The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 77

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


Chapter 77: En casa ajena tambien? Aye no!

Kanti warps when I cross through the roof and glide into the bathroom. 

The door opens as I revert to a physical being. 

“Wait!” I scream.

“Jesus, Emery! Do you always go with the lights off?!” Crystal shrieks.

“Sometimes. Do you open doors in strangers’ houses without knocking?”

“Whatever.” Crystal flips the lights and walks into the bathroom. “Excuse me,” she says awkwardly.
I plop down next to Roslyn, just out of arms reach, when I get back to my room.  

“It’s pretty late. I wonder how long this party’s supposed to last,” she says. “My parents must be having a good time.”

“What are you guys doing for Christmas?”

“Nothing.  We don’t have any family coming over and my sister’s doing the foreign exchange student program for her school. So, it’s jus’ gonna’ be us opening presents. I don’t think my parents really have any plans.”

“Maybe I can come over…” I slide my hand closer to hers. If Aemon is at one arms distance… since he lives in my chest… maybe…
Roslyn’s soul starts radiating from her body like glowing steam. It recedes when I move my hand away.

There goes that idea.

“My parents won’t allow that.”

“Right… your dad’s kinda’ strict…”

“No, my dad’s fine with it. Remember when we used to hang out all the time? My dad really likes you. My mom’s the one that doesn’t like us having guys over. My aunt got pregnant when she was in high school and my mom traces that back to my grandparents never placing restrictions on boys coming over.”

“Makes sense.”

“Does it? I feel like things have changed. Who would do… that… at our age? It’s gross.”

I would. Given the chance. “Yea, I guess you’re right,” I say falling back on the futon. 

“I mean I can totally see Arsen doing that. He’s a perv through and through. But, I doubt he would want to get anyone pregnant. I can’t see anyone our age being that stupid or irresponsible.  Imagine bringing a child into this world without a job and having to feed it… while living with your parents and having them work, raise you, raise your baby and having to maintain their own marriage.”

“Sounds like good reason to commit suicide.”

“Well, like… I mean… I don’t think any reason is a good reason to commit suicide… if you ever thought about that stuff.”

I laugh. “I’m not Aiven. Even if I did kill myself, it wouldn’t change anything.”

“Yeah, you’d go to Hell.”

I laugh again. “I suppose I would… well… who knows… I’d probably be trapped in Purgatory or worse, I’d just keep coming back to life right where I died.  Aemon probably wouldn’t let me even if I could.”

“What? Who’s that?”

“Nothing.  Thought of a video game I’m playing.  This ultra-god thing lives inside your character who is kind of like a god. Your character can’t die and if at some point he can, he probably won’t because of the ultra-god.”

“Creepy.”

“Yup.”

“Do you know what you’re doing for New Year’s eve?”

“Not really… do any of us really have plans for New Years?” 

“Well, Arsen is probably going to have a few beers with his family and meet up with some hot girls that no one knows and then brag about it.”

“Ha. Yeah. Probably. The only thing I know is that my parents are staying at the same hotel they always do to watch the ball drop.” 

“Why didn’t you want go?”

“My other relatives,” I say as I sit up. “My cousins on my mom’s side always show up ranting on about the newest, hottest, music that I don’t listen to. I’m tired of saying ‘word’ so I can look like I care or belong.  Instead of talking about good music like Lupe Fiasco, Common, Logic, Coheed and Cambria, La Dispute and artists of substance, they’ll just rant on and on about diss tracks and some bullshit they found on some other loser friend’s Facebook page.  They’re the kind of people that would rather watch reality shows about nonsense than to watch anything that requires more than ten-seconds of focus between texts and Instagram photos.” 

“Ewww. I’m not racist or anything, but I really hate people like that.”

“How’s that make you racist?”

“Well, it’s like… a lot of them are black or, like, Hispanic… I mean there’s trash of every race.  I mean we have white trash.  But, white trash isn’t a glorified section of the white American population because a lot of white people don’t let it be.”

“I agree. I’ve seen firsthand that a lot of the problems in Hispanic society come from how the kids are raised and the behavior adults glorify.  My cousins for example, they don’t have bad parents at all, but their parents emphasize certain things as being more important than paying attention in school.  I remember my cousin told me it’s more important to ‘look smart’, because most people already know everything and education is mind control.  He dropped out of high school and spends most of his time luring girls into his dad’s basement so he can get high with them and have sex.”

“EWWWW!!!” Roslyn covers her face and shivers.  She giggles a little bit. “That is so gross.” 

“I’m related to them. How do you think I feel? I usually try to stay as far away as possible from them; my dad says that my mom’s family is the reason some dumbass hick in an all-white state that no one cares about, pretty much the entire Midwest, would vote for someone like the sunburnt, toupee’d racist.  I don’t know how accurate that is, but I know that whenever I hung out with my cousin, people treated me like a spic more so than when I went to places alone.”

“That’s good enough reason to stay here with me then,” Roslyn says.

“Is it?” I laugh. “I can always start listening to reggaeton and saying things like ‘Tu Sabe?’ after every sentence I say in English.  My cousins would all chant ONE OF US, ONE OF US! And then I would have to agree that ‘The Man’ is trying to keep us down.  I would have a platform to ramble on about government conspiracies that I don’t understand, so I seem well-educated in anti-American nonsense; who knows maybe I’ll come back to school next year and you can call me Papi chulo since I’ll be a real Hispanic man.”

“Yea… that probably is the last thing I would want for Christmas, Emery…” 

“You mean, you don’t want me to fit in with a bunch of idiots and become another retard who hopes that when enough time passes I can free myself from conscious thought and into the hands of a ‘bad bitch’… or maybe even a stereotypical Latina or Black woman?”

“Do you want some Vanilla Coke with your cynicism Emery? You could try to-”

“Eh… I won’t try anything that doesn’t include you in my life,” I say confidently.  “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like you because you’re white. You just happen to fit most of what I like. I haven’t met any other girl like you.”

“How’s that? Saria says you’re pretty popular.”

“That’s… different… besides, I love you.” I quickly grab Roslyn’s hand and lean in to kiss her.  I know I shouldn’t, but I don’t want to miss my chance.”

The door opens and Eliza flips the lights on. 

I jump away from Roslyn, hoping that her mom and Eliza didn’t catch us in the act.

Roslyn’s mom and Eliza smile at each other.

Mrs. May says, “You win.  We’ll have the party at my house,” before looking at Roslyn and telling her it’s almost time to go. 

“Andrew!” Eliza shouts while Andrew and the Asian girl look like they’re eating others’ faces. “We won’t leave the kids unsupervised next time either,” she says to Roslyn’s mom. 

“Obviously.  I can’t let Emery knock my baby up.”

“Really mom?! How much faith do you have in me? I’m not that stupid.”

“It’s not that you’re stupid, Honey.  Emery’s just very handsome.”

She’s got like thirty years on me… Hmmm. But, I’m not disgusted.  Definitely gonna’ fap when everyone leaves. “Well… I’ll take all of the compliments I can get.”

“You would, Skag! Arsen says frizzing my hair.

“Where are you going, Arsen?” Eliza asks.

“Checking on my mom.  She has a habit of putting our lives in danger after a night of partying.”

Eliza grabs Arsen’s arm and puts a set of keys in his hand before he walks out of the room. “You guys are sleeping over.”

“Ha! No thanks.  I have a few gifts waiting for me at home. It’s well worth the risk,” Arsen says unsurprisingly. “I’ll just get us an Uber or something.”

“Jesus, I’ll get it.  They run at like triple the cost during the holidays. I won’t let that happen to your mom,” Eliza says sternly as Monica pauses the movie.

“It doesn’t matter. If my mom really cared, she wouldn’t put us in this kind of situation. So, her paying like 60 bucks to take us home is a well-deserved punishment. The only thing she could do to be an even worse mother is abandon me; which I’m sure in a drunken state, she will find a way to do just that.”

Eliza looks annoyed, but doesn’t say anything.  Does she feel guilty about giving me away? Is she even thinking about that? “Monica and Mihaley, your parents are waiting downstairs,” she says as Arsen leaves the room.

Mihaley…. That’s about as Dominican as it can get… They should’ve just named her Monica 2.  I try not to laugh as they follow each other downstairs.

“All of you, just come downstairs,” Eliza says.

The adults all look like they’re ready to go.  Andrew’s parents, Arsen’s mom, the Monicas’ parents, and Roslyn’s parents all say bye to each other and Eliza.  

Eliza and Arsen’s mom take several shots before their Uber pulls up; Eliza belches after I close the door behind them.  

We start cleaning once they pull away.

“Hay… terd’. Teeheehee.  I saw ya’ fayce suckin’ with Rawzlan!”

“Dear lord… You’re trashed!” I say holding a trash-bag open and laughing. 

“Issa pahty so quit poopin’ on it… l’il sheeeit!  Sidez, awn New Year… we’re going to the May’s house. There’s nethin’ ta be ‘shamed of.” Eliza stacks paper plates in foil trays that still have a little bit of food in them.  “Hold the bag open! Ha!” She misses the bag; rice, meat chunks and juices, beans, chicken bones and soggy paper towels tumble on the polished floor.

I sigh, but quickly laugh it off. “Just go to bed, m— ummm, count this as me being a good house guest and my apology for the soapy block of ice outside.”      

Eliza laughs. “Almost c-called me momm ther’ didn’tchya, Em?  I won’t tell. Little shit. Well, I’m gonna’ sleep like a rawk. R’mber, if ya smoke pawt in my house, tell me.” 

“She’s quite the party animal,” Kanti says.

“Kanti, technically, you’re the only party animal in the house.”

Kanti and I laugh as I warp the mess into the trash bag.

“Can you warp this out to the can? I don’t know where exactly they are and I don’t want use my second sight.”

“Nonsense… your laziness is astounding, Young Emery.”

I warp food on the silverware to the trash-bag after it disappears. I quickly use my second sight. “That’s where the cans are… You could’ve told me they were two feet behind the sink.”

Kanti warps to my room.

“I know where you went without using my second sight,” I think, warping to my room after finishing in the kitchen. 

“I took it upon myself to organize,” Kanti says pointing his snout at the spotless bedroom.

“Thanks.” I stretch and yawn. “Kanti, when will I stop sleeping?” My clothes dematerialize and pajamas appear over me.

“When you forget that you are human. Come two years’ time, you will most likely give up eating, drinking and sleeping unless they correspond to social events.”

“Makes sense…” I close my eyes. “Good night, Kanti.” 

“Good night, Young Emery,” Kanti says. His voice trailing off into the distance as I drift to sleep.

I feel myself. I’m dissolving. Fading away into nothingness.

Four white eyes gaze from the darkness: a pair is level with me, and the other set sits just above them. I can’t tell where my body ends, but this place—this place feels familiar. He’s here. I know it. I use my second sight. “Aemon,” I say. My body spasms uncontrollably.


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Silence sneaks in like a cat in the night. It taps over the concrete, swiping at corners and shiny objects. The black cat of darkness is a silent soliloquy of sadness. When it speaks the veil of the world exhales its wisdom. Lost on our ears, we suppress the knowledge of the ancients through unnecessary … Continue reading Headlines


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