Monster parent: @MummifiedByPen
Melissa was super excited when her first tooth finally fell out. Well, fell wasn’t a very good word for it — yanked was more like it.
It had been wobbling for weeks. She’d compulsively poked it with the tip of her tongue until it was connected by only a thread of meat. Her brothers teased her, calling her a big baby and a scaredy cat for not getting a good grip on it and ripping it out herself. Melissa thought that sounded disgusting and awful, but when her dad offered to achieve the same thing by tying one end of a piece of string around the tooth and the other around a doorknob, the prospect instantly became more palatable.
The tooth had flown free with a twinge of pain and a tang of blood. Melissa was amazed when her dad dropped the little bicuspid onto her palm. It had seemed so much bigger when she was only able to see it with her tongue. It had felt like a tiny mountain range, but it was actually just a nub.
A nub worth money.
“What will the tooth fairy bring me, Daddy?” she said, hopping up and down with excitement. “Sofia said she got ten dollars for her tooth! And hers had a cavity in it. Do you think I’ll get that much? Mine doesn’t have a cavity. Maybe mine is worth even more. Maybe I’ll get twenty dollars!” The thought of such an astronomical sum of money made her jump about with even more enthusiasm. She wondered if she should try that door trick with some of her other teeth.
Her father laughed and gave her a hug. “We’ll see, kiddo. I’m no tooth fairy expert, but that seems kind of pricey. Maybe the tooth fairy was drunk when she visited Sofia. I’ve heard that tooth fairies are total booze-hounds.” Melissa’s mom stopped folding laundry long enough to playfully snap a towel at her husband’s rear end. “Max!” she scolded.
When it was time for bed, Melissa placed her tooth in a small, round wooden container. It had a smiling cartoon molar painted on its lid. The image was faded and worn from being used by three generations of children in her mom’s family. Melissa had watched with jealousy as her older brothers got to use the tooth box. Finally, it was her turn; the first of many lucrative tooth/money exchanges in her future. She tucked the little box under her pillow and closed her eyes. Sleep swallowed her up quickly, despite her excitement.
A few hours later, she was pulled out of her dreams by a strange clicking sound. She sat up, rubbing her eyes, which grew wide with surprise when she saw the creature standing at the foot of her bed.
Her Superwoman nightlight cast an eerie glow around its shifting form. It was a dense cloud of constantly moving teeth, with two deep black cavities for eyes. The teeth chittered as they crawled over one another in an endless, frenetic dance. They held together tightly enough to form the shape of an enormous molar.
The mass of teeth lifted into the air like a swarm of flies, moving to hover over her bed. Melissa had imagined the tooth fairy as a tiny, pretty lady with wings. This wasn’t at all what she’d expected. Nevertheless, she was thrilled. None of her friends had ever seen the tooth fairy before. She’d be the most popular girl in class. This was way cooler than getting ten dollars.
As soon as she thought about money, she dug under her pillow for the little wooden box. She pulled it out, a small part of her momentarily noting the difference between the smiling cartoon molar painted on its top and the rotten black cavities of the chattering teeth-cloud’s eyes.
She pried the lid off the little container and lifted it up to show the tooth fairy. The tooth in the box shivered for a moment and then zipped into the air, becoming one with the rattling mass that floated above her.
Melissa frowned, cocking her head to the side. “Do I get money?” she asked. The clicking of the teeth grew louder, almost agitated — a sound that made her ears itch.
No, it wasn’t just her ears. Her mouth itched too. She pressed her hand to her lips. Her gums were filled with a strange buzzing feeling. This was all so odd. She began to wonder if it was just a dream.
A sharp pain in her jaw assured her she was wide awake. One of her teeth wrested itself free from its home in her head and flew to join the cloud floating over her. Melissa didn’t even have a chance to yelp before all of her teeth were tearing loose and flinging themselves at the creature that had begun to descend toward her. The pain was so intense that she blacked out, just as the chattering swarm settled over her face.
When her parents found her in the morning, her toothless mouth was crammed full of dollar bills.
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