The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 28

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


Chapter 28: Rebellion starts in the soul. It can’t be created.

This is like a bad video game. All of this happening at once can’t be a coincidence. Aiven just happened to be waiting to give me the cloak; Aemon just happened to become a threat; he also happens to have lived inside of me; to top it all off there’s this other thing inside me that tells me to eat people’s faces. I literally just happened to get the cloak exactly when I needed it. When the fabric of existence needed it…

I can buy one of—or even two of them at the same time. But, that combined with the Nothing? The conspiracy theorist in me wants to believe there’s something more to this. Etriyenne, Achron, and Kanti only gave me one side of the story. They must’ve. If they wanted to trick me, they could easily do it. But… But, then again, why? Why would they go through the trouble?

“… setting the right expectation makes the results even better! And, if…” Eliza cheerfully rambles on. She stares at me and smiles.

I wonder if adults ever have these awkward moments when someone’s rambling on about something that isn’t important and has no clue you’re not even occupying the same space.  She’s so simple. Even if I expect to have a good time, it wouldn’t change the fact that I won’t. Ugh! Why am I even thinking about this! Who cares about her dumb party? I should be out getting answer!

What I really want to—need to know is how the backlash of energy exhausted from destroying Aemon could split the divines in two? I could understand that a ton of them died protecting each other, if that’s how it really went down, but if the cloak only exists to undo the aftermath of his destruction, something must have gone wrong with how Aemon was destroyed. If the divines weighed their options out, and Aemon was equal to— never mind… They don’t even know how many souls he devoured, assuming he actually did. How could I possibly guess the extent of his power?

It’s weird because on the one hand, Aemon saved me, well himself, from the Nothing that was crushing my skull.  I have proof of his hunger and ability to devour them. He was awake in The Void and didn’t absorb them, despite bringing us there.

Coincidentally, Kanti drug me away from The Void before I knew what was going on, and while Nil was in mid-sentence.  What if Nil was going to say something important? But, how could Kanti have known that? He says he can’t resonate at certain level, but I saw him do it when he spoke to Etriyenne.

If Nothing who can traverse The Abyss have been tracking Aemon forever, and me, because of Aemon, wouldn’t they all know who I am, anyway? They would have to know. The Nothing had to have felt Aemon’s energy. It’s not like I had the cloak on keeping him at bay. It’s hard to believe that Nil was so welcoming without an angle.

There’s also the possibility that I’m completely insane and none of this is happening. My time in the Meta… in the Abyss… in the Void… maybe I just blacked out and went psycho somewhere. Kanti can read my thoughts, and he hasn’t butted in yet. He could be listening to me because he is me.

But, that wouldn’t explain the fact that Kanti pushed Dad out of that car’s path, or that his gaze calmed Dad down. It wouldn’t explain Mom hearing me roar either… Or my underwear in the kitchen. That said, there’s a larger probability that I really am the savior of existence than there is of me being crazy.

“Emery?” Eliza asks.

We pass a large, green sign reading “Route 17 S to GWB.”  Large, rough, brown walls block my view of the towns.

“Are you daydreaming or giving me the silent treatment? Huh?” Eliza says. She nudges and winks at me. My heart stops when she casually lets go of the steering wheel and speaks with her hands. “F.Y.I., I’m hip. I’m cool,” she continues. “I promise it won’t be a boring holiday. I wouldn’t drag you from Court and Ash if I couldn’t give you something better.”

I’m sure. With all you have, I could probably enroll in an Anime school in Tokyo.  We could probably live anywhere in the world.  You’re disgustingly wealthy, so don’t give me that shit, Liar. You could have easily given me something better, but you abandoned me. “It’s fine. I’m sorry, Tia,” I mutter. “I was thinking about something.”

“A girlfriend?”  Eliza smiles.

“No,” I respond, abrupt and self-conscious. Why did I say no? She’s going to pry! “Kind of. Not really girlfriend. Just a girl who happens to be a friend. I – Just – when I first – I mean the first time I saw Roslyn, I just knew that I – I – She was – She is… ” I groan, then sigh.  

“Aye!” Eliza yells. “I know! That pretty little girl from Fair Lawn? Rose—or something?”

Wait a minute. “How’d you know about her?”

“Please,” Eliza says. She raises a finger and declares, “I called it since the first time you talked about her; just like I called Aiven being gay…” Eliza pauses.  “Well, I guess Aiven wasn’t a surprise to anyone. I’m good at reading people. Besides, you peed yourself when she kissed you on the cheek. She was also the only kid your party, except Aiven and Arsen, who didn’t call you Emily or Empty Emery. On top of that, home girl wasn’t there because her parents felt sorry for you.”

We get off the on the last exit before The City, and head into Hoboken. The fuzzy figure of the Empire State Building scrapes the horizon, going out of view as we go downhill.

My heart feels alive when I picture Roslyn’s face. Maybe I should be a man and just text her… or I could be just comfortable thinking about her, and not be a creep or loser or a weirdo. I wonder if this would be easier if I caved and decided to use Facebook or something… No… no that wouldn’t be the same. I won’t reduce myself to social media. Ugh. Fuck it. I slide my phone on.

4% Battery life remaining.

“Hi. Sup?” I ask Roslyn.

That’s stupid… That’s a game-less way of greeting her… God, I’m so fucking lame. I’m fine not talking to her.  I’m too much of a loser. My phone slides back in my pocket as fast as it came out.

I think about what Aiven said:

            “I’ve been in love a few times. I’ve never felt weird about my feelings. So what does that say about you?”

I pull my phone back out:

Me: “Sup?”

I can’t type too well. I don’t want her to think I’m a nerd or something.

(… Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “OMGOSH! I literally just thought about you. Weird!”

“  \( ^o^)/ ”

“Hi”

“What’s up?”

Me: “NM u?”

(… Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “Trying to come up with 300 words for my science paper. Bored.”

“ ( -_-) smh ”

Me: “Tha’s cloo”

Crap!

Me: “That’s Coll****”

“Coll**”

“Cool**”

“That’s cool**8”

(… Roslyn is typing)

“Big hands tiny phone. Sry.”

(… Roslyn is typing)

She’s gonna’ think I’m retarded.

(…Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “I totally understand. It happens to me all the time. I type fast and I think I hit a letter I didn’t LOL. UGH!… No worries. I thought you had the big Google-something phone?”

Damn it! She knows I am an idiot! I have the biggest damn phone out there… why did I say tiny phone?!

Me: “Yea… I do… what kinda phone do u have?”

I just gotta’ be cool. Be cool… Be cool… She’s typing!

(…Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “Lol serious?”

“don’t remember? Guess!”

Me: “S5?”

(… Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “Nope. Lol haha”

Me: “S4?”

(… Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “It’s common. Kind of old.”

Me: “iPhone 3?”

(…Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “Lol not that old. I have the—”

My screen flashes: “Battery critical: 2% remaining”

I tap “ok”.

Roslyn: “Lol not that old. I have the iPhone 4.”

“It was my big sister’s before she left for school.”

Me: “Cool lol”

(…Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “What are you doing for Christmas and New Year’s?”

Me: “Stayin’ in Edgewater with my mom.”

(…Roslyn is typing)

Roslyn: “Weird. Is your dad working New Year’s again?”

Me: “I meant my Aunt. Lol my aunta house.”

“Aunts***”

“Aunt’s*** house.”

“I’m not going to be with my parents.”

“They’re spending xmas and new year in the city.”

“What’s weird?”

(…Roselyn is typing)

My eyes quickly catch: “We—New—s”

No! My phone died!

We pull into Eliza’s driveway and stop a foot from her garage door.

I should have charged my phone before I went to sleep! It slipped my mind when we got back from the Meta. Oh fuck, I never took my clothes out of the laundry! I didn’t even pack my charger, tooth brush or anything! I’m going to lose my mind.

Eliza rubs my shoulder, “I brought your clothes, Em’,” She says. They need to be re-rinsed and dried, unless you want to smell like a fat guy’s sweaty balls. You should thank Courtney, she put the wet clothes in trash bags so they wouldn’t wet the bags. She even packed your video games, and—”

“How do you know what that smells— never mind. I don’t wanna know,” I snap, trying to be funny.  “I’m not worried about that- My phone died and… egh… I was… eghhhh.”

Eliza nudges my arm with her elbow. “Courtney packed your charger too. Is that it?” she asks. “Look, Em’, Roslyn’s mom and I go back a long way so who knows, Turd, maybe we’re hooking you little shits up because we have nothing better to do with our time. Maybe we think you’re both soulmates, or maybe we have a five-figure bet riding on your relationship.” Eliza winks, then exits the car. “Your bags are in the trunk,” she says. “I have more than enough phone chargers if you can’t find yours.” Her heels clack over the concrete steps.

I guess that’s her way of saying, “I got you this far, do the rest yourself.”

The sunset looks ominous, but beautiful. It’s pretty dark for 4:15:08 pm. I open the door for Kanti. He smiles. “The gesture is appreciated, albeit not necessary,” he says. I laugh when Kanti appears next to me.

“You gotta’ teach me that!” I exclaim.

He smiles and the trunk pops open.

“Crap! Eliza wasn’t kidding…” I mutter. My bags squish onto the cold asphalt. They’re so heavy!

“Hands? Young Emery?” Kanti asks, puzzled.

“Yea, how else can I hold em’? I’m only human.”

“If that is your belief, then there is no other way, Cloak Bearer,” he responds. Kanti sits next the bags, expecting me to do something.

I ignore his inaudible inquisition and pose my own question. “Kanti, will I need to eat more as the cloak bearer? I don’t feel hungry.  I’d imagine I’d be burning calories like crazy with all my energy and stuff.”

“The acts of eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, and such, are not necessary, except to appease your own comfort,” he replies. Kanti glances at me, then at my bags. “I recommend that you meditate and sleep to keep your soul at its peak, and your mind in the habit of some human activities.  At least for now. Becoming a god overnight must be embraced with a high degree of caution.”

I gawk at Eliza’s massive, glass double doors. It’s been forever since I’ve been here. They’re so hea—

Kanti nonchalantly trots through them.

Showoff. “How’d you do that?” I ask, closing the doors behind me.


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

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Silence sneaks in like a cat in the night. It taps over the concrete, swiping at corners and shiny objects. The black cat of darkness is a silent soliloquy of sadness. When it speaks the veil of the world exhales its wisdom. Lost on our ears, we suppress the knowledge of the ancients through unnecessary … Continue reading Headlines

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Haven’t read the first entry in Mark Figueroa’s “The Cloak of Nothing” series? Check it out. You’ll receive more than you lose. Share it with your most mindful friends. Equivalent exchange of my effort for your entertainment.


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