Friday, February 26, 2016

Chores

Turn a very normal task into something sinister.

The smell of ammonia burned Val's nose as she mopped the chamber. The floor was an epoxy enamel, seamless except for the drain in the middle of, which was a saving grace considering her chore. She didn't realize there would be so much - and the mop was old, it hardly made a dent in the mess.

She picked up the mop and put it in the large, yellow industrial bucket, it had already taken on a thick brownish tinge and she had just started. She plopped the heavy mop head into the squeeze, and heaved on the lever, draining most of the excess water out. She plopped and back on the floor and continued her chore, knowing that she was running out of time. The first few strokes actually made a difference, but it wasn't long until she was just smearing red in circles.

Sploosh. Squeeze. Plop. Sploosh. Squeeze. Plop.

"Come, on. Why isn't it working?" she said to herself, sniffling to keep the tears out of her eyes and failing.

Val's arms began shaking as she struggled to continue the routine. She glanced at the clock and a strangled noise of terror gurgled in her throat. Only five minutes.

"Oh, God. Oh, God," she said and tried to force her leaden arms to move faster.

Sploosh. Squeeze. Plop.

The door opened, and Val cried out like a trapped animal. Ben stood in the doorway, he was wearing a butcher's apron, heavy rubber boots up over his knees, and one of those clear, Plexiglas face shields that dentists used to keep spatter off their faces. She could clearly see his face, but her gaze was drawn to the machete in his hand, it was still crusted in gore from the last victim.

"Oh, that's too bad," said Ben. "Well, maybe the next one will do better. If she does, she can go home."

The last sentence was directed over his shoulder. Val caught of glimpse of another young woman bound and gagged watching with huge eyes, filled with horror.

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