Written by: Isabel Dickey
Art by: Isabel Dickey
The sliding doors parted slowly and opened into the parking lot. The three of us stepped out of the lobby, walking toward the truck. I ran my tongue over my teeth absentmindedly as I walked, thinking about maybe starting laundry when I got home. Suddenly, as my tongue passed over my largest right molar it came loose from my gums and landed on my tongue. I spit it out to see that my molar was suddenly yellow, and spotted with brown, kind of like a past ripe banana. I shoved it in their faces, screaming and frantically asking them to look, asking them what happened– as two more teeth came out of my gums. I caught them and looked down to find three of my rotten teeth, resting in my hand.
We started running towards the truck, and the sky darkened while the trees began to bend with the wind. The leaves looked like a sickening neon green against the deep, deep gray of the sky. I was rambling. I was trying to figure it out– why did my teeth fall out? Why were they suddenly so rotten? Are the rest of them fine? Why were they okay thirty seconds ago? Why are they that horrifying color?
The more questions I asked, the more I spoke, the more my teeth fell apart. They were chipping, tiny little fragments like sand in my mouth. I had to spit out mouthfuls of bone fragments, parts of my teeth that were flaking away. They kept telling me to be quiet, to stop talking, that we had to get to the truck and go home. I stopped and stood there in the middle of the parking lot, frozen with fear and sobbing.
They dragged me the last ten feet to the truck and pushed me into the seat. The sky was almost black, and I could feel the wind beating the side of the truck. I looked out the window to see the storm, only to find a car completely engulfed in flames on the other side of the parking lot. It seemed to catch fire without any warning, just as my teeth had rotted. They stood staring at the car, stunned. My mouth fell open screaming, as my chipping teeth were raining tiny fragments onto my lap, where the three rotted teeth already sat.
Except, all of my teeth are intact. My right molar has no brown spots, and there are no holes where a tooth should be. The sun beat in my window today, so bright I had to pull the curtains shut. In fact, I haven’t even left my house in a few days. I haven’t seen my friends in a long time, and none of them drive a truck. I haven’t done laundry in weeks, because I never change my clothes. I’ve never even seen a car on fire. The only thing I’ve seen lately is the inside of my eyelids while I sleep.
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