(WP) Independence, Even Unto Death

(WP) Independence, Even Unto Death

               Winston saw it on the breaking news, as he was clearing the dinner dishes.

               “This just in from headquarters…” There was a slight pause as the reporter pressed his ear to his mic, and he frowned, nodding silently.

               “Scientists all across the country have joined forces to create a vaccine that can reverse the disease that causes people to exhibit zombie-like symptoms. Our sources tell us that the treatment has already seen positive results in a small test group. The CDC says that the vaccine will be available to the public later on this week, at no cost. I’m Greg Dancer, with RTW, Channel 12, and we’ll be alerting you as soon as we get some more information.”

               Winston had been in the middle of stacking the plates in his hand, but he had to put them down, his hands were trembling so badly.

               This was it. There was hope for him, and the rest of humanity.

               But of all people, his parents were anti-vaxxers. They’d been against them, and traditional medicine in general, sent before he was born. His childhood had been peppered by phrases like ‘herd immunity’ and ‘vaccines cause autism’ and ‘we know what’s best for our son, you can shove your candy-ass medical degrees and PHDs up your ass’.

               To say it was embarrassing would have been a vast understatement. He was no stranger to what other people thought of him and his crazy hippie-dippy parents. He heard the neighbors.

               “Those people next door… Never even went to a community college and is just convinced that they know everything… As if doctors don’t have any idea what they’re talking about!”

               “That poor boy of theirs… Can you even imagine? Not even getting vaccinated against chicken pox, or measles, or polio! The nerve of them! They’re putting everyone around them at risk. What about the kids around here? The elderly! It’s not they don’t care about anyone but themselves.”

               Just thinking about it made his cheeks, neck, and ears flush; his stomach churned with the indignity of it all. They thought they were protecting him from chemical-laced additives that were supposedly in vaccines, but he’d been doing his research on his laptop when everyone else was asleep.

               Everything he had ever been told was a lie, all an elaborate farce cooked up by his parents, who seemed to think that he could not even manage his own health.

               Anyway, it mattered little now. Just as the vaccine would be made public, he would turn eighteen, and their hold on him, legal and otherwise, would officially dissolve.

               But he hadn’t broken the news yet. Though he knew that it was irrational, he was frightened by what his parents would say. Even though he knew for a fact that they were wrong, he found no pleasuring in breaking the news to them.

               But he’d learned long ago that there was no getting through to people that could not see reason, so perhaps it wasn’t even worth it.

               Winston made his decision: he would take the car first thing, right after his birthday, and get the vaccine.

               It was his decision and he would see it through.

               **