The Tooth Collector
It was late at night over the Myron house, quiet and still with everyone asleep. In her room, softly a-slumber in her bed under her warm covers was Jamie Myron, a brown-haired, sweet-natured little girl no older than six. She was an only child, and her life with her mother and father was a happy one. Not perfect, but content nevertheless. The day before had been very special for Jamie: she had lost her first baby tooth! Proudly, she had placed it delicately under her pillow, awaiting for the arrival of the fabled Tooth Fairy, the magical sprite who entered little children’s rooms at night to take their lost teeth and in return give them a quarter. Children like Jamie waited anxiously for her to come, and would awake screaming in joy upon discovery of monetary evidence of her visit.
However, Jamie(and, mostly, the readers) would be in for a surprise tonight. For, you see, there is no such thing as the Tooth Fairy…
The night was perfectly silent and still, other than the sound of chiming crickets about the lawn. Among the quiet, however, a faint noise began to rise over the breeze, a noise, to some ears perhaps, that could simply be dismissed as a random helicopter overhead. The reality, I assure you, was indeed quite different. The whirring sound grew louder, but stayed steady and subtle as it approached the Myron house. Little Jamie was not disturbed or awoken by the rising sound, nor was she alerted by the sudden and very audible THUD! from the roof right over her room. Then there came the sound of scrabbling and scraping on the roof tiles, as if some nocturnal intruder was attempting to enter the house via rooftop. It wasn’t Santa Claus, that much I know.
Still Jamie lay placidly asleep in her bed, dreaming of things little girls casually dream about. Meanwhile someone, or perhaps, something, was toying with the latch on the window. When the lock gave an inviting CLICK!, the window was then lifted and opened from the outside, the heavy night air spilling into the room. There was also something else now with the means of entering…
With the scrabbling of claws and the clicking and contorting of a body of some kind, it climbed in the window. Pairs of scaly feet slowly crawled across the carpeted floor, oily black slime dripping off its body as the floor creaked under its weight. When it arrived at the foot of the sleeping Jamie’s bed, it slowly rose to its full, enormous height, looming over the bed and the child in it with a huge, black shadow, a guttural, inhuman growl escaping its throat.
The thing was huge, almost as tall as the ceiling, and covered in a sickly brown, scaly exoskeleton that dripped oily sludge from all orifices. It had a multitude of legs and arms, each ending in jagged, nightmarish claws. Four huge, fly-like wings lay flat on its back, an armored tail reaching all the way back to the window with a claw on the end. Several pairs of glowing, icy blue eyes gazed down at the little girl, spines, spikes, and scales covering its bulbous head. This...thing could only be described as a living nightmare, and it now loomed over a sleeping child, completely defenseless in her oblivious sleep. Not making a sound, the monster gripped the sides of the bed with its numerous claws, climbing onto the mattress, looming over the slumbering Jamie, her soft little snores the only noise audible in the room.
Looming like the Grim Reaper, the monster slowly opened its fanged mouth, its glowing blue maw splitting into four separate jaws, covered in jagged rows of blade-like teeth. A fat, slimy black tentacle extended out of its mouth, the end splitting into three luminescent protrusions as another drool-covered tongue slid out, again splitting in three in front of the tiny child, ten long, thin, bulb-ended tongues extending out, swirling around the little girl as they glowed an eerie blue, poised to snatch her right out from under her covers and pull her into the creature’s dripping maw to be engulfed whole like a frog snatching a dragonfly out of the air. The hovering tentacles spread out in front of the sleeping Jamie, seemingly ready to pull her into the monster’s nightmarish mouth. Then, they swirled around the slumbering child, gently touching and caressing her cheeks with a motherly softness.
Five of the glowing tongues delicately reached behind Jamie’s head, and slowly, very gently lifted her off her pillow. Another four tongues reached past the girl’s head and lifted the pillow off the mattress, while the last tongue slithered behind the pillow and took away the thing the horrifying beast had come for:
Jamie’s baby tooth.
The tongue holding the tooth slipped out from under the pillow, the other nine tongues still carefully holding the pillow and Jamie’s head in place. The little girl had not awoken throughout the whole occurrence, she still was snoring softly, revealing the cute gap in her teeth where her first tooth had come out. The monster then began to wretch and gurgle, quietly so as not to awaken the child, before a large hunk of black sludge was vomited from its second inner tongue, one of the blue bulb-ended tongues catching it as the slime rapidly oozed and melted off, revealing a sphere of liquid metal that quickly formed into a clean, steaming quarter. The coin was carefully set behind the pillow in place of the tooth, and then the pillow was carefully set back on the mattress, followed by the tongues placing Jamie back on her pillows with great care. One of the tongues gently caressed Jamie’s soft cheek, tickling her in her sleep. The other tongues then grabbed one of Jamie’s stuffed animals and placed it beside her, and the six-year old snuggled up to the plushie, turning over on her side as the tongues pulled up her covers and briefly fluffed her pillows.
The monster then held up the tooth to its many eyes, rumbling softly in approval. The creature’s tongues then retracted back into one another, engulfing the tiny tooth. Its jaws closed softly as it slowly stepped off the bed, before its tongues came out once again, though this time they sucked up all the drops and puddles of black ooze and saliva the creature had dripped during its stay. After removing every trace of its visit save one, the creature squeezed back out the window and climbed onto the outside wall where it softly shut the window, before leaping into the night air and flying far away.
Later that night, in some far away place no man has ever been, the creature descended out of the night sky and flew into a small cave that led into a tunnel deep below the ground, set alight by glowing mushrooms and algae growing out of the crags in the rock. The creature flew down the winding and twisting caverns until it arrived at a spacious chamber, the floor and ceiling covered in numerous rock spires. The glowing algae and fungi provided a dull light, and water dripped from the roof of the cave to the bottom in the eerie silence.
The insectoid creature flew upwards into the cave, arriving at the towering pillar of stone with a flat top, atop which was a mass of pebbles, wood, and crystals covered in dripping black sludge. It was a nest, of some sort.
No sooner than the creature had arrived, three squirming, slimy larva-like creatures began screeching, their gaping mouths snapping hungrily. The adult creature gurgled to its grotesque offspring, landing on the edge of the nest and gently caressing them with its claws and antennae. The creature then opened her maw and began to wretch, her tongues extending and opening before the creature regurgitated a massive pile of human teeth covered in oily juices into the nest. Immediately the babies pounced upon the pile of teeth and began eating them, gnawing away at the teeth with their fused, beak-like mandibles that resembled rodent teeth. Their parent lovingly stroked its slimy, ravenous young as they hungrily feasted on all the children’s teeth.