By- Travis Norwood
Genre- Post Apocalyptic/Sci Fi
Living after the apocalypse really isn’t that hard for most of the survivors. The virus killed all but 1 in 10,000. The few remaining people are left in a world of virtually unlimited resources. Grocery stores overflowing with food and drink. Thousands of empty houses to pick from.
But one survivor, a nineteen-year-old girl, requires more than simple food, water and shelter. As a type 1 diabetic her body desperately needs insulin to stay alive. With civilization gone, no one manufactures it anymore. She hoards all the insulin she can find, but every day marches toward the end of her stash of vials. She has a choice. Accept her fate and death, or tackle the almost insurmountable task of extracting and refining the insulin herself.
Brilliant scientists struggled to make the first insulin. What hope does a high school dropout have?
One morning, a few days into spring, almost a year since the virus, I stood in the kitchen in my pajamas beginning to prepare a simple breakfast of oatmeal and asked Kyle to get the insulin out of Bertha. I had trained him in what to do in case of high or low blood sugar and for regular doses to always get the vial I was currently using.
“Let me do it this time,” he said.
“Do what?” I asked, but I knew what he meant.
“Let me give the injection. I need to practice.”
I had never let anyone except a doctor give me an injection, and I hated to let the doctors do it. I didn’t like the idea at all and decided to try to distract him. Fortunately, men are easy to distract.
“We could try that, or we could try something a little more fun.”
I unbuttoned the buttons on my pajama top. He looked interested for a moment, but then said, “No. I’m serious. I want to try it.”
He must have really been serious. I took a deep breath and said, “Fine.”
He got the current vial out of Bertha and a syringe. “How many units?”
“Ten should be fine. Roll it a few times in your hands to mix it.”
He pushed my pajama top apart and found the five o’clock position, a few inches above my belly button and little to the right. “It needs to go into the fat layer underneath the skin,” I said.
“Pinch the skin first.”
He pinched a fold of skin, much too hard, and it hurt. “Put the needle at a forty-five degree angle, and then push it all the way into the skin.”
He held the needle against the skin.
“Do it quickly. You’re freaking me out.” I had done this myself thousands of times, but Kyle was making me nervous. It didn’t make sense, but I don’t have to make sense. He pushed the needle in all the way and then injected the insulin in one smooth motion.
He pulled the needle out and said, “That wasn’t so bad.”
But he had done well and learned the right technique. I buttoned my top closed. There wasn’t going to be any fun. I didn’t want to associate those two things in his mind.
Kyle squinted and looked at the vial. “How much longer should this last?” he asked.
“About two more weeks,” I said.
“Okay. That should be fine then.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Do you see this tiny print that starts with ‘EXP’?” he said.
I looked back at him blankly.
“It expires in a month.”
It seems so obvious now, but I can honestly say the thought of expiration never crossed my mind. I knew food could expire and go bad, but I didn’t realize that applied to medicine. I’d never come close to that before. The insulin moved from the store to my fridge to my body in a never-ending cycle. I simply hadn’t needed to think about how long it would last if left to sit on the shelf, because it never sat for long.
About the Author-
Travis Norwood lives in Montgomery, Alabama with his wife and five children. Like Sugar, he would be perfectly happy living in a world emptied of almost all people. But not you, of course. He sincerely hopes you survive the apocalypse.