The Hunt by @NeilSehmbhy (425 words)

Watching from the shadows,waiting. It's seen this ritual a thousand million times, but always the excitement grows to fever pitch. Especially when it hears the lullaby ending, making it squirm on the spot unable to keep still in it's dark hiding place.

A dim light shines about the room from the bed side lamp and the edge of the light casts an eerie blue glow on it's limbs and appendages. Rocking backwards and forward it doesn't notice the pool of saliva dripping down from its mouth onto the floor until it steps in it, cursing under its breath.

A quick kiss on the cheek and the bedroom door closes softly, anticipation is growing but it waits, patiently until it is sure that the muffled footsteps have vanished and the figure in the bed is sound asleep. Sleep will make this so much easier.

Quickly it springs into motion scurrying across the room, sharp feet thankful for the carpet, and up the side of the bed near the child's head where it pauses to catch its breath.

It looks at the boy tucked up in bed, sleeping angelically and wonders if it looked like that when the swarm mother birthed it.

Reaching out softly, slowly it brushes aside the child's hair and raises it's claw like hands high, shiny metal glittering in the night's light before thrusting them forward.

'There it's done'. Relief courses through in torrents as it swiftly exchanges its prize for a shiny silver piece, these humans collect like magpies.

Swiftly it scurries back to its hiding place to examine the haul.

Two teeth! A Molar and an Incisor. It dances a little jig, it's crab like legs campering around to a tune in it's head.

Finally it realises where it is and stops suddenly and bends over the calcium laden treats.

Looking them over it searches for any sign of decay or residue. Ever since the great Tooth Scandal of '56 every tooth submitted is scrupulously examined for traces by the Sugar Police.

Lazy desperate faerie had gone around poisoning the humans waters, trying to increase tooth loss until they were caught and punished.

But these were fine. More than fine, perfect! Raising them up above it's head triumphantly it mouths a wordless tribute to the small gods for their help this night.

With the sale of these it will eat for a week.

Looking up at the moon it wonders
If there's time for one more hunt before the burning sun rises, as it flies off into the night sky.

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