The television showed Peter getting kicked over and over until his body was a crumpled heap in the middle of the street. Karlin tried not to feel sorry for him, but did anyway. He must’ve told someone in the clan after it happened. She hoped that no one knew it was her. She’d been relatively good about hiding her identity. After all, not every admirable type of star made a spectacle of it. Plenty of red giants dressed normally and acted like anyone else. A lot of people preferred to keep their stars a secret.

But lately, there seemed to be a growing amount of people flaunting their match. Karlin wasn’t sure what caused the fluctuation, but it made her slightly nervous. Apartment complexes were forming based off location in a galaxy. People got rich solely off their status as a popular star, which was the most conceded concept because popular only meant stars that could be easily seen from Earth. It drove her crazy.

She heard a knock on the kitchen window and saw a figure. It scared her to death until she realized who it was.

“What the fuck do you want?” she asked Peter once she helped him climb through the window. “Also, I have a front door.”

“Do you really want people to know I’m here? They’ll kill me.”

He was so selfish. He sat hunched on the couch in what looked like severe pain.

“What about me?”

“Yes, you too, Karlin,” he snapped.


He took a slow breath. “I’m sorry. I came here to explain things to you. What happened a few nights ago…I was scared and I hope now you can understand why. These people that I’ve identified with maybe aren’t the best kind.”

“Well apparently not, Peter.”

“I’m stuck. I signed a contract. We are supposed to ban together. But I didn’t know how they were. It was stupid. I’m stupid.”

Sympathy continued to involuntarily ooze from Karlin. “You’re just 22 years old.”

He sat with his head in his hands, letting his composure become even more pathetic. “God Karlin, you have no idea what they plan to do.”

@2015 Kayla Lewis