Excerpt from "When Nothing But A Star"

"Gran! Is this where you went?"

"Gran, how could you leave us?"

"Miran, don't you see? She was the lonely star that led the way."

Miran was confused, but as she looked at the star with her Gran's face, she started to understand. "This is like the rhyme, isn't it? You gave your heart to break up the darkness."

"Nothing less than a star…" Gran's voice twinkled in her ears.

Tapi's face was scrunched up as he concentrated on some serious thought. "So then, if we give our hearts, will we become stars and break up the dark?"

Gran seemed to nod, if a star could nod.

Miran watched Tapi stare at the star globes, so, so many emotions swirling through her. If they gave their hearts, then they would also become stars? "Isn't it lonely, being a star? Is it enough?"

Gran looked at her, ever so gently and once again her star voice lilted, "Is it enough to be a light in the darkness? Oh child, there is no loneliness for stars. We all have each other. There is no greater joy than giving light to those who need it."

Nodding slowly, Miran continued to watch Tapi, who had stopped dancing around and was standing still with an equally thoughtful face. She knew every single thought that went through his mind just by the way the corners of his mouth tipped upward or downward, the way his hands twisted together, and the way he was looking at her imploringly.

There it was, the thought that surfaced above all the others, shining in his eyes under his silver hair and Miran's heart started to pound. Tapi was too good, too selfless, and she wanted to be selfless with him, like she usually could, but not this time. No, this time she didn't want to be selfless. This time she wanted to be selfish and keep Tapi all to herself. How could she bear it if he went to join the dark? All alone up in the sky, with only the dark and promise of light if others also gave their hearts?

The thought was too unbearable. "No." Miran said it softly but firmly, and Tapi's gaze wavered.

"Miran, this is what we journeyed for."

"No, we journeyed to find Gran, and there she is. We can't bring her home, but I can bring you home."

Tapi was stubborn. "Home is where your family is. Gran is up there. I want to go up there too. I want to be a light."

Miran was feeling desperation eat at her skin. "Tapi, you are a light. You already shine."

He shook his head. "Not so other people can see."

"I see you."

Tapi just kept looking at her, melting her heart and turning it to stone at the same time. "You can see me as a star, too."

"No!" Miran ran a few steps forward and wrapped her arms around her little brother, holding him tightly against her chest. "You can't leave me. You can't leave. I won't let you."

Somehow, Miran knew Tapi was smiling as he spoke. "Come with me, then. We can be a family again, all three of us together, and break up the dark."

Miran buried her face in his silver hair, half-sobs wrenching themselves from her throat. "Tapi…no…"