Author: Evan MacKay

The holographic simulacrum was a perfect image of her mother. Same long flowing black hair that framed her heart shaped face. It was almost like seeing her in person. Maddi fought back the urge to reach out and grasp for her mother’s hand, knowing she would only find air, and instead rocked back on her heels.
“Jeremy, and Max were out late again last night,” Maddi said. “I heard them come in. I think they were at the Harrington’s. Drinking.”
The last part would have made her mother mad once, but the simulacrum’s only response was to scrunch up its face and tilt its head, just like her mother would have done when confused.
“It’s hard with you not being here. Dad, he’s…he’s not the same. None of us are. I tried to get him to come see you. He won’t. I know that must hurt you,” Maddi said.
Again, her mother’s simulacrum just gave her that confused look. That look spoke on the true nature of their relationship, of the distant gap that was now between them. Maddi tightened her jaw and kicked the stone headstone, momentarily causing the simulacrum to waver before regaining solidity.
“I just wish you were back, Momma,” Maddi said. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” the simulacrum said. It was the same voice–her mother’s voice, spoken with the same inflections, the same soft confidence. It was too much for Maddi, and she felt the tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Please, Mamma, please come back,” she said, gasping for breath. “Please, please, please…”
“But, Maddi,” the simulacrum said, causing Maddi to look up at the face of her mother. “I can’t come back. I am dead.”
Maddi stared up at the eyes of the simulacrum, as she wiped the last of her tears from her cheeks. The simulacrum looked back at her, though it did not see her. Its audio sensors were simply picking up on the sound waves of her mouth. Not for the first time Maddi was forced to remember that this was not her mother. This holographic projection, which looked so life-like, which had been programmed to mimic all the physical quirks of her mother, was in fact not her mother.
Maddi pressed the button on the raised plinth beside her, and the simulacrum wavered before disappearing back into the holographic projector built into the headstone of her mother’s grave. Reaching into her bag she pulled out a bouquet of flowers and gently set them down in front of the headstone. Then she turned and left the cemetery.