The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 54

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

Chapter 53: Circumstantial.

“Nothing, or not, drugs are a choice. It isn’t anyone’s fault, but the abuser’s if their lives end up that way. I don’t feel bad for these people,” I rant aloud, flying up until I see the sun over the horizon again. 

“As you should not, young Emery. Humans have infinite potential and possibilities. Man chooses his own directive and where his nutrients derive from. It is a mockery of free will that beings willingly choose to give in to the negativity in their hearts and then have the audacity to fault another for their lack of fortitude.”

I quickly think of Mymud. “Dammit! If I could only find the source! The traces of it are so cramped together, I’d probably go through every house within 20 miles.” The energy crystal keeps flashing and vibrating, but it can’t pinpoint anything! If this Nothing’s masquerading as a drug dealer, there’s no telling what lies in the homes of the people it’s feeding off. I float forward. 

A wave of energy hits Kanti and me.

“There,” Kanti says. “I have pinpointed its location; it appears to be luring us.” 

Lights turn on in every home below us. People walk out into the snow. They stare up at us in a trance. 

“All those people,” I say hovering higher. “That has to be the place.” I point to a lone house sitting on a large plot of land. There’s a barn, several shacks, and an unusual brick mansion. I impatiently soar through the mansion’s roof and into an immaculate, banquet hall-sized living room. Large paintings line the marble-floored room. The red-leather furniture is faintly lit by an ornate fireplace and dim chandeliers fixed into the high ceiling.

“Bravo. Bravo…” Claps echo from a grand, antique chair facing the fireplace. 

“Buddy?” I say uncertain of how to address the man walking toward me.

“Let’s not play stupid,” a woman’s voice says from the man’s body. The old Asian man drops to the ground like a costume. A bright purple, female figure materializes over him. She has short, jet black hair and humanlike eyes. “I lured you here.” She gracefully walks toward Kanti and me. “That display of yours a few hours ago was quite the show. Honestly, I thought the cloak bearer or some divine was fighting Aemon. Then it started warping all over the place…” A goblet of wine flies into her hand. She takes a sip, as the large red chair in front of the fireplace glides in behind her. “What was it that brought you here? Surely you didn’t come all the way from Podunk New Jersey to a well-hidden manor nestled the outskirts of Chicago for me?” She asks from her chair.

“Indeed.” Kanti stands firm.

I slowly walk behind him. “…Yeah.”

“Well,” she exhales unimpressed. “I know very well of you, Lord Kanti; and from my little puppet show with Aysia and Chris, which I hope you thoroughly enjoyed, I gathered you are Emery. You like just like a ghost of the past. By any chance do you know of the one called Mo—” 

“After what you did to Chris and Aysia, do you think I want to talk to you?” I snap back. What the hell does she think this is? Ghost of the past, my ass. I’m the ghost of the present, Bee—

“Do not insult as a woman. Please, if we must fight, refer to me by my name,” she pauses as the chair hovers to the ground. “Vetra.” 

Without warning, she warps in front of me and swipes at me. 

Kanti tackles Vetra before she grabs me. He suspends her in the air and nods at me.

I rush at Vetra who’s struggling to break Kanti’s hold. 

“Let me go! Release me, divine one!” Vetra demands.

“Now, Young Emery,” Kanti says patiently.

I grab Vetra’s forehead and feel for her energy. 

Vetra looks at me in disbelief. “You cannot be serious? Do you even know what you’re doing? Is this a joke?”

“I’m… feeling for … your third eye…?” I pat her forehead in various spots.

Vetra looks at Kanti and sighs.

“Young Emery, she is a corporeal entity.”

“Yea, but I had to find Raunch’s—”

Kant sighs. “He was a ghost.”

I confidently grip Vetra’s forehead. “Sorry about that…” If she’s as civil as Th’Rut, maybe I can just talk to her before banishing her. 

 “Do as you wish,” Kanti says. He stares at Vetra, who looks indifferent to her situation. 

“I would rather go back to The Void then be devoured,” she says. “I have seen banishments before. This is taking too long. Just get it over with.” 

My hand trembles over her forehead. I swallow hard, and nod. “I can’t… I can’t allow you to trespass into human lives and consume their souls,” I gasp, trying to say something cool.

“Oh? I’ve been here for eighty-five years. You’re the trespasser!

Bull! “Really? I was—”

“I should be able to eat, to live, and enjoy myself. No one sends you home when you eat a burger, or watch a movie. No one cares when humans murder thousands of animals. 

In eighty-five years, I’ve only devoured three souls. Each and every human within a fifteen-mile radius of this estate has a piece of me. I see all they do and can take control if their actions do not please me. They do not harm anyone, but themselves; I make sure of this.” 

“You—Aysia and Chris—They didn’t choose that for themselves! You did that to them!” I yell, removing my hand from Vetra’s forehead. “You even corrupted the cops! you made the people sell drugs, use drugs and ultimately live in misery! You should be held accountable! Don’t pre—”

Vetra laughs as Kanti keeps her suspended in place. “—You really are a fool. On the contrary, I should be praised for keeping these humans contained within the limits of their own destruction. Whether I existed or not, their lives would be the same. I could not engrain myself where negativity did not already exist.”

“Yes, Vetra, however, it is your essence within these humans that makes their situations worse.” Kanti stares expectantly at Vetra. “The low resonance of humans is, in most cases fleeting, since they can alter their thoughts and actions, ultimately changing their circumstances. Once a Nothing implants themselves to consistently feed from a host, the possessed have much more difficulty elevating and enlightening themselves. You are not ignorant of this fact. I have read all of your thoughts, and I can see inside your very being. Instead of putting on a fight, you were willingly going to feed yourself to Aemon. That is why I have restrained you within my essence. The fragment of Aemon cannot break through it and accept your sacrifice.” 

White light traces my right forearm as I press my palm on Vetra’s forehead. 

“There are, and will be, more. Banish me back to the Void, Cloak Bearer. It is of little consequence. We will revive Aemon, this realm’s rightful owner.”

Ignoring Vetra, I keep my cool. Light surrounds my palm; it’s a color I have never seen. 

Vetra vanishes after a blinding flash.

“Was that—?” I quickly glance at Kanti.

 “Yes. You have succeeded.”

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

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