Loose Teeth - Episode 1
by Phyllis Korkki
Mom, this is so weird and scary.
All my front teeth feel loose.
This shouldn’t be happening at my age!
Leave them alone!
Can you come home?
I’m leaving right now.
Whatever you do, don’t pull on them.
I want to. I HAVE to.
I’m pulling on one of them now.
It’s swinging like a hinge.
Stop it!
It feels so good, though.
Mom, I’m scared…
Should I call the dentist?
He won’t know what to do.
Oh no!
Aisha, listen to me carefully.
I couldn’t help it. I pulled on them.
Stop! It’s too soon!!
Too soon for what?
There’s something I never told you.
What is it, Mom?
I’ll tell you when I get there.
It’s something I need to explain in person.
Why can’t you just tell me now?
I need to think…
I wasn’t ready to have this conversation yet.
This wasn’t supposed to happen for another 5 years.
At the very earliest.
I’ve never heard of it happening this early.
That must mean…
It must mean what?
I’ll explain when I get there.
But it’s going to take me an hour to get home.
I wish I didn’t have to work 2 jobs.
Hopefully I can quit them soon.
I know, Mom. I wish you were here right now.
I do too.
Until I get there, don’t pull on your teeth!
But I can’t stop myself!
My gums get so itchy and then they tingle.
It’s like electricity!
I started pulling on the bottom ones now.
Oh wow.
I’ve never felt like this before.
Listen to me.
Where are you?
In my bedroom.
Make sure the doors to the house are locked.
Then go in your bedroom and stay there.
Why? Am I in danger?
Once all your teeth come out, you will be in terrible danger.
I need to protect you until your new teeth come in.
Hurry Mom!
I’ll get there as fast as I can.
In the meantime, hide your old teeth.
Just do as I say and I’ll explain when I get there.
Where are you going to hide them?
I guess I’ll put them in the secret drawer in my jewelry box.
No one knows about that besides you.
Good. And in the meantime, don’t tell ANYONE else about this.
Okay, Mom.
Do you promise?
I promise.
Good. Wait in your bedroom until I get there.
I’ll see you soon.
Aisha makes sure both the front and back doors of the house are locked.
She returns to her bedroom and closes the door.
She gathers up all her front teeth and holds them in her hand, horrified.
Then she hides the teeth in her jewelry box.
Sobbing, she sits on her bed and tries to wait.
But her gums start itching and tingling again…
She can’t stop wiggling her remaining teeth.
One by one, she pulls them out.
After putting the rest of her teeth in her jewelry box, she walks over to the mirror and forces a smile.
She used to be a normal looking girl.
Now she looks GHASTLY.
Then she hears a metallic noise.
It’s her pet parakeet, Sunny, whose cage is near her bed.
Sunny is flinging himself against the metal door of his cage, over and over again.
Sunny, what’s wrong?
Do you want to get out?
Aisha opens the door.
Here, you can comfort me.
Aisha reaches into the cage, but Sunny suddenly backs into a corner.
Sunny, what’s wrong?
Gently, Aisha pulls him out of his cage.
Once he is completely out, he gives her a petrified look.
And then he passes out dead.
Sunny, no!!
Oh my God!!!
Hysterical, Aisha tries texting her mom but there’s no response.
Then she does what her mother told her not to do…
She leaves her bedroom to go outside.
She needs fresh air!
Once in her backyard, she sits under her favorite oak tree.
She leans against the solid wood of the trunk.
It’s the height of summer, but suddenly…the air turns deathly cold.
There is a plop.
And another one.
And another one.
Aisha looks down.
3 beautiful robins are lying dead at her feet.
Hysterical, she returns to the house, locking the back door behind her.
She still can’t reach her mom.
So she texts her grandmother.
Gran, are you there?
Please answer me!
What is it, honey?
Gran, my teeth all came out at once!!!
And Sunny fell over and died when I touched him.
And 3 birds in the oak tree died too.
I don’t know what is going on and I’m so scared!
Oh my God.
It’s happening already?
This wasn’t supposed to happen until you were 21 or 22 at the earliest.
That’s what Mom said.
You told her about this?
Of course.
Is she there?
No, but she’s on her way home.
Oh no. That means we’re going to have to act fast.
I wish you hadn’t told her.
But you had no way of knowing.
Knowing what?
That you are developing special powers.
I had them too.
But your mother doesn’t.
They skip a generation.
Yours must be very strong to have come in so early.
This is what my special power is??
No. It will develop over time.
But for now, before your new teeth come in…
Your powers will be out of control.
What. Why?!
I’ll explain soon.
But you have to trust me.
I’m the only one who can help you through this.
Because I went through it myself.
When I was 21.
You’re telling me to trust you instead of my own mother?
In this case, yes.
I wish I weren’t all the way across the country.
But we can get through this together over the phone.
Okay, Gran. I do trust you.
Mom is a good person, I think.
But she lets me down sometimes.
And you never have.
Please tell me what to do.
Where are you?
In my bedroom.
Mom told me to lock the doors and stay in here.
Do the front and back doors have chains?
Yeah, they do, but I didn’t put them on.
I want you to put the chains on both doors.
But then Mom won’t be able to get in!
That’s the idea, I’m afraid.
Don’t worry. You can let her in when everything is over.
I’ll explain after you chain the doors.
I don’t know…
Do it. Now.
Please trust me.
Okay, Gran.
Aisha obeys her grandmother.
She puts the chains on the front and back doors and returns to her bedroom.
Okay Gran, both the chains are on.
Now where are your teeth?
Do you have all of them?
Yes. Mom asked me that too. Why?
Because you need them — all of them — to reach the next stage.
What happens in the next stage?
You will have control of your power to hurt or to heal.
My power to hurt? Like with Sunny and those birds in the tree?
Yes. But if you reach the next stage, you’ll be able to heal too.
It will be a great responsibility.
And sometimes, a great burden too.
But Gran, what if I don’t want that burden?
What if I just want to be a normal girl?
You do have a choice to give up your powers.
And I’m very afraid that your mother will try to convince you to make that choice.
But I don’t think you should do it.
Just then, Aisha hears a key turn in the front door.
Then she hears the door straining against the chain.
A voice calls out to her.
Aisha, I’m here!
Why is there a chain on the door?
Let me in!!!
Aisha doesn’t answer, and instead, keeps typing on her phone.
Gran, Mom is here.
Can I let her in?
But she won’t stop pushing against the chain!
It sounds like she might break it.
Oh my God.
Honey, we don’t have much time.
I’m going to ask you to do something that doesn’t make sense.
Please just do it.
What do you want me to do?!
I want you to take all your old teeth—
And swallow them.
Every last one.
Trust me.
Do it.
For a moment, Aisha is unsure what to do.
Who should she trust?
Her mother or her grandmother?
Suddenly she feels a warm tingling sensation in her gums.
It spreads throughout her whole body and gives her strength.
She remembers that her grandmother has never once let her down.
And she is sure what to do.
She removes her teeth from her jewelry box and places them on her bed.
One by one, she picks them up and swallows them.
She can feel their jagged edges along her throat.
After swallowing 8 of them, she texts her grandmother.
It hurts, Gran!
I don’t know if I can keep going.
It’s supposed to hurt.
That’s a good sign.
Keep going until you’re done.
You can do it. I know you can.
Encouraged by her grandmother, Aisha keeps going.
Finally, she picks up the last tooth.
She looks at it wonderingly and then swallows it down.
As it enters her body, she feels radiant.
And calm.
She can hear the sound of a door pushing against a chain.
But the sound seems far away.
Her gums tingle again.
The sensation is stronger than before.
She goes to the mirror, opens her mouth, and sees the white nubs of all new teeth.
And right before her eyes, they grow.
She looks down at Sunny, who is lifeless on the floor.
Intuitively, she kneels down and places her hand over him.
He stirs.
Then he straightens up as if he had only been sleeping.
Here, Sunny. Come here.
Sunny chirps and then flies straight to Aisha’s finger.
Gently, she places him back in his cage.
This is her power.
I brought Sunny back to life! With my power.
Oh, Aisha! I’m so proud of you.
Go out and use your power for the good.
You can make a difference in the world.
I will. But Gran…
Why didn’t Mom tell me about this and help me?
Because she wanted the power for herself.
You see, the special teeth in our family skip a generation.
And if the other generation gains access to them…
They grant the ability to amass great wealth.
If your mother had swallowed your teeth…
She would have become enormously wealthy.
Well, would that have been so bad?
Maybe, maybe not.
All I know is that my mother stole my teeth and swallowed them.
She said it was for the greater good, but that wasn’t true.
The next week she used that money to make a million dollars gambling.
And then she lost it all.
That kept happening.
Over and over again.
I didn’t know that. That’s terrible.
It was. All that money never did us any good at all.
I still wonder what would have happened if I had kept my power.
Maybe I could have done great things.
I’m sorry, Gran.
It’s okay. At least you have your power, just like my grandmother had hers.
She was a great healer and told me about the special powers we have.
Once I was on a train with her and it crashed into another train.
Injured and dead bodies were everywhere.
She placed her hands over each body.
And she restored each person’s health and life.
She sounds incredible, Gran.
She was. And now you can continue her legacy.
Aisha smiles.
She thinks about the lifeless robins outside and vows to place her hand over them—
To bring them back to life.
Suddenly, she hears a loud bang.
Gran, I think Mom broke the chain on the back door!
It’s alright.
She can’t take your power away from you now.
Just then, Aisha’s bedroom door bursts open.
And her mother enters the room.
She goes straight to Aisha’s jewelry box and opens the secret drawer.
Where are they?
Give them to me!
It’s too late. I swallowed them.
My new teeth are already coming in.
She opens her mouth to show her mom.
Gran told me everything.
Oh no, Aisha!
I told you not to tell anyone about this.
Even Gran?
Especially Gran!
We could have paid off the mortgage and bought a big new house.
I could have quit my jobs.
You could have gone to the college of your dreams.
Or you could have skipped college and done whatever you wanted to do!
We could have travelled the world!
We never would have worried about money again!
But Gran said that now, I have the power to heal.
Isn’t that worth even more than money?
No, Aisha, no.
Aisha’s mom starts to sob.
Aisha moves closer to her mom. Then she embraces her.
With new teeth that are fully grown now, Aisha’s powers are at their full strength.
Her mother feels an electricity coming from Aisha’s hands into her body.
And a feeling of peace envelops her.
Do you understand now, Mom?
Some things are more important than money.