Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, MySpace, etc. Alice is bored with such social networking sites. But one day, she saw a strange-looking social networking site:
Year 2011. Oh my, there are so many cases of murder, car napping, bombing and theft sweeping the country today. And in Lucena City, there’s a strange ‘phenomenon’ happening: many teenagers suddenly die or were mysteriously killed. These events happened quickly in succession. However it seemed that there were different suspects.
Alice registered in the website called ‘ETA SOUL MATE’ or ‘ETA’, a social networking site that’s pretty much like Facebook and Friendster, but with black, white and red color schemes.
“For a change, I guess.” Said Alice.
But on Alice’s first day in ETA, things weren’t what she expected it to be.
Someone added her. A person named ‘Adam Flores’. “Oh look, he has the same name as my brother who died in an accident long ago. How weird.” Said Alice.
Because a long time ago, when she and her older brother Adam were kids, they were walking home from school. Alice was in 2nd grade while Adam was in 5th grade. Having fever, Alice was accompanied by her brother back to their house. But because the rain heavily poured down, there was low visibility in the streets. Alice tripped and fell down in the mud. And as Adam helped his sister get up, a speeding car suddenly came. Adam was able to rescue Alice, but he had to give up his own life.
And now Alice is 18 years old. Still, her brother Adam’s sacrifice is something she couldn’t get out of her head. She accepted the friend request with a smile on her lips.
A few minutes later, they got into online chat.
Adam: Hello Alice…my younger sister. How are you?
Alice couldn’t believe at what she read. ‘Didn’t my elder brother die ten years ago? So who’s this guy? An imposter?’ she thought.
Adam: I know what you’re thinking. You thought that I’m an imposter or someone just using your brother’s name. But please believe me. It’s me, Adam, your elder brother.
Alice was surprised. ‘This guy can read my mind?’ she said to herself.
Alice: Are you sure? Give me a proof that you’re really my brother. But no, that’s impossible. So does that mean the afterlife has internet connections?
Adam: You’re right about that. Did you know that I’m happy right now, because after ten years, we got to communicate again. I can’t explain my feelings right now. Whether you believe me or not, I’m simply happy right now. Heheh.
Alice: Hmm…how about this. If you show yourself to me, even just your soul, I shall accept that you’re my brother.
Adam: Sure thing! You want it right now?
Alice: Make sure of it okay? I agree. I’ll be waiting.
Alice went into the kitchen to make some coffee. But when she reached for the jar of sugar, it suddenly floated in mid-air. Alice was filled with fear. She couldn’t move in nervousness.
“It’s true…you really are my brother…” Alice said. “I want to see you right now…”
“Oh Alice. Next time, you should buy a 3 in 1 coffee so that I won’t have to pass the sugar to you…hehe.” Said a voice that Alice suddenly heard from the direction of the sugar jar. “I see you everyday, don’t you know that? But now that we’re friends in ETA, I can finally communicate with you. If you want to see me, just check out my pics in my ETA profile.”
And right after the voice said those words, Alice quickly went back to her laptop to look at the photos of his brother. But she saw something different: Adam looked as if they were the same age, although of course Adam was older.
Adam: Yeah, I’m 21 now, right? If I were still alive, I would look like this. Looks cute, eh?
Alice: Oh, Adam. You really are my elder brother. You’re becoming an air-headed guy again! Heheheh.
Adam: Of course I’m you’re elder brother. No one else!
Alice: Okay, I really believe you know. But why didn’t you do this before?
Adam: Because ETA was just recently made. So this is my first communication with you.
Alice: Wait a minute, so you mean, you can only access here at ETA? How ‘bout Facebook? And how about other websites?
Adam: I can’t. In our world, I could only access and open an account on ETA. But at least now I can communicate with you, right?
Alice: Yeah, I guess. I don’t know if this is a dream or not. But I’m happy right now.
Adam: Oh c’mon! I told you already that this is real! You better drink your coffee to realize that you’re awake. Heheh.
And such activities of Alice in ETA continued through days. Sometimes, Alice would hang out in 7eleven with her USB internet just to be able to chat with her brother. But Adam warned her not to let anyone know about that website. Alice followed, thinking that no one would believe her anyway if she told the truth.
Their parents work abroad. Alice was always home alone. But when Adam entered her life, the happiness of their childhood days seemed to have returned.
However, Alice wasn’t expecting for something, and it happened.
Ten days since she first communicated with her elder brother, there was a knock on her door. When Alice opened it, she was amazed at what she saw: the same guy in Adam’s profile pic.
“Adam…elder brother…is that you?” Alice said with fear inside her.
“Alice! My sister!” She was quickly embraced by this guy who is Adam. They both cried with tears of joy.
“Is this real?” Alice wondered. “How did you live again?”
“Because of ETA.” Adam said. “I was given a chance to be with you eternally.”
This stopped Alice in thought. Even after ten days, she still thinks of everything as just one dream.
“Your elder brother’s here…don’t be sad anymore.” Adam said as he wiped Alice’s tears. “We won’t get separated anymore. I promise.”
They stayed in the balcony and had coffee. Here, Adam explained everything.
“Spirits like me can take any form that we desire. I chose to be like this so no one will suspect that there’s a ghost inside your house. ETA is a not-so-ordinary social networking website that’s even more powerful than ‘earthly’ sites like Facebook and Friendster. The developer is also a Filipino – Bartino Bartolome, a.k.a. ‘Sir Barty’. He’s a nice guy…if it weren’t for him…I won’t be able to be with you right now…”
Alice was further confused. “W-what do you mean? Is that Sir Barty some sort of a psychic? And how did you get here?”
She was embraced by her brother tightly. And in one very short moment, Adam’s eyes changed. He seemed to have lost himself.
As those words were said, Alice suddenly received a stab on her back. She went back and saw her elder brother with a knife stained with blood.
“What’s this? Why did you hurt me? You’re an imposter, aren’t you? I knew it!”
And Alice quickly ran outside. But she was surprised to see Adam all of a sudden. The knife was still in his hand, but he dropped it and embraced his sister once again.
“I’m no imposter, Alice.” Adam said. “This is part of the contract we souls make with Sir Barty.”
“What do you mean”? Alice tried to escape, but Adam didn’t let her.
“I love you so much, my sister. I’ll do everything for us to be reunited again. ETA is a social networking site of the departed. It isn’t meant for the living. Even Sir Barty is a spirit himself. When I joined that website, Sir Barty made sure that I was going to see you again, because the site is connected to the world of the living. However, everything had a price. According to the contract of the spirits’ communication with their living loved ones on earth, if the living beings access this website, they will have nightmares for days, and if they registered, after seven days they will be killed by the first spirit who added them as a friend.”
Alice couldn’t explain her emotions. Fear, sadness, anger…everything got mixed.
“It’s a good thing that Sir Barty agreed with ten days, because he felt sorry for our story.”
Later on, a speeding car appeared – a car similar to the one that caused Adam’s death during their childhood days. While still in the middle of the road, the rain heavily poured down, like on ‘that day’.
“Please forgive me Alice…I’m sorry that I have to hurt and betray you in the end. But through this…we can be together forever…”
Adam slowly lets go of Alice while he disappears. He said these words with tears in his eyes but with a smile on his lips:
“Alice Flores, my younger sister. Welcome to the world of ETA…the world of spirits.”
And Alice died too, the same way her elder brother Adam died.
After a few days, a girl named Veronica now uses Alice’s laptop. She’s her best friend. Veronica remembered what Alice said back then, that if one day she disappears on earth, she could use the stuff she left anytime.
Veronica hung out at 7eleven with Alice’s laptop and USB internet. Because Veronica was good at computers, she checked out Alice’s History on her internet browser, Firefox. There, she saw a website:
Alice and her elder brother Adam watched from afar, as Veronica registered for that social networking site.