The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 5

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen

Chapter 5: The kids were never actually alright. Look at their parents.

The silhouette of a man stands next Edgar and Gaige. I can’t see him clearly, and I don’t want to. Something inside me knows it’s him. He’s smiling. Light radiates from the two boys. It swirls around them like a faint mist, then it travels into my chest. They collapse. Aemon vanishes and I feel heavy. Did I—Did he just… consume their souls? My legs give way under the heaviness of my soul. The room shakes and my chest vibrates; Aemon is— laughing?

“What’s up?” Edgar asks Gaige. They’re standing in the same spot, like they never collapsed. Did that actually happen?

Gaige smirks. “Check this out, nigga,” he says to Edgar. I really should say something—if a fight breaks out, I’ll be the one to get in trouble. No, I won’t ruin my reputation to correct these fuckers.

“Boy is dat guy gonna’ be pissed, huh, bruh?” Gaige says, laughing awkwardly. He holds his phone up, like he’s displaying to the world that he’s on Snapchat. This dumbass doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. I hear it in his voice. Why do people like this exist? Who decides that this shitbag’s life is worth anything? The darkness should have devoured their souls—what am I saying? That darkness exists within me. I don’t want to destroy life.

“Damn skippy, dude!” Edgar, the de facto cooler kid responds. “Look at that!” He shouts. They look around, smirking. I don’t hope they die, but when they do die, I hope it isn’t fast. I hate people like them. Superficial, stupid and clearly insecure. They’ll probably grow up being people pleasers who feel hurt when people don’t like them. I’m not moving till they start walking. I don’t want to get dragged into the small world they exist in.

In a way, I’m glad the internet exists and it connects us with information way faster than tv and newspapers, but it’s a double-edged sword. Idiots like Edgar and Gaige will be able to influence people they’ll never meet with their own stupidity; hash-tagging, reposting and ranting about how great it is to be a shallow, dumbfuck with an ignorant superficial stance on things they don’t actually care about, or even comprehend.

I bet they come from a house where they prayed and reposted “fat girl” quotes for the victims of terror attacks and natural disasters without donating a single dime. I’d be angry if I wasn’t so disappointed. Meanwhile, I donate what little I make from shoveling snow, mowing lawns and my allowance. Those dormant motherfu—

The two mouth-breathers finally step forward, still rambling on about bullshit. I slow down to get out of earshot. I’m definitely going to be late. Sigh. I’ll take the late. At least it’s only homeroom, and I’m a top-tier student. Even if I decide to walk around them, I’ll look like a retard. Everyone at this school knows who I am: the crazy kid whose gay brother committed suicide. Fuck it. It’s better than opening the possibility of an interaction.

“Ch’yeah Mang! Dat was crazy! That trick was like, uh-uh! Look at her, Snap!” Edgar shouts holding his phone up. And, of course, he’s recording a video of himself smiling, pointing to the camera and talking to his “fans” like a dumbfuck. “And, then dude was like, ‘oh man!’ and shit!” He says, ending the video.

What’s worse is that it’s painfully obvious that the discussion these vermin are having is some over-inflated event. They’re just waiting for some poor, ignorant sucker to give them attention, then they’re going to exaggerate the fuck out of the bullshit scenario they’re squabbling about. I really hope I’m not around to see who falls for it. I bet it’s going to be some hot girl—five bucks, she forces her own stupidity and feigns ignorance just to get a slice of whatever action she thinks her life is missing. I think these idiots call it ‘fomo,’ but who knows. Eventually, they’ll be talking gibberish while “The Party” controls everything they do.

Here it comes… A girl with a nice ass runs past me. Damn, she smells good. She’s wearing leggings, and a pretty expensive coat. She comes to this school, so her parents must care about her to some degree. I’ve never seen her before, but judging by her walk, and mannerisms, she’s in the same circle as Edgar and Gaige. She’s Hispanic—I think—but, not the good kind. She’s clearly whitewashed, yet still trying too hard to play on both sides of the fence.

I swear… sometimes I can see where people are headed.

I know this girl’s future: two kids… an abusive white-trash piece of shit, a real gangsta ass nigga, or some Spanglish-speaking dude in an Affliction tee-shirt with a stupid goatee. They’ll both wonder why life is so hard as he goes bald, sips cheap beer and she smokes cigarettes in bed while scrolling through Facebook. Meanwhile, their kids’ fates are sealed: this girl and her future husband will constantly tell them that dreams are for rich people and suckers, and that they need to get real and live in the real world. In response, those kids will diminish their own power and shape themselves into the mold reinforced by their parents.

With any luck, Edgar and Gaige don’t even make it that far. I hope they’re sterile or die before they can breed.

They greet each other, but it all sounds like gum flap and guttural noises. I really can’t be the only person who hates the degenerates in that golden, select group of prize winners who:

Wear pajama pants in public…

Fail at life…

Wear sweatpants in public…

Fail at life…

Wear jerseys for sports they don’t watch, much less play…

Fail at life…

Make communities of convenient friends rather than have real friends of substance…

Fail at life…

Have goals and dreams, but think said “friends” are more important than their individual success and happiness…

Fail at life…

Will never leave home because they like being big fishes in small ponds, or simply fear restarting…

Fail at life, hard…

Can’t make decisions on their own…

Fail even harder…

Wear brain-stifling baseball caps that never come off, even when they’re indoors or eating…

… Still failing at life…

They show up late every day, probably to everything…

Failing even more at life…

They get away with all their crap because their parents either know all the teachers, don’t know what they do, or simply just don’t care. These idiots can’t fathom a world where they aren’t like their parents, like a sibling, like their “friends” or the rest of their charismatic, but socially distant flock of “dudes”, “girls”, “bros”, “bitches”, “bandoleros”, “chicas” “tigres”, “mujeres”, or “dem boys” who don’t have a thought beyond their own fear, need to fit in, and self-consciousness. They try to appease their own egos and placate the responsibility of self-examination by “belonging” where it’s convenient. Fucking disgraces. God forbid a bible falls into their hands and they start yapping about how everything they do is god’s will, like they know and talk to god or even understand what god is. It’s amazing how the “faithful” believe that somehow god only supports their religion, looks down on the rest of humanity, and is patiently waiting for them to convert. People who can’t exist without accepting the beauty and ugliness that classifies the human condition without finding a scapegoat in friends, family, religion or material belongings always ruin things.

Gaige laughs nervously as he stares at the hot chick. “Yo, thank god that’s all that came from that. Wit dat ass though! Shit woulda’ been crayyyy-zeeee!” He shouts looking at Edgar’s phone.

The girl who crossed my path tries even harder to find out what exactly they’re talking about. “Yo, de que hablan?” she says in a nasty, I don’t really know Spanish, accent. It’s clear she’s just mimicking someone in her family. Thank God, my parents aren’t like theirs…or at least if they were, I know better. Thank you, video games.

She’s too pretty, and probably too intelligent, to be hanging around those guys, but it doesn’t change the fact that I can see the crease of her underwear. She must have confused black leggings for pants at some point. Maybe her parents didn’t have the patience to deal with her. I bet when she’s in a room, she’s the kind of person that texts to someone else who’s in the room with her.

“Dat ayusssuh!” Arsen whispers loudly. He catches up to me. “She’s growin’ ent’ she, boy-o?” he says in a raspy voice. He’s dark as fuck, but he’s got the pale, “played till 2 am” look. Arsen’s wearing his usual red coat. It has a foxhound insignia stitched over the right shoulder and a Charizard silhouette over his heart.

“Sup man?” I ask, hoping he doesn’t do anything to attract attention.

He balls his fists. “Ass, Asssss, Ayuuuuuusssss!” He shouts, shaking his head with a creepy smirk. If I laugh he’ll keep going. “Yo!” he shouts to the hot girl. She turns and smiles at him. “Deja eso palomos y juego con migo,” Arsen says nodded at her.

By some miracle, she not only nods and smiles, but she winks at Arsen. “Hey, Arsen!” she calls out, waving like an excited puppy. She walks over to us.

“What up, D?” Arsen says casually. They hug and talk about homeroom. “Yo, Dilani, this is my nigga, Emery,” Arsen says.

“I heard about you,” Dilani says, unimpressed. She looks at me like I sit in a dark room all day playing video games. She isn’t wrong. “Imma go to class, but shoot me a text. Maybe we can hangout over the break.” She smiles. “Bye… Emery,” she says awkward as all hell. Dilani walks off.

“What the hell would you guys do over break?” I ask.

“Guys? That, my friend, is no guy.” Arsen laughs.

“Fine, fine, dickhead. What I meant was, what would you be doin’ with her?”

Arsen gives me a funny look. “Isn’t it obvious, kid? I’m gonna’ introduce her to Mike,” He says with a straight face.

I sigh and wipe my face with my palms. “Really? You don’t know anyone named Mike, bro.”

“Yeah, I do, bruh,” Arsen insists. He crosses his arms.

Mike who?” I ask.


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