Hal washed his hands thoroughly before sitting at the desk. He looked through the “To-Do” list, ticking off the completed items. It was hard to concentrate, but he re-checked the day’s agenda to see if he had missed any.
- Remove rotten sections. Check. He’d done the bulk of the work with a saw, but he’d made sure to get into the smaller sections with a craft knife.
- Sand. Check. It had taken three sheets of course paper to get the entire surface done.
- Scour. Check. The steel wool was almost in pieces by the time he was done and he had used up most of the bottle of bleach.
Hal sighed and leaned back. The creator of the list had clearly had some fun putting it in alphabetical order, but it did not seem like the easiest way to get everything done. Still, he would follow the list to the letter.
He checked the remaining items:
- Throw away
OK. “Segment” was definitely cheating – clearly it was supposed to mean “dismember”. He sighed, the sound of his own breath drawing his mind back into the room. Still, he did not acknowledge the weeping figure in the centre until he had ticked off the sixth day on the week planner on the wall.
Finally, he turned to the wretch bound to the table in the middle of the room. The shuddering, reddish thing no longer tried to cry out for release or help. “Glossectomy” had been on the To-Do list for day two.
“This is your fault. You do know that?”
Hal could not say if the sobbing increased in reply to his question or simply as a response to the sound of his voice. He also did not care.
“Two items in and you screw it up”
On the checklist, two items were checked twice.
The wretch had decided it was a good idea to turn Hal over after he was done pummelling him. He had said something about Hal’s back providing the better canvas. Ignoring the pain, Hal was able to work on his then visible restraints. The fight had been brief: the wretch was clearly used to being in control, working at his own pace. He was not prepared to deal with a teenage boy, desperate to survive and funnelling every emotion into rage.
Since then, a week had passed.
Hal was not sure what he would do once he finished the list, but for now it was nice to have some structure while he figured some things out.