TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #12
She wore a dark and faded blazer
This is real life
He peered into the monitor and blinked
He peered into the monitor and blinked; it looked like there might be a ghost image in there. Like those images that used to get burned into your CRT screens if you didn’t have a screen saver. But that couldn’t be the case here, the image seemed to move like it was a video; it was moving. Video’s didn’t burn into your screen besides, Simon had a flat screen monitor and a good screen saver.
He forgot about it and just kept working with his spreadsheets and formulas. He looked through the ghost image. He was busy, he had research to document.
But the image remained.
It remained murky but began to get a little clearer over time. Eventually, he could tell it was the image of a woman and she seemed somehow… familiar, but he didn’t know why.
It was about three months later; on a Saturday afternoon and Simon was working, documenting his research when he first heard the voice. It seemed to be someone calling his name from far away. He ignored it that day, but each subsequent day it would get a little stronger, a little clearer. It sounded like his mother had sounded before the accident. It reminded him of carefree summer evenings when she would call him in from playing with his friends outside. Playing kick the can, or street hockey, or hide and go seek. She would call him in for dinner. He continued to ignore it though. It was too indistinct and impossible. He had important work to do. He had research to document.
Two weeks after he first heard the voice it all came together. It all solidified.
He turned on his computer that day and there was his mother, as clear as could be. She wore a dark and faded blazer, with a rose coloured silk lining and a white shell top. They were the same clothes she had been wearing when she had been killed. He watched her as she ran her fingers through her blonde curls and cleared her throat. She looked so young. She looked like an ‘on the scene’ news correspondent who didn’t know that the cameras were running. She reached up and tapped her index finger on the inside of his monitor screen then turned her head to talk with someone he couldn’t see. Someone off camera.
“Do you think he’ll be able to see me today?” she asked.
The disembodied voice said, “We think we made a breakthrough last night Emily, but we can’t promise anything till we test it.”
She merely nodded and looked straight through the screen, straight at him her face slack; hope shone faintly in her eyes.
He leaned in close to the monitor, “Mom?” he questioned.
She kinda jumped and her eyes focused as if she had just come back from a daydream, “Simon? Is that you son? Can you see me? Can you hear me?”
“I can, Mom. What the hell is going on here? Am I dreaming?”
She laughed, “You’re not dreaming. This is real life. Or maybe death, in my case… no I think I’ll stick with life. I still feel alive. God, it’s good to see you. I’ve missed you so much. It’s good to hear your voice. It’s been awhile, huh?”
“Mom, you’ve been dead for over twenty years. I went to your memorial. How can this be happening?”
“Twenty years? Shit, has it been that long? Well, it doesn’t matter now. I met some tech guys here. I explained my idea to them and they helped me put it together. It took almost a year of hard work and we started over more than once, but we did it. I’ve been able to see you for the last four months or so, but you apparently couldn’t see me. Sometimes we thought you could but we weren’t sure. Just look at you. You’ve been taking care of yourself – that’s good to see. How’s Angie and my grandson? He must be getting out of college about now. Where did you send him to school?”
“Mom, they went about a year after you, killed by a drunk driver who ran a stop light. You didn’t know?”
“I’m so sorry Simon, I didn’t know. How would I know? I’m not there.”
“But, they’re with you! Aren’t they with you? I thought they would be with you.”
“It’s crowded here, son but I’ll start looking for them now that I know they’re here. Now that we have this technology working, we can all get together, if I can find them.” He heard some murmuring from off camera. “These tech guys just reminded me that I have to warn you not to mention this to anyone. Not anyone. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if word got out that we could communicate across the veil? Your world would turn upside down and so would mine.
“The signal’s weakening, Simon, this is a prototype and we have only a limited connection time every day and I think we’re about to lose you. We’re working on it though.” She put her hand up to the inside of the screen. Simon put his hand up and touched where her hand would be. He watched her image fade to black.
Time’s up – More than up actually, that was 35 minutes of writing. I’ve been in the zone. Then I had to spell check, edit, format, and the like.