The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 71

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

Chapter 71: Metaphors for multigenerational systematic abuse perpetuated by irresponsible modern content for the pursuit of profit and self-imposed, but unrecognized mental acquiescence. In short, read between the lines because F’ed is “u” if you don’t see(k) Knowledge through the non-conventional Education and Entertainment system. Easy living requires hard choices.

“I can’t believe that took three hours.” The time on my watch reads 6:51 p.m. “Those pictures of the Moon aren’t too far off, are they?”

“Who do you think took them, Young Emery? Even cartographers had assistance in being so precise.” Kanti trots along the Moon’s lit surface. He decided to take on physical properties so he’s kicking up gray dust with every step. “Paws, Young Emery, paws. They are indeed the way to go. I have had hands, feet, gills, scales and wings, but paws are rough yet sensitive. The elements feel more alive.” Kanti rolls around in the sand.

“You look like you’s havin’ a good ol’ time, ol’ yeller!” What if I di—

“Do not dare go physical, Young Emery!” Kanti warns. “You will die! It is almost 7 p.m. We know Eliza’s soiree begins soon. I do not know how long it will take your physical body to recover from dying in this environment.” He dashes toward me, standing firm as he awaits my next move.

“Relax, Kanti. I just think it’s cool. I was only wondering what it would feel like to actually walk on the Moon and feel it, physically. I can walk like this, but I can’t— never mind. My astral body naturally takes on physical properties if I think about it. I don’t even have to go physical!” This is awesome! I sprint and jump around the Moon, evading imaginary enemies. “I wish I could experience being weightless, the way astronauts do.”

“If you were not using my energy, perhaps gravity would also affect you here, Young Emery. Remember, we are completely astral beings despite having physical properties. Fortunately, we are also still invisible to human resonances.”

“Fair enough. Kanti, if high and low resonance can’t see each other, how come some Nothing, like Th’Rut, can see extremely high resonances? I understand why you, and other divines can, you guys have a pretty good range you can resonate at, if I understand correctly. I mean—I also understand why I can’t go lower or higher sometimes. But, it doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Unfortunately, Young Emery, that is a mystery to me as well. I believe that despite his actions, Th’Rut has a very high resonance. I am uncertain whether or not the Nothing inherently resonate low, despite needing low resonance for sustenance.” He sprints into a crater and hovers through the ground. We aren’t speaking telepathically, but I can hear him clearly. “Without direct observation,” Kanti adds, appearing beside me. “It is difficult to say how much of what I comprehend, even as a divine being, is valid. After all, god or man, one cannot know everything. I would wager the same is true for Sha-ik’Tael.”

I chase Kanti to the dark side of the Moon. It looks the same as the lit side because of my astral vision. I sigh. “I guess this is like an amusement park. After 5 minutes it isn’t fun anymore… I can’t wait till Elon Musk colonizes the Moon. I wonder what kind of rides it’ll have!”

“I wonder what effect it will have on human morality and consciousness. The farther humans from Earth go, the farther their ways will travel.”  

Ugh. Kanti always has to kill my vibe. Let’s see here… “Dammit! It’s 7:04 p.m.!” 

Kanti’s ears perk up. “Best not to keep Eliza waiting… Turd.” 

We laugh hysterically, and warp to my room at Eliza’s house.

“I’ll get it!” Eliza demands. Loud music suppresses her heels’ echoes.

“Looks like I’m just in time to see the first guests at the door,” I tell Kanti as I hover toward the window.

“They’re a family of three,” Kanti inserts. He’s lying on the floor carefree and exhausted from altering Eliza’s memories, sharing his own and flying to space. It’s probably best to just let him be for now. 

I glide to the front door. There’s a tall, bald, dark-skinned guy waiting for Eliza to open the door. He looks like Trevor Noah, except I’m not sure if he’s Black, Hispanic, Indian or Native American. His coat looks expensive as hell though. Seems cool, intelligent… just a normal dad. Of course, an ugly Christmas sweater. It wouldn’t be a Christmas Eve party with Eliza if there wasn’t a gimmick. His wife and son stand behind him.

“Marsha, Stuart and, Andrew!” Eliza shouts eagerly when she opens the door. “You’re the first ones here!” She hugs them, quickly forcing them in while self-consciously staring at the frozen mound of foam.

Marsha’s about Eliza’s height and build. Petite with a great body. I can make her figure out from here. She looks like she’s a vegetarian and probably does a lot of exercise. Marsha almost looks Egytpian… or some kind of Hispanic. Not that it matters. A hot chick is a hot chick.

Andrew looks like he’s my height; he’s wearing a white hoody and baggy jeans. Never mind, they’re definitely Hispanic or Black. Andrew is one of those people: a wannabe thug. What is it with those stupid-ass oversized headphones? Oh god, he’s wearing sunglasses. I bet he’ll tell me he likes the new Kan— who cares what he likes? It’s probably trash. He doesn’t look like he can appreciate Lupe Fiasco, A Tribe Called Quest, Kendrick Lamar or anything new or old that isn’t mumbled into mic. Fuckin’ mumble rap… If I go bad, I’m killing them first. They make all non-white American men look bad.

Andrew kicks snow off his shoes, taking his sweet ass time to get inside.

“Emery!” Eliza calls after closing the door.

I visualize the upstairs hallway and warp a few feet from the top of the steps. This is going to be a long night. I painfully and lazily slump downstairs. If it looks like I want to be here I’m doing it wrong. Mumble rap… Maybe we can talk about the finer points of Call of Duty while we’re at it. Oh my f—god… 

“This is Stuart Milton, his wife Martha and their son Andrew. Guys this is my nephew, Emery.” Hm, she isn’t half bad at introducing people. I wonder if she talks to a lot of people for a living.

I shake Stuart’s hand. He’s easily six feet tall. I could tell by the way the Miltons are dressed they live near Eliza, in a house just as nice, if not even nicer. Stuart’s ugly Christmas sweater is a thick, comfortable-looking wool pullover with Christmas trees and reindeer silhouettes wrapping all the way around.

“Nice to meet you, young man,” Stuart says.  

We simultaneously say, “Merry Christmas.”

I shake Marsha’s hand. She’s Eliza, same vibe, same style, same everything but tanner. Her silky, black hair is cut just above her shoulders. She’s wearing a thin leather jacket, and, like Eliza, a knee length, form-fitting dress, and a pair of high heels. Damn she’s hot. Marsha smiles and says, “Nice to meet you, Emery. Merry Christmas.”

I turn to Andrew who has a painfully obvious, “fresh,” haircut. I try to make eye contact, but I can’t tell where he’s looking because of his sunglasses. He removes his headphones, feigns a smile and reluctantly shakes my hand. 

Wait a minute! He’s listening to—

“—With no brains, but gum flap. He said his gun clap, but then he fled after one slap —” Andrew’s headphones boom as he fumbles to turn them down. 

My eyes widen. I must’ve read him wrong. “Rap Snitch Knishes?”

Andrew does a pseudo judo-chop, “Do you see the perpetrator?” He grins, reaffirming that we are in fact, going to have a good time. “Ol’ Doom.”

We laugh and dap each other up. Eliza and his parents stare at us confused.

“All caps when you spell the man’s name,” I say laughing. I was wrong, but I’m still skeptical. If he plays mumble rap, I swear to god… My cloak is going black.

“Emery, why don’t you and Andrew play upstairs,” Eliza says smiling at Stuart and Martha.

Andrew and I run upstairs like two five-year olds rushing a Chuck E. Cheese play pit.

“P-S four, or the one?” I ask closing the door to my room.

Andrew sighs and shrugs. “I have both, man. But, we both know a true gamer can only enjoy the Kingdom Hearts experience on the four… I feel like it was a good idea for Square to push it back.” He clenches his fists. “It needs time to be perfect. It needs,” he says dramatically rocking back and forth.

“Ha—Agreed. They better not add a campaign mode or an online mode. It would ruin the solo player experience. I don’t mind being in a party chat, but I hate having to depend on internet connectivity to play my games! It’s stupid!—”

“Agreed, bro. Especially when you have to rely on other people to pick up the slack. I’m not frontin’, I like MMORPGs, but Desti-whatever it’s called pulled a COD. They keep releasing the same content with no story. People keep pre-ordering crap without knowing what their parents are paying for. Sigh. Honestly, if they add an online co-op to K H 3, it might not be so bad…”

“Egh. I guess.”

“Enough! Emery, right?” Andrew shouts, “Let’s play some vidya!”

I nod, confirming that is my name. “Hell yea!” I shout, “Glad you’re cool. You have no idea how lame these parties get. I hate being with my family.”

“Trust me man, I know. That’s why we aren’t with our family this year. My cousins are all losers; they’re always one-upping each other over irrelevant shit, and trying to prove who the realest dude is and whose shoes are flashier. They tell me I’m not black, but I don’t think they know what it means to be black without following White America’s stereotypes about minorities… Fuckin’ mumble rap garbage.” Andrew messes with the projector’s control and lowers the screen. “They’re gonna’ work in fast food till they’re 50 years old, so I don’t see the point. 

Aside from that nonsense, the inevitable fight breaks out, and someone tells their mom, and then one of my aunts yells at my other aunt. In reality they’re both idiots who raised their kids wrong, but you know how it is with people like that. It’s always someone else’s fault. They can do no wrong and their family is stuck in a cycle. My parents find any excuse to keep their distance, but it only works for so long, till someone guilt trips them or pulls the ‘we family though’ card.” Andrew sighs.

I nod. “Exactly the same with my family. Everyone my age is too busy trying to fit in with other people who don’t know who they are. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind, some ignorant ass, Hispanic, ass-shaking Daddy-Yankee music or something like that, but when people copy the lyrics, forgetting that being a musician is a job, and their personas are work, then I lose my shit.”

Kanti lies there, enjoying our conversation, sprawled out like a dog with nothing better to do. “Start a revolution, Young Emery. You are the cloak bearer after all,” he says, curious and mischievous.

“I say to hell with those dregs!” Andrew shouts, emphatically shaking his fist. “What games you got, Emery?”

“J-Stars, Fallout 4, Metal Gear, Dark Souls 2, Streetfighter, and a bunch of other ones downloaded on my system. It’s plu— Crap, I left it downstairs.” Oh, damn…I brought my console and games home after Eliza saw the cloak. “I’ll be right back. Want a soda or something?”

“Code red bro, if you have some.”

“Lame. Vanilla Coke. All we got,” I say firmly. 

“As long as it isn’t diet, I don’t care,” he responds. Andrew sits cross-legged facing the projector.

Good thing the lights in the hall are off, I can warp back without being seen.  

“Or you can just go astral,” Kanti says in my mind. 

As helpful as it can be, please don’t do that, Kanti. I nod to myself and go astral, then warp to my bedroom. My PS4 and bag of games are over my bed. I take on physical properties without completely regressing to a human, and grab them. 

“Hey!” Th’Rut calls out from a corner of the room.

“Whoa!” I shriek, dropping my console.

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

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