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Callisto's Star

“Don’t you get it?” my fellow comrade croaks in a mere whisper, reaching up shakily to touch my hair peeking out beneath my hood. Pain ripples across her pale, bloodied face.

“Callisto,” I sob, not bothering to suppress my shaking body, “Don’t speak.” My voice too is a no more than a whisper.

I stare deep into Callisto’s eyes, whose cling to mine in her last moments. “Zoe,” the dying girl rasps in her ringing soprano. “The stars.”

I blink, and her words fill me, yet don’t give me comfort. The stars, they’re just specks in the sky!

“You did well,” I say, barely audible. “You’re a good warrior. We won’t forget you.” I know I won’t. Callisto’s my best friend, my closest confidante. There’ll never be someone to replace her. “Callisto,” I repeat, just to hear the name out loud.

The girl lying down on the small dirt slope let’s her arm fall, and takes one last heaving breath. From there, I can only watch as the light in her eyes fade.

I lean back and let out a sob, letting all my anguish out.

Naida steps out from behind me. “Zoe,” she says quietly, leaning forward to close Callisto’s still eyes. “The stars, Zoe. Look.”

I don’t want to look at the stars, but I obey anyways. At first my sight is blurred, and I have to wipe the tears away. Then I see it. The new, bright star shining above the Ursa Major constellation. I realize that Callisto knew more than I gave her credit for. She knew that the legend of the stars was true, when I chose to turn away from the truth. But now I see.
“The stars,” I whisper, letting the words take on a new meaning. “She’s among the stars now.”

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