By Stephanie Hutton
The Tooth Fairy stirs in his treetop nest.
At number seven, Lola tilts her slender neck towards the mirror. She perfects poses with her glossed lips pressed together. Her tongue explores the new space, running over the soft balloon that used to house her front tooth. Wobbling in mum’s red heels, she strides the length of her bedroom. Under her pillow, the minty evidence awaits payment.
The Tooth Fairy’s furry limbs uncurl at the beckoning new scent—fresh blood. With click-clack claws, he shuffles along the branch. His twitching nose drinks in the fragrances from each bedroom window in the row of terraced houses below. His hind leg strokes against his pouch which holds a single stolen coin. Gluey secretions fill his mouth. His tongue darts over gums that will soon host his first tooth: the mark of maturity. He nestles in silence and waits for the room to darken.
Lola awakes to the snuffles of the Tooth Fairy as he pulls at her pillow. She props herself up on an elbow and watches him at work.
“You don’t have any fairy wings,” she says, narrowing her eyes in the darkness to take in the strangeness of his form.
“I’m a good climber,” he replies, moving his long nose nearer to hers. Saliva drips from his jaw onto her pink bedspread. As he flicks his tongue up, a coin glistens in the light of the streetlamp.
“You’re not supposed to see me. I’m not allowed to take the tooth now. I’ve failed.” He rests on his hind legs and lets the coin drop in front of him.
“You can have my tooth, I don’t need it, I’m not a little girl,” says the little girl. “Also, it’s not kind to call anyone a failure, I bet you were doing your best. You can’t get it right all the time you know.” She frowns as she hands over the tooth from underneath her pillow.
The Tooth Fairy’s tail starts to wag. He takes the tooth in his paws and secretes it into his fur for later. His saliva thickens once more.
“Once I have this tooth glued in, I will be a fully-grown fairy. I can give you a wish that will be granted first thing tomorrow morning. But you must never tell a soul.”
Lola’s nightdress flutters in the breeze as her fingers wiggle along with her thoughts.
“Thank you. I wish for my mummy to be well again.”
The Tooth Fairy crawls along the edge of the bed, then hops onto the windowsill. His head tilts sideways.
“Whatever that takes?” he says. His antennae vibrate.
Lola beams and clasps her small hands together.
“Yes, that will be perfect. Good night.”
The Tooth Fairy hesitates then climbs out of the window into the dark as Lola’s hair starts to shed onto her pillow and her skin turns as yellow as the on-looking moon.