The Collection

The Collection

A Story by Fae

A story inspired by NBC's Hannibal.


Tucker Martins was a seeker of beauty. He took pride in making his large Tennessee house into his own personal museum. Rare and exotic artifacts populated his house from all parts of the world and from all periods of history. Some, like the genuine samurai sword displayed half out of its sheath above the mantelpiece, had been hungrily sought after by Tucker; outbidding other buyers to ensure it ended up in his house. Others, like the old Egyptian mallet, he had stumbled upon; this one at a rummage sale from an old woman who had no idea what it was and would have thrown it out had Tucker not bought it.
Tucker was a retired criminal lawyer who had created the wealth with which to buy these artifacts with no help from inheritance, and he had enjoyed his previous career. Being a lawyer had taught him two major things about himself: one, that he enjoyed having control and power over his clients, and two, that people who were too stupid to solve their problems on their own, and, for example, leave damning DNA evidence at the crime scene, were weak and disposable. Additionally, people who had never needed to solve a problem in their lives due to environmental factors, namely the cushion of inherited wealth, were no better than the criminals Tucker worked with.
At present, he liked to think of himself as a cultured man; he amused himself with artistic adventures and travel, sampling wines, searching for beauty, and considering himself one of the last true romantics. Among his most favourite activities were a visit to the ballet or opera, or to the theatre, and his hobbies included musical composition and of course, artifact collection. With each new piece added to his collection, he usually held an elaborate garden party to showcase the artifact because the only thing better than securing the object itself was showing it off.
Tucker’s worst day was when, after returning from a pleasant night out (the viewing of an art exhibition accompanied by cocktails and his prestigious friends), he arrived home to find his house in a state of disarray. As soon as he stepped inside he knew he had been burglarized; his house was ripped apart and gutted of objects of any value inside. Any cash lying around had been taken, his expensive décor was for the most part missing and in his dining room the chandelier hung crooked and battered half out of the ceiling from a wire; obviously an attempt had been made to remove it, but to no avail. The kitchen drawers were open, showing empty chasms where Tucker’s finest silverware had been, and in his bedroom, his suits, which were designer and tailored to fit him, were gone.
The largest blow for Tucker, however, was that every single artifact of worth was taken; his antique typewriter, animal skin cape from the chief of a Zulu tribe, Victorian era vase, suit of knight’s armour, even his early Latin books; all lost, along with many others.
He had spent years adding each new item to his collection, and had come to cherish them all. He pounded his fist down on his varnished dining table. For all his artifacts and all his hard work to be ripped away so suddenly made Tucker want to scream. However, he did not cry over this loss and this invasion of his privacy; instead he picked up the phone and made a call first to the police, and then to Silverlight Ltd., his insurance company.
When the short conversation was over and Tucker had explained his situation, an appointment was set for the next day to discuss his claims. Tucker felt sick, but he urged himself to stay calm. The police surely would find nothing, but his insurer would; he had a good insurance plan.
He noticed that the thieves, whoever they were, had neglected to notice and remove a framed rendition of a Leonardo DiVinci sketch hanging on his wall which was priceless. Tucker smiled and began cleaning up his house.
The next day, upon entering Silverlight Ltd., he was greeted by a sunny receptionist called Mandy. She complimented his burgundy suit, one which he had bought that morning and worn straight out of the Ralph Lauren where he had found it. Even though this seemed uncivilized to Tucker, and he could have waited just a few hours more and had his insurer fork out thousands on a brand new suit, Tucker did it because he was impatient and knew that clothes were replaceable while other things, more important things, were not.
Mandy directed him to the office of a Mr. Lancaster, and she introduced him as the insurance company’s special and abstract cases consultant. Tucker knew he had come to the right place. With a smile, Mandy closed the door to the office. Tucker uttered a short good morning to Lancaster and sat before his desk without being asked. Mr. Lancaster looked too sleazy to be working in a company of this stature, with his hair greased back and his dark green suit. He juxtaposed with the obvious formality and professionalism of the office somehow, the few pimples on his slim face making him look like a teenager.
“Good morning Mr. Martins,” Lancaster said, “I am deeply sorry for the crime committed against you.”
“Thank you Mr. Lancaster, but there are worse crimes.”
“Please, call me Gerry,” he said, making his way around the desk to shake Tucker’s hand.
“Tucker,” he replied with a slight smile as they shook.
“I understand that you wish to partake in the more abstract services this establishment has to offer,” Gerry began, using a vocabulary much too proper for his appearance, “namely returning to you the specific items which were taken from you; not just monetary reimbursement.”
“Yes. Some items which were taken are replaceable, but some were not. I’m sure you are aware of my collection?”
“Indeed. It is an extremely… interesting hobby,” Gerry said knowingly.
“Everything in that collection is extremely important to me and it’s imperative that you find every piece.”
“I’m sure it is. We must establish a price for the services, which will, of course, be completely confidential,” Gerry smiled to reveal his crooked teeth.
“Money is no object,” replied Tucker.
“How about a flat rate of five hundred thousand and an additional one hundred thousand for each artifact I return?”
“It’s a deal.” They shook hands again.
“And you can contact me on this number,” Tucker said, writing his cell on a post-it note on the desk.
“I’m paying you to find everything faster than the authorities,” he said. It was almost a threat.
“Do you doubt our know-how Tucker?”
“No, but it’s very important, Gerry.”
“It always is. It always is.”
After Tucker exited the office, Gerry called Mandy in to give her instructions about where to start searching for his items.
“Damn Mandy, there really are some messed up folks out there,” he said.
“Hey, you just pay me to gloss over the details and find facts. Don’t tell me too much about the people that come in here, you hear?”
“Yeah, yeah,” he shook his head, “I just cannot believe this guy,” he said as he looked over the background check in the file of Tucker Martins.
Three months later, nothing had turned up. It was obvious that these thieves knew exactly what they were doing. Tucker didn’t bother to ask for his money back from Gerry Lancaster, but he had just about given up on him. Maybe this was a sign, he told himself, a sign that he should stop his collection. The thought crossed his mind, but he did not entertain it; the act of growing his collection was simply too satisfactory and addictive. He bit the fingernail on his thumb, pensive, then suddenly stood up.
In two days, he found himself at a historical artifact auction. It was a sophisticated one, complete with wealthy elderly millionaires searching for something to remind them of their childhood, and the bidding was rising fast.
The pompous auctioneer revealed the next item with zeal; a genuine Fabergé egg. He instantly recognized the egg as his own and rose from his chair slightly; legs uncrossing, eyes widening. Bidding began. His mind raced. He could not exactly demand the egg back �" likely, the auctioneer did not know it was stolen property. The hand holding his bidding board shot up; he had no choice but to win the bid on his own item.
He arrived at home late that evening with his Fabergé egg close by him. He did not call Gerry Lancaster. He did not pause to remove his coat. He sat at his kitchen counter and hurriedly removed the egg from its packaging.
It was as beautiful as he remembered it; glistening slightly in the low light. What he really wanted to see though, was inside. Anyone could open the egg, but only Tucker knew there was another layer to reveal. After opening the golden case inside the egg, there it was �" white and clean and still inside.
It was a human tooth.
Tucker fondly remembered ripping it out of Cameron Rosotti’s jaw as he pleaded for Tucker, his friend, to stop. Cameron had moved in many of the same circles as Tucker; drinking the same expensive alcohol, reading the same intellectual books and perusing the same classy women. But unlike Tucker’s real friends, who had earned the right to be there, Cameron had landed there by claiming his late father’s life insurance and his fortune simultaneously, being his father’s only heir.
It was disgusting, and just like all the others Tucker had wiped from the world, Cameron was scum. Despite this, Tucker could not help but keep little relics of their time together. Teeth, hair, nails… occasionally bones. Each time he exterminated someone, he saved a little piece of them, a piece only he would ever know about, and hid it inside one of his items in his collection.
At least he hoped no one would ever know about them, as precious as they were to Tucker himself, but having his collection stolen from him greatly compromised this hope which had once been a certainty.
Tucker dialed Gerry’s number, but it did not ring and a peppy, female voice proclaimed “The number you have dialed is no longer in service…”
Wonderful, Tucker thought, just wonderful. He was paying Gerry to deliver and now he had severed contact. He hadn’t thought Gerry would be so dim. Gerry knew exactly what Tucker was doing. He had dealt with similar instances of grizzly criminality before; he couldn’t have been scared off.
Gerry sat at gunpoint, trying to look completely cool. The FBI agents crammed into his small office were rifling through his files and yelling, desperately trying to get him to talk. They had yanked out the chord of his phone.
Stupid f*****g Ozzy Gilman. Ozzy Gilman had been arrested a few days ago, and today admitted to the police, in order to cut a deal that would keep him out of prison, that he had used the questionable services of one Gerry Lancaster to keep him out of trouble. They had probable cause. He was busted, completely busted. He heard Mandy crying on the other side of the door.

An agent pulled out Tucker Martins’ files and handed them to the chief of police. He flipped through the pages hurriedly. His eyes widened and he laughed a little.
“Imagine that. Get a load of this guys; imagine you’re a cold blooded serial killer who hides trophies of his victims in really expensive historical s**t. Imagine that. And then imagine getting burglarized and all this s**t gets stolen. Ain’t that a laugh?” 

© 2015 Fae

Author's Note

Tell me if the story makes sense to you, and if you liked it. Give me any general impressions. Any and all feedback is much appreciated!

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Added on February 21, 2015
Last Updated on February 21, 2015
Tags: serial killer, mystery, short story, murder, antiques, artifacts




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