The End: Story Three
The Cure
By: David K. Montoya

I woke the next morning and found Renee asleep next to me. I could not help but to smile although it was an odd feeling. It had been so long to wake up with someone else in my bed with me other than my kids. I always felt it was wrong of me since I believed Helen was dead; I shut those emotions out and focused solely on the kids and my survival.

There had always been some sort of romantic chemistry between Renee and me, but I never allowed myself to explore it for two reasons, out of respect for her late husband and out of guilt for Helen. But, knowing that she was, in fact, alive and, on top of that, lived another life with another family any guilt that I may have had quickly disappeared.

I watched Renee sleep, her hair fanned the pillow, and a single strand hung down onto her face. It was the first time I saw her look peaceful. I had seen her asleep many of times, but never like that. On a constant run from Unluckys and generally trying not to die, one could understand why someone slept with one eye open.

The sun had peeked from behind a curtain that barely lit my bedroom. I got out of bed and quickly got dressed. Today was a big day—the scientists had developed a possible vaccine against The Sickness and was going to start distribution to the governing class today. I had to chuckle when I realized that Helen would be the first person to get what was being called the gateway cure; she left us to die and now, my blood would possibly save her life. Oh, the irony.

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It was around six in the morning when I walked into the lab. I was greeted by the scientists who worked on the vaccine. They lined the wall and began to applaud as I passed by them. The level of excitement was high; could we be so close to an actual cure and turn the world back to normal as we know it?

I turned a corner of the lab and ran into Helen's security goons. The larger one placed his hand on my chest, and instantly, I wanted to go into fight mode. Rip his arm from the socket and beat him to a bloody damn pulp, but if we bring back the civilized world, I guess those days are behind me.

Helen nodded at her goons, and they moved aside to let me pass. She stared at me with displeasure in her eyes, and her demeanor was cold and unwelcoming—one would never believe Helen, and I were once husband and wife. That and we parted on good terms since I thought the government were the ones who snatched her and not her running off to her lover.

One of the Lab Techs walked Helen to a side room. It was sterile white and had an off-gray chair in the center of the space. It reminded me of an interrogation room. The Lab Tech led Helen to the chair, and once she was seated, a long bar with a small table attached popped out from the side of that chair. Nervously, the technician locked it into place, and Helen glared over at me and asked if the vaccine was actually going to work?

I shrugged and told her that I had no clue, that I was just the guinea pig that they pulled vials of blood from, that I left the science up to the professionals. My ex-wife appeared less than happy with my answer, but that was honestly the truth—no one knew what would actually happen. One of the Scientists walked up next to me and, from the doorway, explained that this formula was the first that did not turn the specimen into an Unlucky. That it was released outside the gate of Haven and was retrieved in a healthy condition, that he and his colleagues could pinpoint the protein that the virus attached to that caused The Sickness in my blood and created an antibody that blocked the entry receptor.

Helen asked the Scientist if the vaccine had been tested on humans or was it only conducted on monkeys. The man next to me was hesitant to answer until the goons stood next to him and Helen reminded him that she was the Administrator of Haven and that withholding information from her could lead to a death sentence.

The Scientist explained that there had been no human trials because the certain protein the virus attached to was found in both apes and humans. Helen shook her head no and told the lab tech to give me the vaccine first but was told that giving me the injection would be ineffective as it was my blood they formed it from.

Helen told the lab tech to inject the Scientist first, who appeared uneasy with that demand but lifted his sleeve for the Lab Tech to give him the shot. We all watched as the needle went into his arm and the vaccine emptied from the syringe. A second Scientist who walked up and watched from a distance asked how his colleague felt?

The Scientist explained that the fluid was warm as it hit his vein, but other than that, he felt perfectly fine. After a few moments, and once Helen felt it was safe, she waved the lab tech over to her. She explained that she was ready to be next for the vaccine—for the good of the people of Haven, would be the first official to be vaccinated. I heard the group of people who had gathered behind me chuckle softly at her declaration. I could not help but shake my head. How did that woman become so self-righteous, perhaps, my wife, was, in fact, dead, because the woman in front of me was not the Helen I ever knew?

The Lab Tech turned and looked for the goons' permission, they parted. He left the room to get another dose of the vaccine. I noticed that the Scientist continuously shook his arm, which was the same one he received the injection in. I walked over to him and asked in a voice loud enough for only him, and I asked if he was all right?

The Scientist said his arm was sore at the injection site; I suggested that perhaps he told Helen before she got the injection and avoided turning her goons on him.

The Scientist chuckled and told Helen about the pain he had in his arm. She looked down her nose at him and explained that she had given birth to three children and was quite positive that she could handle an achy limb. It was around that time the Lab Tech returned back into the room with a fresh dose of the vaccine. Again, we all watched in silence as he prepped the syringe for the injection. Before he administered the shot, he asked Helen if she was ready, who in turn nodded yes. Then, just like the Scientist, we watched as the vial emptied into my wife, who watched along too.

We all waited a few moments after the injection was complete to ask how Helen felt. She rubbed her arm and decreed she was perfectly fine. The armrest moved, and she could stand; we all waited silently to find out what her next move was.

Finally, Helen made her way over to her security goons. She told the Scientists to distribute that vaccine to everyone in Haven. She wanted everyone inoculated by the end of next week. Then she paused for a moment and ordered the injection to be called "The Cure," people would be more inclined to take it if they believed it was an antidote to The Sickness.

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