The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 78

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


Chapter 78: I am who am.

“_ __ .” Aemon responds. He continues speaking, but he’s too powerful for me to hear anything except thunder. The darkness rumbles violently. 

“I- I -C-c-an’t-t underst-st-stand you!” I tense up to keep my body from convulsing in the emptiness. Suddenly, the thunder and quaking stops. I sigh. The darkness fades into an infinite, lifeless gray. 

Smoke billows and solidifies into the shape of a distorted man-like creature. It’s him. Aemon walks toward me. The gray abyss mutes his steps. Aemon’s large eyes are white, ominous and piercing. 

Oh man! I gotta’ wake up! Wake up! Move! Move! I shut my eyes tightly. It isn’t working! I see—I see Aemon approaching through the eyes of my other self! Oh god! He sees me, every version of me, and every moment of my life, and their lives— all at the same time! “Aagh!” He’s forcing my eyes open! 

“I see.” Aemon pauses. His presence is heavy, like a closet door opening on its own in the middle of the night. “You have yet to understand where we are. A shame. I have been impressed with your wit thus far.” He’s a silhouette with sharp, long boney fingers. His four empty eyes are laid out like a moth’s wings: two on top and two on the bottom. “It seems you have heard a great deal of me; since I exist within you, I have heard a great deal of me as well. To my dismay, those who have spoken my name only made a mockery of my triumphs.”

Okay. He’s bat-shit crazy. What’s worse, I can’t tell whether I’m sitting, standing, or even moving. It’s like I’m trapped inside of myself.

“Emery. Emery, Emery, Emery.” Aemon exhales. “Crazy?” His four eyes lock on to me. “Do you possess the aptitude to comprehend what it is to be a god imprisoned within a child? Can you fathom thirteen years of listening to your thoughts, watching everything you watch, having to hear your music, consciously experiencing your dreams and the nonsense you call a waking life?”  

“What do you mean?” My voice echoes.

“I pity you. So young— Young Emery. Bwahaha. So ignorant, Dear Boy.”

“I don’t like suspense.”

“Good. Then I shall skip all the theatrics.” Even though he looks like a shadow, I can tell he’s rubbing his chin. “The fact is, as you may have guessed, I am slowly becoming more aware of myself, and I would like to offer you a proposition.” 

“Not happening. I know what you are… and, what you want.”

“Tell me, Emery, where exactly are you?”

“Dreaming probably. I’m in bed.”

Aemon laughs and the gray world turns into my room.

My hands! What is this?! “Kanti?” I can’t let go! My hands—my hands are squeezing Kanti’s neck! 

“His limp body is a sign of things to come,” Aemon says. “You should have seen him when you rolled out of bed and went astral. He didn’t resist. He cried! Ha! Oh, but he isn’t dead yet, is he?” Aemon laughs. “Yes! Take a good look, Emery! This will be our count down until you hear me out. We’ll start here. One!” 

Kanti! Kanti! Oh my god, Kanti! Red light surrounds my hands.  

“Two.”

Kanti’s fur gradually turns white while his body shrivels. 

Why can’t I move! “Aargh!”

“Thr—”

“Wait! Okay! Okay!” 

“Oh? Let’s try this again, Emery.”

My room dissolves, degrading back into a lifeless gray mass.

Aemon’s four eyes look at and through me. “Listen carefully, or I will be inclined to leave several surprises in your wake. Maybe I can start with—No, no! She is by far the most important bargaining chip I have! But! Maybe, I can bring your mind back to Aiven’s bloated, bloody corpse, and make you relive your mother’s shrieks?” Aemon imitates Courtney’s voice and starts screaming, “Aiven! My baby! No! Ah!”

“Raghhh!! Stop! Please! I’ll do anything please!!!”

Aemon waves his hand. “Of course you will. It would be unfortunate if your judgment were to get clouded from emotional interference, right now. Being the humble, merciful god that I am, I will forgive your insolence.” A throne of smoke rises behind Aemon. He takes a seat. 

“Fuck you! You killed Kanti!” I lunge at Aemon and a force suspends me in mid-step. My right arm extends forward, reaching out to him. The rage inside me feels like it’s going to explode.

“Oh my… I see. We need to restrain your emotions. But! Before we do that, how about we make a few modifications?!” Aemon snaps his fingers and my right elbow snaps in the opposite direction. 

“Aaargh!!!”

“If you walk toward me again, I’ll fold your knees backwards. But, I certainly could not deprive you of such a necessary freedom to run from me, if you feel it necessary. But,” I can feel Aemon’s grin as he waves his index finger. “I promise, you will not get far.” He releases his hold. 

My arm dangles like a cooked noodle. I take a few steps back. “I can’t feel anything.”  The emptiness in my voice sounds foreign. 

“Of course you can’t.  Now then, Emery Leheir, let’s talk,” Aemon says.


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