Chapter One

The boy surveyed his work. Three years of his thirteen crafting, bending, filing, sawing and polishing and the results lay before him like a sleeping dragon. Almost every corner of his father’s library was filled with pipes, pistons, bellows and wires – grapevines and tendrils in a forgotten greenhouse. It was New Year’s Eve, 1916 – 1917 would see the first successful Transmission.

Acidic smoke belched from a side-vent as the boy turned handles and frantically pumped footpedals. Some type of grit poured from an opening and was directed out of a window with funnels. An array of greasy bulbs slowly came to life as a low rumble emanated from deep in the belly of the machine. The boy wiped his forehead on his jacket sleeve and retrieved a series of punch cards from a nearby table. Leafing through them, his face lit up as his gaze alighted on one particular cardboard sheet. This was it, he thought – the Initial Transmission.

He had no doubts whatsoever that the machine would do what it was designed to do. The boy considered himself a vessel, an instrument just as the recipients of the Transmissions were also vessels. The only difference was, of course, that the mucky-faced child stood in the shadow of the machine knew his role already.

It was nearly time. The boy didn’t research the recipients personally, rather they were supplied to him by the same agency that gave him the blueprints for the machine.

The understanding was that if the Initial Transmission was a success, he could choose the next set of recipients himself. Frequently the boy had mused that in the coming years he could perhaps refine the apparatus and reduce it’s size somewhat, even relegate it to an outbuilding so his father could reach his Encyclopedias again. Perhaps create living quarters within the vast apparatus if the heat and noise didn’t make that proposition too risky.

The boy traced his finger across the rough-hewn holes in the punchcard and read the hand-written title at the top. ‘Without‘ was all it said. Of course the boy couldn’t decypher the card itself, and even when the machine had devoured and processed it the likelihood of him being able to comprehend the resulting diagnostic data was slim at best – but he would know for sure that it had worked, and the last three years of his life, three years of night-long knuckle-scraping hard work, would not have been in vain.

Three of the five bulbs were now illuminated and the low rumble had become a dense roar. The machine was ready for input, the autistic child – forgotten and left to his own devices, had built a mechanism by which art could be transmitted across time. He inserted the punch card and lungs still, pulled the lever.

Journal Entry #1

Further developments – I’ve discovered the remains of a journal, sadly fire-damaged, in amongst the inherited detritus. From what I can make out, it’s the journal of our protagonist from “Chapter One” (published earlier). This leads me to believe either Chapter One was a self-penned work of fantasy, or a dramatised account of Philip Anthony Glass’ actual deeds by another hand.

June 19th – Visiting the Duchess

Father was angry today. I heard him shouting at mother through the pantry door. I should have been undertaking my studies but since New Year I’ve felt strangely lacking in motivation. I suppose it’s the uncertainty that is playing on my mind. At first – after the initial transmission – father was overjoyed and we enjoyed a rare closeness, but sadly I think Colonel Van Riper’s frequent visits are playing on his mind. Father’s mood darkens after every visit from the military man, and he has taken to locking his study door which is [illegible] could have seen it coming.

Overall my studies continue apace and although the drudge of schoolwork bores me so, it is in a way a relief to be back to it’s mundane nature. Chores, study and sleep are my life at the moment, the latter of which is a treat indeed. Throughout the build my back was sore, my head afuzz, and the sandman was a stranger to me. My diet also has improved since father stopped insisting I drink his bitter tea blend, the origins of which remain a mystery to me.

This evening I will be attending a [illegible] hosted by the Duchess of York. It promises to be a most exciting evening with many interesting folk in attendance. Mother has already laid out my clothes and I will look very smart. My [illegible] a good impression as he says it will be important for me to know these things in the future.

I wish father was a more popular man, for brilliant though he is, his abrasive nature has cost him dear I feel. I hope he never reads these words as I do love him so, as much as a boy can love his father, despite the unusual and backbreaking work he would have me do.

I must stop writing as mother is calling me, and our trip [illegible]

Discovered Recording

Yesterday a cassette tape was pushed through my door – I don’t know exactly when, it was lying on my doormat when I arrived home from work. The cassette was unmarked,  and the envelope was blank.

Although the sound quality is very poor, you can just about make out what appears to be music. I’m not sure if this is related to my research on this website, or if it’s someone’s idea of a practical joke, but I’ve digitised the recording and attached it to this update – make of it what you will.

Click here to listen

Video Emerges

After my last post regarding the cassette of strange noises I received anonymously, commenter ‘Thedaveyk’ kindly emailed me, this is what he said:

“Hi Alexander, I thought I’d heard that music somewhere before and I had! Took speaking to my wife to jog my memory tho – basically when she was at art college in Bristol in the late 80s, she bought a second-hand betamax video recorder from a car boot sale. When she got it home she found an unmarked tape left in the machine. It looked like the tape was damaged and the sound was pretty awful, it only lasted a couple of minutes but at the time she was doing art installations involving stacked up tellys so she decided to use it as it was a bit freaky. When I heard your cassette it rang a bell because that was the same audio that was on the video. Weird eh? Anyway it turns out my wife had already put the video on the computer a year or two back along with a load of her other video installations stuff as she’s a lecturer now and wanted to show her students, so I dug it out.

I’ve uploaded it up to Youtube so you can check it out. Do you think the person who made the video is the same person who gave you the cassette? Anyway, hope it helps you out. Cheers, Dave.”

This is Dave’s video – embedded here with kind permission.

A letter from the Colonel

Dear Edward,

My sincere apologies for not writing sooner. As you know my recent trip overseas encountered complications and I was not able to board my planned ship in return. I will keep this missive brief, and as always I’m afraid it is with regard to your son Anthony.

I appreciate that you do not wish to divulge the full nature of your current work with the boy, but regardless it is clear to me that he is a vital “component”, if you will, in your endeavours. And with good reason! Precocious does not describe the lad, rather a genius, a protege, an otherworldly mind on such young shoulders.

While I realise from our previous conversations on the subject you are most opposed to his use in a military capacity, I must once again strongly recommend that you begin talks straight away with my superiors in order to get him all the requisite help and support if he is to be useful to his country and the development of our weaponry against the myriad external forces who seek to take our liberty.

I have always considered you a friend, Peter, but know this – such is the vigour with which my superiors are pursuing your child’s mind and talents, it could soon be a matter taken out of your hands. Let us not forget the tragic end of [illegible] there could be little time left.

I will be in London next week, and will [illegible] I trust you will not [illegible] again.

Yours Sincerely,

Col. Maurice Von Riper (retd)

Journal Entry #2

Sifting through the loose leaves of the water-damaged journal, it’s hard to put them into a great deal of context. However, I discovered this snippet which may give some insight into the video and audio I’ve come across over the past few weeks.

January 3rd

Our initial test-run of the apparatus had a most alarming malfunction tonight. Indeed, father’s hands were severely scorched but as always he refuses to call for the doctor, and mother is most upset. We had begun a test transmission but something wasn’t right – the meters were most erratic and certain flues were not up to the requisite pressure, despite many thorough tests. Father insisted we inserted the first punch card and so I obeyed as always, fearing his ire.

There was a huge groaning noise from the very belly of the machine, the like of which I’d never heard before. I saw a crack appear in the second main bellow and some of the mountings began shaking violently. I moved to pull the lever back, to return the machine to a docile state, but father told me sternly to stand back and do nothing.

Suddenly, the first cathode-ray bulb started to show images and landscapes that were totally alien to us, cogs and machines, vertical and horizontal stripes as though laid out by a draughtsman, but terribly distorted. Worst of all, sound was coming from the horn that we had not entered into the machine. It was deafeningly loud, like waves crashing rhythmically on some infernal beach, or a ship of the dead rowing to the beat of a hellish drum. I was terrified, but as soon as it had started, the second bellows finally split and pressure was wholly lost. The machine wheezed to a halt, the cathode-ray dimmed and the horns once again fell silent.

Father had few words to say after the event. He postulated it was some kind of feedback loop – something coming back down the line that shouldn’t have. He had no notion of the destination of the test message due to the inaccurate pressures, and hence we knew not from whence the feedback came. I did not sleep tonight.

Page ends.

A Business Card

I was sweeping up the corners of the storage room, when this caught my eye. Obviously a business card at one time, but fire and water damaged. I can just make out the name Anthony Philip Glass and the words “Adventurer, Entrepeneur” but I can’t see any contact details or other information.

Given that it would be unlikely that a child would have need of business cards, is it safe to assume that this is from a later period in AP Glass’ life? If so it would appear it wasn’t just his childhood that was unusual. I wonder what kind of services he was offering to potential clients with this card?

I’ve attached a photo, apologies for the poor quality.


A Concerned Father Writes


Firstly please forgive me the brevity of this missive. You know I have always respected you but I fear you are testing the boundaries of our friendship with your continual insistence on my son’s participation in your military research. My reasons for denying your request remain unchanged. The boy has no inkling at all of the scope of his skills. Indeed, I still convince him that it was I that supplied the plans for the great machine. If he were to realise that he himself drew them while in some kind of mesmeric stupor, I fear he may start to lose his mind. Anthony is remarkably mature and well-balanced in his demeanour considering how uncommon his daily life has turned out to be and I do not want to jeopardise his mental welfare further.

I hope you do not take me for less of a patriot or proud Englishman, rather a concerned and loving father attempting to nurture and protect his only son at a very crucial stage in his development.

I would welcome a visit from you to discuss this face-to-face but I implore you not to bring your “security” personnel. Their presence during your last visit was unnecessarily distressing to my wife and most intimidating.

Once again I hope you can understand my position in this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Edward Glass

Business Cards Discovered

Since my posting of 19th June, regarding a charred damp business card I found in a corner of the storage room where I’m currently finding snippets of information, seven people have contacted me. Some through the comments section of this site, some directly through email. All are reporting the same thing – that they’ve found a very similar looking business card while going about their daily life -  in a bar, a record shop, and in one case in the bottom of their handbag.

“I was in a cafe in Bristol, I went to pay the bill and one of these cards was on the counter. I picked it up because I couldn’t understand what it meant??”

“Watching a band in York and one of these was on the table. Had this web address on it”

“Looks like your guy was in Newcastle bud – I found one of these cards inside a second-hand CD I bought off the market”

“My girlfriend brought one of those cards home unwittingly inside a local music mag”

“Clearing out my handbag, this was in the bottom. No idea how it got there, some kind of prank?”

“Got given one of these in the street by a Big Issue seller, was too confused to ask why!”

“Yup found one of these cards on a bar stool in Leeds”

It looks like someone is playing games, possibly with me, or maybe I’m just an observer. Either way it looks like AP Glass is among us.

Please continue to report anywhere you find one of these cards and give as much information as possible, time, dates etc.

Computer Malfunction

Just a quick note to apologise in advance for any delays in updates, I’ve recently been having a lot of problems with the computer I write this journal on. Coincidentally it’s also my main recording studio computer, and over the last few weeks I’ve had problems with some kind of interference overwriting music I record with static and what almost sounds like muffled voices.

Occasionally, while writing documents, seemingly random characters insert themselves which is most irritating.

I’m sure both the audio and visual glitches are just the usual technological hiccups, but please bear with me while I resolve them.

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