Rants, Ravings, and the Truth…A short story.

While Annabelle Steelheart sat at the table, she scrubbed her disassembled 9mm Glock and tried to make sense of her life. The brush swept the carbon from the firing pin and bolt carrier, and she put a few drops of oil on her rag and wiped them down. Annabelle’s red hair dropped down into her eyes, and without thinking she pushed it back with her greasy hand.

“How did Uncle Joey see this coming, when no one else did?” A familiar tune began to play from the radio which was perched on the windowsill in the kitchen. The lyrics were familiar, so Anna began to hum along. “It’s the end of the world as we know it…” After cleaning each piece of the weapon, Anna began to assemble her sidearm. The song was interrupted by a breaking news announcement.

Today, the President has signed a new piece of legislature which will extend the suspension of all citizens constitutional rights until further progress can be made in the combatting of this viral outbreak.” Anna shook her head and continued to put the weapon together. Her thoughts turned to her Uncle Joey.

Anna and her uncle never really got along; the few times they did consumption of massive amounts of alcohol played a major role in smoothing the waters between them. Her uncle, a war veteran of Korea and Vietnam, often told her not to trust the government. “Anna, the government is not your friend. They would gladly level America in the pursuit of global power.” She would shake her head and accuse him of being a conspiracy theorist. Unwavering, he would continue his speech. “You’ve got to take charge of your life. The only rights you have are the ones you’re willing to fight for. If you ain’t got the guts to do what has to be done, sit down and be quiet.”

The weapon assembled, Anna shoved the magazine in and racked the slide. She pulled the slide halfway back and checked to make sure a round was chambered. Satisfied the weapon was useful, she put it in her purse and reached for the rifle. Carefully, she disassembled the rifle and took up the brush. Tears welled up in Anna’s eyes as her thoughts lingered around Joey.

“I sure do miss him. He would know what to do in this situation. It’s hard to believe he was gunned down while buying milk for the house.” The police had blamed Joey’s unexpected death on a robbery gone wrong. The masked killer asked for the money in the register, but the store’s video showed the robber walk up to Joey and then shot him point blank in the head. Her uncle’s death jarred her from her comfort zone. At his wake, her father told her Joey had left her a part of his estate. She had gone through the legal proceedings and her part of the estate was in a storage unit just five miles from where she lived. The lawyer waved at her when she pulled up, and she got out of her Jeep. Together, they walked to the storage unit. Wordlessly, the attorney handed Anna a letter and a set of keys. Anna sat on the curb and opened the letter.

“Dearest Anna,

If you’re reading this, I am gone. It has never been my intention to scare you, or to make you hate me. Inside this storage unit, you will find a box. I left you some money, but more importantly, I left you protection. This world is a rough place, and if you’re gonna make it, you got to get tough with it. Inside the box there is a document. More than likely, it’s why I was killed. There is a drug pipeline that runs from war torn countries to ours. It’s how we fight “black wars” that are off the record. It allows certain parties to claim no knowledge of the human right violations that occur in these places.

Do not trust the government. They sidle up close, and when you least expect it, they shove a knife in your giblets. Against your wishes, I taught you to shoot, to be accurate and to take no prisoners. I’m not asking you to avenge me, I’m only hoping you will open your eyes and see the world for what it is.”

Anna stood to her feet and unlocked the storage unit. As she walked in, the overhead light kicked on. On the shelves were photos of her uncle in various settings. In the middle of a hellish war, her uncle found a way to smile. A small tear slipped down her cheek. On the central shelf sat the box, next to the box was a photo of young Anna looking down the sights of an old M-1 Garand. Her uncle smiled broadly.

Anna opened the box. Inside was 75,000 dollars. Behind the box was a Pelican gun case with a Post-It sticker that simply said, “this.” Carefully, she leaned the gun case down and unsnapped the latches. She pushed the lid up and inside was a Bushmaster AR-15. The rifle came equipped with an Aimpoint red dot scope, six 30 round magazines, and a combat flashlight. A Glock 17 was also in the case. Anna took a shaky breath and realized there was a piece of paper under the pistol. She took the paper and opened it. Scrawled hastily in pencil were these words.

“Remember who you are.”

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