A young girl, no older than five, lay beneath her Disney princess bedspread. Her bedside lamp, with a pink shade, painted her face a rosy red, and made her cheeks look more flushed than they already were. Her brown hair hung in front of her face, and her mother, who sat on the edge of the bed, gently moved the strands out of the girl’s eyes.
“Are you excited for the tooth fairy to come and visit you tonight?” The mother asked.
The girl nodded, hiding her missing tooth behind closed lips as she smiled excitedly. The mother smiled back, showing her straight, white adult teeth as she affectionately tickled her daughter’s sides.
“Let’s see that smile,” the mother prodded playfully.
The girl successfully giggled without splitting her lips apart and shook her head obnoxiously, which allowed the bangs to fall back into place. The mother brushed them aside once more, and kissed her daughter on the forehead.
“Get some sleep, honey.”
The mother stood up and walked to the bedroom door. Before she flipped the light switch, she looked back at her daughter, who was checking the tooth beneath the pillow.
“Remember,” the mother started, surprising the girl. She dropped the corner of the pillow and forced herself beneath the blankets as she stared back at her mother, who could only chuckle. “You have to be fast asleep in order for the tooth fairy to come, okay?”
The girl nodded, her mouth still sealed shut, and the mother nodded back. “Goodnight, sweetie,” she said, and then turned the lights off and shut the door.
The mother read a book while she was reclined atop a few pillows that leaned against the bed’s headboard. The space next to her was empty, yet disheveled.
She looked up when the bedroom door squeaked open, and her husband walked into the room. He slid onto the bed and slithered up to his wife.
“The deed is done,” he said groggily.
“She didn’t wake up, did she?”
“Didn’t even stir. She’s fast asleep. What do you want to do about this?” He held his hand out to her, and pinched between his index finger and thumb was a small, porcelain-white tooth.
“Just chuck it down the toilet or something. We’re not going to be using it for anything. That’s just weird.”
“Oh, I thought we were going to make a necklace out of it or something,” the father replied with a smirk. He shoved the tooth closer toward her face, and she recoiled with a look of disgust.
“You’re gross,” she said as she pushed his face away playfully.
He rolled out of bed and walked into the bathroom where the small ker-plink! of the tooth dropping into the toilet water was the cue to call it a night. As the flush of the toilet swirled the tooth down the gullet of the drain, the mother closed her book and set it aside before returning her attention to her husband as he lazily crawled back into bed.
With a goodnight kiss, both parents turned their lamps off and became comfortable for the night’s sleep.
It was later into the night, and the house was as quiet as ever. A leaky faucet echoed through the darkness. The crickets’ musical composure was barely audible through the windows. A clock’s tick-tick-ticking grew lost in the time of night.
The parent’s bedroom door was slowly pushed open with a long, quiet, and teeth-grinding creak.
Footsteps slowly shuffled along the carpet toward the bed as something crept through the room.
It maneuvered to the mother’s side of the bed, drawing closer and closer. She remained in a peaceful slumber of soft, rhythmic breathing, blissfully unaware of the presence that had entered her space.
A hand reached for her shoulder…
The mother gasped awake suddenly to her daughter standing at the side of her bed, silhouetted by the dim moonlight that pierced through the cracks of the curtains. Groggily, she propped herself up on an elbow and caressed her daughter’s sleepyhead hair.
“What’s wrong, baby?”
The girl was shy to speak. “The tooth fairy says she wants her tooth back.”
The mother remained quiet for a moment, too sleepy to attempt to fully understand what her daughter had just said. “What?”
“The tooth fairy came into my room and told me she wants her tooth back.”
“Honey, you must’ve been dreaming. The tooth fairy already came and took the tooth. Go back to sleep okay?”
“Okay…” her daughter said hesitantly.
“Close the door on your way out, sweetie,” the mother whispered to her daughter as she turned to walk out of the bedroom. The daughter slowly pulled the door shut, its loud creak transforming into a painful moan.
Now awake, the mother groaned as she pulled herself out of bed to use the bathroom before returning to sleep. As she walked around the foot of the bed, she noticed that her husband was not in it. The bathroom door was closed, and light spilled out from behind it. She knocked lightly, and when she didn’t receive a response, she slowly twisted the doorknob and stepped into the bathroom.
Immediately, the mother stopped in her tracks. She covered her mouth to prevent herself from screaming, but it didn’t stop the cry that bellowed out past her lips when she saw her mutilated husband, and his head and torso forcefully crushed into the trapway of the toilet that was overflowing with velvet-red water.
The mother shivered uncontrollably before she stumbled out of the bathroom, slamming the door shut to block her view of the horrific sight. She froze in her tracks at the sound of a long, clicking croak that rattled from the throat of something else in the bedroom with her.
As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she noticed a tall and slender, shadowy figure pressed up against the far corner of the bedroom. It blended into the darkness, standing on twig legs with spindly arms that stretched upward and arched across the ceiling. Its long, stringy fingers carelessly hung downward.
The mother cautiously walked toward the bed without taking her eyes off of the figure. She carefully slid beneath the covers thinking that if she attempted to fall back asleep, this would all be a nightmare that would be over in the morning.
The thing stepped out from the shadows of the corner and walked with grace along the bedroom floor, its body moving fluidly side-to-side as if it were waltzing. Its lanky arms glided carelessly beside it, allowing the creature to puff out its emaciated chest of sunken ribs, and revealing the sagging breasts of something human, yet not.
A cobweb of dry, straw hair engulfed the creature’s head and turned it into a scribble of shadow in the darkness of the bedroom. Strands of the hair swam behind the thing as it drifted through the bedroom, a breeze flowing with the creature that affected only it and nothing else, as everything remained still.
It stopped at the foot of the bed as a column of shadow. Wisps of air swirled up from beneath it.
The mother’s voice was paralyzed at the sight of the monster, her breath stolen as she attempted to breathe. She gripped the blankets with sweaty palms and inched them closer to her face as she stared at the thing that stood before her.
Translucent wings unraveled from the creature’s skeletal back and shimmered in the poor moonlight. They stretched outward and slid apart into segmented wings similar to that of a dragonfly’s, fluttering as if ready to take flight any minute.
In the blink of an eye, the creature hopped with a quick buzz onto the footboard of the bed. The mother yelped and pressed herself up against the headboard with the sheets pulled to her face. The thing remained perched with its knees extending significantly past its head, staring at the mother silently.
She attempted to keep her shaky breathing quiet as she slowly reached for the bedside lamp. Surely the light would give her comfort when it revealed nothing in the darkness? It was a bad dream that she knew would be over once she pulled the lamp’s drawstring. The creature remained motionless as it watched her.
The moment that the drawstring jingled in her hand, she yanked it.
The creature lunged at her! She had no time to scream when the monster’s tangled, dry hair blew out of its face by a sudden gust of wind, revealing no eyes or nose, but only a massive mouth that covered its entire face. It emitted a shriek like that of a banshee from its gaping mouth that was lined with thousands upon thousands of human teeth dripping with thick, gooey saliva, and covering a throat that seemed to disappear into a never-ending pit within the creature.
The mother pressed up against the headboard with no room to escape. She opened her mouth to scream, her lips curling back and flashing her pearly-white teeth. The creature’s mouth latched onto the mother’s face, whose shrill scream became muffled as the monster’s undulating head engulfed hers. Her back arched upward, and her arms scratched at the air as she attempted to reach for anything she could grab a hold on to.
The monster reared its head backward, pulling the mother’s face along with it despite her resistance. With a quick jerk forward, the monster smashed the mother’s head into the headboard. It pulled back again, and slammed her head again harder. Harder. Harder.
The brutal blows ended suddenly as the creature’s head snapped backward with a wet splash. The mother’s head bounced carelessly against the headboard once more before her body fell limp. Her mouth was a lump of chewed up meat, and her cheeks were split from ear to ear in a permanent, toothless smile.
The creature gulped all twenty-eight teeth down, and each rattled a harmony that traveled to the pit of the monster’s stomach. Its hair gently fell back in front of its face, and its wings rolled up neatly at its spine.
As the monster lumbered through the dark and quiet house, it made one last trip to the girl’s bedroom. It silently hobbled to the side of her bed where she slept peacefully, gently placing a handful of silver dollars beneath the corner of her pillow where the one her father had left her was placed.
The tooth fairy lightly slid a few strands of hair out of the girl’s face, and then walked to the bedroom window. Its papery thin wings unfolded outward, and it swiftly climbed out of the window; its wings hummed as it flew off into the starry night sky after collecting what it had come for.