Monday, 16 August 2010

The Collector of Souls by Catherine Dalling

A warm welcome to Catherine…

Collector of Souls.

Oh so you're back.  

I suppose I should have known it would be sooner rather than later. 

You look confused. 

To be honest I'm not really surprised.

Look, let me try to explain.  No, don’t sit there, come into the kitchen and we can talk while I make breakfast.

Ah that's better, I always think clearer after a good cup of tea. 

You sure you don't want anything?

Fair enough, don’t suppose it would go down too well.

Do you remember anything at all?

You don’t – okay let me start at the beginning.

There was an accident, quite a nasty one, about four months ago.  Blood everywhere, there was.  The ambulance got there just in time; well that's what they said anyway.  Surgery took about twelve hours, the surgeon looked exhausted when he walked out of the operating theatre.   He was very kind, saying that they had stopped the internal bleeding and patched up all the broken bones, now it was out of his hands and only time would tell. 
Nearly two months in a coma when they said they wanted to switch off the machine.  Minimal brain activity they said, that’s nothing new I thought.

Hey, don’t look at me like that!

Anyway then something strange happened, just after they had turned off the machines the heart monitor started to beep, they said it was a miracle.  I wasn't sure I agreed with them.  But nevertheless the discharge papers were signed. 

The doctors said it was as if nothing had happened and everything should be back to normal, but to get in touch with them if I was worried.

But it wasn't back to normal, it was better than normal. 

Dinner at Gianni's twice a week, long walks by the lake. Snuggling up with a DVD and a good bottle of wine, followed by hours of passionate love-making. 

It seemed strange, but I didn't question it, why should I?  It was better than the rows and the beatings.  They say people can change after something like that don't they, personally I didn't think it was possible, but it seemed like I was being proved wrong, again.

You look a little pale, are you sure you are all right?

Stupid question, sorry. 

Anyway where was I?

Oh yes I remember.  I knew it was too good to last though, just my luck.  There was a knock on the door last night.  Well okay so it was Halloween, there were plenty of knocks on the door.  Word must have got around.

Anyway it was some bloke, calling himself ‘the collector’.  To be honest at first I thought he was some whack job, you know some sci-fi geek in a bad Halloween costume.  I told him to go away, he was too old for trick or treating.  That got a laugh out of him, I can tell you.  But he wouldn’t go away, told me things that would make your hair curl, if you had any of course.  Eventually I had no choice but to let him.

As soon as he was through the door all hell broke loose.  It seems it wasn't a miraculous recovery after all, something had taken over.  A lost soul, I think that's what he called it.  Yes that was it, one who died too young or never had the chance to experience life, he said that they use them sometimes when the proper soul goes AWOL, gives them a chance to see what it was like.

Are you sure you are ok? You don't look to happy.

Ahh, so it's finally dawning on you. 

Serves you right really. 

So anyways he said that their job is to look after the body until the rightful soul can be found, you know when the body is about to die but it isn't it's time, they are sort of caretakers.

Well he was a little shocked I can tell you, when I said I was happier the way things were.
Funny he wore an expression pretty similar to that one.

Ahh, now you have more colour. 

Don't start spluttering like that, it isn't good for your health and it makes you look ridiculous. 

Oh sit down, let me finish.  You did ask after all.

Look I've already told you to calm down, it doesn't hurt you know, he said so. 

Oh and that won't work, stop shaking your fists, you can't intimidate me anymore. I'm not frightened of you, you see it was me who cut the brakes on the car...

Oh hello darling. 

Let me introduce you to my husband.  I'm sure you recognise those fine features, that well toned torso, I am so glad that you spent all those hours working out at the gym, Julia was her name wasn’t it?  She called here after the accident, was very surprised to find out you had a wife. 

Now why do I get the feeling you are jealous, could it be that this was once yours? 
There’s no point running, the Collector will be here any minute – see he isn’t fussy who he takes with him, a soul is a soul to him, we struck a rather nice little deal, so don’t worry love, you won’t be missed.

1 comment:

  1. great story! Love the casual, laidback way of narrating something cold blooded and nasty!
    More please!