The funeral was over and everyone agreed that, for a man who had just lost his wife and child in a house fire, he was holding himself together very well. He looked sad, but also confident. He looked like someone who had made peace with his situation.

He was staying with his sister. On the way back from this funeral, he asked his sister to swing by what was left of his house… He wanted to look through the ashes for a fire-proof safe. There was something important inside it, he said.

His sister obliged and, as they pulled up to the ash heap that had been his home, she offered to help him look for the safe.

“I’d rather do this alone,” he said.

“What’s in the safe?” she asked. “Some sort of life insurance policy?”

“Yes,” he said. “Some sort of life insurance policy. I’d just rather be alone while I look for it.”

The sister stayed in her car while the man rummaged through the ashes. Still, he looked confident.

It didn’t take him long to find it. His sister wasn’t paying attention to him as he leaned over to brush the ashes off of it. If she would have paid attention, she would have noticed that this safe was the size of a cabinet. It was too heavy to pick up.

He did the combination and opened it, taking one last look around to make sure no one was watching.

He reached in and pulled out one of the rifles. Within seconds, it was loaded, cocked, and leaning against him with the muzzle at his chin.

He’d just wanted to make sure they had a proper burial first.

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