It was raining so bad outside and I had forgotten to bring my umbrella with me. As I walked home from work in the rain, I got soaked. Under the street light I saw a man in a grey suit with a large umbrella and he was smiling at me. He held out his umbrella towards me, inviting me to join him inside his umbrella. It was big enough to fit two people.
On any other day I would have just walked on but it was raining so heavily I didn’t have much of a choice. I was grateful he would share some space for me under his large umbrella and we both just stood there staring at the heavy rain pouring on the ground. In that moment I remembered a story my grandmother had always told me as a little child.
There was an urban legend called the umbrella man about a person who would appear in front of people in need of some protection from heavy rainfall. My grand mother always told me to never get under the umbrella and share space with the umbrella man. Once you do it is very hard to escape it. In those moments you will be too content and comfortable to run away or walk away. The rain and the weather conditions will only worsen, forcing you to stay under the gentleman’s umbrella.
I began to feel quite comfortable myself as I stood there, remembering the old story. “Isn’t that strange?” I mused to myself. I couldn’t hear any sound of rain dropping on top of the umbrella. It was raining really heavily outside but within that circle of peace I couldn’t hear any sound of the storm. When I spoke aloud, my voice echoed back to me.
I remembered something else my grandmother told me about the umbrella man. If I did find myself under his umbrella, I should get out as fast as I could, no matter how hard the umbrella man tries to keep you there. It did become harder as the rain started to become stronger and seemed to be pounding on the ground more even more. The wind picked up outside and blew the rain at an angle, but somehow the space beneath the umbrella remained dry and I couldn’t feel the gusts. My coat didn’t even flap. Faint crying noises began to grow louder and when I looked at the rain pouring from the sky all around us, I imagined it was warm and exactly like human tears.
“I have got to go.” Finally, I was able to say the words out loud.
“You don’t have to go.” the man replied to me.
In that moment his umbrella started to increase in size like it was enclosing the both of us and the end bits of his umbrella started to sharpen. My vision seemed to dim, but when I looked around I saw that the rain was turning red. Was that blood? I definitely didn’t want to get out of the protection of his umbrella anymore but then I saw my family, cousins, friends and other people I knew in the rain staring at me and with such blank sad faces.
As I watched them, I noticed my grandmother outside in the rain and realized that it was impossible because she had died many years ago. She shouted at me “Get out from under his umbrella!” I heard her voice pierce through the veil of his spell and came to my senses. I ran out from under his umbrella and didn’t care what was dropping on top of me. I panicked and ran as hard as I could and got halfway down the block before I looked back. The rain had stopped. The sun was coming out now and I could see a rainbow in the sky. The man with the large umbrella was gone.
Ullahshy from Manchester/United Kingdom