A Scottish April: A Short Story

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I’d heard it said that a Scottish April is a fearsome thing to behold, but I never truly believed it until the night I lay dying on Culloden Moor. The chill of the wind cut through my sodden plaid, and the soggy squashing sound of English footprints as they walked echoed in my ears. I knew that I would die, but I wasn’t yet sure if I’d prefer to die at the end of a British sword, or by my own hands, by my dirk.
We had gone without sufficient rations for weeks before we reached Culloden, and we were all starving. As the hunger began to overcome us, and the Scottish wind blew colder than ever, we began to lose faith in Charles Stuart. Our Bonnie Prince had failed us, and we were only just beginning to realize that. He had failed us from the beginning, but our blind faith, and our fervent patriotism had filled our stomachs and lit the campfires that we warmed ourselves by. It was the night before Culloden, when my clansmen, Graham Mackenzie, grabbed me by my tartan and pulled me away from the light of the fires. It was dark, but I could still see the desperate look in his eyes as he clutched me. “I won’t stay,” he said, the words almost too much for his cracked lips and hollowed cheeks to muster. “Iain, I leave before sunrise, come with me, please.” I shook my
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We never spoke of what we thought about the Prince, about the Rising, about the clan lands that we would likely never see again. I had come to realize only recently that I would never see my wife, Joan, again. She would become a widow, and would raise our children alone. Perhaps she would remarry, one of the men sitting nearly motionless among the Jacobite ranks, or maybe one of the men who had evaded joining the army. I could not help but envy them. As they sat at home, in their villages, under the protection of their clan, I was dangerously close to the men who I knew would kill

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