Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Mistake

This Week's Fiction [Friday] prompt:  Why did the Tooth Fairy fail to deliver coins one evening?

A Mistake

Jake woke up early. His room was still dark, a maze of shadows. He stretched out, throwing his Star Wars comforter on the floor, and rolled over onto his stomach. He slid one hand under the pillow and felt around. There it is. Jake tossed the pillow off the bed and grabbed the little blue envelope. It was too dark to see the blue fairy printed on the front, but he knew it was there.

He jumped up, envelope in hand, and hopped over the scattered toys and action figures to his closet. He pulled the string. He had to squint his eyes at the light from the uncovered bulb. As soon as they adjusted he carefully untucked the flap. He peered inside.

"What the . . . ?" Jake said aloud.

Jake tipped the envelope and let the small tooth fall into his hand. He looked at it in wonder, examining the creamy white surface and inspecting the blood-tinted spot where it had clung to his gums.

He stomped down the hall to his parents' room and stood next to his mother's side of the bed.

"Mom. Mom." Jake gently shook his mother's shoulder.
"Jake . . . what is it? What's wrong?"
"The Toothfairy didn't come last night." Jake held the tooth out in the palm of his hand.

- - - - -

"What's that?" Clara sat straight up in her bed.

She looked around, trying to get her bearings. When she saw the mound of covers next to her, she realized she was safely in her bed. She had been dreaming of a carnival. Halloween was only a month away and she hadn't even started making costumes. She knew the dream was stress-related. They all seemed to be lately.

Clara tried to remember what had awakened her, but couldn't get the image of a bearded lady dressed as the Toothfairy out of her mind. That's when it hit her. She noticed the faint light coming from the hallway and knew that Jake was already awake. I can't believe I let this happen.

What will I tell him? she asked herself. A list of bad ideas ran through her mind: The Toothfairy was sick last night. We all get sick sometimes and there's that stomach bug going around. The Toothfairy couldn't find her way past the mess in your room. She couldn’t help smiling at that one. Maybe she was running late. Too many kid's loosing teeth yesterday and she’ll get you tomorrow . . . Clara heard the sound of determined footsteps in the hallway.

Unsatisfied with any of her answers, she decided to fake sleep instead. She laid her head back down on the pillow and pulled the blanket up around her face. Jake's footsteps got heavier and she had to resist the urge to remind him of their neighbors downstairs. Clara held her breath and tried not to squeeze her eyes shut too tight.

"Mom. Mom." Clara felt Jake's small hand on her shoulder.
"Jake . . . what is it? What's wrong?" She rolled towards her son. She could see the disappointment in his face.
"The Toothfairy didn't come last night." Jake held the tooth out in the palm of his hand.

- - - - - 

Santina hovered outside the window. She could tell by the warmth on the breeze and the sliver of golden light on the horizon that the sun would soon rise. She was late and she knew it.

"Give yourself a break, Santina. It is your first night after all," She heard her mentor's voice in the rattling leaves.
"I know, I know. I'll get this last one and the night will be a success."

She pushed the amber curls out of her eyes and prepared herself to phase through the window. Phasing was the hardest skill to master. She needed all of her concentration to do it correctly. She didn't want to get stuck again, like she had at the Mendleson girl's house. Santina cleared her mind and worked to block the sounds of the world around her.

She heard a clicking noise. Her concentration disturbed, she opened her eyes. She looked around, but no one was outside at this early hour. She turned back to the window and that's when she saw it: a light. It was coming from the boy's room.

She sped up her wings, raising herself to the branches of an oak tree. She decided to rest there for just a moment. She tried not to dwell on her failure, but she just had to see it. Seeing was her best subject and she just had to know what was going on inside that room.

Santina slowed her breathing and waited for her eyes to cloud over. It was easy. Soon she was looking through the haze. She saw the boy standing in his closet. His face was so sweet and expectant. She watched as he opened a small, blue envelope.

"Oh I'm saved," she said aloud. “I just love it when the parents play along.”

She watched as he turned the envelope up, letting the contents spill into his open hand. She looked into his palm. It was his lost tooth. She saw the look of disappointment on the boy's face and felt a tightness in her chest. He stepped out of the closet, leaving the exposed bulb dangling. She watched as he traversed the scattered toys.

In her mind, Santina followed the boy down the hallway, his footsteps getting louder and louder. He entered his parents’ room. In the faint light from the hallway, she could see the boy pause and look down at his mother's face before beginning to wake her.

"Mom. Mom." The boy said as he tried to shake his mother awake.
"Jake . . . what is it? What's wrong?" The woman sounded concerned and confused.
"The Toothfairy didn't come last night." The boy said as he held out his hand.

Santina couldn't watch any longer.

She shook her head, her long curls swirling around her face. She lifted her hands from the branch and wiped them on her lap, not caring about mussing her new uniform or snagging the pink tulle on the jagged bark. The sun began to rise, the squirrels ventured out to find their breakfast, and the blue jays began vying for attention. She sat there watching, surprised that the world could still awaken.