Burnt Again

“This seems to be a repeating occurrence.”

The wreckage was still smouldering, despite both the rain and a pair of rescue vehicles having extinguished the flames that had been burning for hours. This had once been a pretty little Skyan cottage, but a combination of insanity and determination had driven a hovercraft through the front door, setting everything ablaze.

Teekay sighed as R-Class Skyans wandered around, gathering info and smothering the last few flames, making sure nothing could catch again. He was incredibly lucky to have not been at home at the time of this attack – had he arrived ten minutes earlier, he most likely would have been killed. By his side was his partner and closest friend Elkay, who was staring rather blankly at the little home, still holding a bag of shopping.

“I wish you weren’t right…”

“No one wishes they are right when it comes to things like this.”

Elkay was larger than all the other Skyans present and clearly didn’t seem to fit in at all, but the Skyans running around dealing with this mess didn’t seem to care or even acknowledge his presence. He had been living with Teekay in this little home for a few months now and had only just began to be accepted among the local population when disaster had struck.

“Do you know why this happened?”

Teekay tutted. “Don’t think it’s because I’m dating you, Elkay. 76% of all attacks like this are done for religious reasons.”

“That is a rather horrifying statistic.”

“Not when approximately 50% of all religion-influenced attacks have been committed against me. Seems like briefly worshipping a lord of decay rubs vok the wrong way.”

Elkay glanced at Teekay. “How many times…”

“This is the fourth attack, second time someone has burned down my home.”

“Oh…” Elkay frowned. “I am so sorry, Teekay.”

Teekay though shrugged. He should have been utterly devastated, losing his home yet again, but for some reason, he didn’t feel… anything. Not even anger. He watched as Elkay wandered off to examine the remains and see if he could find anything worth salvaging. The R-Class had already asked and taken everything they needed and were just clearing things away, making the area safe again. Not that the rubble was in any way inhabitable any more.

After an unknown amount of time, Teekay was shaken to attention by Elkay’s reappearance. He had managed to find a few things that hadn’t been incinerated and had crafted a pile of items at Teekay’s feet.

“Did those Arbiters give you any information on where we can spend the night?” Elkay asked.

“What? Uh… No. Just gave me the standard coupon for five nights in the nearest hotel.”

“And after that?”

Teekay shrugged. “I should get my victim compensation to be able to rent a new home.”

“Is that wise though?”

“What do you mean?”

Elkay glanced over his shoulder. The smouldering rubble was cooling down, with help from a light breeze and a drizzle of rain. He sighed for a moment then turned back to Teekay.

“Maybe it is worth moving somewhere else. Somewhere where you will not be persecuted for your beliefs.”

“But then they… they win…”

Elkay shook his head. “Not at all. You move to somewhere safe, you are happier and these fanatics will not be able to harm you further. If you stay here and suffer or perhaps even die, then, well, I believe you understand what I mean.”

Teekay didn’t say anything. He leaned forward, over the few remaining, scorched items Elkay had saved, and wrapped his arms around his partner. He didn’t want to think about any of this right now. He was tired and… still trying to comprehend it all.

“Can I think about it, please?” Teekay finally answered. “I don’t… I can’t… I need to rest for a while.”

“Very well…” Elkay sighed. He started picking up the handful of salvaged items, placing them in the shopping back along with the food he had bought earlier. “We should get going though. It is getting late and we cannot spend the night out here in the open.”

Teekay hesitated, then took Elkay by the hand. “Yeah, you’re right. Let’s go find somewhere to rest…”