After quickly pulling a pair of jeans on under his shirt, I grab a pair of shoes from by the door and run out of the apartment. The ram's piercing gaze is burned into my brain. What happened? I must be losing my mind if one of my paintings suddenly turns its head and looks at me. I don't pay attention to where I'm walking, I just need to escape the painting.

When I finally stop and look around, I'm standing in front of Alcyone's Magic Shop. Maybe I can escape the painting in here. I wave my hand across my forehead, and a bright light flashing in an arc above me jerks my eyes upward. I swear the star on the shop sign just moved across the sign. I shake my head and walk in. There's an older woman standing at a large desk, with a girl who looks to be in her late teens is staring at a bird while a big guy with marks all over his arms is watching something in his hands.

The older woman's vivid grey eyes make me stop in my tracks. "And here is the third. Why did you keep us waiting?"


I sink down into a chair that Taurus pulled out for me. "So that's why the painting looked at me?"

Katrina nods and strokes Alcyone's head. "Taurus, Halcyone, sit. I have a story to tell you."

Halcyone sits in another chair that Taurus finds, and he leans against the window behind us.

Katrina sits on the edge of her desk and sighs deeply. "About five hundred years ago, five animals were created. The first Halcyone was born from ocean spray, sunlight, and siren song. A large star fell to earth far to the east of the Halcyone, and the first Taurus, or star-bull was born. Far to the southeast of Taurus, Lupine was created from a shooting star and darkness. And far to the north west, but not as far west as Taurus, a snake came down from the stars."

"Alcyone," Halcyone says.

Katrina nods.

"I've seen this happen before," I say looking down at the bright paint splatter on his shirt.

Taurus and Halcyone look at me like I'm crazy.

"In my dreams. I've been seeing this happen for weeks in my dreams," I explain quickly.

Katrina nods and pets Alcyone. "Yes, you have. But there is one more, you, Aries. Perhaps you can tell the last part."

I rest my arms on my knees and sigh as I close my eyes and watch the dreams flash vividly behind my eyelids. "And far to the south, directly under Taurus, Aries was born from a gold star and the soul of a ram. All five were created or born at the exact same time, and when they were, a gold and silver star with five points was formed. Each animal formed a bond with a certain person who could carry their magic. But the person Lupine shared a bond with had a dark soul, and wanted all of the power for himself. And so on the first anniversary of the bonds forming, Lupis and Lupine killed Aries' bonder, along with Taurus' and Halcyone's. But they didn't kill Alcyone's bonder for a special reason," I say as I slowly look up at Katrina. "Lupis didn't kill you because you're his sister."

Katrina nods. "I am Alcyone's first and only bonder, and Lupis is my brother."

The End

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