The quiet of the morning is disturbed by the call –The Collector. The call echoes around the community collectorlectorlectorlectorlectorlectorlector………
Mothers grab their children, market stall owners hurriedly pack up their wares, there is a sense of urgency as the sound of the collector comes ever closer.
His roar at first distant comes closer by the minute.
Fear spreads through the community as everyone rushes to make sure everyone is safe.
The thought of being sucked into the bowels of the collector is not anything anyone wants to contemplate.
My Uncle Saffron and Aunt Nutmeg suffered the fate we all dread.
We faeries are often a little vague about things. We are often so engrossed in what we are doing our surrounds blur and we are sometimes caught out as we become oblivious to our environment.
By the time my Aunt and Uncle realised they were in the Collector’s sights it was too late, for when he gets you there is no coming back.
I watch as I see him coming ever closer. His roar magnifies, my ears ring, I see his open mouth searching, devouring all and anything in his path. I cringe with the thought of being devoured that way.
But he comes around so often, especially in the summer when so many of us are out enjoying the sunshine, selling our wares or often just celebrating the beautiful time of year. We love to hold celebrations, everyone dresses up, food is bountiful, dance is the order of the day.
So often on these days we have to make arrangements for one faery to stand look out, to watch and listen for the Collector for the thought of him coming upon us and reeking havoc among our people is too horrible to think about.
Today he is looking particularly vicious and hungry, as if the grinning façade of his character is capable of luring us in, we will not be sucked into his pretence.
I watch, deafened by the sound of his menacing roar, I hold my breath as he lumbers past harvesting what ever it is in his path. I watch as ants, spiders, all measure of crawling insect are sucked in and disappear into the depths of his insatiable belly.
A little while later quiet settles once again upon our community, a whistle goes up and there is consternation that Mustard Grain cannot be found. A frantic search eventually finds him asleep under a maidenhair frond and calm and relief washes over us. Life returns to normal, until the next time.
A new roster is prepared for look out duty.