A Dying Hope

Hhhhh, was the exhale of Seamus McFlaggan as he lay on the ground surrounded by his fallen brothers. Seamus was a Scottish warrior of the clan McCullen, he had been a farmer on a small piece of land on the Highlands of Scotland. Seamus had participated that day in bleeding the ground red on the ground of Falkirk, where countless dead and dying lay. English and Scots alike strewn in a bloody mess covering up the ground and slowly bleeding out. Seamus lay very still as he thought back to the events before this day when he and his friends had sat around a campfire eating while drinking.

"Ay Seamus, you know what?" asked Duncan with a devilish grin. Seamus suspected something mischievous from Duncan, but he played along. "And what is that, Master Duncan?" questioned Seamus. "This cooking of ours is God awful. I can't wait to get home and taste some of your wife's cooking cause it is much better." He said with laugh. The others around the circle roared with laughter as they slapped their knees and threw their heads back with laughter. "Ay, you might be right there Duncan, but I can't wait to get back to some of your mother's cooking is much better than my wife's and besides your mom likes me better than you." He retorted back with a smile and wink. This time the others laughed so hard that tears were rolling down their faces and they were breathing hard after their laughter died down. Their witty banter was harmless not really meant to harm just to make the night light for them because they all knew what tomorrow had in store for them.

Seamus lay on his back gasping hard for each life sustaining breath and reached behind his head with his right arm to try crawling backward with what little strength he had left in his body. It was to no avail because his body was too feeble from the battle today that all his arm did was dig up some dirt which he brought before his gaze. He left the dirt cascade down twixt his fingers watching the brown and red dirt fall back to the earth.

Seamus was pushing a plow through his field with his horse pulling at a steady pace as the unrelenting sun beat down against his exposed back. Sweat poured off Seamus like water and even though he was tired enough to lie down and die. He knew that if these crops didn't get planted that his family would surely starve in the coming winter when food was so scarce that you would go without eating for several days. So he would drudge on and plant this field no matter how tired he got. When he finished he walked his horse over to his makeshift stable and threw down some oats for the horse to eat. He headed back to his hovel where he could see smoking billowing out of the chimney. This was always a good sign to Seamus because it meant that his wife, Alexandrea, was making supper for him and the kids. Stopping outside of the door Seamus took a deep breath and walked in to his children running around the house playing games. Alexandrea was busily tending the fire and the vittles inside of the pot hanging over the fire. Between her cooking, she would look up and ordered the oldest child, Ewan, to hand her something or get water. Upon Seamus' entry his children stopped their playing and ran over to him with shouts of laughter and "Dada Dada!" Their baby name for him always brought a smile to his hard face. Alexandrea turned around and faced her husband saying "Aren't you a sight for sore eyes. I was beginning to wonder when you would decide to come back in." "Oh well you know me darling, I always love to keep you waiting. Makes your cooking taste better." He replied slyly. "Is that right now? Well then you can go back outside and not get any supper at all" she warned with a pointing of her finger at Seamus. Seamus ran over and picked her spinning her around. "Oh put me down you crazy fool!" she laughed as Seamus put her down with a kiss on the cheek. Then he knelt down and called his children back over to him for a hug although they ran so fast over that they knocked over their tired father. His youngest, Fiona, laughing the hardest at her and her brother knocking over their father. Seamus preceded to wrestle and tickle them until supper was ready. They ate and talked about the day's events and they were happy.

Seamus smiled weakly at the memory of his family and he desperately hoped that they were safe. He worried how they would be able to plant crops this year without him there. Stark pain shot up his chest as the wound in his middle sprang back into his thoughts. He didn't look down at his stomach, but he touched it with his right hand and brought his hand back up to see it covered in his blood. He began to wonder why he was here and one word rang clear in his head: Freedom. Yes Freedom was what William Wallace had preached to us before one of our battles. To be free men and have this one chance to tell the English that they may take our land, but they will never take our freedom. Freedom that is what so many fought and died for today. I believe to die fighting for something bigger than yourself is an honorable death and one death worth having. I not only fought for my own freedom, but for my countrymen's freedom and especially for the freedom of my family. I wanted a better life for my children than the one I had grown up living in. An inch is all we have and what we do with that inch is important. I believe with all my heart that I have spent my inch valuably investing in the lives of my family and I hope they can forgive me for leaving so soon. I would have loved to see my children again to hold them in my arms, play with them, and tell them I love them. My wife, I wish I could have kissed her one more time, stared into her bright blue eyes, and tell her how much she meant to me and how much I love her. I die here in the company of my brothers, in the company of heroes of Scotland. Fighting for Freedom. Freedom.

Freedom that was the last thought of Seamus McFlaggan as he breathed his last on the battleground of Falkirk. So many died for this thing called Freedom and they had done so willing because they believed in it with all their hearts. Seamus McFlaggan died with that hope, as so did many others, that what he did today would push Scotland a little closer to Freedom and a better life for their friends and families. Freedom was their dying hope.