Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Collector

I thought I'd try my hand at fiction for this week's Sunday Scribblings. Be gentle, I'm way out of my comfort zone here...

The man turned up the collar of his trench coat against the cold winter wind. Huddling in the doorway of an abandoned building, he squinted in the pale light from the corner's last remaining streetlight and read the next name on his list. Just a few more names and he could return home to his warm armchair by the fire. Nights like this he really disliked his job. He was really getting too old for fieldwork and longed for a desk job back at headquarters.

Mrs. Gertrude Spinner, age 83. The paper said she had 4 children, 7 grandchildren, and a cat. Her husband had died 16 years earlier. A long, full life well-lived. Good, this would be an easy one. It was time now. He put away the paper and rang the doorbell, speech at the ready.

That one done, he turned to the next name on the list. Ben Jackson, a 26-year old bonds trader living on the Upper East Side. He was still single, his long hours at work followed by long hours at the local bars had conspired to keep him that way. Too bad, but it was too late now. Mr. Jackson, courageous with drink, had felt invincible when the mugger approached him as he stumbled back home late this evening. The collector would have to meet him at the hospital.

Another name, this one a 62-year old with an unpronounceable illness who knew that his time was winding down. Sad, but necessary.

One more.

Oh no. Not this. A child. An innocent. Just 3 years old. Victim of a terrible accident. This one would be rough. The child would probably scream and cry, wanting to stay. The parents would be screaming and crying, or worse, shocked into comatose silence by grief. This is not what I signed on for, the man thought to himself. This was supposed to be an easy job. More of an escort service than anything else, they'd said.

He really did need to put in for that transfer. This field work was getting to be too much for him. That wouldn't help with tonight's assignment though. It was too late for that. With a heavy sigh, the soul collector pulled his coat closer against the cold and started walking to the child's house, ready to collect the last soul on the evening's list.

Look here for more collectors.

23 comments:

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I am so behind in reading blog posts that I was just going to go through and erase everything in my Blogger Reader, so I could start fresh next week.

I'm so glad this caught my eye and I read it through. I actually read it twice. Very nice piece of work.

Becca said...

Great story! The tone was just right, and I was pulled in from the beginning to see just what this fellow was collecting. Very good surprise ending!

I think you were very comfortable in this zone!

Jo said...

A great story -- with an interesting take on the theme. Well done.

Herb Urban said...

That was great! I honestly did not see that ending coming. Awesome job!

paisley said...

this was very clever.. i really liked it.. what a spin ont he collector theme!!!!

i cannot see what you mean about my calendar,, i have looked at my page in IE and in firefox.. no obscuring of the text.. thanks for letting me know tho....

Stacy said...

I can't decide if this is spooky or sad or maybe both.

The feeling of the story was perfect ----- pulled me right in.

tumblewords said...

Nice piece of fiction. Has hooks and images, thoughts and movement. Like it!

Gillian @ Indigo Blue said...

Holy hell! Shock me! Great story Robin. You give Stephen King a run for his money.
Being a mom too, I cringed at his last collection. Funny, we all know one day will come when we ourselves are collected, but for obvious reasons it is just awful when it happens to a child. Thank goodness it is only fiction.
xo
Blue

Helena said...

Wow! You dragged me in quickly, and kept me there. You should consider - serioiusly consider - expanding this into a short story, or better yet, a full-fledged novel.

I'm glad I stumbled on your blog. I will be back soon.

Shanah Tovah!

Helena
Thrice Blessed Momma

Ther said...

the collector of soul. this is a nice touch on the prompt. i like it.

Josie Two Shoes said...

A wonderful take on this week's theme... I love originality! Excellent writing, good read!

MissMeliss said...

Brilliant. Creepy, but brilliant. :)

Robin said...

Thank you all for your kind words. I was probably 12 the last time I tried to write fiction so this was a real reach for me.

Poppy Fields said...

You do good out of your comfort zone :)

grace said...

Have you thought of writing a book? I think you'll do great!!

About the story...I already had a feeling. Sad that he has to collect the last young soul! :-(

Patois said...

I'll second (and third and so on) the other's comments and say that was great! Excellent telling. Brought us in so well.

Matthew said...

Very nice, reminds me of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak which is narrated by Death. You should definitely keep up the fiction writing!

~Virginia~ said...

For being out of your comfort zone, it's a really great piece! Congrats! :)

gautami tripathy said...

Your story is very well written. I like the soul-collector!

Yolanda said...

I realy enjoyed this post and visiting your blog.

Scribbit said...

I liked this, and excellent twist on the theme!

Janet said...

Very well written, and incredibly sad.

Melissa Garrett said...

oooooohhhhhhh . . .

good one ;-)