Mercury Poisons


If she had only stolen my husband, I would have gotten over her betrayal long ago. But Abbi Stronton wasn’t just my backstabbing witch of a best friend. She was prosecutor general for North America. Why should someone of her legal stature wait through a messy divorce?

Sedition was the charge, fifteen years the sentence. From the moment my rocket landed, I realized how thoroughly Abbi had stolen my life. My first month on Mercury was spent with laser chisel in hand, laboring in the underground prison to hollow out my own prison cell.

“A housewarming gift,” the aged warden said with an evil smile, tossing me a book. “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Thus began years of sadistic mental torture. By day I mined tungsten for export. Unlike the Château d’If, a tunnel on Mercury led not to freedom, but death.

At night I read stories of wrongful conviction, and raged hotter than the puddles of molten lead on the surface. With sixty-two notches, one per Mercurian year, carved on my wall, the warden approached me.

“They say our truth scanners are 99.9999% accurate.”

I shrugged. He coughed hoarsely.

“I say you’re my one in a million. This camp has made me wealthy off the labor of murderers and traitors, and deathly ill from lung disease.”

He coughed roughly.

“I see vengeance burning in your eyes. They say the best revenge is living well. I say one trillion credits could buy plenty of revenge.”

This modernization of The Count of Monte Cristo was written for Flash! Friday vol 3-30. Photo: Château d’If, Marseille, vu de la navette des Iles d’Or. CC2.0 photo by Jacqueline Poggi.

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