The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 52

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

Chapter 52: A Chris-head? 

A sick-looking, corpse-like man in a tank top and sweat pants shuffles into the room. He sniffles erratically. “Chris came through wit’ tha’ gewds!” His raspy voice makes me cringe: it’s dry and phlegmy, like an old man who smokes too many cigarettes. 

Chris is tall with pale skin and buzz cut dirty-blonde hair. There’s no doubt in my mind that he hasn’t bathed or eaten in days. His gray, stained sweatpants are worn at the knees and covered in holes. There are crusted-over yellow scabs on his face and lips. 

“I don’ ghewhd baby. Chris don’ re’ ghewhd. We gon’ get high! We kites!” He twitches. “Yeah! Ha! Ha!” He holds up a vial with white powder. “I wa’ on mah knees fuh’ ‘dis heh’ afta’ one taste. It’s pure! It’s pure! It’s pure! Mmm! It’s soh’ pure!”

Aysia’s still slumped against the bed. Drool rolls down the sides of her mouth. This time, her glossy eyes aren’t looking around. She’s still breathing.

“Up‘ere ah’redy, huh? Faded! Ooh!” Chris laughs anxiously. “Ma’ be li’e yewgh! Mmm! soon, baby girl! Ooooogh! Sogh! Sooghn!” He clears his throat and grabs the burnt, pen-shaped object. “Mm! D’n’t ‘a’to pay fa’ dis here! Hallelujah! Took a li’l bit’a jizzy-juice doe! All up! Straight up! Damn, dis good! I take it again fa’ this here! Mhmmm! Buddy and his boys take turns with Chris, but Chris geghts ‘da las’ laugh! Chris gets crack rock! Betta’ me than you! Mm! Buddy’s photo always watchin’! He jealous!” Chris rocks back and forth, frantically inhaling from the pipe.

Tears roll down Aysia’s incoherent face. “A boy sa’ed me.”

“I shol’ did, Aysia! Das right!” He blows thick white smoke in Aysia’s face before forcing his tongue into her drooling mouth. Chris drags his knee over the puddle vomit. 

Vomit drips from Aysia’s mouth as Chris helps her up. He looks like a zombie struggling to prop a doll on a bed. Aysia’s eyes are glossy and glazed. With a finger, she beckons him into bed. 

I hover through the floor. No combination of words in existence can describe what I’ve just seen. “I can feel the presence of the Nothing, but I know it isn’t here.” I probe Aysia’s family photos for a clue. 

A picture of Aysia’s father… He’s wearing a suit, with a name tag that reads, “Buddy.”

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

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