Dad stood in the laundry room folding freshly dried clothes. The air was soft, warm and smelled of fabric softener. He was concentrating on the conversation ahead. One that he had way too often. He heard the front door open as he stepped toward the hallway to look. His son was walking toward him, toward hi... Towar... Past him.
"Xander," he said authoritatively. "What?" Xander snapped back. "Don't you think you should talk to me about what happened today? You got into a fight again. What in the hell is the matter with you? You can't keep fighting everyone at every school you go to. Sooner or later there ain't gonna be any more schools left in the city!" "He said you killed mom and I helped you hide her body!" Xander screamed. You could see the rage and pain all throughout his face and body. It was plain to see that he would fight again and again until people got the point. It had been 2 years now, since mom had passed but it seemed like yesterday to them both.
It was the dead of the night exactly a year ago and dad had gotten up to grab a drink of water. Xander was a light sleeper and heard dad moving around so he got up to use the rest room. Eyes half open, they both noticed an orangish glow from the laundry room. Dad pushed Xander behind him as he reached for the door to investigate. As he turned the knob the laundry room exploded sending dad and Xander flying back. They hit the wall hard. Groggy, Xander shook dad trying to shake it off. Dad quickly reacted and grabbed Xander as the flames began to rage in front of them. They were close to the front door and dad needed to ensure Xander's safety. He called out or mom to wake up as he forced his way outside. Once far enough away from the house he sat Xander down and said "Wait here, I'm going to get mom!"
Dad got up running toward the side of the house. He grabbed the water hose, turned it on and started to drench himself. Then he took off his shirt as he ran back to the front door. Sirens began to ring behind Xander as fire trucks started to arrive. Dad covered his face with the wet shirt and ran into the blazing house. MMMMMBOOOOOOOOM!!!!SPLSSSSSSSSHHH!!!! The entire house exploded and dad's body came flying out of the front windows. He hit the ground hard, body steaming as he rolled lifelessly. The paramedics and Xander ran to him. The paramedics grabbed Xander as he cried out reaching for his dad.
Dad recovered. Their insurance covered the rebuilding of the house. But none of that could replace the lost life. They buried an empty box. The official report was that dads work disintegrated the entire inside of the house. He had brought chemicals home that week and always kept them in the laundry room. Once it blew, mom didn't stand a chance.
"This is your fault!" Xander screamed, "If you hadn't have been working so much, bringing your work home then that wouldn't have happened. Now you just send me to therapy like I'm some crazy person and expect me not to CARE THAT YOU KILLED MOM!" "Come grab your clothes and take them to your room," dad said solemnly. "How was I to know that a fire would start that night, huh? You think it doesn't affect me every day that your mom, my wife, is GONE FOREVER. C'mon son you're not the only one hurting but you can't go around fighting everyone that so much as looks at you wrong." Dad continued as he started to put Xander's clothes in a basket. He handed the basket to Xander but just then the ground started to shake. He grabbed Xander "Quick! Under here!" He shoved Xander under the folding table as the rumbling stopped. "That was strange. I know that wasn't an earthquake in Chicago." Dad was confused. He walked over to the radio and turned it to a local station. Nothing. He tried another. Just music. "What was that dad?" Xander asked. "I don..." just the the quake started again. Heavier this time.
The dryer started to glow. "What in the hell?" Dad thought to himself as he covered Xander with his body. Clothes tossed around the room as though they were still tumbling in the dryer. The dryer door swung open and smoke began to flood the trembling room. Dad and Xander coughed as something in the smoke started to pull them toward the dryer. Dad pulled Xander as hard as he could but was pulled with even more force. They were halfway inside of the dryer now, holding on to the sides of the dryer for dear life. Xander lost his grip. Dad grabbed him with one hand and held on with the other. He tried his best to hold on but he couldn't hold anymore. He pushed off the side and wrapped Xander up in his arms as they fell into the darkness.