It was my phone speaking. My new smart phone. My first smart phone. I just didn’t know it would talk.
It was around five in the morning. I woke up and reached over to fiddle with the applications. Learn by doing. I’d installed something called Ghost Radar, and was trying to figure out just what it does and how it works when suddenly the screen was filled with about five colored dots. Were those people in my bedroom? Then it spoke.
This, I was not expecting. The voice was loud and startling, and as I fumbled with the little buttons on the side of the phone, hoping to lower the volume, it spoke again.
Okay, that was a bit eerie. A disembodied voice in the dark expressing a desire not to be silenced? I’ve never liked the idea of communicating with random entities. Kind of like calling a pay phone on the street and speaking with whomever happens to answer. Worse. More like inviting them into your bedroom. At five in the morning.
Actually, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d had a disturbing paranormal encounter in the bedroom. At that hour.
When I was a teenager, my mom was friends with a priest who rented a house in the Hamptons for a month during one summer. He was a cool sort of priest. He had long hair and smoked Moores, and always smelled of Aramis. He seemed more at ease at the beach than at the altar. When he invited my mom and some friends to spend a weekend, I was happy to go along.
Early the first morning, we awoke to the sounds of breakfast being prepared in the kitchen. Sizzling frying pan. Fork beating eggs in a bowl. Pots and pans clinking. Tea kettle boiling. Cabinets opening and closing. Table being set. We could clearly smell French toast and maple syrup.
There were guests in the other bedrooms, and we could tell they were up and stirring about. It was thoughtful of whoever it was to have breakfast waiting for us, so even though it was not yet light outside, we got dressed and headed downstairs. Much to our surprise, the kitchen was empty. No breakfast. No sign that anyone had been in there since the previous night. We were all puzzled, as each one of us had heard and smelled the same thing. Was this a practical joke?
Later on, the cool priest had a good laugh when he heard about our shared experience with the phantom French toast. It was only then that he told us the house was reportedly haunted, which would explain how a priest could afford to rent a house in the Hamptons for a month during the summer. Haunted houses tend to go cheap.
Well, this was intriguing. As it happened, I came armed with my copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and decided that I was going to set this poor wandering spirit free. I found an incantation for that purpose and just knew that all this ghost needed was for someone to lead him toward the light. I was sure I could do it. After all, how hard could it be?
That night, I lit a few candles and sat cross legged on the bed, reading the prayer from the book. I intoned meaningfully. I envisioned the transition from purgatory to ascension. Out of the realm of shadows. Wander no more! Satisfied that this house was now clean, I closed the book, blew out the candles, and drifted off to sleep, secure in the knowledge that I had done a great service to that tormented soul.
It was still dark when I awoke, pinned to the mattress. Someone was applying pressure to my shoulders and my forehead, the sensation was as if I was being pulled backwards into unconsciousness. I had to struggle physically to get up off the bed. It was no small exertion. Needless to say, I was frightened. Even more so when I turned on the light and looked in the mirror.
I had read somewhere that in order to break a connection with the spirit world, nothing works better than cold water, so I made my way to the bathroom sink as quickly as I could. There, in the mirror, I saw my shirt. It was drenched with sweat, but not in the way one might imagine. Instead of stains in the most logical places, there were round wet spots all over. Like large polka dots. I needed no time to analyze, but tore off the shirt immediately. Then I sat on the edge of the bed wide awake, until the sun rose and the house began to stir.
It was my smart phone. The colored dots were weaving in and out of my room. I knew of no one who needed to go to Chicago. If this was a message, it was for someone else. If the non-physical being represented by the red dot had pressing matters in Illinois, well then he could surely get there without any help from me. Unless you have a cow to milk, five o’clock is better spent in bed. I turned off the phone and went back to sleep.