The Collector

Weekly writing prompt: From Building on your own experience as a collector, or your observations of a collector in your world, write about a situation (fictional or non) in which a collector goes out on a limb, putting himself—or his loved ones—in jeopardy to acquire a new piece for his collection.


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The man fell to the floor in a heap.  His glass of Glenlivet tumbled from his hand and the single large ice cube spilled onto the lush carpet.  Later, when asked, he wouldn’t remember the brunette that lured him up to the room.

She re-latched her bra that he had clumsily unclasped before the rohypnol kicked in and slid her dress back over her head.  In the foyer of the opulent hotel suite she found her purse lying akimbo where she dropped it during their passionate embrace.  She crouched down and rifled through her Gucci leather satchel until she found the Fiskar shrub pruners.  She stood with the shears in her trembling hand; not looking at the supine figure on the floor behind her, and released the thumb lock.  The spring expanded, opening the concave blades into a menacing smile. The center brass fitting on the blades stared at her like an all-seeing eye, a hungry eye that neither passed judgement nor offered solace.  She lined her fingers in the grooves of the rubber-coated handles and squeezed the blades shut, practicing the movement, steeling herself for what she knew she had to do. The smooth blades caressed each other before meeting in a final chomp.  She glanced over her shoulder at the motionless body and then at her Rolex.  Time stopped for no one, she must act now or none of this would matter.  She stretched latex gloves over her manicured hands with a stinging smack and grabbed the plastic Ziploc bag from her purse.

She knelt next to the drugged man.  His left arm stretched out, palm facing up in supplication, as if for mercy that would not come.  In sleep, he looked peaceful, not at all like the useless piece of thieving scum he was when awake. She pressed his warm fingers flat, fighting against their natural curve and gripped his index finger in her own.  Spreading her hand wide, she gripped the pruners with a determined handshake and placed the mouth of the blades against the warm flesh of his index finger, just below the third knuckle.  Taking a deep breath, she held the finger still with one hand while she squeezed with the other.  The blades pierced the taught skin with a faint pop, like a beef frank that splits open on the grill.  Blood rushed to the wound.  Her bowels loosened at the sight of blood and the resistance the bone offered the shears.  She exhaled a shuddering breath and tightened her grip, shaking with effort to close the blades.  Sweat beaded on her brow and her mouth watered from the threat of vomit.  A groan escaped from the man’s open mouth and she recoiled in disgust and fear.  She dropped the pruners and fell back on the floor, breathless more from the mental taxation than the physical one.  She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t cut off his finger. Disgust wafted from her like a stench.

She had no choice.

A feral cry bubbled up from her core and she screamed in frustration, heedless of how her voice could rouse suspicions of passersby.  Fueled with revenge and adrenaline she picked up the discarded Fiskars and repositioned the gaping maw of the blades on the wound.  This man wouldn’t be so hesitant if the situations were reversed. She steeled herself again and rose up on her knees. She gripped the handle with both hands and expelled a howl of fury as she pushed the blades through bone.  With a final crunch the blades met in the middle, and the bloody stub dropped to the floor with a soft thud.  A gush of bile erupted from her gut flooding her mouth with acid and triumph.  She swallowed painfully and took a few shaky breaths, smiling with relief. The man lay unmoving, bleeding onto the carpet.

Bending down, she plucked the appendage from the floor, startled at the curious delicacy of a finger detached from a hand. It looked smaller, less important.  She dropped the finger into the plastic bag and dropped the plastic bag into the ice-filled champagne bucket.  She took an indulgent gulp of Domain Chandon and set the bottle down on the side table with an arrogant bang.  Her iPhone chimed in her purse and she padded across the room, careful to avoid the growing blood stain near the man’s de-fingered hand.

“Broke the code. U have 15 mins” the text read.

She grabbed the silver ice bucket containing the severed finger and slid her feet into her Louboutins.  Checking her reflection in the mirror in the cavernous foyer, she tousled her long hair and reset her shoulders.  She had fifteen minutes to get Dimitri the fingerprint, the last necessary piece to open the vault.  She opened the heavy door and exited into the plush hallway.  Her mood lifted for the first time in months, exultant that the coveted jewelry collection would once again be hers.



16. February 2016 by Shannon
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