is it?" she asked, nervously.
"It fell from the sky," he replied,
matter of factly.
"I dunno. It just did."
"Robbie..." she began.
Robbie looked down at his little sister, and
smiled. "Don't be scared," he said. "There's nothing
to be scared of. It's just a little piece of metal."
He picked up the little piece of metal. It was moist from the morning
dew that coated the lawn. He turned it over in is hand, careful to avoid
the jagged edges. It appeared to just be nothing more...than a little
piece of metal. But, still, there was something strange about it. Odd.
Like it wasn't meant to be here.
He sighed, and muttered a "Meh" under
his breath. This would have to wait. He and Jess had bigger things to
deal with right now. Things that were starting to smell a little....off.
"Come on Jess," he said. "Let's
get back inside and deal with that stuff in there, ok?"
Jess nodded, no hint of emotion. "Ok Robbie,"
she replied, simply.
The dead bodies of Robbie and Jess' parents
were sat neatly on the couch in the living room of the family home.
Each had a small red dot in the centre of their forehead. The red dots,
at one time, had oozed red liquid, which was now dry and crusty, and
turning yellower by the hour.
More dried red crusty yellowing former ooze was visible on the back
of the couch behind the two bodies. And yet more on the carpet around
the couch. As well as a few spots here and there on the walls. Robbie
stood and stared at the scene, like it was nothing new; like he'd seen
it all before. Jess did the same.
"Who's doing it?" Robbie asked his
"You," she replied without hesitation.
"I did the last one."
"Yeah, don't you remember? Labor Day last
"Hmm. Ok, yeah I remember."
"What about Harold?"
Jess held up a small brown teddy bear that had
one eye missing. "Harold?" she asked the bear, "what
do you think?"
Harold cleared his throat, glad to be included
in the discussion. "Well, I think you're right Jess. It's Robbie's
turn. You did the last one."
Jess smiled, satisfied. "Hah! I told you,"
she said, head still facing the couch, eyes never leaving the bodies.
"Fine," Robbie replied. "I'll
do it. Doesn't matter to me."
Jess' smile continued as Robbie went to the
corner of the room, and opened up a small leather case; the kind that
doctors used to have back in the day. He fumbled about inside for a
few seconds, before pulling out a pair of dental pliers. They were dirty
and rusty and awful. Clearly they hadn't been used on any real patients
for years; decades even. But that didn't matter. Now was their time
to shine. Robbie walked back to the bodies, and faced his father.
"Well, Dad," he began, "I guess
it's time, you old bastard."
Jess giggled next to him. Cursing always seemed
so funny to her. Especially when Robbie did it. It had always been forbidden.
By all their parents. These ones included.
Robbie didn't giggle at this, but he grinned.
He loved to hear his sister happy. "Shut up," he said, sternly,
but not really seriously. "He WAS an old bastard."
Jess couldn't contain herself this time. The
giggling turned to full on hysterical laughter. She fell to her knees,
clutching her stomach. HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Robbie's grin remained. "Jess!" he
said. "Stop it! Come on. I need to get on. And I need you to keep
watch. Go to the window."
The laughing stopped almost immediately. Robbie
felt a little pang of remorse over his tone. He needn't have. Jess wasn't
bothered about his tone. She was a professional. And she knew the drill.
Robbie pulls out the teeth, she keeps watch. Next time, it would be
the other way around. This was no time for fun and games. People might
come by. And if they did, it was the Watcher's job to steer them away
from the mayhem being committed inside by the Puller.
Clang! The teeth made a little noise as Robbie
dropped them into a small tin. Something nice or the tooth fairy, he
Jess turned her gaze from the window, to her
brother. "Done?" she asked.
Robbie nodded, rattling the now closed tin.
Jess grinned, revealing her own teeth; dirty
"What do you think she'll give us for 'em?"
Robbie asked, eagerly.
"Are they good ones?" Jess replied,
"Hmmm, not bad. Little yellow. Some fillings.
I think she'll find them useful."
"I reckon about 40 bucks then. We got 30
for those 3 that were rotten, remember?"
Robbie nodded. He remembered. Those teeth had
been inhuman. Hadn't the owner heard of a toothbrush? Evidently not,
he had surmised at the time.
"Let's call her now!" Jess suggested,
suddenly all excited, and still grinning.
"Yeah. Come on..."
"Ok. You do the talking though, ok?"
Jess sighed and rolled her eyes. "Why do
I have to do the talking all the time?"
"Because you're the best at it. And she
likes you more than me."
"No she doesn't," Jess said, rolling
her eyes even more. "Don' be silly."
"I'm not being silly Jess," Robbie
said. "She does. You know she does."
Jess felt a sudden swell of pride in the pit
of her stomach. Immediately followed by a pang of guilt. Maybe she did
like her better than Robbie. But that wasn't her fault was it? She was
the one who talked to her the most. Robbie, for some reason, was always
shy when it came to being around her. Why shouldn't she feel good about
being liked by someone? And why should she feel bad for Robbie? He had
things better in other areas of their enterprise. And he damn well knew
"You ok?" she heard him say. "What's
She looked up, into his eyes, and smiled. "No,
nothing. Just thinking about that 40 bucks."
Robbie relaxed, and smiled back. "Yeah,"
he said, "that is gonna be sweet."
They both smiled, and became lost in though
for a few moments, thinking about that 40 dollars, and what it could
do for them. Hmmmm, they both murmured simultaneously. 40 dollars. Yay!
Robbie snapped them out of it. "Go on then,"
he said. "Call her."
Jess' smile continued as she nodded in agreement
at this. Yes, it was time to call her. Time to collect on the morning's
Jess walked over to the wall to the right of
the couch, and stopped. She stared at it for a few seconds, pondering
the exact way to go about this. Finally she nodded to herself, and reached
her hand into the pocket of her faded denim shorts. She pulled out a
small piece of charcoal, and licked the end. Satisfied that the charcoal
was ready for action, she proceeded to run it up and down the wall;
sweep it left and right.
A minute or so later she stepped back, her right
hand held up at eye level, charcoal gripped firmly between grubby fingers.
"What ya think?" she asked Robbie,
tilting her head to the left slightly, as if unsure of her work.
Robbie came up behind her. "Best one yet,
I think," he simply replied.
Jess immediately wooped with joy and danced
around on the spot, chanting "Best one yet. Best one yet"
as Robbie stared intently at the black outline of a tooth, crudely drawn
on the clean surface of the wall, the name "Helen" written
scruffily in the middle, in a mixture of lower and upper case letters.
Robbie turned his eyes to his sister. He watched
her dancing for a few moments. She seemed happy. Like before when he'd
made her laugh. He liked that. It was nice to see.
Suddenly a noise came from the kitchen. Robbie
became tense. "JESS!" he hissed quietly. Jess stopped her
dancing and looked at her big brother. "She's here. In the kitchen."
Jess' face changed. The joy and happiness was
gone. Replaced with a look of expectant apprehension. Her eyes lit up.
Whoever was in the kitchen was welcome, but not without caution.
"Go on..." Robbie started. "Go
do your thing. Talk to her."
Jess tutted at him. And relaxed. "Why don't
you like talking to her?" she asked.
"I dunno," Robbie replied, looking
down at the carpet, seemingly a little embarrassed, "I just don't."
"She does like you ya know."
Robbie looked up. "She does?"
"Course she does. She just likes me better."
Robbie grinned. "See? I told you."
Jess laughed as he pretend swatted her away. "Go on. Do it. We
need to get out of here. Here, take these." He handed her the small
tin that now housed the teeth.
Jess took it, and nodded, before heading over
to the sliding doors that separated the kitchen and the living room.
She paused for a moment, took a deep breath, sighed, and then slid them
"Daaaaaarling!" came the loud and
booming voice of Helen, the tooth fairy. "Jessica, my sweet little
potato pie. How are you, honey?"
"Fine," Jess replied, a little shyly
"Awwww, that's good to hear. I do so worry
about you and your brother you know. I really do. Out here all on your
own day after day."
"We're ok Helen," Jess told her. "We
"Oh I know you do child," Helen replied,
"I know you do."
A brief moment of silence followed as if each
of them was waiting for the other to say something. Jess reacted first.
"We brought you some new teeth. Mr. Jameson's. He said we could
take them. Said he wouldn't be needing them anymore."
Helen smiled, warmly. "Well, that was mighty
nice of him, wasn't it?"
Jess nodded in agreement. "Yes. Mighty
nice of him."
Another slight pause, before Helen beckoned
Jess over to the table where she was sitting. "Come on then angel,"
she said. "Let's see them. We don't got all day now do we?"
As Jess showed Helen the teeth they had collected
for her, Robbie edged a little closer to the sliding doors. He watched
them both curiously, maintaining what he hoped was a somewhat safe distance.
He liked Helen. She'd been good to them. But all joking aside, he really
wasn't sure whether or not she really liked him. She was a rather large
and imposing women. Jolly enough with her large purple hair all knotted
up in a bun on the top of her head, her bright red lipstick sticking
out like a sore thumb on a chubby pale white hand, nails painted blue,
and sharp at the ends. Yes, jolly enough, but with a sinister and serious
air. Robbie knew that as long as she kept getting her teeth, she'd treat
them well, and look out for them. What he was worried about though was
what she might do once their supply dried up.
"ROBBIE!" Helen shouted, loudly, but
still quiet, as if noticing him for the first time. "Come and join
us you handsome young man."
Robbie smiled, and began to inch his way closer,
"Oh come on now my boy," Helen said.
"Don't be so shy. I won't bite."
Robbie relaxed. She had that way about her.
Menacing but still calming and open. It was strange. She was like a
monster that wanted to eat you. You kind of knew you should run away,
but something about it, made you want to head into its lair. Well, whatever
she was, Robbie knew he was safe. He and Jess. If Helen really wanted
to hurt them, why would she have saved them both that day 3 months ago?
He relaxed completely. Even if she was a monster, she was their monster.
And he liked that.
"Now then," Helen began, when Robbie
was finally standing beside her and Jess, "these are some mighty
fine teeth children. You've both done a grand job. Helen is proud of
Jess beamed from ear to ear at hearing this.
She had never been scared of Helen. Not once had she ever questioned
her, her motives, her demeanour, her anything. Helen was someone she
could rely on. Not a mother. Jess knew that you could rely on a mother.
No, more like a great aunt or something. Someone you saw semi-regularly.
Someone who you knew could, and would, take you away from all that pain
and suffering at a moment's notice.
"You hear that Robbie?" Helen said,
noticing his less than beaming expression. "Helen is proud of you."
Robbie smiled and nodded. "Yes ma'am,"
he replied, simply, still unsure.
Helen didn't seem to mind. She turned her gaze
back to the tin that was now sitting open on the small wooden kitchen
table. "Hmmmm, well, I think for these, I can give you....."
She paused as she thought about it. "I think, 30?" She paused
again, deep in though. "No, 40 dollars. Yes, 40 should do it just
fine. What do you think kids?"
Robbie and Jess both nodded eagerly. 40 dollars
was exactly the amount they had decided the teeth were worth. Amazing
that they were right on the money, so to speak.
Now it was Helen's turn to beam. "Wonderful,"
she said. "Wonderful."
"Helen?" Jess suddenly piped up, the
money forgotten for the moment.
"Yes, cherry pie?"
"Should we get Mrs. Jameson's teeth for
you as well?"
Helen was quick to reply. "Oh no no dear,"
she said softly. "That really won't be necessary. I think I have
quite enough with Mr. Jameson's."
Jess was happy with this. She hugged Helen.
Helen hugged her back. "Thank you Helen," Jess whispered.
"I love you."
"Awwwww," Helen replied, "I love
you too honey. Both of you." She reached out an arm towards Robbie.
"Come on Robbie darling. Hug your aunty Helen."
Robbie relented. All notions of fear and wariness
abandoned at the door. He sank into Helen's arms beside Jess. It was
warm here. Cosy. He felt safe. He closed his eyes, and tried not to
let the images of blood and bodies that flashed behind his eye lids,
disturb his peace.
When Robbie and Jess opened their eyes, Helen
was gone, and they found they were just hugging each other. Jess sniffed,
and brought the dirty sleeve of her pink hoodie up to her nose.
"Don't, Jess," Robbie said. "Just....don't.
Jess nodded, trying as hard as she could to
fight back the tears. They wanted to come streaming out. But she couldn't
let them. She had to remain strong. Couldn't show any weakness. Weakness
would overcome them if they let it. They would lose. Lose everything.
Robbie raised his hand to his sister's face,
and gently wiped under her eyes. "It'll be ok," he said. "I
promise." He hugged her again, tightly, as she wailed into his
Robbie!" Jess shouted from upstairs. "I found it."
Robbie appeared at the bedroom door almost instantly.
"Where?" he asked.
"Right here in the bedside table drawer."
Jess held up two crisp 20 dollar bills, neatly folded just once down
"Alright!" Robbie exclaimed, excitedly.
"I knew Helen would come through for us."
"Of course," Jess agreed. "Why
"No reason. Just, it doesn't usually take
us this long to find it."
"Well, look at it though. So new."
Robbie took the two bills from her, and examined
them. They were beautiful. Some of the best he'd ever held.
Jess continued. "Maybe they just took longer
to arrive because they're so new."
"Hmmm," Robbie mumbled, nodding, his
mouth bent down at the corners. "I guess you're right."
Jess jumped up and down on the bed like it was
a trampoline. "I am always right. You know that."
Robbie laughed. She was happy again. And he
was too. And now they had 40 bucks to spend. On whatever they wanted.
He felt a sudden pang in his stomach. Hunger. They hadn't eaten since
yesterday. And for whatever reason, the Jamesons' cupboards had been
practically empty. Nothing in the fridge. No bread. Just some cans.
But no can opener. Maybe the cases by the front door had something to
do with it, Robbie thought. Maybe they'd just come back from a trip?
Anyway it didn't matter now. Now they had 40 bucks! They could dine
like Kings. Or Princes and Princesses at least.