The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 25

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

Chapter 25: Can’t expect you to be who you’re not. Just be better than who you want to be. 

“Emery, it’s noon!” Mom calls out. Sunlight penetrates the lone window at the foot of my bed.

Kanti sits, calm and stoic. “Meditation is the key to freedom,” he declares. I sit up on my bed and examine his demeanor. It’s like he’s pulling the sunlight into his body. It’s beautiful.


“Just a minute!” I yell, unable to remove my eyes from Kanti’s glistening fur. I roll off my bed.

“Raaaghhh!” I yawn. “Typical school-less morning. Up late, well, later, and partially refreshed. Wonder what the day’s gonna’ bring.”

“Whatever one intends. We are the masters of our own paths,” Kanti responds.

“Right…” Cryptic as usual. Honestly, I’m pretty anxious rest of the day; gotta’ hop in the shower first.  I definitely don’t want to get called out for being an asqueroso.

“Fully refreshed and ready for the day!” I shout, slamming the door shut after my shower.

Kanti’s still staring out the window. There’s no way he’s been meditating for this long. He’s barely been with me for a day, but I know him well enough to understand that something’s wrong. It’s about Aiven. I don’t know how, but I can feel the depths of Kanti’s sorrow.

I don’t want to think about this right now. I need to find clean clothes… of course, I don’t have any. Typical. Sigh. I stare at my hamper for what feels like an eternity. I exhale and pick up the boxers I wore yesterday. Dammit, I can feel Kanti’s eyes… he knows I’m about to do something nasty. “Sometimes… I- I mean, it’s better to turn them inside out! It’s not dirty!” I blurt out. My hands clench into fists. I shouldn’t have to justify myself.

Kanti laughs. “I have existed since before your time. What matter of importance is your clothing or hygiene to me?” He asks, then chuckles. “You wield divine energy, Young Emery. Simply will your clothes clean, if it is of such high importance.”

“I can do that?” I ask slanting my eyes. I reach for a fresh tee shirt and pair of jeans.

“Absolutely. The infinite power of creation is only as capable as the ones who wield it; therefore, will it and it shall be so,” Kanti says.

I close my eyes and inhale, then exhale. Silence shrouds the room.

“Be gone!” I yell making spirit fingers around my boxers.

Kanti erupts with laughter.

I recoil and wrap the towel around my waist. “My underwear… it vanished… how? Why did that happen?”

“Did you will it clean?” Kanti asks, half-knowing my response.

“Yeah! I did exactly what you told me!”

“Guide me,” Kanti says. His eyes see my thoughts.

Suds and a sink flash in my mind. “That was—”

“—Emery!” Mom blurts out from the other side of my door. “Are you almost ready?” She inches the door open. An authoritative, bright-green eye peeks into my room.  “With all the talking you’ve been doing, you better have clothes on!”

“I’m not… I mean I’m almost ready!”

“You better be. Here I found your little gift in the bathroom sink covered in soap. Next time I see this, I’m going to tell your father. This is seriously uncalled for,” she says. Mom hangs my wet underwear on the doorknob. “Hurry up! We’re all waiting.”

“You did not will the object clean, Young Emery,” Kanti reveals. “You willed it to be cleaned. By conventional means, in the incorrect location, no less,” Kanti says. We laugh.

I shrug. “Well, how else will it get clean? There isn’t any other way.”

“Therein lies the problem, Young Emery,” he responds.  “Try to imagine the object after it is clean, rather than the process of cleaning. You are willing the end result, not the process,” he says.  “For example, when you handled the china after last night’s dinner, I willed the dishes clean by picturing them after being clean, and then desired them to be in that state.”

“I think I get it,” I respond. I squeeze my gross, wet, still-dirty boxers. They smell like vinegar and farts! Ok, so how am I going to do this? Maybe if I imagine them dry first, and then… No, that won’t work!

“Simply picture the object how you want it to be,” Kanti responds to my thoughts.  “Feel the desire and intent in your gut. Then, focus that warmth into the underwear. There is no simpler an explanation. Even with your lack of practice, the cloak enhances your abilities and increases your metaphysical power. Will it and make it so.”

“Easy for you to say, you’re a god, Kanti. You don’t know what it’s like to be human. To be powerless!”

Kanti sighs. “All creatures have power,” he says. “Power stems from having the courage to believe it is in fact being wielded; there are gods who are essentially mortal due to their inability to comprehend that their beliefs shape the power they wield. Believe in yourself. Believe it is possible. Have courage. Have faith, Young Emery. If nothing else, know that I, Lord Kanti have faith in you, bearer of the cloak.”

Thanks for adding to all the pressure. Sigh. What if I can’t? What if his faith is misplaced? What if he doesn’t actually believe in me? Fuck! Why am I thinking like this? I inhale deeply. I got this! I got this! I got this!

An image of clean underwear flashes in my mind. It smells washed, feels dry, and still warm. It’s also soft. Energy expands in the pit of my stomach. Ok, this is it! I focus on my underwear with all the warmth in my stomach.

“Emery! Are you almost done!” Dad yells from downstairs. The table flashes into my mind. Someone’s coming up the stairs.

Oh god… I messed up…

“I saw,” Kanti responds in a manner that suggests everything will be alright.

Knock. Knock. Knock. “Em’,” Mom says.  She sounds confused, and like she’s trying not to laugh…. What could she want?

“I’m almo—”

The door flings open and Mom slants her eye while I adjust my towel.

“I’m glad you washed your clothes, but really? The table? Not so stealthy…”

“But, I—”

“I know, you probably grabbed something to eat, in your towel, just like your father… and you left your underwear, that you meant to put on, somewhere in the kitchen. It’s okay, honey. Just, please, hurry up.”

I glance at Kanti, then back at Mom. “OK, sorry,” I say.

Mom closes the door.

Alright… Boxers, jeans, a tee shirt and a thin long sleeve. I’m ready.  I pet Kanti’s head. “That was awesome. Embarrassing, but awesome! You’d be a pretty cool dog. No offense or anything…”

“None taken,” he says. “Despite human classifications, a dog is human. So I can say the same about you,” Kanti adds. “You are officially the youngest pup to wear the cloak.”

“Tha-thanks,” I stutter. Aiven’s face enters in my mind. He’s frozen in a painful pose. I take a knee beside Kanti and embrace him.

“Master Aiven plagues me as well, Young Emery; I have been with him since he was a boy. I watched over him as if he were my own. Yet in that time, there was nothing else that could have been done. It was the difficult decision, but it was the most correct.”

“I should’ve acted… I should’ve done something…” I say, then look at my feet. “He begged me… my own brother… he begged me to end his life, and I did it!”

“Shall I despise myself for encouraging you?” Kanti asks. “Shall I despise myself for being a spectator who could not prolong his life? Existence, Young Emery, is about bouncing back. Even the beings greater than you have regrets and feel fear. It is alright to express your sorrow, it is natural to feel sorrow, doubt, regret, and anger, but we cannot allow it to consume us,” he says. Kanti smiles. “The will to go on, to be bigger, better, braver can occur even in tumultuous times, Young Emery. Cope with what you must, but do it with courage, love for your choices, and, above all, the intent to rise above.” Kanti rubs his massive furry face against mine.

I wipe my face and stand up. “How’d Aiven get the cloak anyway?  And when did he use it?  He was always too busy watching 7th Heaven, TMZ and American Idol. I can’t see him being a fighter or any kind of hero. Definitely not the savior of existence.  He just seemed so carefree.”

“I am uncertain,” Kanti responds. “His power in wielding the cloak had already matured when I found him. Judging by his skill, the tutelage he fell under was on par with my own knowledge at the time. His sheer power was enough to help me traverse the boundary.  He was only eight.”

“Hmmm,” I respond. “So, Kanti, are you like the cloak bearer’s go-to guy… or are there others out there… cloak-bearer gods, I mean. Is it a job? Do you get payment for it?” I ask as I walk to the door.

“Every creature determines its own purpose,” Kanti says. “If not, they simply follow the entity they find most appropriate. Such is not a crime, as some beings exist to serve, as I once did. However,” Kanti declares, “When I was divided from my complete self, I had grown tired of serving others, thus devoted centuries to meditating, soul-searching, developing my identity, and understanding existence. I made your cloak my raison d’etre,” he says with an air of nostalgia. “I am the guardian and Master of the Cloak Bearer.  My duty is to ensure your survival even if it means compromising my own.”

I nod, staring out the window. “What about… what happens when you die…?”

Kanti laughs. “I am pure energy, Young Emery,” he says. “I will most likely be absorbed by another divine being. Hopefully, one whom I trust will use my power for good. It would be grand if I were like Aemon and fragments of me spread, but I will accept my death when the time comes.”

That’s deep. I sit on my bed reflecting on Kanti’s words, then reach for my cell phone.

I text Arsen:

Me: “Dude are you and your family still going to be in Hoboken for the New Year?”

Arsen: “Nah bruh bruh.”

“Lemme ask mah mom to be sure doe.”

I hate the way he texts. I always find myself asking why he types like an idiot when he’s one of the smartest kids at my school.

Arsen: “Bruh”

“My mom sed we gon b in H-town”

Me: “Wtf is H-town?”

Arsen: “Hoboken mah nig.”

“We goin ta be thur aftr Xmas.”

Me: “Coll, wanna meet up at some point? I’m gonna’ be with my Aunt.”

“Cool ***”

Arsen: “Da hot 1? Elizabeth?”



“Dude. Bruh her dress santa helpr costume”

Me: “I can’t even understand wth ouy’re saying man.”

Arsen: “make her wear some sexy xmassy shit.”

The idea disturbs me, but I know she’s probably going to do it anyway. Eliza isn’t known for being conservative.

Me: “I’m sure she’s gonna’ dress how she normally dresses”

My screen flashes: “12% battery”.

Arsen: “ ^_^  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAT ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS”

“Dat sweet round botum”

Me: “bottom, you idiot”

Arsen: “ass”





“I’m gonna hit up some pronz bruh”

“l8er skag”

Me: “LMFAO!!! Later.”

My phone beeps: “10% battery”

I shove the phone in my pocket. I’ll charge it later.  I wonder what Eliza’s doing for Christmas, or what the hell she got me, for that matter. I stare at the ceiling and extend my right hand to the fan, then focus on the back of my palm while wandering through my mind.

The cloak materializes and dematerializes several times.

“I’m getting the hang of this. I’ll have to learn how to do it with other stuff without thinking so hard.”

Kanti walks to the right side of my bed. I continue eyeing the back of my palm, seeing Kanti from the corner of my eye.

“Mastery over your power is much like exercise, the more you focus, practice techniques, the more adept you will become, Young Emery.”

“Conyaso, Emery! It’s been 20 minutes! If you’re not down here in five minutes, you will not eat!” Dad yells sternly.

“Try to detect the souls in the house,” Kanti says.

Looks like I’m not eating. “How?” I ask.

“You must feel the flow of energy around your body, Young Emery. Feel the vibration of energy. Feel your own resonance. Think of the cloak as an extension of you; let its power assist you.”

Several breaths later, I feel light. A strange sensation makes my pores buzz. Warmth rolls around the center of my forehead.  My palms and the soles of my feet vibrate. All of my extremities are tingling. Warmth converges in my gut. It feels like I’m floating in a vacuum. My hearing fades, and my vision blurs the more I focus. The vibrations intensify.

I feel the energies of everything inside the house simultaneously. Mom’s in Aiven’s room. Her energy feels erratic: happy, sad, and angry at the same time. There are two other energies downstairs. Sorrow emanates from the stronger, more certain soul. The other, slightly weaker soul feels happier, but carries some kind of resentment.

Kanti peers through my mind’s eye. “This blue haze you see is the resonance, the vibration if you will, of your soul Young Emery.  The small waves of energy you’re emitting detect all forces around you,” he says, his voice disembodied. I examine the rest of my house.  “Matter, all energy in existence, vibrates. Weaker, negative or neutral energies vibrate lower.  While the stronger, positive and passionate energies vibrate higher.”

“Is there a reason I can’t see who I’m looking at? Why can I only feel their soul?”

“Until you master your second sight, you will only be able to identify the feelings of human energies and souls,” Kanti replies.  “Only blood relatives are distinguishable as they course through you as well. With practice, Young Emery, you will be able to see more, much clearer.”

“I see. It’s pretty handy, I’ll be able to tell exactly when my dad gets home then.”

“Gets home…?” Kanti asks.

“Yea, I only feel my mom. She’s in Aiven’s room. Her energy’s like a rabid monkey in a cage. She’s probably upset, and just grieving,” I say. I continue to scan the other energies. “Then,” I begin, “there’s the two people downstairs… their soul vibration… or resonation…”

“Resonance,” Kanti inserts.

“That… or whatever… are both pretty stable and feel high, in a human sense. I know the stronger, chipper energy, is probably my aunt and the weaker one is probably one of her friends; everyone she knows is a blur…”

“Blur?” he asks.

“Yea. You know, a blur,” I respond. My nonchalance catches Kanti off guard. “Blurs are those people you meet that you don’t feel anything for. They walk in to a room and still get missed. I mean they have friends and people care about them, but just in the scope of your life, they’re background characters.”

“I cannot say I have ever experienced such a tragic creature… this blur,” Kanti says. He reflects on what I said.

“I’m sure you have, Kanti,” I declare, confident in my explanation. 

My sight returns as I sit up on my bed. “A blur is someone who doesn’t matter to you. Someone you look at who you can just tell, doesn’t have a purpose in your life, like the cousin of a friend or a neighbor’s grandma, or kids who copy each other at school,” I explain, waving my hands. “Blurs just do things other people do. They have hobbies other people have. They don’t think beyond what’s in front of them. 

They go to social gatherings, clubs, sporting events, church and stuff, not because they care about what they’re doing, but because familiar people, who they probably hate deep down, will probably be there.  Blurs aren’t honest with themselves, they’d rather be around people they hate than to be alone. They don’t have the guts to be themselves, even if it means being by themselves. You can …,” I pause. “Well,” I begin explaining again, “you can’t feel a blur, I don’t think. But! You know them when you see them.”

Kanti gives me a funny look.

“When you ask someone a question and it doesn’t seem like they understand, like you’re speaking a different language, you know?” I ask. How does he not understand this? “Anyone can be a blur,” I continue. “Like the people who watch twerk videos all day or people who say sure, cool, great, super, swag, bro, dude, bae, bitch, papi, mami, or mah-ni like 500 times a day in irrelevant situations. All of those people are blurs. And they hang out with blurs. Don’t get me wrong, a blur isn’t a race of people, it’s a type of person…”

“For a lonely human child… Yes,” Kanti replies, concerned.

“If you were human you’d understand…” I say, defending my point. I stand up. “Is it possible for me to resonate while I walk?”

“Everything in existence resonates constantly Young Emery; even now your soul continues to resonate with the same intensity, at the same frequency as it did before. It will do so until you do something good or bad.”

“What I—could I— What I mean is, is it possible to feel my resonance and the resonance of other things, while I’m focused on something else. If I’m talking to my mom, can I feel my dad walking around the house? … that type of thing.”

“Certainly,” Kanti says. “Learning to feel energy while you perform other tasks is like focusing on multiple tasks. You must first learn to feel and focus on your own energy while managing other endeavors before using your second sight in the middle of other activities.”

“Hmmm,” I relax and open my closet. I bring my hamper to the laundry room, across the hall from the Aiven’s old room. I can’t will them clean. There’s no way I can possibly picture all of these clothes at once.  I over hear my parents as Kanti and I walk down stairs.

“— she said, but I think we should just take him with us, Ash. It’s been a strenuous year for Emery. It’ll be more beneficial for him.”

“Well, she is his mother, Courtney!” Dad whispers, sharp and loud. “He’ll just come with us next year anyway, so I don’t see the big deal. Besides, I think it’ll be good for them to spend time together.  At some point he’s going to know,” Dad says confidently, radiating over-optimism.

“Who’s gonna’ know what? What’s wrong mom?” Weird, when did Dad get here? And, how did Mom get down here before me?

“It’s nothing, your mother wants yo—… you and your friend to join us for New Year’s Eve!” Dad says quickly.  “But, Arsenio can’t. And, besides, your, Aunt Eliza insisted that you stay with her and well your mom is just having a hard time dealing with it, that’s all.  Nothing’s really wrong, Em’.  Just a difference in opinions,” Dad adds. He sips his coffee. Something in his eyes makes me feel like he’s lying. He’s never been good at it.

“Well I’m doing laundry so I’m not clothes-less. I’m gonna’ munch on something before Aunt Eliza gets here,” I say. Even though I know she is.

“She’s already here, actually. She stayed the night despite her ranting,” Dad says.

“Cool. At least she didn’t have to drive.” I wonder if they know someone else is here with her. “Where’d she sleep?” I ask obnoxiously.

“In Aiven’s room,” he responds.

“Coo— Wait? What?”

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

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