Chapter 2

Rolay the Rettirc

I carried the squealing bag into my room and managed to dump out my hamper with one hand. It was one of those white plastic ones with the holes cut in the front of it so that it kind of looked like a basket, but not really. I dropped the bag inside and clapped the lid shut, holding it down with my hands as I watched the bag kick and squirm inside.

With remarkable speed, the creature was out of the bag and bouncing around inside the hamper so wildly, that it became a struggle to hold it shut. After a few minutes of this, it calmed down and I was finally able to get a good look at it. I have to admit that it looked nothing like I was expecting.

See, I'd always imagined monsters to be very big and scary creatures that moved like ghosts through walls and there was no way that you could ever see them let alone actually catch them. Now that I had not only managed to see one, but to also catch it, I was stunned.

It sat in the corner of the hamper, its spindly pink legs drawn up against its chest. I can honestly say that I'd never seen anything like it before. It looked a lot like a cross between a monkey and an Ewok off those old Star Wars movies my mom likes to watch, except that it was bright pink and purple. Its fur was strangely shiny; it almost shimmered. It was kind of like those bathing suites that look like fish scales. Standing, it was no more than three feet tall. Its head was huge in comparison to the rest of its body its ears were even bigger. They were pointed at the tops, but shaped a lot like teardrops with tiny tuffs of bright purple fur at the tips.

Its eyes, which I thought would be like a deer's in the regular light, actually looked more like an owl's eyes, but not quite as large, and they darted around frantically. They were bright blue and shone out like spotlights on its furry pink face. I couldn't really see its nose, if it had one to speak of, but its mouth was shaped kind of like a dog's muzzle and had two rows of sharp, pointed teeth. It was carrying some sort of little brown bag with a big round button on the side.

"Whoah, what are you?" I said, surprised to hear wonder in my voice.

At first, the little creature didn't answer me and I continued to talk to it. After all, it must have been frightened that I had it trapped inside a hamper. I would have been scared had I been in its position.

"I'm sorry about the whole pillowcase thing. And I'm sorry I have you in there, but I really need to know what's going on. I know you have been following me around for years and it's honestly scaring me pretty badly. See, no one believes me that there really are monsters, and most people think I'm some kind of idiot." I said, frowning as I said the words.

"I mean, its not like I'm crazy or anything, obviously. And even if you can't talk, I'm still glad I finally know that I'm not nuts. Well . . . at least that you're real," I said with a frown.

"Look, I really want to know what you are and what are you doing chasing me around all the time?" I asked.

The little creature eyed me warily, and I sighed. It wasn't going to talk to me. It probably couldn't talk anyway. Just because it was a critter that hid in my closet and invaded my tent, didn't mean that it was smart enough to talk. Just when I was about ready to give up and let it go, it suddenly spoke. "Rettirc." Its voice was high and sweet, sounding like a cartoon's voice.

I stared at it with pure delight. "Wow! You CAN talk. This is great! Say something else!"

"Rolay?"

"Oh cool. This is cool." I rambled. So it only spoke gibberish, but that meant that it did talk at least. Maybe I would just keep it as a pet, or I could sell it to a circus! Or maybe it could star in commercials!

"Can I go now?" It said, and I stared at it in wonder.

"Holy cow, you speak ENGLISH!" I jabbered excitedly.

"Yes, well, I'm really very busy and you've thrown my schedule off for the entire night. I would greatly appreciate it if you would allow me to leave and continue what I was doing when you so rudely interrupted me." It said regally, and looked at me condescendingly.

"Excuse me?"

"Well, it's already difficult enough to get all my charges finished every night, and you've managed to push me behind." It said, standing up, its spindly fingers poking through the holes in the hamper.

"What were you doing?" I asked.

"I told you, I was working."

"What do you do?"

"What do you mean? I work in the Bureau of Collectors!"

I frowned, "What is that?"

"Humans! You're all so . . . dense!"

"You're a mouthy little guy, aren't you."

"First of all, I'm not a guy, I'm a girl, and second of all I am a Collector!"

"Are you going to tell me what that is or are we just going to go on like this for the rest of the night." I demanded.

"Collectors collect things. I was on a very special mission tonight, and now there's no way that I'll get finished." It said, pounding a tiny fist against the lid of the hamper.

"What do you collect?"

"Collect!"

"Of course, collectors have to collect something don't they?"

"We collect things that are forgotten."

"Forgotten?"

"Discarded, blocked out, call it what you will."

I frowned, considering this for a moment. "Why were you staring at me like that tonight?"

"I do it every night."

"Okay, that's really creepy."

"Why?"

"You stare at me every night?"

"It's not about the staring; I'm checking your memories to see what you don't need anymore. The ones that you don't need get carried away and stored in the archives." She told me sharply.

"So you're responsible for all my lost math homework?"

"Of course not!" She snapped, "That's in a completely different department than collecting."

"Department?"

"We Rettircs do a lot for humans that you lot never even know about." She sighed in annoyance.

"Really."

"Can I go now? I told you that I'm on a schedule." She demanded.

"Do you have a name?"

"YES. ROLAY. I ALREADY SAID THAT." She said slowly and shook her head as if she thought I was an idiot.

"Rolay?"

"Can I please go? I'm going to be in so much trouble as it is!" She squealed frantically.

"You can just tell them you got held up." I said with an annoyed frown.

"Let me out of this hamper!"

Downstairs, I heard my mom's old grandfather clock start to chime. One . . .two . . .

"Oh no, you have to let me go! I'll be in so much trouble if you don't!"

Three . . . four . . .

"Why, what will happen?"

"My ticket will expire!"

Five . . . six . . .

"Ticket?"

"To get back into Ajikmay!"

Seven . . . eight . . .

"Let me out! Please!"

Nine . . .

"Okay, but you have to promise to let me talk to you about this tomorrow night."

Ten . . .

"FINE! LET ME OUT LET ME OUT!"

Eleven . . .

I let go of the lid of the hamper and she shot out of it so quickly that my eyes couldn't follow her. When the clock chimed the twelfth time, she was nowhere to be seen and I flopped down on my bed. I was sure I'd just imagined everything that had happened.

I went back outside and curled up in my sleeping bag, knees against my chest. I fell asleep almost instantly and dreamed of fuzzy ninjas stealing my math homework out of my locker while I was in gym class.