Sandra Braun hadn’t realized she’d been inside the building before until she went up to her new loft and saw the boxes of old dental equipment in the closet. The name “Dr. Tyrone Drake” was stenciled on each one. Sandra shivered at the name.
She remembered Dr. Tyrant all too well. With his silver crew cut and sharp voice, he had always seemed like a drill sergeant when she was a little girl. “Two cavities? When will you get serious about caring for your teeth?” he shouted at her when she was six. She’d always left his office in tears, no matter how the nurse tried to soothe her with lollipops and stickers.
But he was gone now, she reminded herself. He had left town twenty years ago, much to her relief. Her parents had found a much friendlier dentist who didn’t see each cavity as a sign of moral decay.
Tomorrow she would have to haul all Dr. Tyrant’s shit out to the road. It was much too late for her to worry about it now. She closed the closet door and then dropped onto her bed to sleep.
“Wake up, young lady,” a harsh voice growled. “No sleeping in the chair.”
Sandra opened her eyes and screamed. Dr. Tyrant stood before her, his arms crossed over his chest as he glared at her. Sandra turned her head and saw she was in the dental chair, a tray of nasty-looking tools off to one side. Everything looked free of dust or decay. That couldn’t be—
The dentist held up a mirror and she screamed again. In the mirror she saw a chubby little girl with brown pigtails and pink plastic-framed glasses that took up most of her face. That couldn’t be; she was an adult now. This had to be a bad dream.
“Look at those vile teeth of yours,” Dr. Tyrant said. “Six cavities. You’ve been very naughty, Sandy.”
Sandra tried to summon her adult dignity to stand up to the dentist. “They’re just stupid baby teeth,” she said, all authority lost by how tiny her voice sounded.
“Is that so? Well then, if they’re just baby teeth, then perhaps you don’t need any of them. Perhaps I should yank them all out and you can wait until your permanent teeth grow in.”
“No. I’m leaving.” Sandra tried to get out of the chair, but her limbs wouldn’t move. She saw her arms and legs held down by thick restraints. She was trapped! “Help! Someone help me!”
“No one can hear you, Sandy. It’s just you and me.”
Dr. Tyrant picked up a set of pliers. Sandra shook her head from one side to the other to keep him from getting the pliers in her mouth. His free hand pushed her head back against the headrest. There was nothing she could do then but clench her jaw shut. But Dr. Tyrant was resourceful; he kicked her in the leg hard enough to make her squeal with pain.
He stuck the pliers in her mouth. She shook her head again. “It’s only going to hurt more if you struggle,” he said. He took hold of a molar with the pliers. Sandra screamed as he pulled on the tooth.
She nearly passed out from the pain. Dr. Tyrant held up a bloody molar for her examine. “You see what happens when you’re a naughty girl, Sandy?”
She began to sob in the chair. “Stop it,” she whimpered. “I wanna go home.”
“We’re not done yet. We’ve still got nineteen more to go.”
Sandra struggled against the restraints that held her down. The one on her left arm loosened just a little. While Dr. Tyrant stuck the pliers back in her mouth, she worked on the left restraint. She moved her arm back and forth to coax it to give.
Her arm slipped out of the restraint at the same moment Dr. Tyrant pulled out a second tooth. He held the tooth up for her to inspect. “Eighteen more to go, young lady. You really shouldn’t have eaten all those sweets.”
“Eat this,” she said and stabbed the end of a pick into his eye. Dr. Tyrant dropped to his knees and screamed. Blood gushed from the wound.
Sandra hurried to undo the rest of the straps. When Dr. Tyrant tried to grab her, she stabbed a second pick into his arm. Then she ran for the door. She saw the stairway that went up to the storeroom.
Her foot caught the last step, sending her sprawling to the floor. As she lay there, she began to sneeze. The floor was so dusty. She looked around and realized she was back in her loft. She put a hand to her head and no longer felt the pigtails or the ugly glasses.
“It was all a dream,” she mumbled. Then pain flared in her jaw. She tasted blood in her mouth. Feeling around with her tongue, she discovered two teeth missing from exactly where Dr. Tyrant had pulled them in the dream.
Sandra screamed and then ran down the stairs, into the night.Tweet