A quiet death was all Valerie was hoping for when she decided to return to the city she was born in after having spent nine years away abroad. When she succeeded in grabbing a spot in the only high school to college program there was in the world, Valerie flew from her home in the US to Singapore as a rising senior. There she excelled in her classes and learned all about biomedical research. Her next stop was in Japan where she worked even harder for a PhD in Biomedical Science. The life she spent living as a student hadn’t given her the glory she was seeking, but it was getting her very close. She at least wanted to resolve the issue that had caused her to leave her hometown in the first place before dying. For the longest time she thought that it didn’t matter whether or not someone tied up loose ends with their family, but that was when she was one of those left behind by the deceased. Now that she knows her time is up, her mind has changed.
The flight from Japan was arduously long. Valerie wanted to get home and sleep the rest of the day away, but her highest priority was treating her disease with the medication she developed secretly in Japan. She let out a large sigh, while thinking about how she had to stow it in the checked baggage, because it wasn’t an approved medicine and also liquid. The plane landed and as everyone shuffled out, Valerie wondered if anyone was just beyond baggage claim to pick her up. Walking past all the gates had her breathing hard, with beads of sweat starting to appear on her forehead. She had finally reached an escalator down to the baggage claim area, the carousel had not yet begun to turn.
Behind her she could hear girls giggling about the three guys that were waiting to pick someone up. They were all wearing khaki shorts and polos, they had a certain image that if Valerie had gone to college in the US, she would have easily let slip the word frat boys to describe them. One of them was holding a sign that said Valerie, and she wondered if they were there for her. Even if they were, she needed to take her medicine asap. Turning her head back around the carousel began to move, returning bags to their owners. When Valerie saw hers, she had little to no strength to grab it and pull it off. She had to ask another passenger to grab it for her, and he lifted it with great ease. It was a single small suitcase that was the size of a carryon. In all her years abroad Valerie had decided that she didn’t like materialistic things, opting for her hard drives of photos and videos.
Valerie turned around to look for the restroom, with her suitcase in tow and was approached by one of the khaki, polo wearing guys.
“Hey, is your name Valerie?”
“Yes, it is,” Valerie said with shock, raising a dainty hand to her mouth, after hearing herself speak English. It had been a long time.
“Could you tell me your last name? I just want to make sure you are the person we need to pick up.”
“Sure, it’s King.”
“Oh, great. We are here to pick you up.”
“Alright. But I actually need to use the restroom really quick.”
Valerie rushed to the restroom, with her suitcase in tow. She was extremely glad that the polo wearing guy wasn’t going to try to take it from her, not that she would let him. In the restroom she was able to find an open stall, she sat down and rushed in, locking the door behind her, and tried to open her suit case quickly. It was hard as she was sweating and she couldn’t quite grasp the little zipper pull with her fingers. Eventually, when she did get it open, she managed to find the bag she stored her medicine in and the Epi-pen like dispenser she had re-engineered to dose out her drug and easily replace the used needles. As the pen was loaded already, she quickly stabbed it through her pants into her thigh, letting out a sigh of relief, even though the medicine wasn’t doing anything at the moment. Valerie then proceeded to use the restroom, so as to not cause suspicion, packed her bag back up, and left the stall.