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Twas 4 am when young Toothie Smiles creaked open sticky eyelids, sweating and cold and pasta. In a corner of the crooked room, smooched betweenamirror and adoor, leaning into the crack, propped a blood ruby demon in a loincloth.

Eyes plucked open in stare, she stared and stared some more and she thought to scream

but muzzled mug thought maybe not.

The demon came close with flickering slots and swirly antlers, his nose a llllloooonnnngggggggg finger. Toothie could feel her nose right on her face and thought, “Oh! His nose is a bit like mine.”

He was quite slim and tall and chiseled, and his voice was a bit more n a r r o w than Toothie expected.

“I didn’t mean to scare you, dear, please don’t look at me like that. I really hate it when people look at me like that,” he said, his dark red cheeks growing redder. “Please, if you wouldn’t mind, follow me, the apple is expecting you and they really are no fan of tardiness.”



The demon turned and on his muscled back were two dainty mothlike wings. He started towards the other side of the room, pushed away the painted folding screen, and tore at the wall with his stubby hairy hoof hands till they peeled back like paper. He had split a hole about the size of a picnic basket when he fumbled a bit and lost his balance and splashed right through like a








Toothie did a bit of a stretch, sat up, took a sip of water and placed her feet on the cold floor. She walked towards the hole to redness in the wall, paused, pivoted, grabbed a sweater off her set of drawers and felt through the oily scarlet pond.

Brushing aside weeds of jelly seabugs and paddle lilies, Toothie swam up up up to the thicker surface. Slothing from the shore, peonies licked her arms and she slapped them away. The demon was waiting for her just beyond the pickled ranunculus.

“If you have any questions, send them to Santa.”

Toothie plucked some roses to hold in her hands but quickly dropped them because the ladybugs were biting.

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