An updated version of this will appear in I Find You Mildly Irritating, and Other Stories, due out in 2019!
A more serious Flash! Friday effort.
It started with Margaret dying.
I’ll always remember her with her arms around Edmond’s neck, and that look of love on her face. Edmond was the Prime Minister elected when we touched down on New Earth. She was young, only thirty when it happened.
I was staying late at the lab, dissecting another dead patient, trying desperately to cure this plague. It’s a wonder I never caught it myself. Edmond radioed in, screaming Margaret’s name. I hurried to his place but didn’t get there before the police. They’d taped everything off. Margaret had been murdered. Someone had got it into their head that Edmond was to blame for the new world’s troubles and they’d punished him for it.
Panic spreads. Edmond’s wife was the first but not the last. They caught the woman who killed Margaret and they punished her, but she became a martyr. Some fought for Edmond, some fought for his opposition, and thousands of others died from the plague.
That was how the world got divided.
We eventually found a cure for the plague, but nothing can fix the human condition. It’s been a hundred years and I might live a hundred more and never see the end of the war.