Short Story – Under The Pink Umbrella

by Naveen Varshan

And then, a large man holding up a pink umbrella stood peering amicably at me. It was a grey evening with a dull sky threatening to rain.

I was walking back home after a hectic day at work, stumbling along the streets. Thunder came marching from far away with increasing tread. A curtain of rain beat down from the kingdom of heaven. I had no option but to take the dreaded shortcut to reach home as soon as possible.

It was a gloomy deserted street with garbage lands flanking the bumpy road. I strode through the street, it was freezing cold and I was already completely drenched. And all of a sudden, the rain drops ceased to plummet on me, an umbrella with a sharp broken handle was held over my head by a man walking beside me, the man who I saw some time back on the other side of the road. I feared the worse but decided that I’ll cross the bridge when I come to it. I looked at him questioningly but he never turned to my side.

He came out of nowhere, he was a dark old man with a chisel shaped face wearing strange torn clothes, and just the whiff of putrid smell on him bombarded my nostrils engulfing the damp pungent smells of rain. I didn’t speak to him, walked as fast as I could shallow breathing and using my hanky to avoid the smell creeping into my nose. He spoke no word, he kept pace with me. Once the rain stopped, he disappeared; it was the end of that street. I did not want to look back, and few minutes later, I reached home.

I went into my house overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, and to the roar of my father shouting over the phone and to the pleasant welcoming voice of my mom from the kitchen. My father was so angry that he struck down the phone as if he wanted to smash it right into the core of the earth, which clearly didn’t happen. That reminded me of my phone, which has gone missing. I quickly realized that I would have lost it in that eerie street while I was taking out my hanky.

It was now a noisy and inky-black night, the wind was sighing and thrashing in the tree tops, and I looked through the window, there stood a man in his pink umbrella on one hand and my phone on the other hand. He was a good man. You can’t judge a book by its cover.