The cold night air took away Tod’s breath as the woman hauled him through the sky, toward the stars. “Hey, wait,” he tried to say, but the words wouldn’t form in his throat, and even if they had, he knew they wouldn’t have made a difference. They climbed higher and higher until Tod saw a gleam of gold below them – their planet. He could see the mountains from here.
“You know we can’t get through the barrier,” he said. “Not without Eli.” The only way he and Eli could go back in the first place was if they combined their energy and called for the other Gemini to help them. Tod going through alone – it would disturb the balance and their universe would fight against it. Without Eli, Tod was little more than a human.
The woman scoffed. “Well, guess you finally got lucky, Tadraz. I found a loophole.”
Tadraz. My real name. He grimaced. Her fingers latched onto his.
“Wait, what?” He tried to pull away. “What are you doing?”
He could feel her power coursing through his body. “No. No!” He tried to struggle, but she was much too strong. In a moment, she had merged with him and Tod was gone, seeing the world through her eyes, battling with her thoughts. It wasn’t long before her power overcame his and he blacked out.
Her name was Isolde and she was going to bring peace to the world. Well, that was the plan anyway. She pulled her hood down, watching Tod as he lay there on the floor. She crouched by his side, pushing his sweaty hair away from his forehead. “Poor baby,” she said.
“Isolde!” a voice echoed in her ear and she heard the familiar clomp of hooves. Smiling, Isolde leaped to her feet to see her father coming her way.
“Daddy,” she said, rushing over to him. “Look.” She pointed at Tod’s body.
Her father laughed. “I’m proud of you.” He kissed her forehead, then stooped lower to look at Tod, his muscles creaking with age. “What is he wearing? You can’t expect to march to the palace with him looking like that.”
She eyed Tod’s strange outfit. “Dad, you know the humans have weird superstitions. Obviously, those plastic things don’t work against us.” She pointed at Tod’s necklace.
Her father was a Taurus, since the line of Cassiopeia was all female. Horns sprouted from his head and tattoos burned into his skin flickered in the light.
“Certainly not.” He chuckled, running a hand over his beard. “So, did someone else get Eli?”
“I don’t know yet, but I’m sure they will.”
“Well, I’m proud of you. You’re going to be queen.”
“Finally. We worked so hard.” She felt the warm light getting steadily warmer inside her and the smile on her face grew brighter. She’d tell her father later. He’d be so happy.
“Tod’s gone?” Sunny yelled. She couldn’t believe it. She shook her head. “You were supposed to be watching out for each other.” Her voice trembled.
“I know – I know. It just happened so fast. I’ll find him, don’t worry,” Eli said. Better than anyone, he knew that was what he had to do.
“I’ll come,” Sunny said.
“No,” Eli said. “No, you go back home. You can’t come. You’re a human and you’ll die on our planet.”
“But you can’t even get home without Tod,” she protested.
“I’ll find a way,” Eli said, pushing past her.
Sunny ran after him. “But wait, you can’t just leave me – ”
He didn’t answer, slamming the door. Sunny wanted to run after him, but she knew he was right. There was nothing she could do – she was a human. She’d never hated being a human so much before. It always seemed like it was a gift – make a mistake, well, you’re only human. But now it was what was preventing her from helping her friends.
She checked the time. It was three o’clock in the morning. How worse could this trip get? She’d have to go home, tell her parents what happened. She just imagined how that would go.
“So the boys we adopted, they’re actually aliens from another planet. On the way to Nashville, we got attacked by this woman, who’s also from that planet, but they killed her, so it’s all good, right? But then another came to our hotel and kidnapped Tod. Of course I can’t do anything, so Eli left to go after him. And I didn’t even get to see the solar eclipse. That’s what I’m really bummed about.” Sunny burst into tears. She knew her parents wouldn’t believe her. Her dad would probably say something like, “Cocaine is a hell of a drug,” and her mom would think she was crazy.
Hey, even she thought she was crazy. She remembered that she hadn’t called her parents to tell them that they’d gotten here all right but she figured it was too late now. She lay back on her bed and rubbed her eyes, inhaling shakily. It would be fine. She’d go home, she’d make up a story, say that they found another family – it didn’t matter.
She’d just forget about them.
But she knew that wasn’t going to happen.