The sky was speckled with stars, a sea of navy with its imperfect pin pricks of light. Tinley stared up, wishing it were possible to count the stars. She wanted to reach out and grab one of the tiny, glowing dots of brilliance, just to see what would happen when she held it in her hands. But she knew, even if she were to pull it from its home in the cosmos, it would be far too large, too fiery, to keep hold of.
Still, Tinley focused. Reached for the first star of the Gemini constellation—her constellation. She pulled, tugged, brought the star closer to the earth as if by an invisible rope. And when it came too close, when she could nearly feel its heat warming the atmosphere, she blew. And away the star went, back to its rightful position against the backdrop of navy.
"Why do you insist on playing with those when you know the consequences?" came an all-too familiar voice. Her ex-boyfriend, Nyle Storm.
Tinley sighed, rolled onto her stomach, and craned her neck uncomfortably to meet his gaze. Hesitantly, he lowered himself to her level, lying on his stomach in front of her. "To feel a twinge of the burn."
"And what happens when you get burned?" Nyle asked, his voice lowered.
"I come alive."
"You aren't now?" he questioned.
"Not since I became a Tressik," she replied in a whisper.
Nyle brought his hand to Tinley's hair, playing with a strand of sterling silver hair that hung too straight to be natural. That's because it wasn't. "Is that why you won't be with me?"
Tinley didn't answer. And Nyle knew it was because she didn't want to talk about it.
But then Tinley whispered again. Nyle couldn't quite hear her, couldn't quite make sense of what she'd said. A soft light, a gentle glowing orb began springing from her thin, colorless lips. Nyle felt confused. It was like being high, only more disorienting, less hazy, and just exactly as comforting. And somehow, he felt clarity. Everything he looked at, every thought he had, it was all explained in a split second synapse connection in his brain. It was unnatural, unnerving. But slowly, the feeling drained from his body.
"Would you want to always see that way? Hear, feel, taste, smell, think with such intense clarity that everything startles you and nothing surprises you? It's better to be like you, to be a Frelain. Stay away from me, Nyle. Stay alive." Tinley pushed herself up and sprang to her feet. Nyle could see the way her eyes were alight—literally glowing in a dull, lifeless sort of light. And Nyle couldn't help but wonder what had happened to the girl he fell in love with.