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In these few days, his entire life had turned around.

He had met other grieving fathers and husbands, rendered useless in shock with the loss of their loved ones. He had sat beside them as they wept uncontrollably, ranting about rooms of death and gases descending from the air.

And every time he had thanked God for not subjecting him and his family to the same torture.

But now it was too late. One brash decision on his part had set into motion events that only Fate could
have seen coming.

It had been a Monday. He had woken up exhausted, his sleep once again plagued with dreams of a whitish smoke descending from the skies, silencing him forever....

But the return of his consciousness reminded him of the conversation he had had the night before with his wife.

In front of his eyes, his two children were slowly turning introverted, resenting all social etiquette and conversation with anyone. There was a simple, unspoken reason behind this: the war.

It was a war that his people were quickly losing. They had reached out to their allies, but they seemed unwilling to participate in another destructive war after so many of their own had perished in the first one. His people were slowly being eradicated, murdered without a second thought.

It was in the fleeting dream that the war would end sometime in the future tat he and his spouse had made the decision. When the war ended, they did not want their children to be simpletons with no personality or experience of the world. In spite of the terrible fights, his children would have to spend an hour or two by themselves, out in the open world.

With a heavy, foreboding heart, he watched his children leave through the front door. He looked to his wife for reassurance. She met his gaze with warmth and gave a nod that raised his hopes.

However, nothing was enough to prevent his frightened, fatherly thinking. Throughout the afternoon, he had ominous premonitions of his dear children locked in a room, suffocated...

His wife tried to give him strength,but he could tell that her belief was waning. Their doubts were taking a toll on their mind, reducing their optimism to rubble with minimal force.

The kids never came back.

Despite his mind accepting the fact, he half-expected his children to burst in, exhilarated after seeing the world around them. His heart would not believe that the only two survivors of his litter had become victims of the war that had killed so many of his loved ones. His very own kids, the living essence of energy, drained of all power in their passing to the next life.

He tried to convince himself that his children were happy somewhere, untroubled by the fight on this mortal dimension in vain.

A father outliving his children is against Nature's laws, and the Mother of All let him know it. There is an anguish beyond all comprehension when your children die. They are supposed to be the bringers of new life! You raise them with all love and care, knowing that they, too will bring morals to another generation, and then you see them die? It was a piercing pain that ripped right through him.

His wife became withdrawn and self-blaming. Despite his greatest efforts, he could not get her to open up about her feelings.

The next day, she came to him, her eyes feverish with joy, saying she got a message from God that their children were still alive, lost, looking for home. Her mind was grasped in the unrelenting grip of insanity. Words bounced off her mind like a ball off a wall. With no further explanation she rushed out of their home, never to return again.

In the night, he was left with a cold, dead feeling within him. His beloved family had all been murdered in cold blood. He was alone in the world. What was the meaning of a father with no children, a husband with no wife? Life, the overrated trickster, had lost all its appeal. His greatest wish was to pass on, and live with his family in the other world.

Now he was ready to leave the house. There was just one last thing to do: see his family one last time.

He followed the only path from their home that he used, following the sickly-sweet smell of the gas that his friends had warned him about.

He reached a door that was slightly open, peering inside, it confirmed his greatest hopes and fears; which were the same thing, for once in his life. The death room.

Slipping in, he first walked to his children's bodies, gently touching their heard with his. Then he moved to his wife, serene and still pretty in death. Looking at her for one last time, he touched her head, with great regret and loss.

Suddenly a bright blinding light filled the room.

Looking up, he saw that a whitish smoke began descending from the roof.

At last, he thought. Peace...

"Another cockroach," I said, watching in horrific interest while the creature wiggled its legs in its death throes. "That's the fourth of this week! Its like I killed a family!"

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