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Single red poppy against a black background. Title: Dulce et Decorum Est, by Squibstress.
Flash Fiction

Dulce et Decorum Est

Before the final battle, Minerva reflects on what it means to send young men and women to war.

Minerva McGonagall
1,120 words

Dulce et Decorum Est

Her father had been in the war—the one the Muggles called “The War to End All Wars”—and knew the truth of Owen’s poem. He never spoke of it until those long days of his dying when she would sit the vigil at his bedside. By that time, she had been the veteran of a war herself and knew something of the lies people tell to frightened soldiers.

Minerva McGonagall has always hated lies and liars. Now, as she stands in front of the six-and-fifty children she has sworn to protect with her life and her blood, she finds herself repeating, exaggerated Scottish “Rs” rolling and enlivening the Latin, words that taste like death and betrayal in her mouth:

“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”

Spoiler Alert!

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