The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 81

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


Chapter 81: Time heals a little, but not most wounds, unless you’re an idiot.

“I’d be a terrible parent.”

“Whatever. I know.”

She laughs. “You,” Eliza inhales and shoos me back with a wave. “Further,” she says, holding her breath. “Good,” she exhales. “You really have no idea.”

“Try me.” I back up against the wall and sit on the floor. Thank god I can’t feel cold; I’d freeze my ass off on her marble floor.

“Egh. Well, then hit this.”

“No thanks,” I respond indifferently.

“Yea, turd, here. You don’t have to be so coooool.”

I rub my face and sigh. “I’m not touching that. Get me some… Vanilla Coke… and we’ll talk.”

“Aye no! Muchacho, that’s got like 65 grams of sugar! I know for a fact Courtney doesn’t allow that in her house,” Eliza snaps, taking another hit. 

“She does.” I shrug. This conversation is pointless. Sigh. “You drink like a gallon of alcohol; you barely sleep; you have random sex; and, you smoke—” I could be doing something else.

Eliza exhales more thick smoke. “This is weed. It’s different.”

“I know what it is. You don’t think there are thirteen year olds smoking weed, doing hash, snorting coke, and all the other nasty crap? You’re more out of touch than I am if you think kids aren’t getting high, even at my age.”   

“Conyo, Emery. You don’t have to be so depressing about it. I was a teenager too before I blossomed into this beautiful mariposa—cough, inhale, exhale—I know what it’s like. I know about drugs; and, cigarettes and weed are almost the same. Cigarettes are worse.”

“It’s really not. Whether you smoke cigarettes or dull your senses with pot, you’re still numbing yourself with crap. You don’t have a terminal disease or anything, and you aren’t depressed… marijuana might be legal, but it isn’t good to use it excessively, like booze. I mean occasional use is fine… but it’s called dope for a reason. It literally makes you stupider.”

Eliza’s eyes become glossy as she giggles strangely. “God, you’re just like Ash and Courtney.  They’ve really rubbed off.” She exhales.

“I guess, but I also read on my own, and my school isn’t bad. I don’t watch reality TV or use social media. I don’t need an escape from my reality because I don’t create problems I can avoid. I don’t need wild experiences to prove I exist. I know I’m really here—in this life.”

“I get it!” Eliza blurts out laughing maniacally. “Emery Leheir!”

“Welp,” I stand up, indifferent to Eliza’s mania. If this is what drugs do— I’m glad she didn’t raise me.  I wonder how often she would have actually been present.  “I’ll go make us breakfast,” I say closing the door to Eliza’s hysterical laughter.  I sigh and pull my phone out. I don’t feel anything, but I can at least express my rational gratitude for not being brought up in this environment. Lights flash and my camera records, as Dad’s face awkwardly takes up my entire screen. “Merry Christmas, Dad,” I say. 

Dad points the camera at Mom, who’s dancing by a large window. “See the ball?” he asks, following her and catching a bad view of Times Square. “Merry Christmas, baby!” Mom shouts.

“Merry Christmas, Mom. I love you. Sigh. I gotta go and help with breakfast,” I say coldly.

Mom and Dad glance at each other. “Don’t be too down in the dumps, son. Regardless of what it seems like, Eliza’s doing her best to accommodate you. Try not to be too hard on her,” Mom says. “She loves you as much as we do.”

“Bye, son,” they say in unison. “Merry Christmas. Tell Eliza we said hello!”

“Bye. Bendicion Mami. ‘Cion Papi.”

“Dios te bendiga,” they say, ending the video call.

Why was I so mean to them? Why was I—I… Why did I fight with my dad and make my mother cry? I slump against the cold wall in the hallway.

“Emery…” Kanti whimpers.

I wrap my arms around him. “I’m good. Just thinking.”

“Are you?” Kanti asks concerned. “Your thoughts have been inaudible.”

Aemon’s palm gently squeezes my shoulder. 

It’s hard to tell whether or not I trust him. But, in the off chance he’s telling the truth, I’m caught between two massively powerful gods vying for power. I need to determine which one is worse than the other. “Yea, Kanti. I’m good; it’s not every day you realize why your life is the way it is,” I respond avoiding my telepathic invisibility.

“Such a situation is the better of the two,” Kanti says softly. “Doubtful your capabilities would have been sharpened in this household.” 

“Exactly—I appreciate the circumstances that took me away from Eliza before I had the chance of being like her.”

Kanti stands firm. “Young Emery, Elizabeth was not always in such a state of disarray. I understand what it is you feel, but do not think that what you witnessed of her during your lifetime is enough to disregard who she has been.”

“I don’t care about that. I’m alive right here, right now. It doesn’t matter what was; I only care about what is. It’s the only sign I have of what is going to be. I don’t have a ton of life experience, but I don’t need it to recognize what I shouldn’t be… what I don’t want to be.” I descend through the floor and hover into Eliza’s kitchen.


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