The Tooth Fairy | a Short Story by Dylan Aneurin Davies


Another body was found in the Derbyshire area this morning –

elsie, sat cross-legged on the sofa,

her hands around a mug of hot water,

eyes fixed on the television,

thumbs at war across the expanse of white china,

heat warming her teeth to the roots,

to the nerves,

until they buzz.

The body was discovered in a field in Cross o’ th’ Hands –

‘just water again, elsie?’

god, she could practically hear

his molars receding under

singing bubbles of sugary cider -

it isn’t about the water.

she can tell by his grimace,

the suck of his cheek into its hollow;

it’s about her, and him, and “us”,

about the future,

about the bed death,

about the too-much, the lack-of,

the much-chewed gristle of the mundane

and elsie is tired,

exhausted.

- as of yet unidentified, is believed to belong to a man between the ages of 20 and 40 -

‘god, have a bloody drink, elsie.’

have a bloody drink, elsie, have a bloody –

‘you’re driving me up the wall,’ he said,

‘you know what?’

she knew that, has known that for years:

her whirring mind, his lazy stare;

her late nights at the office,

the odour of his too hot, too sweet mouth

invading hers, stealing her air –

‘could you stop tapping your nails

on your goddamn cup, elsie –‘

Police have as of yet not made any arrests, but they believe that –

elsie can’t stand it:

the television, the morbid news,

the drunken, sweaty loll of him across her sofa,

the too rough too rough too rough surface of his canine

pressing into her lower lip –

the water in her mug is scorching her

down to the gum,

until she is clean.

‘oh, you’re going then?

can’t handle one evening in the same room as me?’

yes, she is going, and

no, she can’t.

she’s going to the bedroom,

her happy place,

the spare room long-occupied by her single bed and

her mesmerising collection.

- that this is one of a series of murders in the area recently –

elsie coaxes open the wooden lid,

rocks the oak panel back and forth on its

glittering, aching metal jaw

to reveal, nugget by nugget,

a starscape of teeth,

iridescent pinpricks nestled in delicate rows.

embedded in gums of blue velvet are her prizes,

her smooth, calcified ores,

painstakingly harvested.

they sing to her from their resting place

songs of hot water and mint and fluorine;

behind the locked bedroom door,

away from the incessant noise of morbid news,

they wrap their nerve endings like tentacles

into that velvet nest, that wooden jaw,

clean, pure, crowned,

swimming in hot blue velvet.

- as, like many of the other bodies recently found in the Derbyshire area, the body –

elsie is tired of his fermented breath on her enamel,

tired of rubbing his plaque from the lower lip

he can’t help but bite –

after years of decay and fillings

and course, sugar-coated surfaces,

elsie longs for the glitter of veneers,

a mouth full of gemstones and hot water.

sometimes she bites, breaks,

bites herself in two,

aching to rend into something,

to taint her own oh-so-perfect teeth,

to reap another sweet crop of

pearly white deposits,

to bite, to break,

to tear, chew, drink, ruin –

- is missing several of its teeth.