Trevor stepped into the upstairs hall and walked toward the bathroom. He heard whispers and muffled laughter from one of the bedrooms. Intrigued, he peered around the corner and the talking instantly stopped. All three of his daughters turned to look at him. Their faces vacant and unmoving. Their stares blank. The classic look of children caught in the act. Before them, laid out upon the floor, was a pile of lipstick and nail polish containers in a myriad of colours. “What are you guys doing?”
“Playing,” the eldest said.
“With nail polish?” He frowned. The girls just nodded. “Did you ask your mother?” The middle daughter nodded once, which appeared as if she had a violent spasm. He watched as his youngest put a hand on the middle daughter’s knee. They passed a glance between them and the middle one turned back to him.
“We asked.” She smiled.
Trevor noted something different about their faces: their eyes had long lashes. “Did you guys put on fake lashes?”
“No,” they replied in a unified, yet monotone-like fashion.
“What’s your favourite colour, daddy?” The youngest asked. Sweeping her palm out to draw his attention to the beauty products.
“The aqua-green of course,” Trevor replied, aware of the abrupt change of conversation. The youngest was prone to such tactics when talk verged on potential punishment.
“Do you want us to put it on your finger nails?” The youngest asked.
“No thank you. Just don’t spill any. That stuff is awfully hard to clean from the carpet. Remember?” They said nothing. “And for god’s sake open a window when you use the nail polish. It stinks.”
“Ok daddy,” the eldest said.
Trevor gave them a thumbs up. “Good chat, ladies.” As soon as he stepped further down the hall the laughter and whispering resumed as if he’d never interrupted them. He shrugged, that was a father’s plight, especially with daughters: to be outside the sibling clique of sisters with their secret knowledge and secret jokes.
That evening as they sat around the dinner table, regaling each other about their day he noticed each daughter wore glossy lipstick and matching nail polish. A veritable kaleidoscope of colour and sparkles.
Trevor shook his head after he noticed their eye lashes. They seemed longer than before, more luxurious. They fluttered when the girls blinked. He glanced at his wife and she giggled. He regarded the youngest for a brief time and turned to look at his plate. Movement. He shot a glance back at her face. He was certain her eyelashes moved apart from her blinking. He watched her with keen attention. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
As the evening wore on he wondered what else his daughters might be purchasing: concealer, eye-liner, and god forbid, perfume. What was happening to his daughters? Right before his very eyes they seemed to be changing. Growing. Maturing. But at what cost? Literally, at what damn cost? Trips to the local beauty store increased in frequency. The phrase, “I’m going on a beauty run,” echoed more and more throughout the halls. While he didn’t see the bottom line on the receipts he did note they were increasing in length and frequency.
His old standby line about saving money for Disney World had less and less impact. He walked to his shared bedroom and noticed one of the daughters’ bedroom lights was on. Of course no one was in the room. They had a habit of leaving lights on throughout the entire house. If they had to go from point A to point B every light in between would be turned, and left, on. “So much for Mickey Mouse.”
Trevor flipped the switch. In an instant he flipped it back on. In the middle of the floor was a single lipstick tube. It was open and covered with something. He bent down and realized the lipstick was covered with fake eyelashes. He sighed and shook his head. Standing up he wondered if he should clean it or just leave it. Movement made him dart a glance back at the lipstick. He was sure something moved. He rubbed his eyes. “It’s just the long hours at work.” Trevor turned the light off and left the room. He stepped down the stairs and found the three daughters standing still, watching him as he descended. “I think it’s time for bed.”
“Yes, father,” the daughters replied in unison.
“Father? Aren’t we formal,” he said. He watched them bound up the stairs without a single sound. How odd, he thought. Normally they stomped up the stairs like stampeding rhinos, shaking the ceiling lights as they went.
The next morning he awoke to find his daughters standing beside his bed. “What’s wrong?” Moments passed before the youngest answered.
“We were just watching you sleep.” They backed out of the room and left. He looked at his wife to see if she was awake. He shook her. “Your daughters are acting creepy again.”
“What?” She said as she turned to face him. He startled. She had long eyelashes as well.
“Did you put fake eyelashes for bed?”
“No.” She frowned and rubbed her eyes. “Weird.” She looked at herself in the mirror. “Though they do look fantastic.”
With an abruptness that caught his wife off guard he jumped out of bed and raced to where the daughters were. “What are you guys playing at?”
“What do you mean?” The eldest asked.
“Did you put fake eye-lashes on your mother?”
“What?” The middle daughter asked. She shook her head, frowned and pursed her lips: all signs of some kind of cover-up.
“You heard me.”
The youngest stepped forward and revealed something in the palm of her hand. “These are for you.” In her little hand were two fake eyelashes. They were not still. They writhed and flipped and as she moved her hand closer to him they became frantic and unstable. “Put them on, father.”
“No,” Trevor said, backing away. The youngest moved closer and closer. The two older girls followed right behind her. He felt his heart pumping and fear made his eyes wide. “What are those?”
“They are for you,” the youngest said sweetly.
Trevor backed away and found his wife blocked his retreat. Now he was surrounded, ganged up on, and his daughters each had an ungodly vacant stare. “What are you doing?”
“You will see,” the youngest said. “They only want to help us.”
“They’re… You’re aliens!”
“Father they are symbiotic. They make us fabulous and we in turn feed them,” the eldest said.
“Feed them?” Trevor shrieked. “What? Our brains?”
The youngest pulled her head back and frowned. “No silly, nail polish and lipstick. What’s this brains stuff?”
“You watch too many zombie movies, daddy,” the middle daughter said.
“Now, close your eyes. This won’t hurt a bit.”