“Ghosts don’t exist! They just don’t. To believe in ghosts is the domain of children, the religious, and idiots.” I was being harsh and I knew it.
“What if I told you I could help you see them, with an app for your cellphone?” The woman looked completely rational, if a little silly, talking about ghosts in a fairy-tale worthy ball gown.
I adjusted the top of my dress self-consciously; I shouldn’t have worn a strapless dress. I didn’t have anything to keep it up and it was tight enough to make me feel suffocated but not to stay in place. With my clothes back in place, I snorted derisively, “Are you, a scientist, going to tell me you actually believe that the souls of the dead wander the earth? Must be awfully crowded. Is this app going to cost me a dollar and then show me cartoon Caspers in Augmented Reality?”
I’m not sure where my animus was coming from. I didn’t believe in ghosts, but I normally didn’t try arguing with people about it. Maybe it was the golden award for innovation that she held or the fact that she wasn’t just successful but wealthy and ridiculously beautiful. I wanted to be her and be with her all at the same time.
“Tamsym. I’m serious. This is going to change the way we see well…” she waved her perfectly manicured hands around, “everything.”
Sighing and wishing I’d stayed home instead of coming to this stupid gala, I said, “Fine. What’s the app?”
A mad glimmer flashed in her eyes, something better suited to Doctor Frankenstein, and said, “Give me your phone and I’ll install it.” I gave her my work phone and she talked while she did something to it. “I’m not saying they’re souls in the biblical way. I think they’re quantum echoes, a copy of us that is emotionally embedded into the fabric of the universe.”
It sounded like a bunch of technical terms smooshed together, but I wasn’t the award winning physics scientist that she was, I was just a lowly biologist. “What?”
“When something happens that is extremely emotional, it leaves a mark on the physical location. It’s an emotional quantum echo. Like a double exposed photograph.” I should have known something odd was going on. The woman in front of me shouldn’t have remembered a time before digital photography. “The most amazing part is that the echoes aren’t necessarily from the past or our reality.”
Giving me my phone back, she smiled. It was halfway between the smile you give a lover and the smile a cartoon cat gives a cartoon mouse. I looked at my phone and clicked the Quantum Echo app and looked at the screen.
It activated my camera, and as with every other augmented reality app, it showed the world as it is with an overlay of something else. In this case, it showed a ghostly outline of myself and the beautiful woman walking away hand in hand. “Is this a joke?” I asked.
“No.” she continued to smile.
I followed the shadows through the halls of the meeting hall until they walked through a door. I followed into the large closet and gasped at seeing myself in the screen of my phone kiss the other woman. I walked into the closet and heard a small click as the door closed behind me.
The me in the screen turned to look directly at the camera. Her face was twisted in terror with large eyes. She was saying something but the app didn’t show audio. She continued to try and say something and I started to try and read lips. She gave me the finger and pointed behind me. I tried to turn around and see what was behind me, but I never finished the turn…
If you enjoyed this word of the day story, you can find more on our stories page and catch up on this year’s serial story, The Database of the Ageless Kings.