A Private Collector

Posted on April 15, 2010


I did not realize at first that I had begun something. It did not seem like a pastime, an avocation, a hobby. All that happened was that a certain something caught my eye, a luscious trinket that no one else might have ever noticed. I picked it up and held it in my hand, admiring its color, the texture of its surface, its heft against my fingers. It seemed to look back at me—in fact, it felt as though the thing and I recognized each other. I put it in my pocket and took it home.

I was still young then, and many things pulled at my attention. Even so, I kept my little trinket with me; I carried it wherever I went, I slept with it under my pillow. It was my secret, my talisman. But the passing days and frequent handling aged my treasure, and soon the reek of its decay caused others to notice and wonder what could cause such an odor. In the end I had to part with it so that it would escape discovery and my secret would be safe.

It was hard to let it go. I mourned its loss, and my dreams were filled with its little ghost. I hid my sadness, pretended all was well with me, and life went on. I went about my business as did everyone else. But nothing, really, was ever the same again.

I cannot recall the exact moment when it occurred to me that I could obtain another treasure similar to the first. But eventually I was certain that it was possible, and so I set out on a quest to find the perfect trinket. There was, as with all skills, a learning curve, and I made mistakes. Hesitation, doubt, and pure innocence in my craft brought me painfully close to having my secret found out. But each attempt was a valuable learning experience, and each near miss gave a new and deeper dimension to my pursuits. I discovered that the risk was, in fact, delicious. The hunt became as deep a pleasure as finding the perfect trinket. It gave new meaning to my life.

And remembering how I had to part with my first beloved treasure, I learned ways to preserve the things I obtained. I learned about solutions to hold them intact, methods of drying, and airtight containers. Mastering these procedures changed everything for me. It was no longer a matter of replacing something I lost to the passage of time. The things I acquired in my pursuits became a true collection.

I am telling you all of this to comfort you. You see, I would not have chosen you if some small part of you had not recognized me. If that part had not called to me, I would have passed you by and you would have continued in your anonymous existence.

Everyone has something unique about them. Some have beautiful eyes, others graceful fingers, yet others a noble nose or a delicate wrist or a foot with a perfect arch. To be born with these exquisite attributes does not mean you own them, though I understand that is how you must feel. Such perfection, as I have learned, should not be allowed to wither with age and die, never to be admired again. No, beauty should be preserved at all costs.

I know you cannot conceive of living without the angelic pink shells of your ears gracing your otherwise mediocre head. You mustn’t worry; I will not require that of you. You are going now to your ultimate rest, but I wanted to allay your fears, reassure you before you drift away. You will not sink into oblivion. The most perfect part of you will be immortal now in my private collection. Thank you for your contribution.

Posted in: #FridayFlash, Horror