Late last evening I was sitting in my gun room, rubbing BLO into the stock
of my \'93 Turk, when a heavily accented voice said \'Thanks for taking me out
of the safe\'. Startled, I looked around for the source of the
voice....started to get up, then heard the voice again, saying \'It gets
pretty stuffy in there during the summer\'. At that point I realised that the
voice was coming from the rifle in my lap! I almost threw the rifle on the
floor, and would have if I hadn\'t noticed the weathered face of an old man
superimposed on the action of the rifle! Trying to regain my composure, and
not believing what I was seeing, I asked him who he was, what he was doing
in my rifle, and what he wanted. He replied that he WAS the rifle, his name
was Ajjiberon, and that he didn\'t really want anything, other than to talk
with me. He told me that he and the others had wanted to talk with me for
some time, but that I never gave them a chance to talk when I was handling
I asked...\'the other who??'
He replied \'the other guns in your collection\'. I just sat there for a
minute, taking it all in....when he asked , \'Are you OK?'
I said \'Sure....I\'m just sitting here, talking to a rifle.... that\'s talking
back....TALKING BACK!!! Good grief! That Hoppes #9 must be getting to me!'
'No....\', the old rifle said,'it\'s not the Hoppes....I\'m real and I\'m
here....now, can you calm down enough to talk...and listen, for a spell?'
\'I\'ll try\', I replied, \'But this is really strange!'
\'Just listen for a few minutes\', he said, \'and you\'ll understand\'. \'OK\', I
answered, \'go ahead ...
\'\'As you can see, I\'m an old Mauser... I was made in Germany in 1895 for the
Turkish Army, and was originally issued to\'.
\'Wait a minute!'I interrupted,\'that is interesting stuff, but HOW CAN YOU TALK AND HOW ARE
\'Oh, I forgot about that'he said.'I guess I better cover that first!'
\'Yeah\', I said, \'That would be nice!'
'Well, let\'s see....when a gun is made, it is given a spirit, and that
spirit stays with the gun until it is melted down or rusts away. The spirit
has no power over the person that carries it, but can only observe events,
and remember what the carrier sees and feels. If the spirit chooses, it can
allow a new carrier to experience and understand what previous carriers
experienced, with a reduced level of pain\'.
\'Yes, the experience isn\'t real without some pain. It\'s really just enough
to give the new carrier a deep appreciation of the event, not torment the
carrier or anything\'.
\'SHEESH! You mean to tell me....that you can ...more or less... take me back
in time in your memories...and let me experience what the people that
carried you experienced....just as if I was there.?'
\'Yes....my memories, and those of the other guns in your collection.'
\'I imagine that you, and a few of the others, have some pretty interesting
\'We do\', he said. \'Would you like to see?'
\'Pain....you said.....how much pain?'
\'Enough to make the experience real\'.
\'How much is that????'
\'Enough to make you uncomfortable, but not enough to make you
miserable...compared to what the original carrier experienced...it will be
mild. And, if it gets to be too much for you, all you have to do is
\'So I can stop the experience at any time?'
\'And right away the pain stops?'
\'It stops immediately\'.
I just sat there for a couple of minutes...thinking about what I might be
getting into...what if I couldn\'t stop it??? What if the pain was so intense
that I couldn\'t remember to say \'Enough\'? What if I... passed up this
opportunity to see and feel what soldiers in days long ago experienced....At
that moment I knew...I had to go...had to see and feel...to know...to hurt a
little if need be...
\'OK'I said. 'I\'d like to try it...if one of the rifles is willing\'.
\'They all are'he said. \'Well, except for the Polish 44...he doesn\'t have
any experiences to share except for those he has with you...when you spend
over 40 years in deep storage packed in cosmoline, you don\'t experience
\'So I just, like, pick one?'
\'That\'s all... just pick any one you would like.'
\'OK...how about...my 1939 Tula , 91/30?'
The cold suddenly went through me like a knife! No warning, no smoke or
lights...it was instantaneous...as soon as I finished speaking my choice...I
was there! I quickly looked around. I was on my knees in a stream or ditch
with banks on either side...it was hard to tell because of all the
snow...but one thing was certain...I was wet! ...and cold!....and Russian!.
I don\'t know how I knew...but I knew...I was Russian....from a little
village about a days'walk outside of Moscow. My uniform was ragged...it had
bullet holes in it from the earlier battles of other, now dead, wearers.
There were rags on my hands for warmth as I had no mittens...I hadn\'t felt
my feet, or eaten, for two days...half of my time in the Army. There were
two other men in the ditch with me...one on each side...they had no guns...I
could hear artillery fire nearby....the sounds of a small-arms battle all
around ...the smell of gunpowder...and death...and I was cold....and hungry
....and afraid. I was leaning, sort of laying, with my chest against the
bank, rifle over the top edge, shouldered, looking for a target, with my
feet and legs below the knees submerged in snow/water...the coldest water I
have ever felt. The two guys with me were scared too ...I knew one of
them...a friend from my village...he was talking constantly....I was trying
to concentrate....find a target...I heard a loud POP!...something wet and
warm sprayed my face...he stopped talking...I looked to my left at my
friend...his eyes were vacant... there was a large hole over his right
eye...as he slumped to the bottom of the ditch...I looked beyond him...and
saw a German soldier with a K98...feverishly working the bolt to chamber a
round...I felt the hatred well up inside me like a pot boiling over...I had
never felt hatred like that...it came from deep within my Russian spirit
....I turned, swinging the rifle to my left, took quick aim...pulled the
trigger as the German took aim...and nothing happened! Instantly, my rifles\'
spirit told me that the firing pin was frozen in the bolt and wouldn\'t fire,
I heard another POP!, and I felt a searing pain in my chest as the bullet
passed through. As I fell, the man to my right reached for my rifle....I was
suddenly with him...shouldering the rifle, and another bullet hit me,...the
intensity was incredible... and the pain!...
ENOUGH! I shouted ....ENOUGH!
I was back in my gun room...looking down at the old man in my \'93
Turk....shaking like a leaf...and crying...and he asked....are you OK?
I just sat there for a minute...trying to calm down...trying to breath
normally again...and said yes....I\'m OK.
And he said...\'Honey...it\'s late..why don\'t you go to bed?'
'Honey....you fell asleep! Put that smelly old gun away and go to bed! You
have to work tomorrow.'It was my wife. I looked down at the \'93 Turk...the
old man was gone. I was still shaking....I must have been dreaming...WOW!
What a dream!...I got up to put the old Turk away...water squished in my