The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 39

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 39: Nothing in this world is free. If it is, you’re the sucker in the room. “Kanti, so what happened before? I became a ghost, or astral projected, right?” “A ghost, Young Emery, is a spirit unable, or unwilling, to accept death, with … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 39

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 38

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 38: What’s bad about immortality? You’re confused, just pull the trigger. “Kanti, will Raunch go to Olciaum Sorti Vivus?” I can’t believe I almost ate him. For being alive, or dead, I guess, it felt like Raunch was incapable of evil. It would’ve … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 38

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 37

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 37: Soiled knickers and tearful goodbyes. I won’t forget you, Raunch. “Meh. Dun’ think it wusso bad? O’I ‘ad to wear mushy kickers fa’ tew days on the boat, Kan’ee. Toilet paypah is the ultimate invention.” Raunch’s face is cheerful, and focused on … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 37

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 36

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 36: An overwhelming presence, what a man. No? Too soon? A knot swells in my esophagus as I remember Etriyenne’s words: “There is no recovering from devouring human souls.”  I really messed up… Stupid… Stupid… Stupid… I stumble toward the steps adjusting to … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 36

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 35

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 35: Wrong on so many levels.  “Think me mom’ll be ‘appy to see me?” “Yes.” “Of course,” Kanti inserts. Why is he looking at me like that? “Young Emery?” Kanti asks, concerned. “Yes, Kanti?” “Are you certain you can proceed?” “Yeah. I’m just … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 35

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 34

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 34: Me name’s, Raunch. This is me dog, Scruff. This is pretty straight forward. I overpower its grip and place my hand over its forehead. “Be gone!”  The kid stares awkwardly. “Evil spirit, I banish you to whence you cameth from!” Gah, what … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 34

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 33

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 33: Me name? You know it, Sir. “Kanti… pssst. Hey Kanti… Kanti?” I whisper, clutching my belongings and walking upstairs. The lights turn on when I reach the top step revealing a living room with an enormous, in-wall flat screen. “I almost forgot … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 33

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 32

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 32: The Sunflower Samurai.  This is impossible! Mymud has no tell! He doesn’t even have eyes! How am I supposed to defend myself? I can’t keep evading him. How do I use the cloak for this? “Are you incapable of defeating me, Emery?” … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 32

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 31

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 31: There’s something I want you to find: where I belong. Mymud lunges at me and swiftly kicks me in the chest, sending me flying against the concrete wall.  “Agh,” I mutter, getting off the ground.  My charger and games levitate in the … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 31

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 30

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 30: It’s Dummy, right?  My footsteps are inaudible when I finally reach the stone, basement floor.  Eliza really spared no expense making this place. Too bad it looks like a dump from the outside. I plop my duffel bags next to the large, … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 30

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 29

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 29: No harm done. No offense taken, not by me, anyway. Kanti silently steps over the polished wood floor, stopping in the center of the main hall, examining the rooms beside us. “By willing it so. Where there is a will, there is … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 29

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 28

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 28: Rebellion starts in the soul. It can’t be created. This is like a bad video game. All of this happening at once can’t be a coincidence. Aiven just happened to be waiting to give me the cloak; Aemon just happened to become … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 28

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 27

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 27: Pianos play pretty poems, but butterflies beautify boring bedrooms. “We were waiting for you so we could be on our way. We didn’t want to wake you up too soon though,” Mom says. “We wanted to spend more time with Emery before … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 27

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 26

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 26: I google searched “M.O.M,” and got 404’d. Ouch. “You knew?!” I wail at Kanti. “Knew what, Em?” Dad, Ashley, asks in an attempt to deflect my question. My eyes lock with Kanti’s. Even without the light of the Meta, I wouldn’t have … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 26

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 25

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 25: Can’t expect you to be who you’re not. Just be better than who you want to be.  “Emery, it’s noon!” Mom calls out. Sunlight penetrates the lone window at the foot of my bed. Kanti sits, calm and stoic. “Meditation is the … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 25

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 24

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 24: I just want to say, I hope you’re okay. “Aside from all the chaos and uncertainty, we also fear that his time is upon us.  The fragment within you, for example, would have rendered you an invincible zombie searching for the rest … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 24

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 23

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 23: Put your money in this basket, heathen. Therein lies salvation. “Sha-eek Ta eel?” “Yes. Your pronunciation is impeccable." Ecstatic, Achron shakes his massive fists. "We can speak to you in our tongue if you prefer, young cloak bearer?” Achron asks politely. “Ha! … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 23

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 22

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 22: It takes no fear to know fear. You aren’t capable of that, yet. “Wait! What?! And a piece of him is living inside me?” I scream, crossing my arms in front of my stomach. “How many other gods like Aemon are there?” … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 22

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 21

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 21: Love in the Abyss. “These four pillars of light converge with The Divine Source,” Kanti says. We finally reach the fringes of the red surface. “Olacium Sorti Mordis—Ah, Etriyenne,” Achron’s human face shouts endearingly. Its eyes light up. Etriyenne, an Amazonian woman … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 21

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 20

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 20: It’s not open to interpretation. Don’t be an idiot. “Is Olacium Purgatory?” I ask, examining the distance between the pillars. It’s taken us about an hour to get this far; god only knows how much we’ve walked, and how fast. “In a … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 20

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 19

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 19: It’s just Jazz.   I sigh, struggling to stand Aiven’s stone body. Achron’s four faces curiously examine me. His massive hands humbly extend toward me. “I got it,” I respond. Kanti’s eyes turn bright blue and Aiven’s stone body goes limp, weighing … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 19

The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 18

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Chapter 18: “Bullet Dodger: the movie,” poorly-written and directed by Life. “Crap! How’d we lose six minutes?” I ask, stumbling to my feet. “Time is a man-made construct to rationalize the process of moving through space. As such, it only exists within the third … Continue reading The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 18

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

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 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 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

HP: High Value Target

( Dinner with Friends ) Philip fumbles with his tie clasp, while Howard slouches over the rickety, wooden table, eating what could quite possibly be considered the worst hamburger ever made. Howard never asked for a partner, much less one so dull-witted and painfully unimaginative. Bureaucracy doesn't speak the language of comfort however. It only … Continue reading HP: High Value Target

Dinner with friends

By Mark Figueroa Under the light blue sky, Aldguin strums his guitar at the bench by the fountain. Children giggle and chase each other through the trees, screaming "You're it!" Clouds crawl through and around the bright sun. Leaning on Aldguin's shoulder, Elles tosses seeds from a bag on to the concrete. Birds chirp and … Continue reading Dinner with friends