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The first time Stella noticed a constellation missing she ignored it.  Sometimes solar winds or other things would flare up and hide them from view.  When it did not return after a week, she tried not to worry.    Only when Andromeda and Cassiopeia disappeared as well did she tell her brother.

"Cyrus, can you please be serious?" Stella asked, growing frustrated at the way he had not allowed her to say more than two words about the stars.  "I'm worried."

"What else is new?"

"Please listen to me."

"How about some lunch?  Are you hungry?  I was thinking of trying out that new Mexican place down the road.  I've heard they've got great salsa."

"Cyrus, please."

"Look, you're always fretting about this or that," Cyrus told her, pausing long enough to give her a stern look.  "I'm sure whatever this is will sort itself out."

Stella took a deep breath.  "Cyrus, I've been watching it for weeks.  Stars are disappearing.  Look at them"

"It's daylight out, kiddo."

Growing frustrated, Stella stood up from his couch and marched over.  She pushed her dress off her shoulder where he could not avoid it.

"There should be Orion there."

She tugged her dress down a little further.

"Cassiopeia goes here."

"Fine, fine, I'll look," Cyrus whined, setting down the bag of chips he'd been holding.

He peered at her skin where she had told him.  Instead of the usual, barely moving nebulae that graced her, there was nothing but inky blackness.  It was hard to see exactly where everything resumed as the stars always had been hard for him to keep track of.

"I'm worried," she whispered.  "What if it's something with Mom and Dad?  I want to visit."


"This could be serious."

"We're not going up there.  End of story."

"You're right.  I mean, it's only one spot.  And..." she trailed off as she caught a glimpse of his skin.

While she was everything in the night sky, he was the day, skin fluctuating between sunrise and sunset with the occasional storm cloud for variety.   Beneath his shirt, however, she could see a splotch of blackness spreading out from his back.  It was even more stark than her own when meshed with the deep orange the rest of his body was.

"Stell, the answer is still no," he said, stepping away and covering the spot.

"We need to see them," Stella insisted, her voice firm.

"I'm not going up there.  That was one of the promises you made me when I agreed to move to Earth.  We aren't going back."

"Why not?"

Cyrus huffed and ran a hand down his face.  "They'll start in with the whole murder thing again."

"It'll just be for a few days."

"When is it ever a few days?" Cyrus challenged.  "They'll start in about how we're over 500 now and it's about time we took over our responsibilities.  Well you know what, Stell?  I don't want them.  I don't want to actually pull the sun.  Forget that.  It's hard and it's repetitive and boring as all get-out.  I'm good with answering the occasional prayer and that's a concept that they can't seem to understand.  It's better to be down here and hide ourselves than to put up with that."

"You're doing it again," Stella whispered.

"What's that?"

"You're putting what you want above what we need to do."

"You sound just like them."

"We need to go see what's happening.  If we're not prepared and someone kills our parents, we get hit with all that power anyway but without the warning.  You've always had trouble with impulse stuff.  Let me tell you that this is better in the long run.  Please, Cryus, we could need this."

"No.  I'm not going and that's final.  Do you want to grab lunch or not?"

Stela was quiet for a few seconds.  "Promise me you'll think about it, alright?  If a few days you can tell me if you still don't want to go and that's fine but I'm going."

"Do you want some Mexican food?"

"Yeah, I'll come."