He was born when the Sun wrestled Gemini and fiery Leo loomed on the horizon. The stars never promised him much, the way he saw it. Maybe they held the backdrop of the universe in place, or maybe they were random balls of gas floating around waiting to collide. Maybe they were the whispered secrets of the gods, complex codes for understanding the past and predicting the future, but he found that theory amusing, at best.
Until he met her.
Her name was Star and when she wasn't talking about music and poetry and current events, she would look toward the sky and call out a constellation. She said she was cursed, but he didn't believe it, because someone who doesn't believe in magic out there can't possibly believe in it down here. Yet she knew when the Ram was charging, when the Scales were out of balance, when Sagittarius had his bow and arrow pointed straight at her. He would just grin and laugh a little at the ridiculousness of it all.
I'm warning you, she'd say to him. When the Black Moon is stung by Scorpio, you'll see...
He thought it was part of her charm, an eccentricity of sorts. Some girls pierced their tongues to be rebellious, some wore their makeup as black as their fishnet stockings. He once knew a girl who got a tattoo in every place she'd ever had a scar, and it was hard to find a splash of skin on her that was the same color as the day she was born. Girls were funny that way; they were all convinced of their own invisibility when in reality they're perfectly impossible to miss.
Star was no different, really. She just didn't wear her rebellion, she created it in words that made believers out of skeptics.
She told him not to fall in love with her, but he was no good at listening.
On a night as black and thick as ink, he awoke to her sing-song voice: It's time.
From across the room, he could barely make out her silhouette against the backdrop of the window. The absence of moonlight threatened to drain the room of gravity, and he realized it was hard to breathe. The only light in the room came from of decades-old digital alarm clock that read 3:23.
She didn't move. He reached for his phone.
Time for what?
His phone came to life, casting a glow on the woman transforming before him. Her mouth was moving, her words hanging in the air like mist:
You thought I was joking, you didn't believe...
Her shape was growing, lengthening. Her voice was shifting, her words slow and deep like chords on a cello.
This is me. This..... is me.
She stepped toward him, and the light in the room turned on in an instant before it grew so bright that the lightbulb blew. But he only needed that brief moment to see. Before him stood a woman in demon form, arms and legs that belonged on some prehistoric creature with great claws; horns where her ears should have been; bulging, beady, angry eyes that focused on him with great intent. And her mouth.... her jaw stretched the length of her torso, contorting her head in such a way that she looked furiously hungry, teeth bared and ready to feast.
He knew instinctively that she could devour him with one bite.
But the question was...