Lost In Time: Chapter 1

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Craig na Dun, 1746.

           Jamie was walking fast, the effort to climb up and get to the stones of Craig na Dun was imperceptible. He was in a hurry, desperate and at the same time torn to look at his little daughter in his lap, the daughter who he would have to say goodbye in a few minutes, his Faith, the little miracle he had won almost two years ago. He stopped for a while to see if Claire was keeping up with his pace right behind him, he knew it wasn’t right to walk in front of her, it wasn’t safe, but he hadn’t been able to think straight since he saw the painful fate that awaited him:

           - Sassenach, give me your hand, I’ll help you up. - He spoke stretching out his hand to his wife who had a tired countenance, but it was more than physical fatigue, she was emotionally exhausted.

           - Da? Ride? - little Faith asked her father, she loved to walk with her parents, and during those days before they arrived at the fateful Culloden moor, they had told the little one they were walking and she was finding it all amusing, even with the battles her father had fought and the obvious concern of her mother. She was the lightness they both needed to face such difficult days, but they knew the hardest time had come and they didn’t know what they were going to do with the beautiful girl with red hair so attached to her father.

           Jamie looked at Claire, looking in her eyes for what to say to her daughter, but Claire’s eyes only brought sadness and more doubts. He knew he was making a sacrifice that Claire might not forgive now, but she would understand when she would give birth to their second child safely, in a future far away from this harsh reality they were in at the time. He knew he would not survive, Claire had already told him what would happen to Scotland and Highlander culture after the battle of Culloden, he had nowhere to run and would not forgive himself for leaving Claire and Faith alone in this situation, but not only that, Claire barely survived giving birth to Faith and she was pregnant again, he would not be able to live with the guilt of letting her face that danger, let alone the situation they were in now.

           He knew that if they fled the battle, he would always be a wanted man and his head would have a price again, how to raise a family that way? They couldn’t go back to Lallybroch, they probably couldn’t live in Scotland, no, he didn’t want that for his little Faith, for Claire and even less for the baby that was to come. And so he insisted to his wife that he would take them to Craigh na Dun, send them back to the time Claire once belonged, where she had people who could look after them, where they would have every comfort and a quiet life, without war and danger.

           - Today the ride will be just with Mama, aye? - Jamie answered her daughter.

           - Why? Da not want?

           - Da has to do some work. - Jamie spoke more seriously than he intended, felt tears coming from behind his eyes, but tried to hold on.

           When they came near the stones, Claire could no longer hide her anguish and despair:

           - Jamie, please, my place is here, our place is here, with you! - she was sobbing, her tears were already over her face.

           - Mama, you sad? Don’t cry, Da be back soon, aye Da? - Faith spoke when she saw her mother crying.

           Claire couldn’t resist her daughter’s innocent smile and picked her up from Jamie’s lap, holding her tight:

           - Sassenach, we’ve talked about this and I won’t change my mind, I love you two too much to leave you here, I’ve said I can bear pain myself, but I couldn’t bear yours. And we have to think about this little one here. - he spoke by putting his hand on Claire’s belly.

           Faith was distracted by counting the stones around her and didn’t pay attention to her parents’ painful conversation:

           - We can go to France again, or Italy, maybe America, anywhere, but we’ll be together, Jamie, I can’t raise Faith alone, I can’t separate her from you, it’s not fair…

           - And what would be fair, Claire? To live like fugitives? Always worried I’m gonna be caught? I could be caught at any time and I’m sure this time I won’t go to prison! No, I can’t be selfish like that…

           - Selfish? Wanting to live with your family is selfish? - Claire’s voice was almost indecipherable because of her sobs and tears.

           Jamie couldn’t control the emotion of seeing his wife like that either, but he kept his face serious even though the tears ran down his face freely. Faith began to become restless in her mother’s lap, she was an active child and  didn’t like spending much time in her lap, much less quiet listening to her parents’ conversation. Claire was so nervous about the argument with Jamie that she answered her daughter’s impatient request to be put down and didn’t notice when the little one ran out towards the large stone in the center of the circle:

           - Faith! - Jamie shouted making Claire look back.

           - Da? Noise, not listening you! - she was screaming.

           - No, no, Faith, come back here! - Claire screamed desperately as she saw her daughter approaching the stone.

           But the buzzing sound was keeping her from being heard, Claire ran to her daughter, Jamie was right behind screaming for their names, but everything was so fast and confusing. He saw his wife reach out to pick up Faith’s hand that was approaching the big stone at the center of the circle. No, he wasn’t ready to let them go like that and he tried to pick up Claire’s hand, his arm was long and easily reached her. That was the last image he had of them, Faith scared, Claire screaming and him not understanding what the hell was going on.

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