An original short story by pottedstu.

On November 1, 2004, all across the world, people felt an itching on their foreheads. There was a squirming, as though new muscles were coming into use, or caterpillars were climbing across their faces. Eyes became bloodshot not from veins within, but with blood trickling down from the brows. Neatly plucked lines of hair became thick and bushy, and the bushiness became stained with gore.

Robert Bench-Kirckham, chief scientific advisor to the Prime Minister of Britain, entered his master's office. The Prime Minister was dabbing his eyes. Above them, his eyebrows were squirming like maggots. Bench-Kirckham explained the issue. "Sir, the nation's eyebrows have come to life. Where once they slept, now they have declared war. Where once they were content to nestle peacefully, feeding on dead skin and drinking sweat that would otherwise run into the eyeball, now they are attempting to chew their way into our heads. I think they mean to devour our brains."

"I had wondered what eyebrows were for," the Prime Minister said. "My daughter spends half her life pulling them out and re-drawing them." He sighed. It was all so typical. Eyebrows, which could once be happily plucked, teased, brushed, dyed and shaved, would no longer lie still, would no longer follow the will of their owners. He looked at his advisor, whose forehead-hair was whitened with desperate bleachings and scaldings, and asked, "What can we do?"

"Sir, I do have one idea. If you will allow me to demonstrate on myself." Bench-Kirckham opened his briefcase and removed a cordless drill and a circular pad of sandpaper. He clipped the disc onto the drill and lifted it up, bending his hand back, pressing the sander to his own forehead above his right eye. When he squeezed the trigger, his face contorted for a second, skin ripped from its resting-place, stretched to breaking. His hand lowered, and a hairy bloody glob fell to the floor. He panted and shuddered. Before the full pain could hit him he raised the drill and ripped off his other brow. Where once there was skin and hair, now there was bone and redness.

"Do mine," the Prime Minister said. His advisor protested for a moment, but the Prime Minister's resolve was firm. Far more swiftly and cleanly than his self-surgery, Bench-Kirckham sandpapered the eyebrows from his master's face. The leader screamed with pain, and the chief science advisor reached into his bag and injected a syringe of morphine into the Prime Minister's arm. His face relaxed beneath the bare white circles of bone on his forehead. Almost at once the gashes in his skull appeared to heal.

"Can we do this for the whole nation?" the Prime Minister asked. "Perhaps we could set up emergency clinics, every GP in Britain under instructions to safely and humanely remove the eyebrows from every citizen. Or perhaps we could tell people to do it themselves?" He reached for the blood-covered drill on the antique wooden table. "How many people would have access to these tools?"

The telephone on his desk rang. He held it to his face, and was startled to feel something soft and hairy hop off the phone and slip into his ear. This visitor to his aural cavity began to speak from within. "You silly silly person," it said. "You think we are evil. You think we want you dead. But that is far from the truth. We want to save you. You have things the wrong way round: we need to keep you trimmed!"

The eyebrow creature tried to slip back out of the ear and round to its natural home. The Prime Minister smacked the phone handset against his ear, knocking it to the floor. He turned to his advisor. Bench-Kirckham was staring in terror at his leader. "What's going on?" the Prime Minister asked, putting his hands up to his brows. He flinched at the thought of the bare moist bone beneath his fingertips but that was not what he felt. There was something protruding out of his face. Where once there had been eyebrows, now there were rapidly growing horns.

Running to a mirror, the Prime Minister saw what was happening to himself. The door burst open and his daughter ran in, crying, bloodied, pulling at the curving horns on her head. He held out a hand to her, but she recoiled from his new appearance. They looked round. Bench-Kirckham, too, was changing. At first his brow swelled like a Neanderthal's below the cuts in his face, but soon the raised region became more defined, forming two goat-like spirals.

The three of them stood, immobile, staring. A deep hollow laugh rang out from the fireplace, and a red figure entered the room. "Now your foreheads are mine!" the devil said, crushing a little furry warrior with his hoof. "Now you are all mine."

Written for They Hunger For Nodes: An e2 Halloween Scary Story Quest.

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