Sam Martone

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  • The page you’re looking for vanished mysteriously, like the twenty-five mothers who disappeared from your D.C. suburb.


  • This is the page you’re looking for.

In which case, you may want to:

  • Read this 404 error page to come up with ideas for your own website’s 404 page.
  • Take a screenshot of our 404 error page for a listicle of forty-four inventive 404 pages.
  • Seek some comfort in the absence of your mother, who always said the 404 error page was the only place she could show a speck of goddamn originality, either because clients didn’t understand what it was or didn’t care what she did with it. She came up in a time when web design meant hardcoding sites from scratch, HTML, CSS, strings of commands and characters you’d stare at on her screen in hopes that one day they’d become legible. But then CMS site-builders leveled the market, and despite her recommendations, clients wanted pre-built Poshbox templates and tacky newsletter pop-ups. So she plugged and played, clicked and dragged, built sites that all looked identical for people who could’ve built identical sites on their own if they put in any effort. But on the 404 page, she could leave a calling card. A treasure map. A distorted version of the homepage. A flow chart explaining the 404 page to visitors. That may be why you’re here. Because maybe she left a note, one she knew only you would find. A map to wherever she’s gone.

If you were directed to this page by a broken link on our site or in search results:

  • Contact our administrator here with more details. We strive to keep our site links up to date.
  • Try our site search on the homepage to see if you can locate the page you’re looking for.
  • Don’t think about the broken links strewn around your life—the long, curled hairs clogging the shower drain. The photographs on the hallway wall. The small wristwatch left behind, stuck on 11:47. All these underscored indicators of her presence that, when followed, lead to nothing, an error in your own neural network.

It’s possible there may have been an issue with a 301 redirect. You may want to:

  • Refresh the page to see if it redirects successfully.
  • Try visiting the URL again in a few hours.
  • Attempt to redirect your father’s attention away from the news, where baffled officials shrug, unable to provide answers. It happened late that night, when many of the mothers were asleep or alone, but a few eyewitnesses—mostly distraught spouses and children—describe them simply popping out of existence. There was a popping sound, one woman confirms. They vanished, clothes and all, leaving no evidence behind, except those few who wore watches when it happened, watches that fell wristless in the empty space, hands or digits stopped at 11:47, the time of disappearance. On the internet, conspiracy theorists gather evidence of a matriarchal alien abduction. Evangelicals panic about rapture, much tinier than anticipated. Your father sits in your mother’s recliner, news stations on the television, social media feeds scrolling on his tablet. He wears her watch, its band joined by duct tape, too small for his wrist otherwise. Whenever 11:47 rolls around, he stares at it like it might reveal something. You try to get him to go back to work, to go on a walk with you and get some fresh air at least. He thinks he can figure it out. I’m close, I can solve this, he says. I can save her.

If you’re only seeing this page in certain browsers or on specific wifi networks:

  • Clear your browser cache.
  • Reset your modem.
  • Contact your network administrator or ISP. Ask if there are any firewalls or security protocols that would prevent our site from displaying correctly. Ask what troubleshooting steps they recommend for issues like this. Ask if you should tell your father what you know, that on the night your mother vanished along with two-dozen others, you woke up and walked to the living room and watched her watching the first reports roll in about the mothers. She didn’t notice you framed in the doorway behind her. You wanted to say something, but she was leaning so close to the screen. As details emerged, you watched her wind her watch and remove the battery. She placed the watch on the seat of her chair. You remembered sitting on her lap once as she rearranged elements on a client’s site. Your father is like one of these templates, she said. There’s so many lives we could build but he wants one that looks like all the others. You hated her for saying it, for making you complicit in this verbal betrayal, but an embedded script ran in the background of your heart, one of relief and something like joy, that her telling you this might mean the life she wanted still included you, you were part of her we. But that night, she left alone. She put on her jacket then thought better of it, hung it up. She opened the door to the night and, for her own benefit, hooked her finger into her cheek, pulled it out like a fishhook, making a soft pop that rang in your ears until morning.

If you’ve refreshed this page multiple times, hoping to see something different, remember:

  • The URL may have been entered incorrectly in your browser’s address bar.
  • The page you’re looking for may have been moved or deleted.
  • The page you’re looking for may have never existed at all.
  • The page you’re looking for may have never existed at all.
  • The page you’re looking for may have never existed at all.