“Is there anything you wanted?”
Etta looked over at his tone, he sounded empty– hollow. As if the fire had had eaten away more than just the houses. He wasn’t looking at her, just staring a the waterlogged ruins of her house, as if he was looking through the jumble of charred timbers and into what had been.
“No, no,” she stood from when she was kneeling, brushing off soot that had turned to mud. “It’s too far gone to keep, better to start fresh.” She patted him awkwardly on the shoulder as she passed, “We’ve got us, haven’t we? Houses we can build again, people not so much.”
He didn’t reply, still staring into something. After a polite pause, she left, she had other fosters that needed her help. Every colony had setbacks, first waves knew that, accepted it, but second waves never seemed as hardy. This was her third colony, third time fostering the second wave into a world she’d build… and she thought this time might be her last.