Monday, September 13, 2010

The Toothfairy

Writing Exercise: Switching Points of View

This sounded like a fun exercise so I decided to give it a go. The instructions:

Step One
  • Write a one paragraph scene based on this week’s [Fiction] Friday prompt: Why did the Toothfairy fail to deliver coins one evening?
  • Ensure the scene involves at least two characters (you may choose to have more than two if you wish).
  • Write from first person or limited third person POV (point of view) so you are actually writing someone’s perspective.
  • Take no more than ten minutes to write.
Step Two
  • Take the original scene and write from the perspective of someone else present.
  • Again limit yourself to no more than a paragraph and ten minutes of writing time.
Step Three
  • Write the scene for a third time but this time, write from the perspective of someone outside of the ‘action’ in the scene, someone who has not been seen or mentioned in either of the previous paragraphs.
  • Same time and length limitations apply.

 The Toothfairy

Step One:  

James woke up early. Even though it was just another school day, he was excited. The sun hadn't come up yet and 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. James tossed the pillow off the bed and snatched 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 and then 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 . . . ?" James said aloud.

James 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 into his parents' room and stood next to his Mother's side of the bed. She was sleeping so peacefully that he almost didn't want to wake her, but his focus was on his missing prize.

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

Step 2:

"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 where everyone was wearing the most ridiculous costumes. Halloween was only a month and a half 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. I can't believe I let this happen, Clara admonished herself. She noticed the faint light coming from the hallway and knew that James was already awake.

What will I tell him? she asked herself. A list of bad ideas ran through her mind: The Toothfairy was sick last night. You know 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 laughing a little. He'll never buy that one. She was running late. Too many kid's loosing teeth yesterday . . . 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 soft, flowered comforter up around her face. James'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 James's small hand on her shoulder.
"James . . . what is it? What's wrong?" She rolled towards her son. She could see the disappointment in his face. He looked so young, so trusting. Clara closed her eyes and fought back a sob.  
"The Toothfairy didn't come last night." James held the tooth out in the palm of his hand. 

Step 3:

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. This was her last stop tonight. 

"Give yourself a break, Santina. It is your first night after all," She heard her mentor's voice in the rattling of the dry 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. That was so embarrassing. Santina cleared her mind and worked to block the sounds of the wakening world around her.

Just then, she heard a faint 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 up to the branches of an oak tree. There she decided she could rest for just a moment. She tried not to dwell on her failure, but she just had to see it. Seering 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. "His parents have taken care of it for me. What loving parents this little boy must have."

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 sad look of disappointment on the boy's face and she felt a tightness in her chest. The boy's look turned. It was no longer just sadness, it was tinged with a determination. He stepped out of the closet, leaving the exposed bulb dangling. She watched as he traversed the scattered toys in his room. 

In her mind, Santina followed the boy down the hallway, his footsteps getting louder and louder. He entered what she thought must be his parents room. A man and a woman were sleeping soundly under a thick comforter. 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.
"James . . . 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 saw how dirty they were from clinging to her improvised seat. She wiped them on her spotless new uniform, not caring about getting messy or snagging the pink tulle on the jagged bark. She sat there for a long time, watching the sun rise in the East, the squirrels scurrying to find their breakfast, the blue jays vying for attention, surprised that the world could still awaken.