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.
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.