Scraping Toenails

In dire need of an upgrade, the antiquated exoskeletal framework sways and twists and creaks daily along a pre-programmed path. Encased silently within the oversized metal box is a lumbering physique. The Collector is a lonely creature—one of the hairiest and smelliest I’ve seen around here. It shuffles drearily through timeworn stone corridors, navigating the predawn mist. A rusted collection bin is loosely riveted to the back of this outdated cyborg. 

The distinct scraping and clawing of the Collector’s large, filthy toenails echos from wall to wall, stone to stone. The echos ring closer together as the biomechatronic creature approaches my dwelling. It stops to mindlessly inspect the doorway. The flickering, squeaky spotlights scan the nearby shadows and shine through the thin, mossy crack at the bottom of my door. 

I’m the only one who bothers to observe the Collector’s lonely occupation. Not many items are discarded or left for collection anymore. 

But for the few humans who remain in this decaying sector, engaging with its solum red eyes only brings back the most horrible memories. I’m always relieved when the cold spotlights fade into the darkness. Hopefully he missed sweeping up a scrap of paper, or anything with enough surface texture that I can draw on.

Silence again. Sleep a little longer.

Ancient minerals scraped from rotted corridor soil, mixed with finely ground stones and precious water made the color pigment for my drawing of the Collector. Its red eyes are drawn with a most sought after colored pencil—a prized object which would fetch a rich reward for those who patrol this sector. 

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