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?
And here is an excerpt from Sugar Scars-
I TURNED BACK to the house. I hadn’t paid attention at first, but now I saw that this house was completely sealed, far more than the others around it. Duct tape, caulk and even what looked like tar covered every conceivable opening or crack so air couldn’t get in.
The knob turned, and then the man thumped against the other side of the door, breaking it free of the tape that sealed it. The door sprang open, and a large man stumbled into the sunlight, blinking.
He took a huge gulp of air and said, “Finally.”
Something felt wrong. The mathematical part of my brain was trying to tell me something about the odds of finding another immune survivor so quickly, but I was surprised and didn’t think
“Is everybody else dead?” he asked. I nodded.
“Suckers,” he said. “The first thing we’re gonna do is remove the shutoff timer from the power lines going into the neighborhood.”
I had forgotten, but the government had sent people around installing automatic power shutoff timers. I thought it was pretty smart. It would have only taken a few people dying with the stove
still on to burn down most of the city.
I was going to watch how he did it, so I could do the same with the timer for my neighborhood. He hopped in his truck, and I followed him in Bella to the neighborhood entrance. It turned out that it was just a clearly labeled off switch, which I could have easily figured out myself.
“I’ll be glad to have the air conditioning back. I had it off to because I had all the vents sealed.”
It was late April, which can get warm in Florida, especially inside a sealed house.
“So what’s next?” he said. He scratched at the stubble on his chin, which looked like it had been growing for the week or so he had been in his house. “I’ll have to shut off each house by flipping the circuit breakers, but that will take a few days.”
“I need to get into the Walmart, but it’s locked.”
“That’s smart,” he said. “Stock up on food supplies before the other survivors start hoarding.”
Hoarding wasn’t a concern. He didn’t understand how few people would be left. I wasn’t worried about food. I needed insulin. I barely had enough in my fridge at home to last through the week of waiting. My convenience store job only provided enough money to have one or two vials at a time.
That morning I had carefully checked my blood sugar, done an injection, and waited about half an hour to eat a simple breakfast. My entire life was a constant computation to keep my flawed body alive.
“We could smash our way in,” he said, “but there’s no need for it. One of the managers lives … lived just over there.” He pointed to a house across the street. “I’ll go get the keys.” He wiped sweat from his brow. It wasn’t hot yet this early in the morning, but it must have been stifling cooped up in his perfectly sealed house.
The Walmart manager’s house had only superficial taping. The door was locked, and the man had to break a window to get in. I’m glad he was the one going in there and not me. He came out a few minutes later with a large ring full of keys. “That was nasty,” he said. He looked pale, which was understandable, given what he had just seen. “Apparently the virus speeds decomposition.”
Everything about the virus was fast. There was plenty of speculation about what had caused something so deadly, but that was irrelevant now. All that mattered was that we were immune.
“You had your house perfectly sealed?” I asked.
“Yeah. I had oxygen tanks. But they were almost gone. I just had to wait for the virus to go dormant, like they said. Once I saw you walking around, I knew it was okay. You and I are some of the smart ones.”
I wasn’t smart. My genetics, which I had always considered so defective, had saved me. “I didn’t seal my house,” I said. I had learned enough to know it was pointless.
“Then how did you … ?”
“I’m immune,” I said. We both stared at each other for a horrible moment. “I’m sorry.” I was a fool. I expected him to scream at me.
But he just said, “It’s okay.”
It wasn’t okay. I had killed him.
“I would have run out of oxygen in a day or two,” he said. “It doesn’t go dormant, does it?” I shook my head. I didn’t know what to say, so I did the thing strangers always do in normal circumstances, when a virus isn’t killing one of them. I asked his name.
“Robert,” he said, “but everybody calls me Bob. What’s yours?”
I told him. I hated my name. I didn’t want anyone in this new world to know it, but he wasn’t a part of this new world. He wanted to spend his last moments in his home. We didn’t know how long he had, so we drove back to his house. Coming out to flip the power shutoff switch, he had driven fast, excited to have cheated death. Now he drove slowly, easing back into the driveway, parking the truck carefully.
It turned out he didn’t have 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.