Teeths

📅 Published on December 27, 2021

“Teeths”

Written by Ron Riekki
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 20 minutes

Rating: 8.60/10. From 5 votes.
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Mystery is manifold.  Nothing proved that more than examining Josh Black.  He seemed ordinary, but he most definitely was not.

With glasses, Three Stooges Moe haircut, neighbor-hand-me-down jeans shorts, tennis shoes with more holes than shoe, and freckles like his face was splattered with blood, Josh reeked of cuteness.  And the very recent missing front tooth sealed it all; he would make the women who went to his mother’s triangular-shaped church simply faint.  Josh’s mother told him this at the dinner table.

“If you roll your eyes any harder, they’re going to come out of your head,”  said his mom.

“And land on the table,”  his father added.

Josh’s mother had the tired eyes of a waitress.  Josh’s father had the tired eyes of someone who had recently admitted a gambling addiction to the family; he’d lost a significant amount of money on a horse that died of a heart attack mid-race.

Josh smiled.  Miraculously, his tooth was no longer missing.  Josh pointed at himself with both thumbs so that his parents would notice the regenerated tooth.  At first, they were shocked.  Then Josh poked the tooth with his tongue and it fell onto the table, clinking, settling by his father’s plate.

“Don’t do that,” said his mom.  “Throw it in the garbage.”

“No, you don’t,” said his dad, and he explained the tooth fairy.

This was Josh’s introduction to the creature—a being that seemed to have its whole strange existence dedicated to teeth.

“Just like dentists,”  said his mom.

“Except a dentist can’t fly,”  said his dad.

Josh was at a point in his life when everything felt possible.  At night he’d walk home, cutting through the shortcut path by the bluff, and he could see the monsters behind the trees, waiting for him.

Josh wanted to hear more about what a fairy was, but his father didn’t seem to exactly know or didn’t want to explain.  Instead he told Josh to put his tooth under his pillow and, if he was lucky, he’d wake up and under his pillow would be money.

“Money?”

“Yup.”

“How much?”

“Find out.”

Josh couldn’t sleep that night.  He tossed and turned on his homemade multicolored quilt with its schizophrenic colors.

His father explained that the tooth fairy only came when you were asleep.  If you didn’t fall asleep, he’d never come.  Although, Josh noticed, sometimes his father said “she.”  It was like the tooth fairy could become any gender it wanted.  It was a shape-shifter.  Josh stared into the dark of his room and wondered if the clothes dresser was actually the tooth fairy, patient for him to go to sleep and then it would transform.

In the morning, Josh awoke without checking under his pillow.  He showered.  He did this Christmastime too; he didn’t go straight to the tree to see what presents Santa brought, to see if this year he passed as good and not naughty; instead he’d shower or eat or read in bed.  His parents would ask if he was coming and he’d say soon.  You had to savor things.  His parents called Josh “strange.”  So did his teacher, and his classmates.  And the child psychologist who quit after two sessions, telling his parents that until Josh wanted to actually try at counseling he was just wasting everyone’s time.

After the shower, Josh pulled the pillow back.  Nothing was there.

There was a second pillow on the bed.  Josh pulled this pillow back and on the bed was an old used quarter.

The magic of it was incredible.

Josh’s mouth, he realized, was full of potential quarters.  He felt along each tooth and calculated that his mouth was worth at least five dollars.

At the breakfast table, he was silent.

His parents left him alone when he was like that.  They knew he could get “intense.”  With each bite of cereal, he considered if he needed teeth.  He wondered how you yanked them out, what tool you would use.

It was Saturday.  He had the entire weekend to extract another.  When his father napped, he went to the garage.  He found some tools—abrasives, drills, blasters, vices, anvils, saws.  But it was the ice pick he took from the kitchen drawer that he felt was the smartest way to go.

Josh placed the pick on the gums near his weakest tooth, the one that would be the easiest to punch out of his head.  He tapped the pick’s end and the pain was instant.  So was the blood.  But the tooth was unmoved.  He found a dirty garage mirror and gave a bloody smile.  Whoever designed this world with teeth fairies and bloody-faced children was a very twisted individual.  Josh loved that.

He put away the tools and the ice pick, not even washing it in the sink.  There wasn’t enough blood for anyone to notice.

He had a better idea.

Twenty-five students were in his class.  Each had about twenty teeth.  Five hundred teeth in total.  Which would be about a hundred dollars.  At least.

He’d do it one student at a time.

He’d start with Marcus James Berenice.

Alcohol does incredible things to an elementary school student.  And to Marcus James Berenice, a boy infamous in the town for drowning his neighbor’s puppy, the alcohol turned him into a vessel in which Josh could do anything he wanted.

And what he wanted was the white things in Marcus’s mouth.  One would be good.  For now.  But more would be pure joy.  The problem, of course, was how to accumulate them.  The idea was simple: get Marcus in a state where he was thinking even less than he normally does and then convince him that he should try to knock out one of his incisors.  He’d tell him it’s what tough kids did.

Marcus said he’d only do it if he got to punch Josh in the face first.  Josh agreed.  He thought it might dislodge one of his own and he’d double his money.

The punch from Marcus was brutal, and off the mark.  It landed on Josh’s nose.  A perfect miss.  Josh’s blood soon filled the tree fort.  Albeit, there was no tree to the fort considering it was just a bunch of boards they’d slapped together in an old field that was an illegal local dumping grounds.  Josh leaned back and tried to swallow the blood; with its thick stream, he felt like he was drinking himself.  He was.

“Just think,”  said Josh, “this is what we do at church too.  Except it’s Jesus’s.”  Marcus had no idea what Josh was talking about.  He was contemplating that he had to punch himself in the face now, hard enough to soon be even more toothless.  He told this to Josh.

“What do you mean ‘even more toothless’?”

“I lost one a few days ago.”

Josh forgot about his nose, asking what Marcus had done with the tooth.

He’d thrown it away.

“Where?”

“Garbage.”

“Where?”

“My house.”

“Where?”

My house.”

“Then let’s go.”

“I’m not going in the garbage,”  said Marcus, but then realized he no longer had to punch himself.  It seemed like a good substitute.

The dump smelled, but the trashcan at Marcus’s house was unacceptable.  Josh felt his way through decayed mash potatoes and used tissues.  He’d run away from the can, breathe in some fresh air deeply, and then run back again.

After going through its entirety, Marcus realized there was a second filled garbage bag.  The tooth, thank heavens, was in the second bag.

Josh turned on a hose in the back of the house and bathed himself in the cold, holding onto the tooth.

Marcus, sober now, told Josh that he was by far the most insane boy he’d ever met and he couldn’t wait to tell everyone in the school what had happened.  He asked, “Why you want my teeths so bad?”

Josh plopped Marcus’s tooth into his own mouth and pretended to swallow it.

Marcus took a step back.  Drowning puppies was one thing, but swallowing a stranger’s tooth was another.

On the walk home, Josh slid Marcus’s tooth in and out of the spot where his once had been.

That night, Josh slept in such a peaceful state that one would have wondered if he’d ever wake again.  He did.  He showered, extra long this time as the smell of junkyard and trash still clung to his hair.

When he came back to his room, he examined both pillows.  He wondered which contained the quarter.  He lifted the one with a bloodstain; it was remnants from his nose bleeding during the night.  Nothing was underneath the pillow.

He lifted the other.  Nothing there either.

He threw the sheets off of the bed.  Then he saw what he didn’t want to see—his mother in the doorway, frowning.

“What in the globe are you doing?”

“Remaking my bed.”

“Well,”  said his mother, “You don’t have to be so dramatic about it.”  Josh went to his door and dramatically closed it in his mother’s face.  On the back of the door hung a black robe that Josh often forgot about.  He never wore it because he looked too much like the Grim Reaper with it on; it was a gift from his grandmother before she passed away.  Before people die, they tend to give morbid gifts.

Josh got on his stomach and felt under the bed.

He felt something quarter-like and dug it out from the dust to find it was a button.

Josh crawled under the bed, reaching into the darkness under the headboard.  There it was.  Even in the dark, he could catch a glimpse of it.  He slid it out—a quarter, except it wasn’t like any quarter he’d ever seen before.  The word LIBERTY sprawled across the top and underneath a woman, not George Washington, with a shield and the words IN GOD and WE TRVST.  Josh wondered what “TRVST”  meant.

He said the word out loud, “trvst.”

It sounded like “travesty,”  except it wasn’t a travesty.  It was the best thing he’d ever seen.  He was sure it was worth a hundred dollars.  More.

He slid the new quarter in his pocket, went to the garage, and grabbed a hammer.  He took a practice swing at his face, stopping right before he hit it.  He wanted to get a sense of the pathway.

His mother had followed him.  She’d opened the garage door carefully, slowly, to see what he was up to and what he was up to was the strangest thing she could imagine.

“Put that down,”  she yelled.

“I’m remaking the bed!”  Josh yelled back.

Josh’s mother thought about this.  Her son, she was finding, rarely made sense.

She sent him to his room.

Later, when his mother came in, he realized it would be for the best if he denied everything.  He said he didn’t have a hammer; he didn’t motion towards his face; he didn’t have blood on his pillow.

His mother showed him the blood.

Josh said it was food coloring.

“From what?”

“Food.”

“What food?”

“Red food.”

Josh’s mother walked out.  She told him he’d stay in his room until he started making sense.  It was Sunday and it was supposed to be a day for God, not a day for her son, and this time his mother closed the door on Josh’s face.

Having the entire day in his room was not good.  He could only think of teeth.  He examined the original quarter next to the new improved ancient magical quarter.

He hummed.

He rubbed his fingers over each tooth.

He looked out his window to see if he could spot any fairies.  He wondered how they flew carrying so many quarters.  He wondered how many tooth fairies there were.  Thousands?  One?

Drowsy, Josh had an idea.

He waited until midnight.  He tried opening his bedroom door and creeping down the hall, but the floorboards creaked.  It was better to go through the window.  This way he could also lock his bedroom door.  If his parents came to check on him in the night, he hoped they’d figure he was sleeping and not knock.  And if they did knock, he’d insist he slept soundly.

An elementary school student walking down the street after midnight carrying a hammer in hand attracts suspicion, so Josh took a back way through the woods.  This was the most terrifying thing he’d ever done, but the hammer gave him courage.  If any ghoul popped out at him, he’d bash its face so hard that every ghost for miles would be more afraid of Josh than he was of ghosts.  He wondered if ghosts had teeth.  If so, he would take them.  He found that he got an incredible rush of energy from all of this creeping around.  After awhile, the woods even stopped being frightening.  Josh felt that he now was a ghost.  He was the one doing the haunting.

Marcus’s house wasn’t really a house.  It was a mobile home, except it wasn’t mobile and it didn’t feel much like a home.  Too religious for alcohol, Marcus’s parents did illegal drugs instead.  Josh’s mother said they weren’t White Russian Catholics, but rather good Crystal Methodists.

Josh felt around the edge of the door for a key.  He looked under a mat.  He saw a lawn elf with an impressive row of teeth itself.  He picked it up and underneath was the key.  Josh rubbed his finger over the key’s teeth and then put it in the lock.  The door opened.

Inside, in front of a TV, sprawled across a couch, Marcus snored.  The TV flickered light from a late night sports rerun show, creating an intergalactic feel to the room.

Marcus looked stupid with sleep.  The Sand Man had turned Marcus’s brain into mud.  Josh wondered if the Sand Man was in the room.  He looked around, but only saw walls the color of acne.  Marcus’s skin glowed in the flashes of light.

Josh lifted the hammer and came down with a practice swing.  He wanted to make sure he hit the proper spot, one where the most possible teeth might be dislodged.  But he also realized that this would probably wake Marcus, and Marcus’s parents.

It was a hell of a place to have the realization, when one was in the depths of a trespassing misdemeanor and a planned homicide felony.  Except Josh didn’t intend to completely kill Marcus.  He didn’t want to harm anybody.  He just wanted teeth.  That’s all he wanted.  So simple.  Harmless teeth.

Marcus looked like a corpse on the couch.

That’s when the thought occurred: Corpses.

Cemeteries were filled with teeth.  Hundreds of teeth.  Thousands.  A million teeth buried in the towns all around where he stood now.

Josh would keep the tooth fairy happy and busy.  He would keep the tooth fairy in one continuous return trip to his house.  Josh would drop out of school.  There was no need for studies when he knew his profession.

Marcus opened his eyes.

Josh raised the hammer on instinct.

Marcus didn’t scream.  Instead he gave out a strange collection of consonants, not a vowel in his grunt.

Josh ran out of the house.  He looked back to see if Marcus was in his doorway.  He wasn’t.  Josh headed straight for the woods.  He had to get home by the time Marcus’s parents called.  Or worse, before the police called.

But they didn’t.

No one did.

Josh got home, slept, and went to school the next day.

He avoided lunch.  He avoided his locker.  He avoided Marcus, successfully.

In the back of class, he stared at the teacher’s mouth while she talked.  He wondered where Mrs.  Moleski lived.

And he thought about cemeteries.

He thought about tonight.

He’d sneak out again.  And this time, where he was going, there was no way to get caught.  With cemeteries, there was no one there who would open their eyes.  There was no one there who could wake up, no one to call the police.  It was everything he wanted with none of the risk.

He waited for his parents to fall asleep.

The walk to the cemetery was slow, a somnambulation.

A sleepy boy with a ball-peen hammer, a hand saw, a flashlight, and a shovel in the night—there was something adorable about it, the way he trudged, barely able to keep his eyes open.

Josh didn’t even hide the tools.  He walked right down the middle of the street.  If a cop came, he would abandon the tools and run into the woods with their picker bushes where no policeman dared go.  But no cars came.  The town, for the night, had died.

I would describe to you the digging, but it was long and hard.  It’s difficult to bite into the earth.  But Josh did, over and over.  He was unsure if what he would find below would be flesh or skeleton.

On the second night of digging, he reached the casket.

The first night, he snuck into bed, woke, and went to school with a renewed confidence.  The other boys had merely played video games or slept their night away.  He was facing death.  He was digging for buried treasure.  He was a tooth God.

With raw calloused hands, Josh cracked the casket open.

The body had decayed to a point halfway between human and skeleton.  The body contained every color in the rainbow; a gentle mold covered it all, the body clothed by a fungal tuxedo.  Josh began to cry, not from sadness, but from the effects of the pungent odor.

He found he couldn’t look at the teeth.

He couldn’t look at the teeth, because he couldn’t look at the face.

The face had survived seventy years.  The face had survived four heart attacks.  It had survived three divorces.  Now it would have to survive Josh and Josh found the corpse was winning.  Skeleton faces are scary, but faces halfway between skull and human are unbearable.

Josh also realized he had forgotten gloves.  He didn’t want to touch the thing so he took his shirt off and wrapped it around his hand as a covering.  He paced around the grave, thinking to himself that it would be easier to go hack the teeth out of Marcus’s head.  Living people aren’t so frightening looking.

A mausoleum towered over Josh.  Josh towered over the corpse.  Josh alternated between looking at the two, the peak of the mausoleum’s stone crucifix and the abyss of the dark tomb.  The mausoleum was a cheap but somewhat large Westminster family crypt.  It held a mother, father, daughter, son, another son, another daughter, and their pet dog Tiffy.  Josh read this.  The addition of the dog calmed him.

He slid down to the body and set down the shovel, mistakenly, on the corpse’s hand, severing a finger.  Josh picked up the finger.  It looked like a tree branch, a dried carrot, a thing, a cute thing.

Josh for the first time flicked on the flashlight.  The corpse’s mouth was closed, sealed shut.  Either the undertaker had done so or the lips had rotted into one.

The reality was something Josh did not want to deal with, forcing the mouth open.  What was inside?  Ants?  Maggots?  Screams?

The sun wasn’t rising, but Josh could feel the night would end soon.

Perhaps he should get some sleep first.  Perhaps bring other tools.  Perhaps not come back at all.

He’d left the grave half-dug the first night and no one discovered it.  He’d chosen a spot in the far back end of the cemetery, blocked by the mausoleum.  He threw some dirt over the body; if someone glanced in, hopefully they wouldn’t notice the corpse.  He’d have until tomorrow night to decide what to do.

Josh put his shirt back on.

The walk home he was more cautious, even though he was anxious to sleep.  He’d only nap an hour or two before he’d have to get up for school.  The sleep deprivation was enormous, but he’d taken to falling asleep in class.  The teacher didn’t even wake him.  Some students are able to get away with murder.

When Josh arrived home, he realized the finger was in his pants pocket.  He wondered if he’d put it there.  He put the finger on his dresser, but was worried his parents might see it.  He put it back in his pocket, but he was worried he’d forget it there and if his mother went to do the laundry the next day . . .

Sleepy, he put it under the pillow.  He’d kept teeth there, so why not a finger?  This way he was sure it wouldn’t be bothered.

Josh slept like a forest.

His alarm hurt him.  His body couldn’t handle much more of this.  Because of the extreme difficulty of gathering teeth, he was realizing that his future might be more of these early morning risings for school to learn more about numbers and letters.  All of the word seemed to be numbers and letters.  It was either a world of numbers and letters or it was a world of teeth.

Josh went to school, his brain running on low.  Tonight, he decided he would sleep right after school and wake up at midnight.

Or, perhaps, wake up the next day and just go straight to school.  He would let the teeth go.

The tooth fairy, he was deciding, was really a tooth demon.  It was a thing made to drive young children crazy with greed.  He imagined the home of the tooth demon, its bed made of molars, its bone chandelier, its premolar lamp, and nights spent in front of an incisor fireplace petting its canines.

He slept in class.  He slept at recess.  He slept during a film about the food groups.  He was awake for dairy, asleep for fruits and vegetables, but something about the meat group woke him back up.  He looked to the screen and off to the side, in the window at the back of the room, he caught a glimpse of a form.  He turned slowly, the only student in the class to see it.  Outside, in the shadow of a sugar maple, Josh saw the tooth fairy, its black-cobwebbed wings and a yellow-white face where every bone could be seen.  Its face seemed made of teeth.  Teeth cheekbones.  Teeth eye sockets.  Teeth skull.  The tooth fairy turned away.  Pushing a black lawn mower, gnawing the grass, the tooth fairy faded into the playground.  As it disappeared, the green sugar maple turned into a fiery red maple.  It looked like a tear on fire.  Now he knew what a fairy was.  A fairy was basically Death.  Josh fell back asleep.

After school, he felt well rested.  He’d learned nothing, but there was a sense of clarity.  As with his previous interest in stamp collecting and a fascination with dominos that quickly faded, he found his want for teeth had lessened.

The choice now was either leaving the dug up body as is or else going back to give it a second burial.

Josh thought he’d do something like play a video game or get more sleep, something very normal and boring.  It is like this with children.  They want their adventure and then they want their lengthy nap.  This nap, Josh thought, might last for years.

When he got home, he hugged his bed.  It loved him, that bed, always there, always soft, always ready to swallow a body.  It swallowed Josh’s.  His finger slipped under the pillow when he should have felt a finger, but he didn’t.

Josh heard a clink.

He sat up.

He shoved his hand around underneath the pillow.

He heard another clink.

The finger must have turned to metal.  Maybe had turned into two fingers.

Josh went to his door and locked it.  He closed the curtains.  He looked at the bed.  It seemed to be a regular bed, with the possible exception of its kaleidoscopic, psychotic quilt.

He looked in the mirror.  He seemed to be a regular boy.

He lifted the pillow and there he saw three coins.

He leaned over them, not picking them up, studying them on the bed.

They appeared to be old.  Gold.  There were no letters on them; the surface contained a series of artistic deep scribbles.  He thought he recognized a torch, a sort of mangled cross, a wheel, a sun, and crossbones.  The symbols meant nothing to him.

Something about the coins screamed of the Caribbean, of Captain Kidd.  Josh studied the wheel and wondered if it was a noose.  The sun could have been a head.  He turned the coins over and they were filled with more chaotic scribbling.  They could be worth thousands of dollars . . .

Josh put the coins back.

In the living room, he found his father knitting.  Josh’s mother had taught him the skill and his dad found he was good at it.  At least good at the effort of it, the dedication.  The end product was arguable.  He’d made the quilt for Josh’s bed.  He’d also made Josh mittens that made it look like Josh’s hands were engulfed in flame.

Josh asked his father if he had found anything in his room.

“Like what?”

“Anything.”

“Where?”

Josh studied his father’s face.  He couldn’t see his dad’s teeth.  So many teeth in the world.  We were always surrounded by teeth.  Josh walked back to his room thinking.

Three coins.  Why three?  How many bones were in the finger?  Was the tooth fairy really a bone fairy?  Did Josh merely need to find bones and put them under the pillow?  Josh lay on his bed, spinning each of his five coins.

His mother appeared in the doorway.  “Do you like it?”  Josh froze.  Did he like the coins?  Was his mother the tooth fairy?  He clutched the coins, palmed them.

“Well . . .”

Josh tried to speak.

His mother said, “Come on, you’re supposed to tell your mother she looks beautiful when she gets a haircut.”

Josh said, “Beautiful.”

“Thank you,”  said Josh’s mother and turned away.

“Beautiful,”  said Josh as he let the coins fall onto the bed.

Josh set his alarm for midnight.  He slept with the alarm clock next to his head, underneath a pillow, so that the sound would be muffled and he could hit it quickly once the alarm went off.

The graveyard on the third night felt like home.  The monsters all ducked, hid from Josh.  Josh slid his father’s homemade, yarned mittens onto his hands as protective gloves and then entered the gates, pushing a wheelbarrow stolen from the garage.  He parked it next to the open tomb.  The mosquitoes landed on his forehead, his neck.  He spun in a circle, swatting them, and then commenced dragging the body.  The rotting helped, its weight reduced.  The clothing, even though weakened, held.  Josh sweated and grunted.  It’s amazing how alive you have to be to haul the dead.

With the body draped in the wheelbarrow, beside the white mausoleum, Josh lay in the grass.  The clouds throughout the day were the color of teeth, but the sky now was the bottom of a hole.  There was probably a corpse at the bottom of the sky’s blackness.  Josh looked up, barely able to make it out, the corpse of the sky hidden beyond its stars.

The walk down the middle of Main Street with the corpse made Josh feel as though so much depended on God.  God had designed it so that all of this could happen without so much as an inkling of being caught.

It was also God who designed it so that a car turned around the corner and came up the street.  It slowed.  The driver looked at Josh.  Josh waved.  The driver stared at the body, stared at Josh, and sped off.

Maybe it looked like Josh was hauling his alcoholic grandfather home.

Maybe it looked like he was hauling a corpse from the graveyard.  It didn’t matter.

Getting the body into the bedroom proved difficult, especially to do it quietly.

With the body on the floor of the kitchen, Josh saw a light come on.  It was his mother.  Josh opened up the refrigerator, its door and the kitchen table blocking the body.

“Don’t just stand there.  Take out whatever it is you’re going to take out.  Every second a nickel is falling out of the fridge,”  said his mother.

“OK,”  Josh said.  He didn’t close the door.

“Shut it,”  said his mother, “Bed.”

Josh shut the door, the body in full view.  The light from the refrigerator shut off, darkening the kitchen.  She didn’t notice what was right in front of her.  Sleepy-eyed, she went into the bathroom.

There wouldn’t be enough time to haul the body into his bedroom.  Josh would have to wait.  He went to his bed and sat, listening.  He heard the toilet flush and his mother return to her bed.  Then he snuck back out to the living room.

This was all very tedious, very slow.

The floorboards creaked, but not if you stepped close to the walls.

The body seemed to weigh less than it did at the cemetery.  Josh wondered if pieces had fallen off.

Josh slid the body with a soft tug, then listened.  Slid, listened.  Slid, listened.  The hardest part was when the corpse lay directly in front of his parents’  bedroom door.  Then, each of his breaths became a howling wind.  It was helpful that the corpse didn’t breathe or move.  It kept exceptionally silent.  Dead bodies are well behaved.

Once the corpse was in his bedroom and he could close the door, there should have been a feeling of safety, but there wasn’t.  Much still had to be done.  He’d need to skip school.  He’d tell his mother he was sick.  And he was feeling sick.  With the amount of germs all over his body, Josh would probably contact the Bubonic plague by the end of the night.

Getting the corpse on the bed was the hardest of them all.  For many reasons.  It had to be lifted up and not just horizontally.  He couldn’t slide the body onto the bed.  By now Josh had mold and bacteria and pieces of flesh in his ears and on his lips and in his eyes, so he took off his father’s gloves and just willed the body onto the bed where it collapsed in instant sleep.

Josh would be spending the night sleeping next to a seventy-something-year-old man.

Josh pulled the body up to the headboard and gently placed a pillow over it.  Of course, almost the entirety of the body stuck out, but the importance was that all of the teeth remain under the pillow.

Josh looked at what he had done.  If only the teeth counted, Josh figured that an entire treasure chest would be found in the morning upon awakening.

If all of the bones of the man’s body counted, then Josh wondered if the entire bed would sag from the weight of gold.  He would go to sleep with a corpse and wake up with enough money to pay off his parents, the police, anyone who tried to get in his way.

To say that he was going to be a billionaire would be an exaggeration.  Millionaire could be a distinct possibility.  He would see.  It was a gamble.

Josh opened his bedroom window.  The smell needed to lessen.  He couldn’t fall asleep with that smell.  He could have tried to sleep just then, but Josh wanted a shower.  He needed to get some of the smell off of him, particularly the stench that had attached under his nose.  His lips stank.

The shower would have to be fast and efficient.  It wouldn’t be particularly quiet, but if his parents were asleep then water running shouldn’t wake them.

In the steam, Josh scrubbed a boy.  His next shower, he would be a king.

Walking naked but for a towel in the hallway, Josh was pleased to see the door to his bedroom still closed.  As long as the corpse wasn’t alive, all would be fine.

Josh opened the door and found the corpse standing there.  Shocked, he dropped the towel, picking it up quickly to cover himself.

The corpse was his mother.  Or rather the corpse was still the corpse on the bed, but his mother stood in the doorway, unable to move, unable to speak, corpse-like.

Josh rushed to the bed and pulled the other pillow over his head, saying, “Let me sleep!”  “Josh, what is that!”

“Go away.  In the morning!  Please, let me sleep.”

“Josh,”  screamed his mother.

Josh’s father entered.  With heated heart, he took in the horrific sights on the bed—his naked son and a clothed corpse.

Josh pulled the quilt over his body.  “I have to sleep!”  “Call the police,”  said his mother.

“No,”  said Josh, popping up.  He rushed to door, threw on his robe, and ran to the bathroom.  He grabbed as much from the medicine cabinet as he could.

Josh’s mother followed him.  “You stop right now and explain.”  Josh shoved by his mother and father, slamming his bedroom door shut, locking it.  He looked through all of the medication, finding the bottle his father would use when he needed to get to sleep.  He wanted water, but he had to swallow the pill without it.  It tasted like toxic waste.  Josh collapsed on the bed.  His parents beat on his door.  He took another pill and covered his head with the pillow.

He heard his father on the phone, giving their address.  He heard his mother, knocking around things in the kitchen.  He heard her say, “What is that?”  There must have been a part of the corpse on the floor.  He heard her ask what the smell was.  “That thing,”  said his father.

Josh would never be able to sleep now.  He swallowed more pills, using cough syrup to wash them down.  He took other random medications.  He waited.  He closed the window, locked it.  He closed the curtains.  He covered his head for darkness.  He took more pills, more medication.

“Sleep,”  he whispered.

His stomach hurt.  The smell was locked in the room.  He choked.  He coughed.  “Sleep,”  he said.

Dizzy, he took another pill.  His ears began to ring.  His fingers and toes tingled, burned, trembled.

From under the pillow, he whispered to himself, “Sleeth.”  When the police came, they asked Josh’s mother and father to stand back, to wait in the living room.  There had been reports about what their son had done.  Sightings.  The police were worried he was armed, that he might do something dangerous.

Josh’s parents assured them that there was some mistake; their boy kept to himself.  He was a good boy, a quiet boy.

The police rammed down the bedroom door and entered.  The room was quiet.

From the safety of the living room, Josh’s parents listened.

The policemen seemed to take their time.  They kept their voices down.

A policeman came outside and told them there was a dead body.

“We know,”  said Josh’s father.

“He wasn’t alive when you saw him last?”

The policeman led Josh’s father to the room.  There was a corpse.

“Could I ask you where all the money came from?”  said the officer.

On the bed was Josh’s body, dead.  Next to it, where the corpse had been, was a large pile of coins, more than two hundred, seemingly from around the world, from throughout time.

Josh’s father fainted, landing on the bed, into the pile.  Many of the coins scattered to and fro about the floor.

Rating: 8.60/10. From 5 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Ron Riekki
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Ron Riekki


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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