Not sure which one she took. There are too many doors out here. Ever since the day we found this little nook in this village a couple of years back, she had been burning with curiosity. We come here often to collect the occasional teeth under the pillow, but not as often as she would like to. With people having fewer children, there are fewer teeth to collect.
Okay, just in case you are confused, we are tooth faeries. She is a four-and-a-quarter-inch Fighter and I am a five-inches Spellman. We are a team and collect teeth together.
To pry out the tooth from under the pillow, I cast the spells to prop up the child, move the pillow, place the coin, grab the tooth, and then, place the pillow and child back in place. (Not sure why they don’t just keep the tooth on the side-table. It would be so convenient for us.) So, while I am using all my concentration for the spells, she stands guard, looking out for any pet animals, keeping them at bay.
Cats are specially nasty–stealthy, vicious and quick. Once, when my partner was out sick (a serious case of bird flu–her wings kept twitching like humming bird’s and her voice sounded like a crow’s), a cat sneaked up on me. I found myself inside the cat’s stomach and it’s not a pretty sight. I had to tickle its intestine so that it would spit me out. Later, I had to shower for almost an hour to take off the muck from my hair. So, you get the drift… So, all tooth fairies work in pairs to avoid such ‘situations’.
Between her and me, we have 57 villages to cover. You would think that we would be dying of overwork. But children are getting so rare now that there aren’t enough teeth to go around. In fact, most of the tooth fairies are forced to take up smithery or animal-guard roles for smaller beings, like rats (desperate times!). Most of the teeth forges are now going out of commission too.
For any newbees out there, teeth forges are where new human teeth are forged on order. Every end of the day, we submit the acquired teeth at the teeth forge. The teethsmith takes the measurements and DNA print, and forges new teeth to replace the old ones. The old teeth are recycled, of course. A delivery elf, then, submits the new teeth to the Great Guy on the seventh cloud to be dispersed as needed. But all that is beyond our job role.
Anyway, we are best friends, even though, it is rather difficult. She has rather an adventurous spirit and has a knack of getting into dangerous situations–like the day she decided to adopt a lost pup. He’s a Great Dane who loves catching anything that flies too close. It took us a couple of weeks and several trips to its stomach before it learnt not to catch faeries.
Her boyfriend, another fighter fairy with thick biceps and six-pack abs, does not approve either of the Dane or Me. He thinks I’m hitting on her. Initially, I told him “Mate, I gave up on the day we became partners 93 years back.” In reality, I had made a move on her and she gave me a black eye. And hence, I’ve stuck to being friends ever since. But I keep that piece of information to myself. No need to humiliate myself when he doesn’t believe me either way. Well, his loss! Every now and then, he tells her to dump me and she gives him black eyes instead.
She’s the reason why being a tooth fairy seems worth it because we have an excuse to stick together all day. I think the Great Guy knows about it too and hence, he hasn’t changed our pairing in all these 93 years–a rare occurance in our field. That’s why, I let her drag me to look at these doors every time we’re in the village. Then, she sits here and contemplates about which one leads to where. I’m curious too, but not crazy enough to try. With magic, you could never be sure.
How are we sure it is magic? Well, they are all different sizes, some too small for grown up humans. They are well-worn as if used daily. Some of them have claw marks all over while one looks slightly burnt. Also, who would place so many doors on the same wall, unless they all lead to different places. Hence, they obviously magical–deductive reasoning, you see…
So, last night, we came to this village to collect the last tooth for the next five years. The next kid in line is just one year old, so it will be some time before he loses his teeth. All day long, she had been alternating between being lost, being excited and being jumpy. Every time I asked, she behaved too innocently.
So, of course, I told her, “I won’t let you enter those magical doors. We have no idea where they lead and whether they let you return.” She replied, “What doors?”
So, obviously, I never let her out of my sight all day. When we finally reached this house, there was a storm outside. We entered the house through a crack in the window. I went forward to go through the motions of retrieving that tooth, leaving her to stand guard at the window sill. A cat jumped on me. For half-an-hour, I hide inside a closet worried out of my head about this girl until I realised the truth. There was no way the cat could outwit her. She left before the cat came in…
…Which means she entered one of the doors.
So, now I stand in front of all these doors, trying to guess which one she took and come up blank. Her spell-phone is not reachable. I have called out her name several times but, I’m afraid, she can’t hear me. I call her guy to check if he knows anything about this. Hopefully, she discussed the door she liked the most…But he’s as dumb as ever, “You let that vile cat eat her!” As if a cat could ever catch her. She could tie its hands and legs and roast it on a spit before it could blink. She was my guard for that very reason–she’s a fighter!
When I tell him about the magical doors, he comes up blank. She never talked to him about them. “You are trying to frame her for breaking the magical rules!”
Seriously! I understand he disblieves me, but does he even know her? She never follwed rules. “I’m going after her. Do you want to join me? Together we can cover more doors.”
Suddenly, his voice changes, guarded, “We aren’t sure she took the doors at all. And if she did, which one she took. You said that there are too many doors, right? What if she isn’t in the door either of us take? We’ll never find her that way. I guess, we should report her to the authorities. They will send a search party. Meanwhile, we should wait for her to return.”
“Come on! Authoritie will wait 24 hours. That could be too late.”
“It’s probably already too late. She could already be…” He could not complete his sentence though. Because he got too busy with his cellphone that started trying to shove up his ass. He will stay busy until another spellman creates a counter-spell for my hex.
But now, he can’t help me. So, I have to take a wild guess at the door she took. In my mind, I picture her fighting fantastic creatures, living her dreams. I want to be by her side when she does that. Most of all, I just want to be with her. I can’t stand the thought of never seeing her smile again. I have only one chance to guess the right door. There is no guarantee that once I am in, it will let me out ever. If I choose the wrong one, I may be stuck forever without her.
The thought sacres me. So, since I don’t know which one she took, I will have to go the other way round. The doors she’ll never take–She hates red, purple and yellow colours. She finds them too girly. She’ll never take the green one. It is too small, and if she wants to break rules, she’ll do something grand. This leaves the two blue doors. I push the door of the bigger one with all my magical might. A small crevice opens and and she falls back out.
Before I can understand anything, she pulls me in a bear hug! “Thank Goodness, you are alright! I had been waiting for you for the past half hour. What took you so long?”
“Well, you didn’ exactly leave a forwarding address. Did you?” I’m too relieved to care that I’m shouting at her.
Ideally, this is when she kicks me but she just smiles and says, “I knew you’d know where to find me.”
I don’t want to be placated. But how could I not be? She’s fine and back, speaking of which, “Why didn’t you just let me in? Why did you come back? Now I have to open the damn door again.”
“Naah! They’re closed for me, forever. I punched the doorman,” she shrugs. My brows pull up to my hairline, so she blushes (first time ever!) and adds, “Well! I heard you call my name and I answered but I guess you couldn’t hear me. I was worried that you’ll get too worried and take the wrong door. So, I asked the doorman on the inner side to reopen the door so I can call you in. He declined.
I decided it wasn’t worth it without you. So, I let myself out.”
Original image by Ranurte
Digitalized by Ammpryt ART