The kid down the street was hiding behind a low wall when he heard it. A slow shuffle and scrape that he’d only heard outside his window his entire life. This time he was going to see it.
He had a great vantage point of the little offering in the town square. He would be completely out of site, completely.
The shuffling stopped and he heard a soft jangle. The collector was sorting through the offerings. Looking for suitable pieces.
Slowly, the kid peered over the wall.
The figure was a hunched pile of dark rags, supported by a thin, death-pale arm grasping a staff with a torch on the end of it. The hand that grasped the staff had rings of gold upon it.
From his vantage point, the Collector’s head was a small wooden mask that bobbed in the darkness of its torso. It had no eyes and a slightly agape mouth. As if it was stricken blind by wonder.
It peered intently at an amulet that the Mayor had left in the offering pile. One he had been saving for lean days.
The kid dropped back down behind the wall. He tried to calm his breathing and listened for the shuffling and scraping to start again.
Then he heard, as if it was beside him, a dry, small voice whisper “I’ll take this piece”
Or at least that’s how I heard it.