All hell broke loose after President Majid's reelection. The lower southern states finally seceded after many empty threats to do so previously. Other cities and counties whose states refused to secede seceded themselves from their respective states and then from the country. A bloody Civil War broke out, and everyone had to make a choice. Stay true to your country, or remain loyal to your family. I chose my family, my sister on the other hand, chose her country. I still write to her, against my family's will, for they have virtually shunned her ever since she left for the Loyalist. They practically don't even recognize her existence. Even though she betrayed me, betrayed her own blood, she is still blood. She is still family. And no one can take that away.
"Can you believe it?" she says, "The Loyalists are calling us the traitors!" Nicole throws the newspaper in face and shows me the big bold front cover headline, "NATIONALIST ARE TRAITOROUS COWARDS" PRESIDENT CLAIMS.
"We it is kind of true you know," I say, "We did rebel against the authority set before us, so by definition we are kind of traitorous."
"Still, I don't like the way they say it, traitorous. They love to use big words, they think they sound all smart and intellectual. But they're just trying to hide the fact that they're wrong about everything." Nicole has accepted the propaganda, and I can't blame her, with the new Nationalists Government pumping pro-Nationalist propaganda into our minds every second. I stayed with the Nationalist only for my family. In all honesty, I despise the Nationalists and their cause. They always complained about the way things were before the Secession, bragging about how good things would be if they left the Union, but where the first to cry for help when some natural disaster devastated their state.
"It doesn't matter what they say Nicole," I say, "The Loyalists only talk trash because they know they can't win this war." For two years now I've been hiding behind lies. Blaspheming the people I agree with, touting the Nationalist's bandwagon, shunning my sister for leaving, all part of a monstrous lie. I even have to lie to my own girlfriend.
"You're right, they stand no chance." She grabs my hand and we walk to school. "Have you spoken to your traitor of a sister lately?" she asks me.
"Nope," I lie, "Haven't seen her since she walked out the front door the day Mississippi seceded from the Union."
Nicole sighs. "It's such a shame, I liked your sister. And she was so pretty. I can't imagine what could cause a girl to leave her family and community for those damned Loyalists. Maybe you have a better idea than me, you know, since you're her twin and all."
"I'm as clueless as you," I lie again, "We can only pray that she returns to the right side in time."
"You can say that again, I hear that some of the Nationalist leaders are planning to execute all Loyalists once we win the war." It's an unrealistic proposal in all truth, but it's still an atrocious idea. And the irony is that the Nationalists think that they're the moral ones.
As we walk up my driveway, my mother comes running out the house. "Come inside, quick!" she exclaims, "You're sister's on the news!" This is unexpected. The last time I spoke to her she said she was doing activist work in D.C.
Nicole and I hurry into the house, my mom turns up the volume of the television. My sister's standing on the white steps of the US Capitol, behind a podium in front of a large crowd of protesters, Loyalists who oppose the war.
"We have allowed this war to rage on long enough," she says. Amber always had been a great speaker. This role suits her well. "For two long and bloody years, a country, cities, families, marriages, have been heavily divided. I myself have had to leave my family, whom I love dearly. But loyalty to my country, the United States of America, comes first."
"No Amber, you're wrong," my mom says to the TV, as if Amber could actually hear her, "Family always comes first!"
Amber continues, "We must end this conflict, and extend a hand of friendship to the Nationalists, instead of extending a bayonet." Then she pulls something from a cloth under the podium. A gun.
She sticks the barrel in her mouth, and then appears to look directly at me, before pulling the trigger. The crowd disperses into shock and chaos as my sister's brains lay splattered on the steps of the US Capitol. My mom turns off the television and resumes her housework, as if nothing had just happened.
Nicole then turns to me and sighs. "Such a shame, right?" she says.
"Yeah," I say, "Such a shame."
1. Seth mentioned that he stayed for his family, but was against the Nationalist's views. Why do you think he stayed for his family?
2. The Loyalist are the liberals of the North, the Nationalists are the conservatives of the South. Why do they have the names that they do?
3. Why does Seth lie about his true views of the Secession, Loyalists, and the Civil War?
4. What do you think caused Amber to commit suicide after delivering her speech? And do you think her apparent eye contact with her brother before was coincidental or intentional?
5. CRITICAL THINKING: Amber said in her speech that her country came first, but her mother claimed that family always came first. Who do you think is right? Why?