The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 48

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


Chapter 48:  The escape clause. 

“There,” I say, pointing to the horizon. A wave of negative energy washes over me. I keep calm, preventing a knot of anxiety from building in my stomach. 

We soar like fish riding a current. I try different poses as we descend below the clouds: I extend one fist forward and bring my opposite knee close to my chest; I extend both arms, and flatten my fingertips; then I try flying with my arms back. Finally, I fly like I’m swimming: leisurely breast stroking, bending and extending my knees like a frog. 

“There’s a lot radiating from here,” I say over a community of identical houses, painted in different colors. I extend my big right toe as Kanti lowers me to the ground. 

It’s 2:30 a.m., and there are a handful of people standing beneath a street light in the distance. I can feel that all, except one, are good people. They’re all human, but there’s a really low resonance radiating from the one closest to the corner of the street. 

The snow-covered streets are poorly plowed. The grass is patchy. Bars line windows on every home. Dilapidated chain link fences, and broken-down cars are a recurring theme. 

I wish I could do something for the good people who live like this through no fault of their own, simply because they don’t have the resources to know better. 

“Unfortunately, you cannot directly aid them in that manner. The detestable men who do control the inflow of resources in areas like this find this scenario more profitable than the more beneficial alternative.” 

I sigh.

“Your role is to stop Nothing from wreaking more havoc among all humans, not just the impoverished; despite manmade titles, manmade races, creed, religions and socio-economic status, all human life is equal. 

Regrettably, man’s justification of the oppression of certain men over others has made it difficult for those who have done the oppressing to comprehend the devastation of the past, and the flaws inherent in many of man’s philosophies and systems of governing. 

But, alas, we can only remove the metaphysical entities that have taken strides to make things worse. One can only hope that the masses will enlighten themselves with patience, understanding and acceptance, discarding the thorns of animosity.” 

I sigh again. “I’m just a little Dominican kid from Jersey, anyway. There wouldn’t be much I could do from a human aspect anyway. Who would listen? I can’t just tell people that All Lives Matter is a slogan for people who can’t comprehend the severity of the past, and its hold over the present. And, on the flip side, Black Lives Matter just gives angry people of all backgrounds another outlet for their anger. 

I wish some people would have the decency to listen and comprehend the pain of others; and, other people would place more value in how they could create change without being angry and defeating their own cause. Everyone loses when people can’t stop blaming each other,” I conclude.

Kanti stares at me, unmoved by the wisest thing I’ve probably said all night. “I do not comprehend. Existence is what matters. Life is merely an inconsequential subset. 

As I have said, Young Emery, humans are like the weather. 

It is unfortunate when they cause destruction. We must do what we can to prevent those who can make it worse from doing so. The physical realm, man’s realm, will ultimately go where man does. It is also inconsequential, provided that the soul of man does not get devoured in the process,” Kanti says. 

Sigh. “I get it! The fabric of existence is what we strive to maintain,” I say imitating Kanti, “not just the petty back and forth recurring among civilized man on all reaches of this realm.” 

Kanti ignores my immaturity. “If human souls were not essential to the maintenance of every creatures’ existence, they would be destroying their physical being in this realm, while corporeal beings devoured them in the other. All would be truly equal.”

Sigh. Damn. Way to make me feel low, Kanti. 

I look ahead at a weathered, two floor house covered in patches of snow. Shingles are missing from the pointed roof. The lopsided chimney is covered in soot and dust. Even the light green paint on the linoleum siding is chipping away. 

“It’s here,” I say from the snow-covered sidewalk. 

A battered car backs out of the gravel driveway. The porch is concrete, cracked, chipped and, from the looks of it, ready to collapse.

I walk up the cracked, concrete steps and go through the front wall, clutching the crystal of Kanti’s essence.

 A curtain keeps the nauseating yellow light contained within an almost bare living room. Paint on the walls looks like it dripped while drying. 

Portraits of a mixed family hang on a wall adjacent to the front door: Asian father and a South American-looking mother. They look like well-to-do people, but the daughter in the photos varies with age. 

In her younger photos, she’s some kid that goes to school, probably does homework every night and spends her time watching stuff on her computer. She’s smiling with her parents in a few of them. 

Then, in the more recent photos, she’s wearing baggy hooded sweatshirts, ass-gripping jeans. She’s standing next to her father with a look in her eyes that says, “You don’t want dat’ drama beeeatch!” 

How the hell does that happen? Is it her environment? I mean, there were good people outside… around one really bad one. 

…Is it a breakdown in family values? Or… was she just a little shit? 

I pass through the wall, ending up in the kitchen. Empty shot-glasses and a bottle of whiskey rest next to a smoking ashtray. The tablecloth is worn and torn in various spots.  

Photos are scattered on the table. A framed picture of a pale, sick woman is face-up next to a smoking ashtray. 

There’s a crumbled sheet of paper with what looks like a poem. Sloppily written, misspelled words make the first lines illegible. I can only make out: “I mis u ma, love Aysia.”

With Kanti’s crystalized energy, I hover around the kitchen. “See I told you. I would get it. This doesn’t require any practice,” I say confidently. “I can even use it in place of my second sight.”  

Scratching and scurrying pulls my eyes to the sink as I wave the crystal to scan for the Nothing Th’Rut mentioned. 

A gang of roaches scramble over murky, sticky-looking cups and Styrofoam containers. Food fills the gaps between small plates. I gotta get the fuck out of here: I’m gonna’ throw up if I accidentally lose my focus and go corporeal. It already reeks in here, enough for me to get a faint whiff as a non-physical being.

THUD! DOOOSH!  

“That came from upstairs?”

Kanti nods, trotting alongside me as I float toward the steps. He warps to the center of the hall before I hover all the way upstairs.

There are three doors; one behind Kanti, probably the bathroom. One to my right and another to my left. 

THUD! “Aagh!” A girl shrieks from the room on the right. Even in my astral form, I can smell the skunky stench of pot in the hallway. There’s something else too. Blegh. It stinks really bad, like burning plastic. Oh man… “Blegh,” I gag. 

A thin film of light envelopes my body.

“Thanks.”

Kanti nods.

We drift through the wall and the negative energy disappears. Is this a trap?


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