They call her star girl. I call her Emmeryn. She’s my little sister, and a connector between this world and another. A magic world.
“Have you ever met Titania, Edward?”
“Have I ever… who?”
Emmeryn giggled. “She wants me to come live with her,” she whispered.
“Titania? As in Shakespeare’s Titania?”
“Shakespeare was like me. They told me so.”
Before I could ask her who, she ran away. Skipping. Tiny sparkles of light falling out of her dark hair. It reminded me of constellations.
I took Emmeryn to the park. It’s usually very quiet despite only being a few miles outside of London. That’s good, because my sister is odd. I used to try and stop her from gazing at nothing with round eyes and hands carefully folding to capture the empty air in a gentle cage. But it was no use. Then she would whisper something, and her hair would start to leak stars.
The old lady and I watched.
“How can you be so ordinary when your sister is such a little star girl?”
She meant no harm. She would laugh. I would smile. She would tell me about her deceased husband, about him being buried at the church three miles down the road, about her children who are always busy. And I would listen, keeping one eye on the dancing Emmeryn.
“Aren’t they pretty?” She would ask on the way home.
Then she would laugh and twirl.
I would have figured that a child with such a spirit, with enough passion that light escapes her eyes and her hair, would be very strong. But Emmeryn has always been weak. Her body always feels feverish like the fire inside was burning everything else up. When she turned seven, she began sleeping two days at a time.
“Like your mother,” the doctor said, touching the forehead of the child. Then he looked at his hand, twinkling with stardust. “And I thought she was young when they took her.”
“But Emmeryn is only seven.”
“I know… Ah, so strange. It won’t be long before she sheds this mortal shell.”
“You mean she dies.”
He took my shoulder and looked back and forth between my eyes, like he was searching for the reason why I was normal, why I was human.
“Do things really die? Or do they become something different?”
I sat down and watched my sister. I could feel the doctor watching the back of my head for a little while, then the air changed. It blew in and around the little room, stirring up the stars in Emmeryn’s hair. I resisted the urge to turn around until the wind stopped. When I did, the doctor was gone.
A star creature, a human with a touch of fae. Not a sorcerer who could mix science and magic, or a mage who could harness the magic of other creatures. But a star person, someone who created magic inside of them, a fairy kind of magic, beloved by all the fae, hunted my magic-seekers, short-lived because their human body could not hold up to the strain of their magic spirit.
When Emmeryn died, she would turn to star dust. Her spirit would be carried to another world, and I would never see her again. Because I did not even possess the Sight.
But it would almost come as a relief. I’ve looked after Emmeryn since she was born. I never knew my father, and I never knew hers. And our mother – or the woman who claimed to be my mother – disappeared when Emmeryn was born. Turned to dust. And I, a ten-year-old kid, spent my life from that time forward looking after Emmeryn. When Emmeryn was gone, I would have my own life.
Did that make me a bad person?
I ran my fingers through Emmeryn’s hair then stared at the tiny stars. They faded into my skin.
I whispered her name several times, then brushed her hair. Then watched these stars disappear. It was no use. She was somewhere else. I laid my head down and closed my eyes.
When I woke up, she was gone.
(Photo: Annie Spratt)