Stories

UMBRELLA

Our last task proved a bit difficult for some, including myself. What can you do with the word ‘UMBRELLA?’ Here are what some members created.

MY UMBRELLA

It was the 25th of July, 2019,
The hottest day the U.K. had ever seen.
But in the evening, the heat faded away,
Degrees of temperature dropped by how much, who could say.

As we sat here in Chambers in Folkestone that night,
The heavens opened from an almighty height.
Claps of thunder & lightning were abound,
While people outside were rushing around.

There was just one thing on my mind,
So I checked my bag to see what I could find.
Listening to Carol Creasey as I searched,
I knew what would happen, as my head lurched.

When time came for me to leave I knew,
Just exactly what I had to do.
I raced to my car getting wet in the rain,
Yes,I’d left my umbrella there… oh what a pain!!

By Michael Dowle

Umbrellas in the Square Mile

A sea of spiders,
Oil, waxy skins.
Upturned,
The outstretched aluminum legs- Jointed.

Disjointed.
My spider- red, dangerously drowning in the obsidian ocean.

A waxy web
above my head
Protects me from the rain.

By Samantha Stevens

The Umbrella

The rain poured down, rattling on the roof-tops, it hadn’t stopped for hours, the never ending sheets of water had nearly put her off leaving home. She couldn’t wait any longer. She had promised she would meet him in the park where they always met.

Umbrella in her gloved hand, she tiptoed out of the porch, cautiously, carefully, discreetly closing the door behind her. It was dark. It had been dark all day but now the sun was setting, darkening the street, giving her a blanket to hide under. She couldn’t avoid it any longer. He would be waiting. Would he be soaked? Would he have sheltered in the bandstand? Would he still be there?

An expensive wooden handle reminded Sally that she must perfectly reposition her father’s umbrella to the stand where it stood, in the large spacious hallway, he would need it in the morning. Opening the umbrella’s wings to their fullest span, shielding herself from the driving rain, she stepped out onto the quiet street. The tapping of water droplets against the pavement, spat back up into her pathway. Sally ignored the puddles and began to walk down the street with as much composure as she could muster. Would he wait for her? Would he still be there? She wondered as she walked.

The park was only a short distance away, although the wide brim of the brolly hampered her view, she knew the way well. The brolly prevented those she passed by to recognise her increasingly well-known features, the rain helped to hide her identity. No-one wondered where a young lady of her status was going alone at this time of the evening. The umbrella provided anonymity, an anonymity she welcomed, especially since her father’s rapid rise to power.

Rather rigid and black, the umbrella reminded her of her father, a rather somber and serious man, who rarely smiled at his only child; Sally. Sally walked through the wide iron gates of the park, the umbrella swung as the wind picked up, pushing her towards her destiny. Instinctively she knew he would be there, waiting for her. She saw his decrepit umbrella before she saw him. Arms broken, slightly wounded by the wind, the umbrella tilted as he

turned his head to seek Sally out. Did he sense her presence? She thought there was something between them – inexplicable, some force that drew them together. A force of nature.

The park was busier than the street, despite the weather, young couples still met and walked together, grabbing moments of happiness when they could. Sally stopped and watched as he ran towards her, his umbrella flip-flopping in the wind and rain. He came closer towards her and she saw his smile widened, she felt the rain on her face as her father’s brolly lowered and eventually dropped to her side. He couldn’t control his umbrella as the wind took it and pulled free from his hand. It blew away, dancing in the wind, so powerful the spindly arms cracked and folded.

Sally raised the umbrella to provide shelter for Tom. She welcomed him under the protection of her father’s umbrella offering his arm to Sally, she took it fondly, confidently. It didn’t matter to her that he was a poverty stricken writer. The cliche was almost as satisfying as the disapproval she knew her father had for men like Tom.

Meeting in the park, as the rain poured down, the lamps began to glow as the day became night. The rain slowed to a drizzle and even the grey sky could not dampen Sally’s happiness. They walked for an hour, whispered secrets of their love were captured in the ceiling of Sally’s father’s umbrella. The hallowed roof would not reveal their plans to run away and marry, when she was 21 and inherited her mother’s wealth.

Sally looked like her mother, she knew it tortured her father daily. Fair curly hair that she wore up most days. Slim figure, pale skin; alabasta. The eyes blue grey, changing colour, like the sea, sometimes grey, sometimes blue, often somewhere in between. She reflected how would her mother feel now her daughter was in love. Would she be pleased? Would she chastise Sally for her rather rebellious choice of Tom?

Thomas Blakeson was a good choice really, his care-free and artistic nature hid a rather conservative young man, who despite his current career choice, would eventually return to the family business, paper mills in the North. Tom’s father had frequently reminded Tom that we would always need paper. She drew him closer, her hand covered his on the handle of the umbrella, she grabbed hold of his arm tighter. It was nearly time to go. They would meet again tomorrow and repeat the journey again, around the park, passed the artificial lake and back around passing the bandstand. This time she didn’t know this would be the last time she ever saw him.

He returned the wooden handle of the umbrella to Sally’s gloved hand, pausing a little longer than necessary, touching the soft leather. He gripped the glove. His hands became rigid and stiff. His face paled then reddened. He looked down at his hands, struggling to focus. He let go of Sally’s hand turning to go. She waved him goodbye, feeling disturbed by his abrupt change in temperament. She began to walk towards the gate, the rain seemed to drive down from the black sky. The umbrella and the rain protected her from the scene unfolding behind her as she quickly walked home, avoiding the increasing puddles.

Tom sank to his knees, his hands were burning, it was like they were on fire. Stretching his hands to the sky, the rain soothed the scalding hands. He began coughing and retching. The blurred shapes around him, began to spin as he peeled over. Shaking, sweating as the rain continued down. Shouts of help came as passersby noticed the man convulsing on the wet path. Umbrellas gathered as help came, sheltering him as the blood poured from nose, ears, eyes. Ladies turned in disgust, as screams of shock were drowned out by wails of pain. Tom lay dying in the rain.

Sally returned home and shook the wet umbrella before returning it to the elephant foot umbrella stand, she noticed her father’s umbrella was still there. Whose umbrella had she picked up? It was identical to her father’s. He would need it tomorrow, whilst walking to the court. Judgement day – would the jury find the defendant guilty? She hoped and prayed. At least her father may have some time for her after the murder trial had concluded. She had no doubt he would win. He always did.

Peeling her wet gloves off, she threw them onto the dresser. She would ask Nancy to throw them away, the leather was worn and strange patches were wearing away at the surface. She didn’t like them much any more, rather outdated for a lady of her standing. The fashion was for rather more delicate gloves. She had been glad of them today. They had protected her from the rain. Protected her from her last breath.

Ignorantly comfortable; she did not know those worn leather gloves had saved her young life from the deadly and dangerous umbrella that stood next to her father’s, in the elephant foot stand in the large hall.

By Samantha Stevens

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