The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 45

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

Chapter 45: It’s Truth. Nice to meet you. 

“Whoa!” The Nothing yells. He sticks his palm forward, suspending me a few inches from the futon. “What’s with the hostility?” The Nothing asks. He reminds of Nil; he’s about average height, maybe a little taller. Bald with skin resembling the night sky. The stars on his skin aren’t moving though. He loosens his grip and I lunge at him again, cocking my arm back to grip his forehead. 

The Nothing flicks his wrist and flings me through the floor, and into the living room. He descends through the ceiling with Kanti. 

“I won’t let you harm anyone here!” I yell, charging at him.

“Have it your way.” He flings me over the couch and slams me against the wall. A portrait shatters on my head. 

I get up and crack my joints, stretching to limber up. Blood rolls down the side of my face. I jump over the couch and rush at the nothing again. 

He instantly freezes me in place. “Kanti, what in the actual hell?” The Nothing says confused, fixing his eyes on Kanti. “He’s bleeding?”

“Yes,” Kanti begins. “I am sure you felt his presence, jumping through the area.”

“And I felt his second sight. It’s not hard to detect a flicker of Aemon from anywhere in this solar system.” The Nothing looks over at Kanti. “It finally happened, huh?” He asks glancing at me. “Your brother was a good kid. Did you let him go feral?” 

“No,” Kanti reluctantly, and painfully responds in my place. 

I don’t think Kanti likes this guy.

“With reason,” Kanti says sternly.

“I haven’t been on Earth since Aiven was given the cloak, Kanti. You could cut me some slack.”

“You watched from a far. I felt your presence looming over Emery.”

“Okay, fine. So maybe there were a few times I paid him a visit, but you know why! Don’t act like there’s still animosity between us. I had Nothing to do with Enlil. If I had known he was going to do that, I…”

“Enough!” Kanti roars. His eyes flash bright red. “I know why you’re here.”

I awkwardly sit on the closest couch. I feel it. Story time.

“Aiven passed yesterday,” Kanti begins. Of course, right on cue. 

“It’s actually been two—” 

Kanti and the Nothing quickly glance at me.

“—Never mind.” Sigh. 

“Go on,” the mysterious stranger says. 

“There is no point in continuing. You are not worth the words, Lissof.”

“Really?! You have no right!” Lissof shouts. “Look, I’ve made it a point to stay far away since Aemon tried to eat me.” Lissof quickly glances at me. “Believe me when I say this, Kanti, I’ve only watched intermittently to make sure the kid was safe. The warping and second sight was like a beacon. I had to come and see for myself. It felt like Aemon took a breath,” He says concerned. “After everything that’s happened, what would you do if you were me?”

Kanti sighs. 

“Exactly.”  Lissof stares at the ground. “My payment is overdue.”

“Will you please allow me to continue?” Kanti asks.

Lissof plops down on the couch next to me. “I’ll let your inner-monologues slide, Kid. Lissof isn’t a name.” He extends his hand. “Th’Rut. Nice to formally meet you, Emery.”

Th’Rut looks at Kanti and shrugs expectantly. “Well?”

Kanti reluctantly tells Th’Rut everything that’s happened over the past couple of days. 

“You’re kidding me?” Th’Rut interrupts when Kanti says I warped to the Void. 

“Unfortunately, not…” Kanti continues. “…Physical body…”

Th’Rut looks over at me. “That explains the blood. You shouldn’t have attacked me, no offense.”

“None taken. I just got anxious… since I’m supposed to be protecting people from the Nothing and all.”

“I see Clifford the big black dog didn’t ex—.” 

Kanti glares at me when I burst out laughing. 

I shrug. “Sorry…” 

“—Didn’t explain the details.”

Kanti sighs. “Clearly your focus was intermittent as well. Need I remind you it has been two days since Young Emery donned the cloak.” 

What’s with that strange look in Kanti’s eyes?

“Say no more, Kanti,” Th’Rut responds softly. 

“Hold on, guys! Am I missing somethin’ here?” This is confusing… “So who are you exactly?” Ruining my sleep and all. I better get some answers. 

“You will get what you’re ready for,” Kanti says stoically. His stone face is matched by his colorless pupils. “You have one responsibility, now that we can accurately gauge what you’re capable of. Despite the potential dangers present in the situation, you are still a cloak bearer. We need to keep Aemon at bay by removing those who would devour human souls.”

“The Nothing… like Th’Rut.”

“He’s not too bright, is he?” Th’Rut asks Kanti. “Kid, you are aware that you need to learn how to read to read in between the lines. If Kanti and I can watch you, you don’t think someone can—” 

“We must banish the Nothing who worship Aemon. After Aiven’s passing, I had hoped for a brief respite.”

“Yeah, but you threw that away when you got curious about Emery’s power. Even from out there, the plotting and scheming has already begun. You screwed the pooch, royally,” Th’Rut says stretching his arms along the head of the couch, and sitting back. He tilts his back and sighs. “After hearing your story, I can’t blame your curiosity. There was a rumor that my brother was speaking to a human child. Never would I have imagined…” 

“Wait—What? Brother? Obviously, I’m the human child, but who’s your brother? Raunch?”

Th’Rut sighs. “Nil.”

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

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