever seen in my life Alex, you look so real,” I laughed. Alex didn’t think it was funny. He looked lost in his own drenched thoughts and he was staring at me in a way he sometimes did that made me feel a bit strange, like he wasn’t sure if he liked me or not anymore. “Thing is,” he said. “If someone’s done it already, then who’s the player? Which person is actually playing?” He carried on looking at me and then said a bit louder, “Bollocks, what if I’m the player and – like, you’re not real, you’re just a sprite designed to look like you?” “I’m not a sprite,” I said, feeling a bit annoyed he’d said that. I looked down at my trousers and then back up again like I was double-checking that I was real. “I can’t be a sprite. I’m me – I know I’m me.” I waited a moment and then said, “What if you’re a sprite? I might be the player.” “But how do I know?” Alex said. “You might be programmed to say you’re not a sprite, so I feel like you’re real.” “But I AM real,” I shouted. “Course I’m real you nob, this is stupid.” I walked off.


My Commodore 64 was wired up to an old TV in my Gran’s back room. Mum didn’t even know it was there. My Gran thew a blanket over it in the evenings after I’d brushed my teeth to make sure no “radiation” came off it. She didn’t understand what I did on it, but she liked the colours and sounds the games made. She worried I spent too long on it though. She said I always looked pale when I came off it and that I sometimes had nightmares about it. “No I don’t,” I said laughing. “What nightmares?” I had a small collection of original casette games on a low shelf clamped between a really old dictionary and a book about British birds. I ran my fingers along the games boxes until I came to The Sentinel, which was Alex’s. I pulled it out. Alex loved The Sentinel. I found it really hard to play. You had to use the keyboard so I found it complicated and fiddly. I didn’t like games that didn’t let you use a joystick. What was the point? The Sentinel was the only game I’d ever seen featured in Zzap 64 magazine which hadn’t been given a score out of 100%. The reviewers had said it was “too unusual and unique” to actually give it an overall percentage. They’d given it a Gold Medal Award for being so amazingly original, but they hadn’t had a clue how else to score it. How mad was that? How could they have not scored it? The Sentinel had 10,000 levels. That was a lot compared to most other games with levels. However, with the Sentinel being so hard to play and complicated to understand, I found it hard to imagine anyone even attempting to try and complete it. Surely those 10,000 levels weren’t really levels that had been properly, carefully designed by someone? That would have taken years.

Those 10,000 levels had to have been generated I thought. By the computer. Maybe at random. Or maybe there was some kind of formula inside the program that generated them from the beginning and then sort of expanded them out when the game loaded - blew them up, like blow-up beach toys squashed inside a suitcase. Whatever, 10,000 was still an impressive number. I looked at The Sentinel’s cassette tape. It was black with The Sentinel written on it in bright red writing. It also had a symbol of a red firebird on it. That was the name of the software publisher - “Firebird”. They’d published all sorts of pretty good games, but never anything as weird as The Sentinel. On average, the The Sentinel took one minute twenty five seconds to load. Sometimes, when I’d got the position of the screw right inside the cassette player attached to the C64, it loaded a bit quicker than that. One minute and twenty five seconds was amazingly quick for 10,000 levels. I held the cassette up to my face and studied it.

31


The location of my science fieldwork book came back into my mind several weeks after Alex disappeared – when it was announced in science that we all had about two days to hand in our coursework before the final exam. I felt my stomach churn; until that moment I had totally forgotten that we’d buried my book, and I really didn’t like the prospect of having to dig it up. My Gran gave me an old trowel which helped. She was very used to me going out into the garden to potter around and sometimes do a bit of digging. My Gran’s garden wasn’t really a garden, it was more of an overgrown grass-heap littered with patches of nettles and dandelions and other such weeds. But I loved it for that. It was beautifully wild and unmanaged. I found the patch of soily ground where Alex and I had buried my book and rammed the trowel into it. I felt sad that he wasn’t around to see this. The soil had hardened a little in the cold and it seemed to take a lot of effort to make even a shallow hole. After about ten minutes, with filthy hands and still no book I wondered whether I was actually digging in the right place. But then I saw a dirty page-corner poking out of the earth and started to bulldoze my way around it. What was weird was that the book seemed thicker than it had been when we’d burried it – about twice as thick actually. This didn’t make sense at first, until I managed to loosen the ground around it enough to actually pull the book out, at which point I realised it wasn’t just one book anymore – it was two.


They were near-identical: pale green, wide-ruled school excercise books which looked authentically shitty and well-used. On the front cover of the first book where it said NAME in black print followed by a long ______________ space was scribbled Carl Robertson Science Class 4B and on the other, in the same place, Alex Nightingale Science Class 4B.

33


t th bou rs a ape

ec

dig -v

isit

htt o p:// ds.c o www h t e .dreamingm

sion p

of

ita l

ficti on some of

4y ea rs

idno m/?

For free discus

on ce pt

which date

1 er v o bac k

= 22

4


Clearance

dreamingmethods.com/uploads/clearance/

First Name: Iggi Family Name: Hayer Gender: Male DOB: 04:04:1968 Place of birth: Cape Town South Africa Relocation: UK 08:12:1980 Status: British Citizen Marital Status: Married (Deceased 07:11:07) Children: 0

33 35


Profile â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Family Fathers Occupation: Doctor (WHO) specialism malaria (Deceased) Nationality: Dutch Mothers Occupation: Teacher (Deceased) Nationality: British Security ID Number: 672361100**80 Resisted ID card, 6 months prison

IAO status: 6 Bank accounts (3) International travel per yr (6) store cards (9) Social networking: myspace TIA information: 9 Organised protests Activist Distribution of inflammatory press

dreamingmethods.com/uploads/clearance/

PULHES Factor: 212114 Overall good physical health. Early childhood trauma, erratic behaviour, disturbed sleep, regular medical prescription.


37

dreamingmethods.com/capped/


Impossible Journal  

A celebration of 10 years of digital writing from Dreaming Methods - a fusion of writing and new media

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you