The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 33

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

Chapter 33: Me name? You know it, Sir.

“Kanti… pssst. Hey Kanti… Kanti?” I whisper, clutching my belongings and walking upstairs. The lights turn on when I reach the top step revealing a living room with an enormous, in-wall flat screen. “I almost forgot about this living room. It’s been forever since I’ve been here,” I say aloud.

I pace around the second floor, exploring the hall, the bathroom, the five guest bedrooms. Sigh, Eliza’s room… As curious as I am to explore, I don’t feel right doing it… How would I explain that I’m looking for a talking dog that she can’t see?  

No, screw that. I shouldn’t have to explain. I can just lie. It’s more than fair. I walk to the far end of the hall, toward the 7th room: my room. 

It’s exactly as I remember it: a large bunk bed with a brown futon on the bottom. The projector mounted on the ceiling is new.  I’m glad she got rid of the carpet. The black furniture looks nice over the wood floor. It feels like forever since Aiven and I slept here. “…I’ll be sleeping there alone now. In this big ass room.”

I check my reflection in the mirror attached to the large dresser.  What the…? Someone’s sitting on the futon. “Kanti?” I turn, but there’s no one there. 

This must be Kanti’s real test. But I don’t feel his energy. I examine the room through the mirror and almost jump. There’s a kid standing next to me.  I can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl.

It smiles and slowly raises an index finger. “One,” It giggles in a distorted voice. The room goes black. “Tew.” Disembodied laughter echoes in the darkness. “Thuh-ree! You’re it!”  It almost knocks me over when it tags me.

Definitely not Kanti! Keep calm. Keep calm. Keep calm… Relax, just breathe, man… sigh. “Fuck.” I use my mind’s eye to see through the darkness. I need to relax even more. Obviously, it’s not going to attack me, whatever it is. 

I sit on the futon, inhale and exhale in an attempt to lower my heartbeat and focus my mind. “Shit!” I jolt up when it feels like I’m falling. Everything looks normal, but with eerie, faded colors: I can’t see myself in the mirror, and the new, black furniture looks dull. There’s a pale ambient glow coming from an unknown source. “Kanti?” I call out. My voice sounds disembodied. My hand goes through the doorknob when I try to open it. Eh, if my hand can go through the knob, then I can do this… 

I walk through the door and try to open my eyes but they feel closed. The main hall looks the same, but also with faded colors. I explore the house and walk down stairs.  I can feel that whatever it is, is in the basement. This has to be Kanti’s doing; it makes sense, that he wouldn’t make me fight anywhere else the house, where things can break or I’ll make a ton of noise.

Eliza’s placing the salad into the bowls. The steaks are already on the table. She goes back into the kitchen to blend what looks like salad dressing. “Tameer, why haven’t you called me yet…” She sighs to herself, quickly checking her phone and then pouring the dressing into a spouted container.

This is pretty cool, but creepy. Is this my power? This has to be my power. “Eliza!” I yell. “Hey! Hello! Can you hear me?!” I run my hand through her. 

“Oooohff!” Eliza shivers. She turns around frightened, and walks through me. She twitches and shivers again. “Hey bitch ass ghost!” Eliza examines the informal dining area and then probes the first-floor living room. “You’re already dead. Largate! This isn’t that movie with all the white people, if you’re a demon. I ain’t scared of you. I don’t respect you. Get the fuck out, or I’ll kill you a second time! You hear that, Muertos?” She adjusts her pink apron and rerolls the sleeves on her thin, long-sleeved shirt. “Hmmph,” Eliza grunts authoritatively stomping back into the kitchen. “Not in my house.”

So, I can turn into a ghost. This is cool. I can go through walls and doors… I wonder if I can fly? I jump up and fall through the kitchen and into the basement. “Oh-kay! That didn’t work… almost lost my focus there,” I laugh to myself. Looks like my laundry’s done. I’ll have to move it later. Now, where could that thing have gone? The presence is coming from here… But, where is it hiding.

“Over here…” says a deep, distorted voice in slow motion. 

Do I even want to find this thing? If it isn’t Kanti’s doing, then what? I can flee and look for him, I guess. I should be able to do this ghost thing again, so I’m not too worried about it. “Over here, where?” I ask reluctantly. Palm on forehead. Palm on forehead. Happy thoughts. You can do this. I inhale and brace myself as I walk to an unlit end of the massive basement. I can see through the darkness everywhere else, so this has to be it.   

“Gotcha!” It yells.  

A ghostly hand squeezes my forearm.

Keep calm. Keep calm.

The ghost exposes its face, pulling the darkness like a blanket. It’s a boy with long hair, in dingy colonial clothes. This has to be another test.

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

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