Beyond Repair. Sunday Scribbles 2018, Week 3. (Repair) #flashfiction #sunscribbles

Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!

Introductory post: Sunday Scribbles Writing Prompts
Past prompts: Sunday Scribbles Short Stories

This Sunday’s prompt is: Repair

ssbanner 21st repair.jpg

This week I’ve written a short story I came up with based on a Flash Fic Hive prompt. The main character was a repair man. From February #FlashFicHive will be a weekly challenge, every Thursday, so if you like flash fiction check it out.

This week’s top tip is:

advice wk 3.jpg
‘Stuck for ideas? Look at pictures. What’s more inspiring than a ruined castle or rocky landscape?’

You can find some awesome pictures on Pinterest. Here’s my board for inspirational images

Onto the story!

Adam sighed and slipped through the open door of the library. It was deserted this time of day. The students had left long ago, and the harassed looking teachers he passed in the corridor ignored his polite greetings in favour of books and coffee. It was a posh prep school, and the lot of them had their noses in the air. No time for a repair man. 

Someone had left the TV on, but there was no one in sight. Adam shook his head and half listened to the news as he bent over the main desk to look for a spare set of keys to the locked box in the corner.

‘A fire broke out in a small block of flats in Cambridge road earlier today. A repair man was witnessed working on the cables just before the fire started, and at this time it’s unclear if he started the fire deliberately or made a mistake during routine repairs.’

Adam glanced at the TV and blinked in surprise. He’d been there a few hours ago, and the power had been a nightmare to shut off. It was a nightmare here too. The lights on the circuit board in the office remained green, despite his best efforts. He’d found out, no thanks to the receptionist, that there was a manual override in the library, but he needed those keys. He bit his lip. He’d have to ask a teacher, and try to ignore them when they looked down on him for his career choice.

Only it wasn’t a choice, not really. He’d been a chemist once, and, giving up on his search for the keys, Adam walked over to the shelves. GCSE chemistry books. He was above that level, but his career ended before it began when the university threw him out for setting the lab on fire.

Maybe he’d go back. A different university, years later. No one would ask questions if he left his failed first year off his CV, and he could probably scrape the funds together. Plan made, Adam turned his attention back to the TV. ‘The repair man is missing but wanted for questioning.’

Adam sighed. ‘Poor bugger. If I were him I’d be in hiding. Know what it’s like to bodge something up an’ have it ruin your life.’

Still, at least his accident at the university hadn’t killed anyone. God, those flats, it was a complete wreckage. He gagged and turned away.

‘Can I help you?’

Adam looked up. The lights flickered, illuminating a blonde by the desk with hair tied back and a pile of career advice books in her arms.

‘Yeah, I’m here to repair your dodgy wiring.’

‘Hope you’re better than him,’ the woman replied, with a grimace and a gesture at the TV. She unlocked a drawer and dug out some keys. ‘I thought you could turn the power off in the office?’

Adam shook his head and reached for the keys. ‘It’s not working.’

‘Odd,’ she replied, but held the keys in a closed fist. ‘I’m not supposed to hand these over. I’ll open it for you.’

‘Of course,’ Adam replied. ‘Wouldn’t want to get in trouble with those snooty teachers.’

‘I’m already in trouble,’ she said, as she led the way to open the box. ‘I’m supposed to give students careers advice. Apparently it’s my fault they don’t care to listen…’

Adam nodded, but only half listened as she continued to ramble about students with so much potential and no direction. Inside the box was a simple lever, designed to cut the power to this room. He reached out to grab it, but his hand shook and appeared to go right through it. Adam shook his head and blinked. He must be tired. He reached out to try again.

‘Why’s that cabinet open, Felicia?’

The blonde beside him spun around. ‘For the repair man, sir. He’s here to turn the power off an’ look at the wiring.’

Adam froze, hand outstretched, and turned to see one of the teachers he’d passed in the corridor raise an eyebrow. The man looked right through him. Adam shuddered.

‘He’s not due till tomorrow. Lock that up and go home.’

Felicia frowned. ‘But sir…’ 

‘Go home,’ the teacher said, and he left the library.

Felicia turned to Adam. ‘Well, I guess that’s that. Sorry…’

Behind them, the TV increased in volume and the lights flickered. ‘Fire crews have recovered the body of the repairman, Adam Anderson, from the wreckage.’

Adam froze. He thought of the receptionist, who didn’t acknowledge him or make him sign in. The people in the corridors who ignored him. His hand passing through the lever. ‘Shit…’

‘That’s you?’ Felicia asked with wide eyes.

Adam nodded. Then he blinked. ‘How come you can see me?’

‘Your guess is as good as mine.’

Adam stretched a hand towards her shoulder. It went straight through.

Felicia shuddered and crossed her arms. ‘Weird.’

‘Weird? That’s all you can say?’

She shrugged and locked the cabinet. ‘I’m a horror writer. Nothing scares me.’

‘What do I do now?’ Adam asked, horrified as the truth sunk in.

‘I don’t know,’ Felicia replied. ‘Stay here? I could use a first hand source for my books… Oh! If the students could see you it would be great! You can tell them to live their dreams!’

Adam glanced longingly at the chemistry books. ‘I guess.’

‘That’s great! See you tomorrow!’

She grabbed her bag, stuffed the keys in the drawer, and swept out of the room like a hurricane. Adam sighed. His dreams were beyond repair now, but perhaps he could encourage the students to follow theirs.

Thanks for reading!

Each week I encourage other writers to write a short story around the weekly prompt. The prompts for the rest of this month are:

ssbanner monthly copy

One word not enough? I post expanded prompts weekly on Instagram & Pinterest:

Sunday Scribbles expanded writing prompt Repair

If you use one of the prompts, feel free to share your story link below.

Feeling creative? I also run a weekly hashtag game on Twitter, #sunscribbles, where you can share one off lines or quotes from a #WIP around the weekly prompt!

See you next week!

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