The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 74

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


Chapter 74: Somewhere between Chaos and humanity, I heard her song.

“Hi.” She extends her hand, “Saria. You must be Emery, Eliza’s boy.” Saria smiles. “My parents and your mom—I mean your aunt—go way, way back. Believe it or not,” Saria leans in, clasping her hands together, and whispers in my ear, “And, I know a lot about you. Emery.”

“Really?” I guess that’s Saria’s way of making a threat. I can’t let her get away with it, but calling her out on it might actually start something. “Oh… kay… Well, nice to meet you too.” I hug her, avoiding Roslyn and Crystal’s eyes, as they observe from across the room. “How much do you know about me?” I whisper.

Saria giggles and gently moves away from me. She’s— blushing? Holy crap, she’s visibly blushing.  

“Are you—”

Saria fidgets and awkwardly walks toward the door. What the hell was that about?

“Wait!” What the hell is going on? I can’t let her just walk out of here. I grab Saria’s wrist and try to keep cool. “What are you doing here?”

Saria’s black eyes and white pupils are watering. Why the hell is she blushing and acting like this?!

Crystal taps me on the shoulder and I let go of Saria. 

“Hi Emery,” Crystal says, nudging Roslyn. Not now! God dammit, not now! 

I can’t let—shit! I’m too late. 

Saria slams the door behind her, prompting Arsen, the Monicas, Andrew and the chick he’s talking to, to look. 

Crystal stares at Roslyn, urging her to say something.  

Roslyn slants her eyes at Crystal. She’s avoiding eye contact with me. 

“Roslyn!” Crystal shouts. She nudges Roslyn again.

There must be something really important Roslyn has to say. She’s so nervous, it’s almost making me feel nervous. After the past few days though, talking to her might be the easiest thing I’ve had to do. 

“Hi—” Roslyn says softly. Her voice makes my ears and my heart tingle. “Hi, Emery. How—”

The door opens and Saria wraps her arm around me, interrupting Roslyn. This has to be a trap of some kind. But… If Saria was human, or at the very least didn’t have pitch black eyes with white pupils, that only I could see… I’d consider making out with her. NO! wait! What am I thinking… This is… This isn’t right. “This is weird…” I move Saria’s arm.

“I’ll say,” Arsen chimes in. “In what world, Skag?” He asks, obviously trolling. “In. What. World.” We laugh hysterically at Arsen’s dramatic pauses. “I mean you’re not even a full grown Skag.  You’re a whelp. Level two, at best!”

“Shut up, man!” Props, though. I need to get him back later for that. I sigh and laugh.

Roslyn and Crystal giggle. Do they get the reference?

Saria gets in Arsen’s face. “In my world.  Emery’s the cloak bearer,” she says. 

“The cloa—what? Look, I don’t care what game that is, but it’s gay if he’s good at it. You should get on something real. Something I play.” Arsen winks at Saria, nodding obnoxiously. 

“Hater,” I mutter. Why do I even care about this? There’s something wrong with me. Saria’s here to eat someone. Sigh. But, she’s so hot. She’s definitely got th—

“You know what, forget the games.” Arsen waves his hands in disapproval. “I won’t subject you to my awesomeness just yet.” He sleazily slides his arm around Saria subtly. “You should come here and help us pick a movie.  You look like a girl with good taste.” He glares at me and gestures at Roslyn with his chin. Arsen’s eyes are wide. If I know Arsen, and I do, he’s telling me the rest is on me.   

Saria takes Arsen’s hand. “Lead the way.” Those freckles!

Arsen immediately looks at me with gratitude. I shrug and try not to laugh; I picture him in sunglasses, balling his fists and chanting “Ass! Ass! Ass! Ass!” 

“Changed his tune really fast. Didn’t he?” Crystal sighs rolling her eyes. 

“Ugh!” Roslyn shakes her head. “You have no idea. He’s such a perv. He, like, just tries to make out with anything that moves.” She cringes. “He probably has mono.”

“Already had it,” I say, sipping my vanilla coke, trying to look cool. “Can’t get it twice.”  

“Ewww!” Crystal shouts giving me a nasty look.

“I mean Arsen, not me”

Roslyn giggles.

“How you been, Emery?” Crystal asks making a box with her hands and sizing me up. “You’ve gotten taller since the last time we hung out. How’s Aiven?” 

“Thanks.  Pretty good, I guess… Well, Aiven’s dead.  He killed himself last year,” I say nonchalantly. Did Roslyn just give her a dirty loo—who cares. Girls. Sigh. I’ll take them both!

Crystal’s eyes widen and she glances at Roslyn. “I, uh, I’m sorry. I didn’t—”

“Don’t worry about it, he’s dead.” If only it were that simple.

“I just never met anyone who died… and I saw the bunk bed and the futon, and I th—”

Roslyn elbows Crystal’s funny bone.  

“Jeez!” Crystal screams, before laughing. “Sorry. That tickles in such a weird way. Anyway, I’m— going to see, uh, what they’re up to.” Her eyes anxiously switch between Roslyn and me. “Over there, I mean.” Crystal walks toward Arsen’s makeshift-harem like she crapped her pants. 

“Sorry.” 

“It’s alright.” I shrug at Roslyn. “She didn’t know. It’s not like she caused Aiven’s death.” 

“Still, that was rude.” 

“I could see that.”  If that’s the case, what’s rude is that you didn’t tell her yourself then. These beautiful girls and their poor communication. Damn.  

“Wait!” Monica roars. 

What are these idiots doing now? Of course, they’re trying to separate the mattress and the futon. Why can’t Arsen just be like Andrew, pull one girl and just chill? I wonder if I can move that by myself.

“Hold on.” 

Sighing, Roslyn lets out a defeated, “Sure.”

“Choose a profile,” flashes on the projector after Arsen turns my PS4 on. He casually leaves the girls struggling to separate the bunks. 

“There’s four of you, just lift up from each leg,” Roslyn sternly shouts before I can help them. “Uh, Arsen!”

“Right! You heard her girls.”

Arsen, Crystal, Saria, Monica and Monica 2, move the top bunk in front of the dresser. They face the futon toward the projector, letting Roslyn and I set the top half against the wall right of the door. 

“The good thing about the projector is that we can sit anywhere and see it,” Roslyn says sitting on the mattress. “It’s so comfortable! I feel like this room is as big as my living room.” Roslyn pats a spot next to her. 

“Hit the lights!” Arsen yells when I sit down. Music from the movie playing blows through speakers built into the walls and ceiling. Arsen sits between Monica and Saria on the futon; he wraps his arms around both of them when I cut the lights. 

Monica II sits cross-legged on the floor, scrolling through her dimly lit cellphone screen. Can she be anymore hopeless? There are people here. What the hell is this chick doing?

Andrew and his girl are in their own world. 

Roslyn presses herself next to me. Fruity perfume and tropical shampoo flood my nostrils. “I can’t believe we’re going to be graduating from eighth grade in like six months.”

“Yeah. I know what you mean.” What else can I say to that? “Sadly, graduating is the least of my worries. I have straight A’s. I’m good.”

“Hmmph. Aren’t you cool.” Roslyn says mimicking me. “Well, Emery, what are your worries?” She smiles. Even her silhouette is beautiful.

“Nothing.”

“That’s pretty profound. I guess I’d be more worried if I had no worries too.”

It doesn’t matter since she doesn’t understand, right? I sit up. What the hell are they watching? Oh, it’s that movie with what’s his face; it might as well be porn. This is what happens when Arsen picks the film. Sigh. 

Two white beads stare at me from the futon, glowing as they slowly hover to me.

“Kanti?” I ask in my mind.

“I think you think I’m someone else,” Saria says in my head.

Roslyn sits up and squeezes my hand until I face her.

“Are you okay?” 

“Yea, I’m fine. Why?”

“What are you looking at?” 

I glance at the futon and catch Saria looking at me.

“Nothing. Hold on.” I get up and walk over to Arsen, the Monicas and Saria.

Monica II’s still fumbling with her phone. What a shame. How does a girl like that not have the capacity to focus long enough to watch a movie? Never mind, I know where her brains went. I glance down her shirt and look away quickly. She probably thinks she doesn’t have to worry about high school, college or a career. Does a girl like that even have any ambition?

Roslyn says something that gets lost in the movie’s sound.

  I kneel beside Saria, “Look, I’m not fighting you. Stop,” I say between my teeth.

“Are you kidding? Psssssshhhhhh!” She winks. “I’m not here for that either.  Believe or not, I don’t even know how to wield my power in this realm!”

“Dammit! Enough with the game talk! Watch the movie!” Arsen yells. “You’re killin’ my vibe, Skag.”

“Then what are you here for?” I whisper about an inch from Saria’s face. I should kiss her. What’s wrong with me…“Him,” her index finger traces the center of my chest, and travels down to my solar plexus.


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