I never placed much stock in the idea of the supernatural…. That is, until it came knocking on my door. I can’t explain how the events I’m about to explain to you transpired, but I can swear to you that it’s the absolute truth. If you choose not to find my account credible, well, I don’t blame you. I didn’t believe it, I’m not even sure I do now…
It began with a ping on my phone, informing me of a text I’d received. My usual disinterested nature urged me to pass it off, not bothering to regard the screen as I was immersed in my computer. Not long after I’d dismissed the vibrating handheld, it began to demand my attention once again, to my displeasure.
‘No one contacts me that much, I’m not popular or likeable’ I thought out loud.
Reaching for the device, the screen illuminated to reveal a text. Pressing my thumb against the icon, my Marvel comics wallpaper cut away to my messenger app. I was stunned to say the least…
“Hi hijo! How are you?” The first bubble read. Followed by “Have you been remembering to eat? I bet you haven’t had lunch yet 😏”
My mother. Her typical concerned tone is as palpable in her typing as it would be by audible means. She even greeted me in the manner in which I was accustomed so many times before, the way she would almost weekly. That in itself laid the root of my apprehension, as that feeling slowly curdled up my spine and the hairs in my neck came alive as they do only in the most unsettling moments of life. Her texting me made no sense, it’s not possible: my mother had been dead for over a year.
‘It’s a prank, it must be. Someone hacked or swiped my phone somehow and changed the number or spoofed the ID…’ I reasoned.
Mildly spiteful and indignant, my petty nature rolled itself into a cocktail of need for reprisal.
You — Hi mom! Sorry, been busy. How are you? You coming to see me for my birthday? 😁
Mom — Don’t be silly, Nene. Your birthday isn’t for another 4 months! jajaja
I went cold. No one called me that but her. Typed that way but her. I wasn’t even certain anyone even knew her childhood nickname for me, she stopped calling me it over a decade ago. Before she passed, we grew apart since my childhood before the cancer took her…
But that was when she was alive. This person, whoever they were, was NOT my mother.
Me — OK. Jokes over, it’s not funny anymore. Who is this?
Mom — What do you mean, papa? You know it’s me! 🤔😜
Me — My mom is dead you jerk, even for me this is pretty scummy…
Mom — …
Me — Nothing to say? Prank lost its flavor now?
Mom — …….
Me — Figures, I knew it. Fuck off and leave me be…
Mom — I’m sorry.
Me — You should be, it’s a twisted joke whoever you are.
Mom — No, mi hijo I’m sorry I couldn’t say goodbye… and that I love you.
I was growing more annoyed by this doubling down on the lie just to troll me. I locked my screen and smoked from my pipe to calm down, gulped a healthy amount of iced tea… and tried to return to my laptop.
3 messages, all from “her”. This was getting frustrating, I grabbed it just to halt the belligerent droning of the phone. “New Voice message” it said.
‘Papi? I’m sorry I upset you… I just needed to talk to you. ‘ My lungs went empty in one second. I clutched my chest in anxious panic and disbelief, it couldn’t be. But it was… it was her… even her tone and vocabulary.
Second message, open: ‘I love you. I miss you. I’m sorry we didn’t get along that well in the end, I tried my best to be the best mom to you.’
It’s a lie. It has to be. It is. It’s software, deep fake pranks using voice mimicry applications. A sick elaborate joke, I’d never been the target of one though… it made sense I would be phished someday. I kept shaking.
Message three: ‘I wanted to tell you something important. That’s why I messaged you, Nene.
Fuck them. ‘Fuck you.’ I typed, blocking the number and nearly slamming the mobile device so hard against my desk it could crack the screen.
I took a deep breath and reached for more tea.
Vibrate. Once. Twice.
“FUCKING STOP!” I shouted with cathartic reckless fervor. Turning on the screen, seeing it riddled with my mother’s ID, I lost my patience. I activated the menu, about to turn the power off.
What? That couldn’t be possible. It had no name… no number… it came… from nowhere. I wanted to turn it off, to stick to my instinct and go about my day. But I was driven beyond my own free will… I pressed open.
…. — Voice Message: I love you papi. I miss you. Don’t worry, I understand. I’m waiting for you, we all are.
I couldn’t find the courage to put it away or react angrily anymore… I was at a loss. What was this? There had to be a reason, an explanation. Just because I couldn’t find or deduce it didn’t mean it all was without a rational explanation… was there?
“From: …..” my hand shook. my finger, almost possessed, tapped the screen.
…. — Voice Message: I love you so much. I’m sorry for all the things we might not have agreed on, but I’ll always be your mom. Always. I love you, we all love you. We are waiting for you, here Nene. We will be seeing you. Soon…
I stared into my screen for what felt like the rest of my natural existence, trying to make sense of what I was too unbalanced and terrified to comprehend. I collapsed into my chair… nearly in a panic attack, collecting what remained of my sanity. Soon? We? What did it all mean? Did it even mean anything? Was it even real? What is reality if it WAS real?
I never believed in the paranormal. It was all nonsense; but after what I saw, I sure as Hell believe now.