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Supply and Demand

A short story about the underbelly of magic

By Alison McBainPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 3 min read
Supply and Demand
Photo by Allison Archer on Unsplash

If the clouds had been the color of steel, they might have cast the appropriate foreboding atmosphere for a clandestine meeting. If the figures had been lurking in a garbage-filled alley, rats fleeing before their footsteps, they might have had the appropriate air. Perhaps only if the two figures themselves had been sinister in appearance, with badly scarred faces or eye patches, it might have implied something more... malevolent.

Instead, the skies were clear and blue, the air smelled sweet, and a cherub-faced fairy with corkscrew curls took a seat on a clean, park bench. The other side of the bench was already occupied by an elderly man who wore the slightly confused expression of a benevolent grandfather.

“You have them?” he muttered to the fairy without glancing at her.

“Yes.” Her voice matched her appearance, like the tinkling of wind chimes. “Unfortunately for you, the price just went up. My bosses instituted a new policy. Any fairy involved in... borrowing... the product doesn’t only lose her wings. She is banished to Earth as a mortal.”

The man looked shocked for the first time. “Not a mortal!” Then he seemed to realize his reaction and schooled his features back to blank.

She nodded. “So, as you can see, with the increased risk, the price has gone up.”

“Not my problem.” He leaned back and crossed his arms. “I’m not paying.”

She sniffed. “There are other buyers for the product.”

He turned to face her and raised shaggy white brows over clear eyes. Despite his slightly harmless air, if one looked deep into those eyes, one would not long be fooled by his genial appearance. “Buyers for baby teeth? Who, may I ask?”

The fairy looked up into the cloudless blue sky rather than meet that probing gaze. The sun was brilliant, and the warm breeze brought the sweet smell of honeysuckle with it. “Tell you what: I’ll give it to you for one and a half gold pieces. A steal.” Her gaze drifted around the peaceful scene and finally settled on her glittery fingernails instead of meeting his eyes. “You know, I have a soft spot in my heart for my longtime customers.”

“Sure you do, like a razorblade is soft. Let’s make a new deal instead.”

Her blonde curls bounced as she looked up with lightning speed. “Our deal is ironclad.”

“Ironclad? From a fairy?” The Sandman snorted. “You know better than that. What if we could help each other out?”

She frowned. “What do you have in mind?”

“How about if we worked together? If I paid the babes a visit before you, they wouldn’t wake up. I could still harvest their dreams, and you could take as many teeth as you wanted, with your bosses none the wiser. Just bring a pair of pliers. And if I did this for you, the price would stay the same.”

The fairy’s eyes glittered. She threw back her head and laughed.

“So, what do you say?” He reached into a pocket in his long robe and retrieved something that he slid across the bench, his fingers covering it from sight.

The fairy put her hand over his, palming the gold coin and tucking it into her dress. Then, with a wave of her wand, she pulled a plastic baggie out of the air in a shower of sparkling, shimmering motes, and floated it over to the Sandman. When it landed in his lap, he picked it up and squinted at it.

“Are the teeth ground up? Ready to be infused with Magicus Somnus?”

She nodded. “It’ll keep the children asleep for a full eight hours, with a minimum of six hours REM sleep for you to steal... ahem, harvest... their dreams.” She held out her hand for him to shake. “Is it a deal?”

His large palm completely enclosed hers, but she didn’t even flinch. “It’s a deal.”

“Same time next week?” She stood up.

He smiled. His teeth, upon close examination, were really quite sharp. Like a shark’s.

“Of course.”


About the Creator

Alison McBain

Alison McBain writes fiction & poetry, edits & reviews books, and pens a webcomic called “Toddler Times.” In her free time, she drinks gallons of coffee & pretends to be a pool shark at her local pub. More:

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (3)

  • D.K. Shepard3 months ago

    Wow! How creative! Devious Sandman and Toothfairy! Makes perfect sense though! Great story, Alison!

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    Very imaginative bringing these two characters together. Loved it!

  • Christy Munson3 months ago

    Loved every last word so much I'll read it again right now. Excellent storytelling. Simply marvelous.

Alison McBainWritten by Alison McBain

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