The quiet lingered enough to have the mother lift her head from the small screen of the phone.
“Emma?” She inquired.
A longer silence returned no response.
She rose and walked toward the child’s bedroom. The three-year-old was outgrowing afternoon naps but sometimes still could be found slumbering amidst her toys.
The door was open. The girl’s room was empty. She peeked into the bathroom. Empty, too.
“Emma!?” Her voice rose. This time in alarm.
A faint shuffle came from the direction of the master bedroom. Nothing more.
“Emma, where are you?” She demanded.
“Here …” The extra pause and small voice held suspicious hesitation.
Urgency made the few steps feel oddly prolonged. The woman felt heartbeat pulse in the space between her tongue and throat. She pushed open the door …
The child’s cheeks were mascara blotches, her mouth and chin bloomed various shades of lipstick. She had a second set of eyebrows. Her little feet sported rose hues that merged into the floor. The room reeked from a cacophony of perfumes, nail polish, and something that smelled suspiciously like aftershave.
“Hi,” the little girl managed, guilty as they come. “I … I was getting pretty so it be your party.”
For The Daily Post