The Collection
(author chooses to be anonymous)

“Would you look at that?” Artemis pointed to the colored picture he held in this hand, proudly showing it to his best friend Willy.

“Wow, where did you get it?” Willy, jaws wide open in surprise, answered.

“My Dad had ‘em since he was little, and when he died I found ‘em stuffed away with some other junk of his,” Artemis explained.

“They sure are nice,” Willy said complimentary in tone. “But aren’t they illegal? I mean, well, I heard they banned them a long time ago?”

“Sort’a,” Artemis answered quietly. “But they really aren’t dangerous. And all that was a long time ago. They aren’t a harm to anybody. Heck, nothing’s been hurting me and I’ve been looking at ‘em now for days. And besides I put ‘em away at night.”

“How do you know they’re safe?” his friend wondered aloud, a sense of nervousness in his voice.

“When I opened the shoe box there was a paper stuck to it, giving rules for ‘em. You know what I mean. How thy work? How to get ‘em going? But it plainly said as long as they’re in the box by dark it’s OK. And besides, unless you do the words nothing will happen.”

“OK, if you say so. They are cool, but you’d better be careful! And don’t let anyone know you got ‘em.”

“You’re right about that Willy. But I can’t see why playing with ‘em will hurt as long as I’m careful. But my Dad wouldn’a ha ‘em if they was dangerous. He was a policeman, you know.”

“OK, I guess you’re right, but just be careful. I mean they’re cool to look at, but anything more’s scary. Just don’t play with ‘em,” Willy said, rising.

“Where ya going?” Artemis asked.

“Gotta get home or my Mom’ll whip me good. It’s kinda late you know.”

“Yeah, OK. But you gonna come over tomorrow? We can check out the cards, and play some ball.”

“Sure, I’ll be over around nine,” Willy answered as he left his buddy’s room.

Artemis stared at the playing cards stacked neatly in the box. There, in rows was a complete set. Every on in mint condition. His Dad’s prize possession! Separated by type, trait and more. There were the water dwellers, air types and fire breathers. All creating havoc on the glossy pictures.

I wonder if they really do what the rules say. Artemis held the paper, rereading what his father had written. What would it hurt?, he thought.

Picking up one he really liked, Artemis saw the open mouth with large, sharp teeth and the large hairy body, reared up on its two large feet.

Quietly the nine-year-old mouthed the words he read.

The boy’s mother heard the yell from her son, but figured he was playing with his friend. It wasn’t till he didn’t come down for dinner, that she went to his room to get him.

There, all she found was a pile of clothes and a spot of blood. Neatly on his bed sat a shoe box full of Monster Cards. She never looked at them, more worried about where her son was. In fact, they were put back on a shelf.

After they stopped looking for him, figuring he’d run off, Willy came over and told her of the cards. Together they looked at them for a sign--but found none. The boy was gone. And Willy took the cards.

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