That was odd.
A phone call I had no idea of. God damn it, 5 in the morning. Must be a crank call.
No… I don’t have too many friends. Not many who’d give me a call like that.
And what was that about a body, anyway?
It was almost all over. The grill was open. There he lay. Fat boy. Shallow breathing. Eyes filled with fear. As far as I’m concerned, no remorse.
“Do you fear death?” I asked the boy.
He nodded nervously.
“Oh, then I’m sorry…”
Fingers at the ready… light’s out, kid!
Another boring day. I had absolutely no idea what to do. Jobless, penniless and generally had everyone’s nerves on edge. My mind had diverted from that phone call. It seemed insignificant now, compared to the other stuff I was handling. Stuff? Wait a minute, I thought I was jobless. Oh, working in a call centre didn’t seem like a job these days. I liked the dough, though.
After my bit of ingenuity, I lumbered over towards the old shack. Another victim. Oh I wish I’d come here before, these guys are just too easy. As I opened the door, I saw him lying down there. The grill was next to him. My appearance was enough to put the fear of the devil into people.
Today, I decided to take the day off. Uh oh, my phone is ringing [please don’t be the team leader, please don’t be the team leader]. It’s not. [UNKNOWN NUMBER]. Ok, funny. “Hello?”
It was time to contact him. I reached out for him. He was empty, devoid of much feeling. Just tagging along in life, as it were. Hopeless, useless, and as far as I was concerned, time for him to leave. All I had to do was contact him. Aha, a cell phone. I knew all about this contraption. And with my ability to speak the language, it was a cinch. Time to open the grill, folks. Dinner’s ready.
That call again. I can’t even trace it. The police? No, that doesn’t seem a friendly proposition at the moment. What body was this fellow talking about? Who was going to die? I needed to help this guy, whoever he was. I’m not well known in these parts for being a friendly chap, generally, but something within me told me that I should help this fellow, whoever he (or maybe she, if I’m lucky) was.
I kept walking along the street. My, this place was filled with scumbags. I mean come on, you’ve got to have a life! These fellows didn’t have one. That’s why I’d come along, to take them away. If you have something you’re not using enough, it’s time to discard it. But these people weren’t realising that. Sometimes, you needed more than an alarm. You needed a wake-up call. I was ready to make the call.
I was all set and ready to go. Go where? I didn’t know where this call came from! Wait a minute, I hope I’m not hallucinating. Check call register. Nope, I wasn’t. Unknown number at 5 am and 11 am. But who? And where?
How did I land up here? Strange place, this. Lots of big houses and small huts. Oh yes, I’d come here to do my job. That’s right. The journey can make you feel disoriented sometimes. Sigh. I started walking. I noticed a lot of people around me. Early morning jogging. I wondered whether the girls really wanted to keep fit or to show off. And I wondered whether the guys were motivated to stay fit or… forget it. Any which way, they’re all going. Keep running, I say. This might be your last run, ladies and gentlemen.
I just ran down the building. I don’t know why. I had NO idea of where I was supposed to go. Still, I thought I had a sense of responsibility over that person. Where was his body trapped, though? Suddenly, I heard screams. There was a rundown shack just 50 metres away from my house. My, they were loud! No one else seemed to hear them though. Strange. I ran towards the shack.
“You understand your role, then?”
“Yes” I replied.
“Do you fear death?”
I looked him in the eye and said, “No”.
“Very well, then…”
And the lights went out.
I could hear voices from within. I circled cautiously around the shack, searching for an opening. Finally, I saw a window, some 3 metres above the ground. I needed something to stand on. Aha! It was ready for me. A couple of large boulders. I was around 1.8 metres in height myself, so I only needed a little leverage. I climbed up on the boulders and looked inside.
A man sitting at a table, looking at a body on the opposite wall. Funny, that body looked very familiar. Anyway, I was concentrating on the man. Tall, dressed in those ancient Victorian robes, complete with frills and laces. He had white hair and a pair of monocles to boot. But heck, even he looked familiar. In fact, the guy looked just like my next door neighbour, who died in mysterious circumstances. A strange looking grill was beside him.
And then, I realised.
“Oh no, please, not me,” I said. “Take the guy who lives next door! He’s a guy with a tarnished image, and his soul needs cleaning, not mine!”
“Don’t worry, you will make arrangements for him. However, now it’s your turn.”
“I will make arrangements? ME?”
“Yes you… oh you ask too many questions!”
I was under his powerful hypnotic spell. After that, he asked me, “Do you understand your role, then?”
When a ray of light fell upon the body on the wall, I got the shock of my life.
IT WAS MINE.
And this definitely was my neighbour!
But… but… if my body was there, what was I doing here?
Suddenly, I felt myself floating towards that strange grill. It was open. I tried resisting, to no avail. I was then brought face-to-face with my… well, ‘dead’ neighbour.
“You have a tarnished soul which needs to be cleaned.”
“Nonsense! Just let me go!”
“Oh really? And how come you think you’re floating in the air? Some illusion, I suppose? Isn’t that you lying over there like a rucksack?”
It definitely was.
“But who the hell are YOU to decide? You can’t decide when I die or what to do with my soul!”
“I most certainly can, my boy… I am the Alpha, the Omega. I am the universe. I am… THE SOUL COLLECTOR. I am God’s messenger.”
I tried pinching myself, but to no avail. This was no nightmare. In a few seconds, I was under his powerful hypnotic spell. My body, that is. I looked on, not able to do anything.
He then asked my body, “Do you fear death?”
It nodded nervously.
“Oh, then I’m sorry…”
Fingers at the ready… light’s out, kid!
I was dragged into the grill.
The only thing I remember next is getting a crank call, 5 am, about a body.
Wait… that was MY body.