“You know, you might be the key humanity’s survival,” said June.
Nate licked his plate clean. “You should’ve been a chef. That was amazing.”
“Did you hear what I said?”
“Of course I’m the key. Don’t you think I know that?” spat Nate.
“Then go to authorities. Let them figure out why you’re immune,” urged June.
“And have them treat me like some kind of lab rat? No thanks.”
“You owe it to humanity…”
Nate threw his plate against the wall, narrowly missing June’s head. Shards ricocheted on her neck and back.
“I owe humanity? Humanity owes me! I’m the healthy one. I’m the one that’s gonna survive. As far as I’m concerned, I AM humanity,” shouted Nate.
June marveled at the hardness in Nate’s eyes. “What’s wrong with you?”
“What?” demanded Nate.
“How did you get so selfish?”
Nate leaned back in his chair and laughed. “And you aren’t? The only reason you stay with me is the hope I might save your life. You’re not here because you care anything about me.”
His proclamation made June recoil. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. Her thoughts drifted back to the basement where she found him. Seeing someone so healthy gave her hope. Maybe he got sick and recovered. Maybe something within him could somehow rub off on her. She had to know if he could make her well. Did that make her selfish? June shook her head. She couldn’t believe they were anything alike.
“If I tell the police,” she said with a chill in her voice, “they’ll drag you away and you’ll never see the light of day again. Don’t think for a second they won’t sacrifice your life to save the world. They’ll cut you into little pieces until they find a cure.”
She smiled when a tear rolled down his flushed cheek.
“Or,” she continued, “I’ll cook for you and keep your secret.”
Nate sniffled. “What’s the catch? I let you stay with me and we rebuild the world together? I don’t think so.” He washed his hands at the sink before sitting back down at the table.
“If something doesn’t happen soon, you’ll be the only one left,” warned June.
“Because I won’t help you,” said Nate.
The words spoken out loud caused a sneer to form across June’s thin, cracked lips.
“You thought you could manipulate me, but you can’t. I can wait you out. Time is on my side,” declared a triumphant Nate.
A long sigh left June with a pain in her chest. “I thought we could help each other,” mumbled June.
“We are,” said Nate. He reached across the table and caressed her concave cheek. “I give you purpose by serving me. Isn’t that better than just waiting to die?”