Rush inside and try to find Ralph

Barefoot and coatless, you glanced at the house.  It was a modest middle-class abode, with quaint stained glass artwork hung on the windows and a domestic, glossy bush surrounding the porch.  From inside you saw the glint of flames and the rolling blackness of smoke.

"Your husband?  Oh Jesus, your husband!" 

You'd met the two before a couple of times, when they'd first moved in.  They kept to themselves generally, watching television in the evenings and driving to the country on weekends.  They were yuppie-aged, between 27 and 30 years of age.  Nice people. Janie's panicked eyes infected you with fear.  Oh crap.  Ralph!

Without thinking, without even speaking to the panicked woman (her dilated pupils followed your every action) you raced up the porch, threw open the door and dove into the evil-smelling smoke.

Your eyes teared and stung, blurring the scene even further.  It might have been wise to ask Janie where exactly her husband was, but in the adrenalized moment, you forgot to take care of the details.  Darting from room to room you found nothing but smoke and the sleepy remains of bourgeois life.  As you made your way further to the back of the house, the smoke gets thicker and your shirt clung to you with sweat.  In the kitchen, slumped-over in a wheelchair across the table from a screaming fire over a blackened stove, Ralph something-or-other waited for you to rescue him. 

Leaping over chairs and smashed dinnerware you hoisted the unconscious man from the chair and swung him over your shoulder.  Without wasting another second, you turned and lunged out of the house.

It didn't strike you how much your lungs hurt until you were out of the house and clean air sliced into them, or how your feet were needled with broken china and glass.  You were dizzy, and after you plopped poor unconscious Ralph on the lawn next to his wife, you joined him, covered in soot, minor burns, and completely passed-out.

The End

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