Tirol’s skin is white. Porcelain white, or maybe more like those milky treasures that mysteriously vanished from under your pillow while you slept when you were six. Yes, you still remember because you still cling to that grudge with the tenacity of a rabid dog with a bone.

Of course, by now you know. There’s really no such thing as the Tooth Fairy. What can you do, though? About that figment of your imagination for which your resentment still festers like pus-filled sore.

Now, Tirol. He’s problematic.

This monster at your door is undeniably real, and he’s come for you. He’s big. Bigger than you could ever grow. He fills the doorway. Fifteen feet, four hundred and seventy-five pounds of heavy bone, muscle, and sinew. His spiky head is bowed low, yet it scrapes your ceiling.

His eyes are inky. His hands are blue. His teeth are made for chomping metal and stone.

There’s no negotiating. There’s no pleading with this alien beast. No way to delay punishment for your crime. Every cell in your body screams at you to flee. Your eyes dart about in search of an escape route. You already know it isn’t there. Dead ahead, Tirol blocks the only exit.

His bone-shaking growl sends tremors through the room. His raggedy huffs and wheezes remind you of a feral and furious bear. Your eyes lock. Tirol’s burn with unmitigated rage. Your adrenaline swells but you’re paralyzed. Filled to the brim with fright. Bile pools in your gut and bubbles up to the back of your throat.

Tirol lets out another deep rumble. It grates on your nerve endings and makes the ground shudder. His growls balloon into a bellow.

A lame little whimper creaks out of your throat.

Next, you remember.

For some ungodly reason, the last thing you remember is that blasted Tooth Fairy who’d left you one measly dollar bill and a fifty-cent coin in exchange for your precious white jewels.

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