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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heartlands: Snow in the Summer

By Mark Figueroa As schools prepare for summer, Professor Claudio Pannetti paces around his classroom. He stops at window overlooking the main road to the town. His crestfallen eyes skip over the snow-covered trees and the overcast horizon. He watches the snow drift along the breeze, clinging to the grass, concrete and asphalt, leaving thin … Continue reading Heartlands: Snow in the Summer

Cat, Brush, Bottle

As the sun set on the horizon, Marnie brushed her hair while gazing at herself in the mirror. Since high school, Marnie had a morbid curiosity with death, the macabre and conspiracy. Her first blog was called "The Gael Gal". She wrote about clandestine groups, conspiracies and other general oddities from around Caithness county, or … Continue reading Cat, Brush, Bottle

The Lord of Cinder

by Mark Figueroa Her fingers brazenly smashed each key, until the silence receded into the corner of my mind. Darkness illuminated my soul as the scarlet path tore through the floor. Ash and sinew rode the explosive winds, enveloping the atmosphere.She smiled at me. "He's coming," she said. Her frail fingers quivered under the flickering … Continue reading The Lord of Cinder

A Short Survey

by Mark Figueroa Franklin sits up on his therapist's familiar leather couch. Despite years of use, its firm, sepia cushions appear brand new. The scent of honey and mothballs fills the air.  “We don’t have to keep doing this, Dr. Franklin,” Dr. Spruce says. She pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose and … Continue reading A Short Survey

Mantlean History (Condensed)

When Earthen Man and Mantleans existed in a parent-child harmony, the Mantleans aided the evolution of man, gave the species speech, art, war, and concepts of governing. Mantleans freely traversed the planet and were welcome among the Earthen Men. Unfortunately, as man became more conscious of itself and its inherent limitations, whole governments united over … Continue reading Mantlean History (Condensed)

By the Lake

“You’re late, Lars!” Earnest slams a heavy potato sack into the still waters of the lake. His dry, sunken eyes are red at the edges. “I—I didn’t think—” “Aye, laddy, you don't think at all, did’ya?” Lars removes his horned, iron helm and runs his gnomish hands through his mane. He takes a deep breath, … Continue reading By the Lake

The Fountain of Truth

by Mark Figueroa “So what happened next, dad?” The children asked in unison, clutching their sheets in anticipation. “Well, kids,” Antalaus said, resuming his story. “Lars nodded at me. ‘Then, we crush the heads an’ scoop the remainin’ soft meat from the bone,’ he said. His little eyes barely sticking out from underneath his large … Continue reading The Fountain of Truth

The Smoking Gun

by Mark Figueroa A twisted creature with backwards arms stretches its mouth open. Its head quivers as it stretches his face wider and wider. Cackles project from its throat like a witch circling victims on Halloween Night. The monster’s jaw cracks, snaps and breaks as the laughter from its throat continues. After a loud pop, … Continue reading The Smoking Gun