"Collectors": At the hotel in which Rose Walker and her companion Gilbert are staying, a convention has been booked. While in name, it is a "Cereal" convention, it is in fact a convention for serial murderers - collectors. Each of t
- It is my fault, I am afraid. I created you poorly, then. As I do uncreate you now.
- — Dream
Synopsis for "Collectors"
At the hotel in which Rose Walker and her companion Gilbert are staying, a convention has been booked. While in name, it is a "Cereal" convention, it is in fact a convention for serial murderers - collectors. Each of the people attending murders and then collects some part of their victims, physically or spiritually.
The man called Nimrod is anxious to get started, but he hopes for a big name to do a keynote speech. He is aware that an idol of his, The Corinthian is meant to be coming, but he has not yet arrived. Nimrod meets with the manager of the hotel to be sure that the place is empty of outside guests, but the manager admits that there are still two guests there who have been ordered to stay there by the police.
Rose had called her second cousins in advance, to let them know that she'd be coming to pick up her younger brother Jed. Unfortunately, due to events she was unaware of, the police answered instead, and they told she and Gilbert to remain at the hotel for the time being.
The serial killers mingle with one another and share each other's stories. One of them claims to be the Bogeyman, a killer who remembers the eyes of each person he has killed. He makes some small talk with another killer called the Doctor, who flays his victims and makes leather ties from the skin. There are movies planned and panels occurring all weekend. Finally, the Corinthian arrives, and he is met with great respect from the others when Nimrod introduces him.
Later, the Corinthian meets the Doctor outside an elevator, and informs him that the man claiming to be the Bogeyman is a fraud, and that the real Bogeyman died in Louisiana some years back. The elevator opens, and Gilbert and Rose are already inside. Gilbert seems to recognize the Corinthian, but despite his being startled, he says nothing. Outside, he writes a name on a piece of paper and tells Rose to call it out if something should go wrong.
The Corinthian drags the Bogeyman up to his room, and accuses him of being a fraud. The Corinthian, the Doctor, and Nimrod have already discovered that this man is actually Philip Sitz, the editor of Chaste magazine, who is not one of them. Philip pretends to understand them, but Nimrod knocks him unconscious, and they drag him out to the Corinthian's car. They drive for a while, and hang him from a tree. When he wakes up, they announce that each of them is going to take turns collecting their specialties from him.
While the killers are having a disco party, Rose heads down and hopes to sneak in for some fun. A child molester and killer named Fun Land stops her at the door, stating that it is for conventioneers only. Rose apologizes and returns to her room, but Fun Land has already targeted her, noting that she looks much younger than she is.
The next morning, Rose tries to find Gilbert in his room, but all that she can see is a note. She goes downstairs, and catches Fun Land's eye again. When she returns to her room again, he follows her, and knocks on the door, pretending to be room service. When she opens the door, he thrusts it open, gripping her by the neck and trying to undress her. Desperately, she grabs the note with the name on it and says the name "Morpheus. Instantly, Dream appears. He forces Fun Land to let Rose go, and makes him dream. He tells Rose to leave, and she struggles to stand, rushing out to the parking lot while Fun Land dreams of being forgiven by all the children he hurt.
The Corinthian makes his keynote speech, but he becomes distracted when he notices Dream listening in the audience. Dream stands and disdains his creation for having become so petty as to leave the Dreaming and act on a physical level. He has wrought nothing of what Dream expected, merely given humans something to be afraid of. Rather than send the Corinthian back to the Dreaming, he uncreates him, with plans to do better later. Turning on the audience, Dream announces that he is going to remove the other killers' illusions that they are the maltreated heroes of their own stories. From now on, they will always know what they are, what they are doing, and how little any of that really means.
Out in the parking lot, Rose meets Gilbert who has collected Jed from the trunk of the Corinthian's car. He is unconscious, and needs to be taken to a hospital. Gilbert realizes that Rose called Dream, and knows that there will be consequences.
Afterwards, each of the killers leave the convention with a certain knowledge that there is something unholy inside themselves.
Appearing in "Collectors"
- The Corinthian (Dies)
- The Doctor
- Fun Land (Nathan Diskin)
- Dog Soup
- Moon River
- The Connoisseur
- The Grass Widow
- Dark Angel
- El Dorado
- Psycho Killer
- The Family Man (Mentioned only)
- Unnamed motel clerk (Final appearance)
- Philip Sitz (Dies)
- Dodge County
- Empire Hotel
- Dodge County
- This issue is reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Sandman #14, Sandman: The Doll's House and The Absolute Sandman, Volume One.