Tooth and Consequences

A coffee much with the letter "V" sits on a table, with a small gold-filled tooth sculpture placed in front of it. I’ve spent a lot of time in dentist offices. A lot. Yes, I brush. I floss. I go for my checkups, and yet rarely do I leave without something being uncovered. There have been plenty of run-of-the-mill cavities and decay, failing old metal fillings, chipped teeth and damage from stress grinding. Then there were the root canals and crown lengthenings, the abscesses and gum tissue grafts, the bone grafts and problematic extractions, the implants that went in crooked and had to heal and be refitted more than once. (I never did have braces through. Maybe this is the tradeoff?)

One of my dearest friends, Jerry, is the only other person I know who shares a similar tooth curse, and we often commiserate while pondering which God of Oral Hygiene or Patron Saint of Tooth Woes we have offended in this or a prior life.

So I’ve spent a lot of time in the chair, and to make myself feel better (by focusing my attention elsewhere to escape the sounds of drilling and grinding in my skull), I started writing stories in my head that I would continue on subsequent visits. “The Tooth Butcher” is one such story that began with meditations on the tooth fairy and attempts to answer the question, “What happens with all those teeth?”  I’m so happy that it found a home in The Horror Library Volume 7. 

Cover of the Horror Anthology with a golden-bodied, snake-headed monster on the cover. The text says, The Horror Library, Volume 7.Editor Eric Guignard is revealing one contributor a day for the anthology, to be published by Dark Moon Books on March 1, 2022.

You can read an excerpt from “The Tooth Butcher” on the publisher’s website here. Maybe I’ll publish another excerpt here on March 1.

You can pre-order on Amazon here or through independent bookstores on Indiebound.

Until then, may the tooth trolls pass you by.



Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on @valya

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