The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 27

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


Chapter 27: Pianos play pretty poems, but butterflies beautify boring bedrooms.

“We were waiting for you so we could be on our way. We didn’t want to wake you up too soon though,” Mom says. “We wanted to spend more time with Emery before we left. We won’t see him till the third so… we thought—”

“Take your time, darling. I need to grab a bite to eat before I can get on the road; I am faaaaaah-muuushed!” Eliza says, dramatically pressing her forehead with the back of her right palm. She painfully saunters in to the kitchen.

The triangle stare down continues.

“Excited, mi hijo?” Mom asks.

“About what? Being with my parents for the holidays?” I say jokingly. Ugh. I think I just made the elephant in the room blow its trunk.

“If you want to come with us, we can convince Eliza. I’m sure she would understand,” She inserts. Mom ignores my bitterness.

Decision, decisions… if they’ve already talked about it, it wouldn’t be fair to anyone for me to change their plans. And, in a weird way, it’s kind of cool that I have two moms. I must have another dad too… a real dad. “No, mom it’s fine. I think we talked about it long enough. I’ll just go with her,” I respond passively. “Aunt Eliza!” I call out from the living room.

“What turd?!” Eliza shouts from the kitchen.

“Is the car open?”

“Yeah,” her voice echoes into the hallway, slightly muffled by her chewing. “Yeah, I have the keys though.”

“It’s fine. I’ll wait in the car!” I respond, seeing my parents snickering.

“You figured out how to get her to do what you want,” Dad says. He laughs then pats me on the head. “Hurry along, son. She’s not gonna’ budge if we’re all in the same room.”

I nod, hug my parents and walk to the front door.

Better buckle up when I get into my real mother’s car.  I half hope she tries to play the parental role, but I don’t want to push it on her, or find myself disappointed if she doesn’t. Kanti appears on the back seat.

I stare across the street through the almost invisible window, relaxed by the scents of new car and cold leather. Maybe I should be a bigger person: I should just tell them that I know the truth and I’m not upset. But, what if that adds pressure to them? Should I tell Eliza? God only knows how she’d act… I really don’t, but kinda’ do, want her to acknowledge it.  I should forget about it for now and enjoy the break.  I close my eyes and take a deep breath. What should I do?

“Hey, what’s up?” I text Roslyn.

Eliza walks out of the house with two duffel bags. Two wet, disgusting plops hit the trunk’s floor.

A switch flips inside of me. “Kill everyone.  Your mother first, then the liars in the house,” the shrill voice declares. Its whisper echoes in my mind.

Eliza gets in the car, slamming the door. “Ready ta’ go Emery?”

I wonder how it would feel to have her soul swirling around my hand, as punishment for abandoning me. The thought alone makes my body tingle! I can ease the erratic pain of her dulled existence just by—No! No! No! No! – “Look at what we can become, if you let me lead.  If you feed me. If you let me kill, Emery. Let me out…” the voice insists.

A force turns my head. It urges me to gaze into the passenger’s side mirror.

My eyes are coals with white irises and red pupils. The other thing inside me, its presence darker than Aemon, grimaces with my face.

“We are going to have so much fun!” Eliza yells. She pinches my thigh. Her voice distorts into a low-pitched, blurred sound as face her in slow motion.

I blink myself into a dark world. Joints and bones crack loudly in the distance. The infinite emptiness becomes gray. White rings penetrate the shroud. Aemon’s mighty voice bellows, and my chest trembles from its booming bass.

I collapse and squeeze my burning ribs. Agh! He’s gonna’ kill me just by talking! I feel like someone’s doing Indian burns all over my body! Agh!

“Shai—”

“Emery!” interrupts Kanti in a proud, lion-like voice.

I shake my head, open my eyes, and, unfortunately, my ears to Eliza speaking about something as we drive past the cemetery.

Kanti’s pierce at me through the mirror.

Did he hear what Aemon was saying? He would have understood it, right? I should ask him what that was about… but…Would he even tell me the truth when it comes to Aemon?

“Em? Are you listening?” Eliza asks. Her excited impatience bursts my contemplation.

I nod. Of course, I’m not. I wonder how everyone else is doing the first day of break. I can’t be the only one all of these things have been happening to.  I can’t be the only person on the planet like this, in this situation… Could I?

MY eyes hover over the horizon. How could the snow look so pristine, the world so calm, and normal with everything that’s happening: The Nothing, Divines, Aemon, Shaik Tael, and Aiven? Why was I chosen for this? Nothing makes sense! What was Aemon going to—

“You look so tense, Em. You can chill! School isn’t the end all be all. I dropped out, and I’ve done pretty well for myself,” Eliza ignorantly inserts. She giggles.

Not well enough for a child, apparently. “It’s not that,” I respond. Please don’t probe me, please don’t probe me, please don’t probe me…

“I get it. I’m not Ash and Courtney, I won’t probe you—”

Why am I such a hypocrite. I don’t want her to ask me anything, yet I do. I’m suffocating, and I need to talk to someone. It’s not opening up that would scare me though. It’s knowing how to say it that eats away at me.


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