"Unctious, I think that big'un's looking at us," said the first of the two tiny blue goblins marching across Theron's bed.
"Don't be stupid, Blimm," said the second tiny goblin. "Big'un's can't see us, light or dark. Look, I'll prove it."
Theron, who had the covers of his bed pulled right up over his nose, watched the squatter of the two tiny goblins stomp in his direction, wave his knobbly little arms and shout, "Oi! Can you see me, big'un?"
The goblins gasped. Blimm cast himself down and covered his head with his oversized hands. "He's gonna eat us! He's gonna eat us!"
"Can't eat us if he can't catch us!" said Unctious, and he produced a spear the size of a toothpick from somewhere Theron didn't see. "Can't catch us if he can't see us!" He advanced with the spear held high.
"You can't hurt me if I'm under the covers," Theron said, his voice muffled by his blanket.
Unctious paused and his brow clenched in concentration. "Aha! That only works if you know our names, big'un!" He stepped forward again.
"You're Unctious and the other one's Blimm," he said.
Blimm wailed in terror and Unctious went a terribly pale shade of blue. "How did you know that?" He rounded on Blimm. "Did you tell him?"
"Well I didn't tell him." He squinted at Theron. "Are you some kind of wizard then, big'un?"
Theron considered this. "I'm a boy," he said.
"Would a wizard admit he's a wizard, Unctious?" Blimm asked.
Unctious scratched his chin and despite clearly having no idea said, "No he wouldn't, Blimm. They're cagey ones, wizards, not given to letting you in on their game. That way they can spring the rules on you as they like, just as this big'un has upon us poor working lads. ‘Ere," he said, peering more closely at Theron, "what's wrong with you? Your skin's the same colour as Blimm's here."
"He's the same colour as you, Unctious, not me," said Blimm.
"I said he's the same colour as you and that's the end of the matter!" Unctious roared. He looked at Theron again. "Well, must be a wizardly reason for it, I have no doubt."
"What are you doing in my bedroom?" Theron asked, who didn't like talking about the colour of his skin and anyway, the two creatures looked the same colour to him.
Unctious fished around in the bag strung over his shoulder with a length of twine, which was very unfortunately the only thing he was wearing. He pulled out a small white shape he needed both hands to hold up.
"Is that a tooth?" Theron asked.
They nodded. "From the big'un in the next room. She left it under her pillow, like she didn't know she's throwing away a fortune."
"That's my sister's tooth?" Theron said. "You're tooth fairies?"
"Tooth goblins," Unctious snarled. Blimm scowled and nodded.
"But you can't take her tooth," Theron said. "The fairy's supposed to. And she leaves a brass coin behind."
"Oh we did that," Unctious said. "Don't know why you want it, worthless scrap it is, whereas this" – he brandished the tooth – "will buy me a fancy spider web cape. I shall look right dapper, I shall."
"I thought you said it would buy us spider web capes," Blimm said.
"I did say that, Blimm my lad, and that's what it will do," Unctious replied. "Speaking only about my spider web cape just happened to fit the flow of conversation better. You'd know that if you knew your grammar."
"I did know her, Unctious, and so did you. She used to hit you on the head with her bag."
"We agreed never to speak of that again, Blimm," Unctious said, going purple. "Never. Which means not ever."
"You mean you take all our teeth?" Theron asked. "It's always you two?"
"You're on our route," Blimm said.
"Not feeling a loose tooth now, are you?" Unctious asked, beady eyes brightening. "We could give it a little nudge while we're here."
"No!" Theron slid deeper under the covers. "I thought the tooth fairy had wings."
Unctious smacked his lips. "I could do with some fairy wings. By your leave, big'un wizard, we'll be on our way. Got three more bedrooms to check tonight and I like our chances with Gilly Baker on the corner."
They waved to him. "You have yourself a fine night then!"
"And eat plenty of hard foods!"
They marched the rest of the way across his bed, bickering about which of them told him their names, before dropping off the side and out of sight. Theron thought he wouldn't sleep again, but he did.
Once he'd made sure none of his teeth felt likely to fall out soon.