I feel its pulse.
The essence aquiver in the restless embers of its smoldering husk. It's a faint hush, but its breath threads between the barren spaces in our connection, stitching us together in ways once considered inconceivable.
I have created this entity. It bears my image and suckles my same sips of air, though its shivering skeleton is only a blossom.
Soon, she will ask to be born.
Bones and tendons sew together patiently in the sullen black depths of their gelatinous resting place, but this project of mine will stretch past its humble confines into opulent transcendence. My project will dance upon frail bones as dust and gobble its dim subjects with ravenous glee.
Within this scattered smattering of planets, in this isolated puddle, I have given birth to a star.
Her celestial aura serenades me between the agonizing hours of scrutiny, growth, and metamorphosis while she phases through evolution. She awes and startles me. I watch her shift and scratch herself into new shapes, each more intricate than the last, and cannot suppress my affection.
Her silver shimmer holds me. I'm captive to the warmth and light, like an unwitting child that shrouds itself in the skinned hides of many moons and draws comfort from their glow.
Gingerly, I slide a blade along my arm. It passes over with a reserved hiss and stokes the wrath of my blood vessels; they stumble over themselves to supply the awoken life fluid.
Crimson curls wind gently down my flesh and slip softly into the waiting pool of my darling little star. The dark mass in the humid blackness trembles. More blood disturbs the incubation pool. My star lunges through the tar and laps expectantly at my offering.
The creature whimpers a sound I have come to understand as "More, please."
I smile at the twisted mass and oblige.
Squeezing my laceration, I let the star lick directly from the source. It's the best way to nourish her, as she derives every taste of power from me.
"You know how dearly I love you, star?" I whisper into the warm wet nest of steaming gel.
My star chirrups and draws another rough black tongue over my cut.
"Never has there been such a thing of beauty. It is why I sit here all day and feed you, love, because you deserve it. You have earned my worship."
The star whimpers again. I frown. She doesn't usually ask this much of me, but...
"Just a bit more."
I cut again, luring new blood to the surface, and let my star drink her fill. Her suckling sputters into a fresh round of metamorphosis. I shiver as her tongue folds over itself with each scraping lick.
Darker, larger, and lovelier.
I admire the stretching of new bone spurts. Protruding growths erupt down her spine. Slowly, she peels herself from the holding tank and unveils a trembling leg from its murky mouth. The slender sliver of a leg comes with a tiny little foot, tapered toes and all, and meets the ground with a whispering tap.
I stare drunkenly at her in my corner of the universe.
She is my intoxication. The sweet-sour bite of madness.
She's gazing at me now, all robed in dark gel. Ripples of it shimmy down her torso and thighs. In my world, she's almost human... but something is amiss.
My star extends a hand.
"Give me... more. It's time."
I gasp and retreat a step from my star. Has she just... spoken?
"Star," I whisper breathlessly, "You speak!"
Her face is still evolving, taking on new attributes. Full lips fill the once-gaping space of her pointed mouth. Eyes carve dark pools into the crystalline flesh, born of the death of other stars.
I look at her and swell with fearful fascination. She is a deity. She is shimmer and shine, bone and marrow, blood, and death, and life, and sweet, carefully cultivated flesh.
She is everything I hoped she would be.
I killed for her. Let her feast on lesser stars so their brilliance could become her own. She's lovely, but I shouldn't have expected the darkness to leave her when she finally decided to be born.
She gazes at me inquisitively. I shiver at how she slowly turns her head... and my head follows suit. She reaches out a slender arm to me—my arm meets it halfway—and she bends, slowly, to the waters in which we stand.
Her eyes descend to the reflective pool. I see us there and flinch at what's become of me. To sustain my star, I've withered to nothing. Hollowness has stolen the youthful fat from my cheeks. One would never know I was so young, not so long ago, and that I'd sacrificed that fresh blood to my star.
But look at her! She's inherited my lustrous skin, gleaming nails and hair, and a radiant body no one could deny.
How many stars have I slain for her to be born? To emerge from this pitch-black transformation chamber into something powerful and promising?
Oh, I had been promising, too, in my day.
But it hadn't been enough.
Really, it never was.
Youth inevitably gave way to calloused experience in the void of space, where so many stars hoped to outshine one another. Some feared what would become of them if they absorbed other stars to shine brighter. Many others gobbled them carelessly in a race to ascension.
But my star and I were different. I'd been careful. I'd been selective.
My star won't fail me now.
She meets my gaze again and grips my arm tightly, pulling me close. I smell a fragrance on her throat, wisping from her white-fanged mouth.
She takes that pretty mouth and applies it to my neck. I don't even struggle—this was the plan, after all—and now that a star has been born, she must finish her genesis.
Her teeth plunge into my neck. There's a brief tearing of flesh and an outpouring of my life. She consumes it, taking every drop of myself inside of her. I crumple, finally fading, into her slim and unforgiving arms.
I must be dead; I've never been so numb. It's like I've become a memory or a lost echo of a disintegrating shout.
Her lips part in a satisfactory smile. Her thick eyelashes flutter, and she looks around her birthing room with deep delight.
I wonder if she's thinking about everyone I destroyed to make her into the star she is: effortlessly beautiful, brilliant, untouchable, and, yes...
She licks her lips. I'm certain she'll finish me off now; she no longer needs her original self as the superior copy.
Transcendent beings don't consider inferior designs attractive.
But then she surprises me by releasing me. I tumble into the reflective pool, one side of my mouth above the water, and my star sashays away.
Off to dazzle the mundane moons and planets. Maybe she'll consume more stars if she finds them too bright for her liking. Such is the nature of stardom.
I close my eyes, believing she's emptied me out. But although I feel as static and motionless as the remnants of a dying planet, I know within me that this isn't my end.
Because my star, it seems, still harbors a soft spot for her origin. She hasn't taken all of me away with her, into herself to transform and, resultantly, die.
I peer at what I can see of my reflection and wonder if that gorgeous creature who longed to take my life and run with it might remember where she came from and, perhaps, come back.
Back to the place she was born and died.