The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 63

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

Chapter 63: The same cloak.

“Monad,” Kanti begins, as he flashes images into my mind. “Separated from that very cloak. He killed my soulmate: Enlil.” A beautiful, pale blue woman in an extravagant white dress pops into my mind. The seams of her dress are gold, matching the radiance in her eyes. Enlil’s divine white hair is symmetrically parted in the center. It extends to her waist. Two braids trace her face and join behind her head, like a crown. 

“She’s beautiful,” I utter. Memories of Enlil appear in my mind. From Kanti’s perspective, I see his blue hand holding on to that of Enlil’s. I feel his happiness when I stare at her smile. Radiant purple grass sways in the wind, under a soft orange sky. 

“Before Te’Viel, we were the being called Anubis. After our division,” Kanti continues softly. There’s so much pain in his voice. “For many years, I simply observed and followed a divine of my choosing with no real purpose. I was an amorphous orb. I did not want to be myself; I had no comprehension who that was. But, my other half, Enlil, encouraged me to observe the rich, finite existence of the humans we spared from Aemon. She urged me to join her and walk among them, learn from them, live as they do, and impact their existence. I agreed.” Kanti pauses. “Together, we walked alongside the first cloak-bearer.” 

There’s a man walking alongside me. He looks like an ape, but enlightened. A group of Neanderthals huddled in a cave walk up to me—Kanti— and the cloak bearer. My blue hand gestures to the cloak bearer to pass a torch he’s wielding. 

The cloak bearer grunts, but I—Kanti can understand what he means through his intent. “They are not ready. They fear light and the dark.” The cloak bearer sets the torch down peacefully. After frightened grunts and erratic howls, the cavemen smite the cloak bearer with stones and rocks. His astral being rises from his destroyed physical shell. One of the Neanderthals dies trying to eat the fire. When the flame dies out, the rest eat his head. 

“We failed with the first cloak-bears, however, we were able to aid in the development of Earth’s inhabitants, implanting mythos here and there, helping civilization thrive and pass their seed. The planet at the time was largely ignored by the Nothing as Earthen man was incapable of good and evil. At the time, we did not know what the cloak bearer was capable of, but we knew that the bearer of the cloak was a necessity. Enlil and I could feel lives on other planets disappearing. We knew eventually the souls of the unevolved humans would elevate. We, along with the cloak-bearers before Monad, encouraged benevolence among man.” Kanti stares into the distance, lost in a chasm of emotions he’ll never say out loud.

Memories of elaborate stone cities flash in my mind. Men orating stories, painting creatures on walls. Sheets, linen, and clothing. Gems. There are beautiful people, acting pretty close to modern man. They’re all wearing togas, which in a weird way, I can tell were inspired by the cloak. 

“When the ancient cities were erected, man elevated at the levels of divinity. Though no man possessed the power of the cloak bearer, they were capable of seeing and communication with divine beings. Many were capable of basic astral projection and could commune with the ethereal beings who called Earth home. There were corrupt souls, and evil men; however, it was not enough to attract the Nothing. Or so we thought. Our mythos were primarily for lessons, teachings on how to live, but Enlil and I knew something was awry when wars over religion began occurring.  

Even in those troubling times, I observed several humans that made me question the nature of my own existence: who I was, what I was, what was my raison d’être. That was when the Nothing finally arrived to Earth. Their appearance, especially Th’Rut’s, caused great battles with other ethereal beings who, for the most part, wanted to live peacefully among humans after Te’Viel. 

Unfortunately, the Ethereal beings living among man at the time, were torn between what we told them of the Nothing and their own beliefs. They warred with each other over the presence of the Nothing and how it should be handled. The aftermath was cataclysmic. Without hesitation, like Enlil did many eons before, I swore my existence to the cloak that is given. 

I toss myself onto my bed and get lost in Kanti’s memories.

“Before the decimation of Jupiter,” Kanti begins, “Centuries before Te’Viel, Th’Rut discovered Aemon was using the Nothing to consume humans for him. The Nothing, a peaceful ethereal race decided to exile him, claiming his gluttony for power made him unfit to rule. I do not know the full ramifications this had on the Onthiems of The Void, but one can assume there was a great civil war. Many Nothing left the Void for other planets in the Abyss in search of a better life, or to spread the gospel of Aemon.

In response to his dethronement and exile, however, Th’Rut bitterly decided to hide the truth about Aemon. No one knew where the fragments of Aemon were located at the time, hence the Nothing devouring human souls also sought Aemon’s divided essence. Before reaching Earth, it became clear to Th’Rut’s group of followers, who worshipped him as the prophet of Aemon, knew that Th’Rut had abandoned searching for their god; he was merely a pitiful man seeking to be king again, so they too abandoned him and spread across the cosmos. Th’Rut was the only Nothing on Earth for thousands of years. Aside from devouring entire civilizations, his loneliness and betrayal drove him to feed on the Nothing who refused to worship him.”  

An image of Th’Rut flashes in my mind. He was massive, at least seven-feet tall. Unlike when I saw him, in Kanti’s memories, the stars, and universes beneath Th’Rut’s purple, glasslike skin are vibrant and in constant motion. He wore a black toga and had an ominous light tracing his body.

“Monad, the eighth cloak bearer, donned the cloak 1900 BC.,” Kanti continues, “Five hundred years after Th’Rut appeared. Monad was the first cloak bearer to encounter Th’Rut.” Kanti sighs. “Th’Rut consumed all life in Monad’s home, the city of Ur, as retaliation for Monad’s ignorant consumption of Th’Rut’s essence. To further punish Monad, he spared and controlled Monad’s first wife and two children, in an attempt to drive him mad. Th’Rut made them do appalling things. When Monad realized that Th’Rut had yet to fully consume their souls…” Kanti pauses. He looks down, then sighs. After taking a deep, painful breath, he says, “Monad took the inconceivable action of saving his wife and first sons.”

Kanti flashes moments inside my mind, connecting me to Monad’s pain. 

Monad’s wife cries. I catch a small glimpse of what remains of her psyche. She smiles at Kanti while a force pins her to the ground and restrains from committing more atrocities against her will. Monad weeps as he stands over her, concerned, confused and broken. Other deities suspend Monad’s sons in place. The boys’ cold eyes and expressionless faces follow Monad as he paces. Monad pauses and looks at his children, or at least the small amount uncorrupted humanity remaining within them.

Aware of his father’s gaze, the oldest son struggles to speak. His lips quiver. With a weak voice Monad’s oldest says, “He made us-He made us do things, father. Terrible things.” After a heavy sigh, the boy goes silent. Then, a sick smile spreads across his face; his eyes however, widen with a horror I hope to never comprehend.

“You did this, Monad,” Th’Rut says through the boy’s mouth. Monad’s oldest son shakes his head and regains what little control he can.

Monad’s son whispers, “He made us eat them, father. He made us lure them with offerings of food, then made us… do things… We struck them as they ate. Then, through us… he defiled their bodies. Then–he–he made us eat what remained. He laughed in our minds speaking obscenities that my lips can never express.” The oldest son stares at his younger brother, then back at Monad. “This is the best thing you can do for him. For us, Papa.”

In the memories Kanti shows me, there’s a bright red flash. Monad’s son’s shriek. Monad stands over his sons’ corpses when the memory comes back into view. Monad, devoid of something I can’t identify, stares at his wife. He puts his head down and rubs his face. He sighs.

“Your sons bodies have yet to perish,” Th’Rut says through Monad’s wife’s mouth. “Even if this one lives, she will never cleanse her soul of the events I made her witness… of the things I made her do—The things you made her do, Monad.”

Kanti waves his hand to restrain Th’Rut’s power, but Th’Rut stares at him through the woman’s eyes. Th’Rut, through Monad’s wife, shakes his head.

Th’Rut speaks again through Monad’s wife, “Aemon’s power is rule. Aemon’s power is law. Aemon is god!” Th’Rut’s roars through Monad’s wife. “You filthy, disgusting, inbred, disheveled sack of flesh. And, you,” Th’Rut utters at Kanti and his other half. “You both will perish. I will personally see to it for your insolence. How dare you challenge the Deus Magna.” Th’Rut’s control fades, but Monad’s wife’s eyes are black pits with white pupils. Walking slow over to his wife, Monad places his hand on her forehead. Twisted, violent red light traces his palm. A tear streams down his face. Monad’s wife nods at him. The red light loses its hue until turning pure white. The couple nods at each other again. “I love you,” Monad whispers. His wife’s mouth quivers, but she’s unable to speak.

“I see,” Th’Rut says. “Suicides never cross the barrier, you know,” he says through Monad’s wife. Silence spreads like a poison and time slows to a crawl. Th’Rut controls Monad’s wife for a one last time and forces her to chomp down on her tongue. “Good luck sparing her soul.”

Monad screams. The light around his palm turns red again.

“Kanti, please, make it stop. I can’t keep watching this,” I scream, shutting my eyes. “Please, Kanti, I can’t! I can’t see this! I feel everything! I feel your feelings and I can’t make it stop! Kanti, please!” I shriek, grabbing my head.

Kanti ignores my request. “As I mentioned before, humans were able to resonate at unfathomable levels due to their purity. The cataclysmic, thousand-year war between Th’Rut and Monad was visible for its duration. Humans avoided parts of the world where the two fought, embedding their battles in mythos that survived them. When all was said and done, Th’Rut had used hundreds of millions of different human bodies to fight Monad.” Kanti pauses. “Unfortunately, I am unable to end this recollection. I have to bear witness to it all over again. This was the first time I had ever known failure, young Emery.”

Monad, a tall, mystical looking man with tan skin and long, thick black hair sits next to Enlil. He has a defeated look in his eyes as he stares into the dusty distance at a decimated city. Kanti’s light blue hand strokes his head. “This is my burden,” Monad says, weeping as he lies against a pile of rubble. His cloak is completely black. 

Th’Rut. Sigh. I can’t see him doing any of this. I can’t see any Nothing wreaking this kind of havoc. Monad—Damn, he had it bad. No wonder he was called the forsaken one. The cloak probably tore itself off of him. That poor guy.

“Such is not the case, Young Emery,” Kanti responds to my thoughts. “The truth is even more devastating.”


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