The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 20

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

Chapter 20: It’s not open to interpretation. Don’t be an idiot.

“Is Olacium Purgatory?” I ask, examining the distance between the pillars. It’s taken us about an hour to get this far; god only knows how much we’ve walked, and how fast.

“In a manner of speaking, yes,” Achron’s faces respond. “When a human dies, its spirit synchronizes with Olacium Sorti Vivus, the blue surface, but only if it has a high, positive resonance. On the other hand, the human spirit (mind and soul) with a low, negative resonance synchronizes with Olacium Sorti Mordis, the red surface. On either surface of Olacium Sorti, the mind and soul separate after atonement and the soul is eventually reborn.

No penance, amount of worship or man-given forgiveness can redeem a vile human who harms, terrorizes, vilifies and destroys life, regardless of what the human chooses to believe. One who suffers in their existence, but does not create suffering for others may still be attracted to Olacium Sorti Mordis due to their own inability to elevate. The gods do not determine this; it is the feelings, thoughts, choices and actions of that individual during its lifetime that determine its purgatorial destination. Actions, of course, being the strongest determining factor.”

“If their actions determine where they go, how are the spirits around us being judged when they arrive then?” I ask as half of the surface ahead is red.

“It is not quite judgement. No one judges them; they are in the process of realizing their own physical death. On Olacium Sorti Vivus higher-resonance spirits endlessly re-experience the moments leading to their deaths, crossing over upon accepting their demise. Olacium Sorti Vivus’s blue surface soothes their pain, fear, and anger, allowing for each spirit to obtain clarity and inner peace.

Upon realizing death, the spirits are absorbed into the Divine Source via the pillars of light, and cleansed to be reborn as what they identify with most: bacteria, plants, bugs, animals, or what you would consider extraterrestrial life. All equally as human as yourself.”

“Do they crossover into heaven from the divine source?” I ask. “What happens in Olacium Sorti Mordis?”

Achron looks at Kanti, who’s still trotting gracefully ahead.  “Dear boy, the concept of any heaven spread among man is whimsical hearsay to suppress the emotionally or mentally enfeebled, and control precious resources. What is everlasting love and freedom if it can only be obtained upon death? Should not every existence be a heavenly one, regardless of its state, be it physical or ethereal?”

I open my mouth, but quickly think about Achron’s questions, and just stare at Aiven’s stone body.  “I think so… I don’t know.” Dammit he ignored my question.

“Patience, Young Emery. You will find out about Olacium Sorti Mordis soon. That is where we are headed,” Kanti says stoically.

“What has been instilled in you does not know, but all creatures inherently understand love and freedom,” Achron inserts quickly. “Consider this: what is the point of one’s life if it is merely to build a reputation for entry to the afterlife? And what is the nature of an afterlife that can be validated by one who is no more capable than you?” Achron’s human voice asks rhetorically. “Among the religions of man, even those existing beyond your stars and comprehension, the beauty and freedom of life, and the true nature of The Abyss is a fantasy.

Even I, as an ethereal entity, cannot grasp the simple, solitary nature of the physical realm; none of us can. Despite our abilities, and the bonds we can forge with humans, we can only offer a perspective of your realm, at best. At times, we may be correct, at times we may be incorrect. We cannot even fully comprehend our own realm.

Likewise, there is no human, mortal or immortal, that can infallibly ascertain that which exists beyond his own realm either. That being said, there is no heaven, or hell because they only exist in the confines of religion. There cannot be un—”

“—Wait, so is there a god?”

“There are none or many, Young Emery, depending on one’s perspective; however, gods, or lack of, are not a validation of ignorance, personal irresponsibility, or destructive faith,” Kanti interjects, still looking ahead.

Achron smiles. “Why, the term god, or gods, is misguided and very limiting. God is never reflective of the individual being worshipped, but rather to the fear of that individual’s power and the tangible or intangible fortunes tethered to revering it; as a result, you have poorly crafted religions that promote helplessness, irresponsibility, and xenophobia. Despite the principles common in religion, a god is an independent entity who is as free, arguably even more free than those who choose to follow it.

As it stands, religion does not define the object or god being worshipped. Rather, religion more rigidly defines the power of those posing as that god’s medium, as agreed upon by its followers, be it with food, currency, or merely their attendance. Put simply, man’s religions are not about the god being worshipped, but rather the communities they define; thus, religion as defined by man, does not exist among men. That being said, dear boy, there is no right or wrong religion, because it is not, in most cases, the god who is being worshipped; therefore, the deity for a heaven or a hell is a deity for that which produces favorable results. The heaven and hell they represent serve as the promise or punishment for one’s submission or rejection. Do you understand?”

I pause and nod. “So, there is no wrong religion, wrong god, right religion, or right god? I think I understand.” I sigh heavily, readjusting Aiven.

Achron flashes the lifecycle of a flower into my mind: it grows from a seed, blossoms, shrivels up and withers away. “Not at all, dear boy, the infallible truths are goodwill and ill will: those who feel, think, and act on them. Religions, philosophies and select groups of all creatures in physical or ethereal existence try to label, define and control them and fail.”

“What about neutrality?” I spit out. I wish Aiven could hear this.

“It depends, Young Emery. No, creature is capable of prolonged neutrality. But, in limited duration, even I possess the ability to be impartial,” Kanti objectively responds.

“—Goodwill, ill will or objectivity, if you wish, are independent of their discovery or comprehension. Even with no concept of death, it occurs to all, in some fashion. With no concept of life, it too occurs to all, in its own way. One should be prudent when choosing ideals or external influences to find meaning; the more time one spends adopting other beliefs without critical self-analysis, the more one loses the ability to find their purpose.  Unfortunately, this is not limited to humans and also occurs among the divines. The fear and responsibility of defining one’s purpose is a monumental task that does not leave even the most courageous unscathed.

You see, dear boy, there is no bearded human in the sky that determines the value of your deeds, appropriateness of your sexuality, or decides how you should exist. Only the actor on any given stage of existence, ethereal or physical, determines whether it lives a life of love, freedom and harmony or a life of misery, hatred, and sorrow.”

“What does that make you in all this, Achron? Are you a divine entity, or a god?”

“Yes, but not in the sense that Kanti happens to be. Kanti is one who others dwelling on The Meta worship and pray to. I have no worshippers, that I know of.  Ironically, being that I can see and interact with Kanti, some fools ignorantly refer to me as his prophet.”

Kanti lets out a hearty laugh. “The truth, Young Emery, is that having faith, in anything, even an inanimate object, produces and attracts good vibrations: it does not matter what you have faith in, as long as you are not a fool. Faith in anything that validates irresponsibility, hubris, hate, including the hate of evil, and encourages the harm of life, the spread of fear and negativity, or superiority of one group over another, is one you should avoid.”

I pause and digest Kanti’s words.

“Simply put,” Achron’s human voice interjects, breaking the silence, “I am one of many ethereal, immortal creatures of The Abyss devoted to the maintenance of The Meta and the protection of those awaiting rebirth; as such, I worship the creator of The Meta. Collectively, those who dwell here are merely ferrymen of sorts.”

“That’s cool, I guess. But then, what’s my role in all of this?”

“Your role is of your choosing,” Kanti replies. He stares at me. His face is still and his eyes are soft, endearing and supportive. “And, you have chosen to bear the cloak of nothing, young Emery.”

Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for the next chapter!

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