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This work is featured fiction.

Loss... something all of us encounter throughout our lives.
Sometimes it isn't very noteworthy, such as a plate you bought for a few cents at a yard sale falling to pieces.
Other times it has profound and lasting impact upon your life, like losing your loved one... seeing a good friend die... this is about such a loss.

I used to think that people were fools for dwelling on things for the rest of their lives.
Anyone would agree that it is unhealthy to get stuck in the past, to remain still while the rest of the world moves ahead, so you would think that anyone would agree that it is foolish at best to stay stuck.
But, like the many other things that seem unnatural to the rest of us, it is something that one cannot comprehend until one experiences it, until one feels the immense sorrow and regret... the immense pain.
And I now know why people get stuck in the past, why they won't move on, because I live that life.
And this... narrative, I don't know why I am telling this.
Maybe I hope to find salvation if I can tell this story, maybe I hope other people will have a slight understanding of my situation.
But I don't know, all I know is that I want to get this of my chest, to open my heart and show the void in it to others... I don't even know if I care any more, it all seems so pointless.

I remember where everything started... or I should say, I remember where everything ended as if it happened yesterday.
Funny really, where I once was happy if I could remember what I did yesterday after I left work I now curse the fact that we can remember anything, longing for old age in the hopes of getting Alzheimer.
I suppose a small detour is good here, Alzheimer's disease is a awful thing to get, I remember that as a child we had a grandfather that lived far away.
Going to him was always a adventure, it started with the journey to him since we had to drive for several hours.
As a child it always felt like we were getting close to the end of the world, traveling for such long times was unlike anything else in our lives.
And once we got there we would jump out of the car and run to the house, we could come storming in with out parent shouting to be careful and our grandfather in his chair smiling at us.
We had many fun times there, we played games and listened to him telling us stories, the standard things a grandfather does I suppose, but to us it seemed magical.
But the last time we went on such a trip... he had been moved into a retirement home and when we entered the room he just sat there, looking at us trying to figure out if he knew us.
But, after what felt like years to me, he gave up and asked us if he knew us, and we could not believe what happened.
When we went back that time no one spoke, but we were all thinking the same thing, our grandfather died.
Sure his body was still working decently, he could walk around and do things, but our grandfather was gone, the man we all loved did not exist anymore, we only saw a shell of a man sitting there trying to figure out how a fork works.
But despite this I still hope to be stricken by the same diseases, if I can choose I would rather be a vegetable that cannot remember what happened than being haunted by the void in my heart, being haunted by what happened and the nagging feeling I could have prevented it.

But back to the main... event, I was asleep and it must have been around 2 in the morning when I was awoken by the phone ringing in the distance.
Somewhat annoyed that I was awoken from my sleep and I got up and stumbled towards it thinking that it probably was someone who dialed the wrong number or a prank call or something.
When I picked up the phone I heard someone with great panic in his voice telling me to get over as soon as I could.
I knew this voice was the voice of another father in our small community, and a bunch of kids were having a sleep over at his house that night... my kid being one of them.
I rudely woke my wife up, ordering her to get dressed because something happened shouting I had no time to explain it.
A minute later we were in our car racing to the house where our kid was staying, and as we got closer we started smelling a nasty smell, like a barbecue gone wrong smell and as we got closer would see that the environment got lighter.
We both started to feel a great fear of what happened and as we pulled around the corner we saw that our worst fears had become a reality that night.
The house they were staying in was on fire, it was being swallowed alive by the flames while firemen were fighting a losing battle.
We ran to a cop that was on the scene asking, demanding, that we wanted to know what happened, that our child was staying there.
He told us that the children were taken to the local hospital and that the other parents also went there, and without waiting for further information we jumped back into our car and raced there as fast as we could.

When we arrived at the hospital we saw some of the other parents, and when we approached them they quickly told us what they knew.
One of the kids got their hands on a candle or something like that because he was afraid of the dark, and without the rest noticing it he lit it and put it next to where he was sleeping.
And somewhere in the night he must have knocked it over, no one is really sure about what happened there but we do know that one of the kids woke up and the room was full of smoke and flames.
He tried to wake the rest up but some of the kids didn't seem to want to wake up.
Meanwhile one of the other kids had ran upstairs to the parents and woke them up, after which the mother called the fire department.
The father ran to the room and ordered the other kids outside, taking the kids who wouldn't wake up and dragging them outside.
When the firemen arrived there also were a few ambulances, and they quickly loaded the kids in the worst condition inside them telling the parents to get the rest of the kids to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
And that is all they could tell us, but they couldn't tell us how our kid was doing as they were all separated.

When we got to the front desk we were escorted to the doctor in charge right away.
After the nurse introduced us the doctor sighed, he told us that our child was in the worst condition of all of them.
From what they could piece together he was the closest to the source of the fire and he had inhaled a lot of smoke on top of being badly burned.
He told us they were doing all they could but that, due to the severity of his wounds, we could only look at him from behind the glass of his intensive care room.
After struggling for about a week his body could not handle it anymore and he... he... collapsed... gave up... he... died.
We held a service for him a short time after it, but I never felt like I was there, it was surreal to see my only child there, ready to be buried... with his life never even really having been started.

It was there that I collapsed, that the void in my heart was created, it was there that I decided to stop living.
It didn't take long before my wife left me, I can't say I blame her for doing so because even I didn't like my presence any more.
I slowly lost the contact with other people too, some came by from time to time taking pity on me because of what happened, but I couldn't bring myself to care about them any more and so they stopped coming too.
I took about a year but finally I got fired from my job too, ending up in unemployment and getting some money from the government because I couldn't interact with people any more, or maybe because I couldn't care about interacting with people any more.
And now I am here, living in the past, living with a huge gaping void in my heart when my child used to be, not caring about the world or even myself anymore... waiting until death finally frees me from my pain.

I still don't know why I felt the urge to tell this... maybe I am trying to reach out and get contact with other people... maybe I just want to show a glimpse of my pain to other people... I simply don't know.
All I know is that I stopped living a long time ago, and all I have left is the hope that it will all be over soon... sometimes I wish that I could just pull the trigger...

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