The Collector (Inspired by Hamsun and Dostoyevsky)

Submitted for Contest #75 in response to: Write about someone whose job is to help people leave their old lives behind.... view prompt

Jan 07, 2021

Sad Drama

Five months had passed, and it was time to become a new person. It was a dark evening, the clouds foreshadowing the night to come. A horrible smell arose from the vents, something of a mix between rotting marrow and sewer gunk. A man, his brown bowler hat tipping to the right, was the only moving being at that time of night. Everyone else was either inside or unconscious.


The man, a lean shadow of sorts, seemed to blend in with the black tar of the streets. He wasn't trying to, for why should he? Still, the man was slick as oil, melting into the landscape.


I traipsed over to him, observing him up close. He had a tangled mustache, like a shrub, but it had a neat outline. Not that I cared, I just wanted to remember him.


The man turned a corner, started down an alley. My steps mirrored his, walking as a child would when playing "follow the leader". I decided I had waited long enough. It was a boring business, mine, one that required a lot of patience, and mine had worn out.


I grabbed his neck from behind, letting the cold of my fingers seep into his skin. The man's eyes widened in surprise, but then sank and he went limp. My once cold hand, now filled to the brim with the man's life force, was twitching. I pressed it to my chest, let his youth fill me up, and tapped the man again.


His body fell to the floor, dissolving. I didn't see, though, because I was already walking away. The cold night air blasted my face again, as it always did when I renewed my sense of touch. It felt good to be young again.


The streets around me seemed to meld into one long road, a road that I'd walked so many other times before. It was saddening, to think about the monotony of life. Thinking about your own, well, that made you downright broody.


Sunlight was flooding the city, filling my eyes with shame. I could never get it done before the sun rose. That meant I had to interact with the people around me, which anyone like me would be loathe to do.


"Mama, wake up! It's Christmas!" Ugh, not that time of year already. Sounds from the townhomes rang through the street, throwing themselves at my ears. The only holiday I'd ever want to be a part of would be a celebration of the death of all holidays. Of course, none of the cities I visited felt the same. It was a shame they didn't see things the right way.


The Sun was in my face now, covering my new body in light. I didn't like to see my new spirits' bodies, but I guess I had to if I wanted to live in them. The bowler hat, which was still tipping to the right, hung heavy on my head. I pushed it to the left, centering it on my abnormally large head.


A car drove by, a red Bentley. It sped like a comet, flying down the street. I sat down on a bench on the sidewalk. The arms of the bench were rusty and grimy, but I didn't mind. The body wasn't all mine yet.


Soon, as if by magic, cars flooded the streets. I came to an intersection, the cars flowing like a river in both directions. The Bentley was screeching back and forth, swerving and almost hitting at least ten cars.


I hailed a taxi, the wind brushing against my hand as it raised. The taxi wasn't yellow but a hint of blue. It was an odd sort of taxi, and I noticed immediately the lack of cushions on the seat. Still, I needed transportation, so it was the best option.


"Where ya goin'? It took me a moment to realize the cabbie was talking to me.


"Radnor," I whispered it as if it were a curse, but the cabbie didn't notice. He stepped on the worn gas pedal and rocketed us through the street. It wasn't like any cab I'd ever been in, the car doors popping out every now and then from the crazy swerves, but I had a place to be.


The cabbie finally reached the destination, coming to a screeching stop. I fell into the chair in front of me but regained my bearings. How could a single man drive so poorly? I looked him in the eye, remembering him because one day I'd be coming back for him.


"That'll be 4.50" I got out of the car without even paying, nor did I need to because there was no longer a cabbie in the car. Only a pile of ash.

___________________________________________


The walls of my apartment closed in around me, suffocating me with their disgusting beige. I sipped on my coffee, letting it burn my insides and warm me up. I didn't feel any energy from drinking caffeine, no, but it did taste good.


Why did I have to kill that cabbie? He didn't need to die. I took his life like I was squashing a bug, like I didn't care who died and who didn't. I remembered his face, not one I cared about, no, but surely there were people who did. Surely some people out there miss their friend, relative.


I had no right to kill him. That was the only thought that came into my mind and spread like a wildfire. That'll be 4.50, the cab doors unlocking and the cabbie outstretching his arm, the man in the bowler hat falling into ash as he stood above, the red Bentley passing by him. Why did I do this with my life? Could you even call mine a life?


"Housekeeping." The man came into my room, his mop in hand, and his cologne already polluting the air.


"Get out, get out, get out!!" The time slowed, the cab doors, blue-tinged with a rim of dirt. The cabbie sitting upfront, his hand outstretched. My hand reaching out for a different, crueler purpose, my hand yet again flying towards another, the white of his jacket shriveling under my touch.


What have I become?

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708 comments

This was inspired by the literary devices of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Knut Hamsun, and if you're confused about the sentences in the second part, the ones in italics have different time periods merged into one sentence.

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Kate Reynolds
18:22 Jan 07, 2021

Wow. I did not expect the story to turn out like this XD but it was sooooo good thoooooo!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was a very unique way of looking at the prompt! Good jobbb!!!!!!!!!!! :DDDDDDDDDDD

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THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

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Kate Reynolds
18:28 Jan 07, 2021

NPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Btw totally random but should I change my profile pic-?

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Yeah, mix it up a bit!!

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Kate Reynolds
18:30 Jan 07, 2021

Okie, fantasy or real? (They're all landscapes)

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Fantasy

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Zilla Babbitt
00:08 Jan 09, 2021

I'll be honest, I only got to chapter six of Crime and Punishment. After the murder it gets boring. So I don't know too much of Dostoyevsky's style. But I'll do my best here :) Well written. My critique would be to say this is just one shot of his life, rather than the descent into cruelty and evil as the final line suggests you were aiming for. Showing that descent, scene by scene, would make the ending more impactful. Other than that, good job, Luke!

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Yeah, I think the dream of a ridiculous man is his best work. Thanks so much, Zilla!! Iโ€™ll remember that in the future.

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Megan Sutherland
21:11 Jan 08, 2021

Woahhh, I just read your bio! Three novels? That's amazing! lowkey struggling to write one *laughs painfully* but that's our craft, right? :D (not looking for pity here, okiiiii)

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XDDDDDDDDDDDDD THATS TRUEEEE

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Megan Sutherland
19:22 Jan 08, 2021

So dark So AMAZINGNESS Like, wow. I am so impressed, Luke. :DDDDD Your descriptions were perfect and I could see everything exactly in my mind. 10000000/10 -Meg

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OMG DANKE!!! I loved writing this so much!!! Thank you!!

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Megan Sutherland
19:24 Jan 08, 2021

<3

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XDDD Do you have any specific authors that you want me to try and take inspiration from?? I'm doing this thing that's explained in the end of my bio!!

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Megan Sutherland
21:09 Jan 08, 2021

I'll check it out! Hmmm. I don't really know. I don't like specific authors, I choose books because I liked the content or a summary of the story. I think Victoria Aveyard is pretty good, I especially liked her book "Red Queen".

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Ari Reynes
16:28 Jan 08, 2021

Nice story. Is the name queen of hearts?

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Queen of hearts is SOOO CLOSE!! Thanks!!

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Ari Reynes
16:32 Jan 08, 2021

Hint?

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Queen of hearts is an important figure.

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Ari Reynes
16:34 Jan 08, 2021

Alice in wonderland?

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Yep!!

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Kate Reynolds
13:21 Jan 08, 2021

Hellooooo Is your emojis "A Christmas Carol"?

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Yas it is!!!!

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Kate Reynolds
13:24 Jan 08, 2021

Yay!!!!!!!!!

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You're on the leaderboard!!!!

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Kate Reynolds
13:26 Jan 08, 2021

YAY :DDDDD

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XDDDD How's life??

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Zorana Lorden
19:11 Jan 15, 2021

This story is such an inventive response to the prompt, and it's spooky in the best way possible. Really cool, and fun to read: it kept me hooked!

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Zorana Lorden
19:15 Jan 15, 2021

Also, I have to admit I'm really curious about your world-building scheme in the novel you're working on (TOV?)(as mentioned in your bio!). Would you be willing to give any hints about it? Or if you've explained it somewhere else, maybe you could direct me there. I'm really into what goes on in the process of world building especially for fantasy.

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O I just saw this now I'm so sorry!! Well, I'm kinda thinking of redoing it but at the moment, there's a mother goddess named Varnala, and she wove the threads of opportunity into a tapestry of life and that's how the normal world and her court of the stars was created. She has legions of angels that come and bring the noble souls to her court while singing in a language I'm going to create. Now, to the actual story. Its about an Ashin (they're like monkey people with tails that have round heads but look semi human) who finds one of the six ...

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Thanks so much!!

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Regan Boden
09:32 Jan 15, 2021

I LOVED THIS. Your style is so fluid and the tension you create is effortless and moulds so well into the plot. Thank you for this. Looking forwards to reading the rest of your pieces!

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:) Thanks so much!!!

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Sasan Sedighi
04:37 Jan 14, 2021

It was sad, but I felt sadder when the story ended, as I wanted to read more. I wished it were a novel, and I could take the book to my quiet corner and dive into the story.

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Thank you so much!! I would love to make it a novel I feel like it'd be greattttt

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Maya Emerson
02:35 Jan 09, 2021

I submitted the spirit animal story and you're in it. It's called "Endings and New Beginnings" :D

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Maya Emerson
17:43 Jan 08, 2021

What do you think of the new prompts? :)

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I love em!! Can't chat much since I'm writing!!

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Maya Emerson
18:03 Jan 08, 2021

Okay! Coolio!

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Mira Caplan
16:43 Jan 08, 2021

tHe EsSaY tHiNg? FaNcY

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Yep I had to do a whole essay on the Comanches and Mongols XD look at this prophecy I wrote for Jen!! The man blessed with elements of this fair land Shall unwisely silence the ferine strand Trouble's descent upon all alike Seven will save you, seven will strike One whose father turned to the west Another with powers of fire hence blessed A third warrior with opposition abound The two sisters of which no ones like can be found Sand forges the girl who will be tried And the daughter of Earth ceases to hide Find them you shall, and unite th...

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Mira Caplan
16:46 Jan 08, 2021

..................................................the frick?????????? WRITE ME A PROPHECY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I WILL!!! WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO WRITE IT ABOUT???? AN ALDEN PROPH???

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Mira Caplan
16:49 Jan 08, 2021

YEAS!!!! OR A TDR ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSS, WRITE A TDR ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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But it doesn't really need oneeeee Alden does thoooooo

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Mira Caplan
15:41 Jan 08, 2021

NEW THREAD!!! Blablablablablabla LIGHT UP LIGHT UP LIGHT UP blablabalabla ECLIPSEEE

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BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH MOONSTAR

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Mira Caplan
15:45 Jan 08, 2021

READY SET GO blablabla FOLLOW DATADATADAAAA ECLIPSEEEEEEEEEE

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EEEEEEEEEEEK I LOVE THAT SONGGGGG AND SPIT IT OUT IS AWRSOMEEEEEEEEE

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Mira Caplan
15:47 Jan 08, 2021

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSS!!!!!!!!

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XDDDDDDD I SO HAPPY I GOT YOU INTO MAMAMOO

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Mira Caplan
13:33 Jan 08, 2021

HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BESTIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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HALLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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Mira Caplan
13:40 Jan 08, 2021

WASSUPPPPPPPPPPPPP

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I WRITING A STORY INSPIRED BY THE STYLE OF HEMINGWAYYYYYYY

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Mira Caplan
13:43 Jan 08, 2021

................HOW MANY STORIES DO YOU WRITE?????? (And I legit thought you were going to say the sky XD)

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I WRITE SO MANY I CAN'T EVEN COUNTTTTTTTT AND YES THE SKY IS UP ALONG WITH MY BLOOD PRESSURE BC I HAVE SO MUCH WORKKKK

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Coco Longstaff
22:58 Jan 07, 2021

Whoa Wow, so the main character has like really great powers? Thatโ€™s amazing, although I do agree with him about the โ€œI shouldnโ€™t kill him because people care about himโ€ part. This is so emotional and the character tells us a lot about what he is thinking. GREAT JOB

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Thanks so much, Cola!!! This is definitely my favorite of my stories!!

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Coco Longstaff
23:08 Jan 07, 2021

Yas me 2! And youโ€™re welcome!

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:DDDDDDDDD You deserve more pointsssssssss

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Coco Longstaff
23:12 Jan 07, 2021

Me? No way. I think what youโ€™re trying to say is YOU deserve more points. Besides, I only started in Dec, so....Iโ€™ll get better soon right?๐Ÿ˜‡

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Ofc!!!!

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Mira Caplan
21:19 Jan 07, 2021

We got the second KOTLC from the library and SHE ISN'T LETTING ME READ IT FIRST OUOITYRUYDFUYGIOTREYSTFHCGJKUIYFDXGCAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

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Ugh thatโ€™s bad but goooood

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Mira Caplan
21:38 Jan 07, 2021

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

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XDDDD

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Mira Caplan
22:53 Jan 07, 2021

TIS INFURITATING

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Mira Caplan
22:53 Jan 07, 2021

TIS INFURITATING

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I have no words. You are amazing. I mean it.

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Omg thank you Jade!!!

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Thank YOU for putting me in as "best at gaming stories"! I've been on Reedsy for less than a month and I'm already in someone's Bio! Thanks sooooooooooooooooooo much!

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You totally deserve itttt!!!!! I'm doing a fun thing where I write stories inspired by the styles of famous authors and I think it's super fun!! YOUR STORIES ARE AWESOME

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Thanks! I really try hard, and all the little things about "Zbox" and "Road blox" are actually from my own life, although I've said that in the comments before so you may have seen it. :) Is your puzzle "watership down"?

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Awww that's awesome!! No, it isn't... but that's a pretty good guess :)

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I've been trying to do another one, but it just isn't working and google docs won't show the word count... :( I'll figure it out soon, though!

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