Monthly Archives: September 2014

Umbrella: A Short Story

The rain fell hard on the active city, its dampening sound drowned out its native music. Skies were darkened with the dire clouds as scant light tried to peer through. The roads below began to flood, making islands of the towering buildings and sidewalks. Despite the rain, the people of the city roamed the streets, preoccupied with their day as they would if the sun shined.

A young woman stood alone under a red cloth roof, unprepared for ceaseless storm before her. Her back was pressed firmly against the glass walls of her office building, seeking shelter where she could. Meticulously dressed in a snow white blouse and black skirt, her arms were filled with documents for her work. She searched the streets around her for a solution to her problem, but to no avail. There was no cover for her to protect her from nature’s wrath. She stood there, watching the people pass by her, uncertain of how long she would be stuck there.

Before long, she spotted a peculiar young man. Dressed in a crinkled white shirt and black jeans, he weaved his way past the crowds. He hung his head low, avoiding eye contact with the people around him. Above his lowered head was an umbrella, clear like glass, it captured the remnants of the storm around him. He stopped before the woman’s building only for a brief moment. Pulling out a beaten pack of cigarettes and a metallic lighter, he drew the lone cigarette out and began to light it. The woman took the opportunity to study the young man. His black hair fell flat on his shallow face, his eyes seemed sullen and distracted. The man looked up for a brief moment to glance at the woman, catching her off-guard. After a moment, he walked over to the woman and gave her the clear umbrella. He let out a light smile on his face, as his cigarette was destroyed by the rain. He soon left the young woman to her own devices.

She looked at the boon she had been given with mixed feelings of relief and guilt. The answers to her prayers sat in her hands, but felt sorry for taking it from the young man without a word of thanks. She left the documents behind at the office doors, hoping that they would not be too damaged when she returned and she began to pursue her benefactor. In the distance, she saw glimpses of him as he made his way through the crowds with ease. She struggled to try to keep up with him as she navigated through the endless crowds. She soon saw him walking down the staircase to the busy metro.

As the woman made her way down the staircase, she quickly saw the young man take another staircase down to the lower levels. Approaching the rotary, she rushed through and struggled as she tried to get the ticket through its slot. She finally succeeded and continued the pursuit of the young man. She finally saw him at the farthest end, his clothes dampened from the rain and his hair dripped. The sounds of conversation filled the busy metro, only for it to be silenced by the sound of the intercom, alerting the riders of the oncoming train. Making her way to the man, she saw him muttering something to himself. The train got closer, its sounds rumbled through the dark tunnels before a bright light exposed it. The young man closed his eyes and fell forward and gave himself to the mercy of the train.

The sound of conversations that once filled the metro station became replaced with the sounds of screams and shouting. The people surrounding the train pull out their phones to either record the incident or call the police. The young woman just stood there, unable to take in what she just saw. The umbrella fell from her hands as tears began to run down her cheeks.

Days had passed since the incident, and people had resumed their lives. The young woman returned to the metro station to gaze upon what remained from that tragic day. Along the staircase, a small shrine had been built to remember the young man. Trampled red and white flowers rested along a small photo, with no say or mention to who the young man was. As tears began to fall from her eyes, she reached into her grey purse and pulled out the clear umbrella. As she sat the umbrella in front of the picture, she said her final goodbye and thanks to the unknown benefactor.

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