Flames tore at the old wooden house, devouring each board and the memories hidden within. Ian stood a good hundred yards from the structure shivering even as heat from the blaze scorched his skin. Emotions swirled in his mind vacillating from terror to rejoicing. The old man told him not to play with matches, told him with the strap of his belt and the point of his boots. Ian knew those boots and belt too well. It didn’t’ take much to rile father, especially when he was drinking.
Ian was free now. Free from fear and pain, free to live all the dreams he had barely wished for. But who would believe him? Even as the sirens drew nearer, he knew what everyone would think. ‘Poor boy, driven by desperation to kill his dad.’ But it wasn’t Ian that started this fire. His hands were clean. A smile twisted across Ian’s face as he looked at his hands, the ones father always said were deformed. He brushed away tears, wincing as he bumped his bruised cheek. Beside him his rescuer place a hand on his shoulder, three elongated fingers giving a gentle squeeze.
“It’s time to go, little one.”
“Will we ever return?”
Grandpa frowned. “After what he did to you, to her? You deserve better.”
“Mother loved this world. She even loved him once.”
“Maybe someday, Ian. Once hearts have healed.”
Shimmering light swirled around them. Ian’s skin prickled as the transport beam pulled them onto the waiting ship.