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The Worth of Words: Chapter 1

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen “God, fuck this. Fuck quarentine,” Jacob muttered. He scrolled through Youtube and scratched his nose. “Why the fuck are we paying New York rent for Kentucky living?” And, that was the end of that. Shortly after, he got the bright idea that we should move away … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 1

Under the Bed: Chapter 1

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen In the basement lies Mother’s chest. She never spoke of it when she was around.  It’s been years since Mother disappeared.  “Petra, my dear, Petra, the jar is under the bed. The carving in the trunk will tell you what to do with it. Only talk … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 1

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 17

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 17: You have the same eyes. Even I can tell. “So how does this work exactly? Do I just think about teleporting when the energy, or whatever, starts vibrating my body?” I ask, zooming through a whirlwind behind Aiven and Kanti. “Uh, in … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 17

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 16

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 16: Goonies. “Yes!” I scream, clenching my fists.  “You’re my brother, idiot! I love you!” I roar, then embrace Aiven. This is real. I have to be strong...even if that means killing what's left of my already-dead brother. “Thanks, Em. I love you, … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 16

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 15

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 15: A decent proposal. If I’d known it would come to this, would I have accepted the cloak? Maybe Aiven could have lived forever. Why is he turning into a Nothing? I look out the window and stare beyond the streetlights, beyond the … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 15

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 14

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 14: It’s true. I assure you. But, in the imaginary sense, of course.  “So, they were always real? I wasn’t crazy? I mean, I kind of had a feeling. But, it’s just nice to have someone confirm it… Even if no one else … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 14

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 13

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 13: Chaos control. It feels like warmth hugging my body. I glance at Aiven, then tug at the cloak's sleeve. “It fits perfectly!" I respond. "Bro, I feel like Jes—” “No, you don’t," Aiven interrupts solemnly. "Don’t, Em. Really, just don’t go there.” … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 13

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 12

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 12: You said a lot. Finished? God dammit... mug fragments keep clicking, clanking and shuffling in my backpack. Why am I not holding the bag? Sigh. How fast does Aiven expect me to get home? What the hell are we even running out … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 12

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 11

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 11: Carmel? Caramel? Who’s to say?  She holds up a dingy paperback. “Sorry, yoh is Yiddish for yes," Mrs. Danison responds. She closes her desk drawer. "I get excited, pay me no mind, sweetie. It’s a book!” “I see that. But what’s it … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 11

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 10

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 10: We Aren’t That Different, Are We?  My chest trembles. Aemon’s incomprehensible words send my body into a seizure. A single wave of red light illuminates the darkness with a bloody tint. Shadow mannequins, grotesque monsters, behemoths and giants surround me: some are … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 10

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 9

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 9: Election Day for the sane. SLAM! “Hel—” WHAM! “Wraaaaaaaurrrgh!” “Oh god! Fuuu—” SLAM! My skull’s crumbling! “Graaaahr!” the demon roars. It thrashes about, slamming my head like a caveman cracking a rock. SLAM! It yanks my heads back up. THUD! It yanks … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 9

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 8

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 8: Darkness. “Aiven?” I ask. Why can’t I walk? “Aiven!” Thump! Thump! Thump! A huge silhouette stands under a flickering light. “Raagh!” It bellows. Its eyes burn through the darkness. “Aiven!” What do I do—What do I do! “Aiven!” “Relax,” Aiven says, emotionless. … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 8

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 7

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 7: Last call. “Yeah… God,” Arsen responds. “Now, nigga, you know I’m not an atheist, but freedom isn’t always as simple as a state of mind. I’m not saying people should use god as an excuse or some shit, but if you want … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 7

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 6

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 6: What more can I say? We laugh hysterically. Arsen can deal with popularity. I’m not the biggest fan of it. “Anyway, whuzzup, kid? Pound it!” He shouts extending his hand. We bump fists. I lose intelligence. “Not much,” I respond, leaving my … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 6

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 5

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 5: The kids were never actually alright. Look at their parents. The silhouette of a man stands next Edgar and Gaige. I can’t see him clearly, and I don’t want to. Something inside me knows it’s him. He’s smiling. Light radiates from the … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 5

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 4

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 4: Two words, Snake: Shadow Moses. A black snout and deep blue eyes… “Emery!” Dad shouts. He sprints between his front bumper and the parked car ahead. The massive lab leaps over the cemetery fence. If I knew what was happening, I’d give … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 4

Shattered Glass

Water exhales a breath of fog into the bay. From the top of the lighthouse, Glass stares off into the distance, illuminating sleeping sailors of bone and ash. For centuries, they had been preserved over their frozen vessels; how and when they reached the secluded fjord is still a mystery to her. The world beyond … Continue reading Shattered Glass

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 3

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 3: Death is a small price to pay for respect. “Look, son, you can stay with Elisabeth in Edgewater if this seems rushed and unnatural,” Dad says, his eyes scanning each mirror. He shifts to the right lane. “We just thought we’d stay … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 3

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 2

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 2: Logically speaking, this doesn’t make sense. The sun’s out. What the hell happened? I scratch my head and rub my face. How long did I sleep? Did I even sleep? What was— “Emery!” Mom yells from downstairs. Her authority drags me back … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 2

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 1

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 1: The whole me. The first anniversary of Aiven’s death was a month ago. Since then, I’ve been seeing the shadows again. Tonight isn’t any different. A chuckle vibrates the foot of my bed. I pull my covers over my head, but their … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 1

The Cloak of Nothing: Prologue

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen When I was four Mom and Dad decided my brother, Aiven, and I were too big for one bed. The day our new bunk bed arrived, I felt a mixture of excitement and anxiety. I wanted to be a big boy but I was … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Prologue

Heartlands: Snow White

By: Mark Figueroa | Twitter: @anthony_abyss The Heartland, a large county in North Western Jersey, is composed of several small suburbs and tranquil towns, like the illustrious snow-covered Thatcher Township, and peaceful Harwaven. Unknown to the inhabitants of Heartland County, there are many wonders and mysteries lurking around their suburbs.  --- Every morning at 8 … Continue reading Heartlands: Snow White

Gazing into the abyss

Emery looks at his hands. He pauses. It can't be undone. The stench of rust assaults his nostrils. Emery exhales. A breeze blows past, swaying grass and rustling branches. Emery flicks his wrist and conjures a small humanoid. The creature stumbles, then stands. Some hope. Maybe there's a chance that things can still be fixed. … Continue reading Gazing into the abyss

The Worth of Words: Chapter 9

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen After what felt like an eternity of Dad making phone calls and sending emails, he's able to assemble a small team of special government contractors through an old contact. "We're all set," he says, hanging up his cell and typing away on his laptop. … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 9

The ‘O’ Juice

Vergil sits in his living twirling his empty ice-filled glass. He sighs. “One more. Just one more sip.” He reclines in favorite chair. Stained, tattered cloth worn at the edges and faded from years of urine, drug abuse and the sporadic romances Vergil often emptied his bank account for. Thirsty, hungry, horny and penniless, Vergil … Continue reading The ‘O’ Juice

Heartlands: Moment of Clarity

By: Mark Figueroa | Twitter: @anthony_abyss The Heartland, a large county in North Western Jersey, is composed of several small suburbs and tranquil towns, like the illustrious snow-covered Thatcher Township, and peaceful Harwaven. Rich in culture and diversity, and best known for its oddities, the Heartlands are also home to the "Nànan Wàbi", or the … Continue reading Heartlands: Moment of Clarity

Under the Bed: Chapter 9

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen "About this piece of wood, Szófia, how big does it have to be?" I ask. We pace around the outskirts of the woods, carrying a duffel bag with a saw, a machete, gloves, rope and other utilities we definitely over packed. "Sofi?" Szófia examines … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 9

The Worth of Words: Chapter 8

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen "Simona," a voice says. I turn around. Mom appears behind me. We embrace and Mom kisses my forehead. "I knew you and your father would find a way," Mom exclaims. She grabs my hand. "I know there are a lot of other questions you … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 8

Under the Bed: Chapter 8

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen As the credits roll, I look over at Szófia, who is practically in tears. "Spoiler alert," I whisper, "There's a part two... Well, like a ton of parts, the guy who created the series is nuts." "What about that person at the end? Are … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 8

The Seamstress in Twilight

Solange bade to Allen with a flick of her wrist, beckoning him from the abysmal plains of his own melancholic making. Since the death of his wife and daughter, he yearned to end the cycle of his self-perpetuated, suffocating solitude; however, despite his devouring desire to see the sparks of passion and feel the warmth … Continue reading The Seamstress in Twilight

The Worth of Words: Chapter 7

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen "Some thirty years ago, when your mother and I met...," Dad says, sitting stoic. He pauses and stares at me, then continues. "I was on a strange case. I won't get into the details, but basically, there was some kind of toxin affecting people … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 7

Under the Bed: Chapter 7

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Szófia looks at me concerned. She hikes her skirt down. "I am not comfortable with this half dress going up so high in real life. It feels so indecent," she says, as we examine ourselves in front of my mirror. Her natural beauty is … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 7

Heartlands: Pursuing the trail

The man on the tracks | Picking up the tracks | Adhesion Coefficient Trees rustle under the sunset. Jay enjoys a cold beer, while Erin sips on a Long Island Iced Tea with fairy spit. She looks at Jay, picturing him old, frail and senile in a nursing home. Cringing, she ignores the thought. "So, … Continue reading Heartlands: Pursuing the trail

The Creature

They say there's a creature more terrifying than the monsters tucked away in the dark recesses of our minds. Stealing the souls of those who wander for their own sustenance, the creature is the bane of every Voidal denizen's being; a repulsive, repugnant ne'er-do-weller with an abysmal moral compass. It prays on the meek. It … Continue reading The Creature

Under the Bed: Chapter 6

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Over the past few weeks, Szófia and I patrolled the dense, eerie woods to the north of my town. There are usually plenty of spirits wandering since its a popular place for suicides and corpse-dumping. A warm breeze whirls past us while we meander … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 6

The Worth of Words: Chapter 6

Thanks for reading The Worth of Words and enjoying my content. If you don't already know, shares and likes are free, and incredibly valuable. Share the content and spread the wealth. It costs nothing, but a click. My father takes a seat at the wooden table. "I suppose you were never going to tell me … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 6

Heartlands: Virtual Insanity

Lars fogs up his silver, rock-shaped flask. He polishes the chromatic surface and sighs. "First the godsdamned bottle I left in Scotland, then the laddie with nay a constitution. Oy, I reckon kids ta'day're as complicated as human will ever be, I s'pose. En't it so, Teppin?" Lars asks, shoving the flask into his tunic … Continue reading Heartlands: Virtual Insanity

The Worth of Words: Chapter 5

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Bags in hand, I leave the airport and hop into Detective Cannen's car. He glances at me with a solemn expression. I frown, avoiding his eyes. He probably thinks I'm the stupidest person in the world. I was here less than a week ago … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 5

Heartlands: Changes

It's a warm Summer evening in Harwaven. Shawn stumbles out of his room, tipsy from a sip of a mysterious prismatic liquid. He grabs a light hoodie and shimmies his way out the door in cargo shorts and Vans, fidgeting with the bottle in his pocket. His sister, Amanda, grabs his hood before he gets … Continue reading Heartlands: Changes

The Turning Tide of Tilda Làvois

Related: No Need to Write You a Love Song | HP: High Value Target | Dinner with Friends Matilda Làvois, or Tilda, as she was called, ran through another urine-soaked, vomit-scented, fluid-stained alley on a broken, brick road in Paris. Born in winter 1692, a few days shy of the new year, and going on … Continue reading The Turning Tide of Tilda Làvois

Under the Bed: Chapter 5

Story by Mark Figueroa (anthony_abyss) | Featured art by: Salem Jaeger @theforgottenpen Szófia sighs. She guzzles down my hot toddy like ice tea and exhales a silent belch. "Őfelsége," she whispers, sniffling, then mutters in Hungarian. I pretend not to hear. It's been almost a week since Szófia came back to life, or something like … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 5

Heartlands: End of a Season

Amanda skips rocks over the lake. Her father, Wes, sips his beer, then shakes his line. "That was weird. That Harwaven Roe," Amanda says, staring into the distance. She grabs another handful of pebbles and watches birds glide through the trees. "I don't ever want to experience anything like that again." Her words are muffled … Continue reading Heartlands: End of a Season

Under the Bed: Chapter 4

Story by Mark Figueroa (anthony_abyss) | Featured art by: Salem Jaeger @theforgottenpen Tree branches spread like veins across the sky, covering clouds and the full, orange moon. I sit in the living room, waiting for black mist to signal Őfelsége's presence. So far, it's been like every other offering night. The air's thick and charged … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 4

The Worth of Words: Chapter 4

Mom, Dad and Kathy have all been here for a few days now. I can't say I mind the company, but I'm glad my parents are leaving this afternoon. Unfortunately, Kathy's staying for a while, but it could be worse. After scouring through a series of Tweets, I found one person who claimed to have … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 4

HP: Another Day at the Office

(Dinner with Friends | High Value Target) "So, what do we know so far?" Howard asks, squeezing a red rubber ball in Philip's side of their office. Philip examines a wall with Kalcyphir's picture in the center and shoves his hands in his pockets, sighing. "Well, Howard, to be honest, as of right now, we … Continue reading HP: Another Day at the Office

No Need to Write You A love Song

High beams passed along the Riverside highway, shimmering in brilliant beauty, illuminating the pavement. Waves crashing under the evening sky created a steady rhythm resembling soft chatter. Kalcyphir leaned over the rail, staring into the Hudson. He examined the abyss for his own reflection, incapable of seeing nothing but the shimmering darkness that will eventually … Continue reading No Need to Write You A love Song

The Apparition in the Cellar

For months, the mice, roaches and rats have kept me company. I've learned to floss with an amalgamation of rodent hair and critter legs in order to keep them from chewing through my face at night. It was on the eve of Hallowed Saints that I parlayed with a harlot of the sin-stained town whose … Continue reading The Apparition in the Cellar

The Kiln of Knavili

[Dinner with Friends | HP: High Value Target] "Dammit, Aldguin, you always do this," Kalcyphir shouts, pounding on door. "It's 1985. You can cancel plans with a phone call." He leans against the door and presses his ear below the peephole. Nothing. Kalcyphir knocks again. Still nothing. His shrugs his aggravation off and pulls a … Continue reading The Kiln of Knavili

Heartlands: The Adhesion Coefficient (μ)

The ratio between vertical load (weight/mass) and adhesion force (the point at which to unlike things attract). It's Valentine's Day afternoon. Marianne and Walter Sr. visit Walter's childhood friend, Jason Pannetti. They have a nice brunch courtesy of Erin. The couples discuss the goings on with their lives, work and everything in-between. The women split … Continue reading Heartlands: The Adhesion Coefficient (μ)

Under the Bed: Chapter 3

Heavy rain pounds against my window. Lighting smashes across the horizon, illuminating the overcast sky. Gusts jerk the trees. I trace the water down the glass with my finger. "Petra," Mom calls from the kitchen. Bacon, warm bread and coffee overpower the ordinary scent of my room. "I'm coming," I call out, pulling away from … Continue reading Under the Bed: Chapter 3

The Worth of Words: Chapter 3

( The Worth of Words: Chapter 2 | HP: High Value Target ) | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen "I saw it on the news, Simona. The biological attack. It's all over the place. They're saying someone found a way to transmit another strand of Covid. A strand that's more powerful than the … Continue reading The Worth of Words: Chapter 3

Heartlands: Picking Up the Tracks

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Walter Schreren Jr.'s (or Junior as his family calls him) screams wakes his parents. Another evening of consoling him before sunrise. For the past 2 years, every 3 days he's had the same dream at 4 am sharp. At first, there was no rhyme, reason … Continue reading Heartlands: Picking Up the Tracks