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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2188442
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Contest · #2188442
A man has a date with his destiny

An umbrella can separate us from the world outside, everything else is inconsequential.

Jeremy Strauss stormed through the rain, the umbrella acting as a cocoon against the constant pelting from the torrential downpour. And through the handle, he felt touched as if he had just received a divine revelation like the whispering one hears from a dark room and it scared the bejesus out of him. The umbrella had a life of its own, a purpose, a mission.

As he sloshed through the puddles, water soaked his suit pants up to the knees. For a businessman, this should have been the worst thing that could happen in the middle of a workday. But people have secrets. Some are even willing to die to keep them that way. Jeremy's secret was so incredible it would destroy anyone who discovered it. He was sure of that. The thought made him hurry all the more.

It was conceivable he would step out into oncoming traffic where he would meet his demise, but he didn't care, so determined was he to get to where he was going. It was conceivable he would stumble and slip sprawling upon the sidewalk like a drowned bug. It was also conceivable he would be too late, but for him that was totally unacceptable. He rushed on, not looking where he was going, but instead plowing ahead as if he were a farmer possessed with finishing his field.

People immediately stepped out of his way because it was obvious he was hell-bent to get to where he was going. They looked at him oddly because he acted oddly: where everyone hunkered down against the storm, Jeremy nearly ran headlong into it, impelled as if pressed for time, in haste to meet an unknown destiny. The time spired from forever to forever. In the tangled jungle of tall buildings ensconced with webs of electric wires and streetlamps dripping with rain, Jeremy finally saw the man.

He sat in the stoop of a closed and dilapidated store, the saturating rain drenching his torn and shabby clothes. Fingertips steepled toward the bridge of his nose, he half hid his face in a prayer clasp, as if the pounding rain did not provide enough concealment, as if he were whispering a confession into the private chapel of his cupped hands. When he saw Jeremy approaching he thought the sight would stop his heart, but such an easy end was not his fate.

Jeremy slowed his gait and approached the man, then stood over him. He could smell a rank stench, an acrid odor with a sickly sweet under-smell. He slightly gagged on it.

"I've found you," he said. The deadliness of his voice shocked him like a confrontation with a grisly murder.

The man looked up at him, rain puddling in his eye-sockets. "Yes," the man said, "I knew you would. I dreamt it."

Jeremy could feel every throb of his pulse distinctly in his temples, as if it were his mind that hammered out his life, not his heart. The beats were slow, too slow for the amount of apprehension he felt. He could not conceive what was happening to him. But each blow shook him as if the very structure of his brain were under assault. He handed him the umbrella. "Take this and go," he said, and then added, "Don't stop, and don't look back." Then he turned and slowly walked away, dripping wet with his shoulders slumped, his burden released.

Now wonder lit the man's face. "I understand," was all he said.

An umbrella can separate us from the world outside, everything else is inconsequential.

The homeless man stormed through the rain, the umbrella acting as a cocoon against the constant pelting from the torrential downpour. And through the handle, he felt touched as if he had just received a divine revelation like the whispering one hears from a dark room and it scared the bejesus out of him. The umbrella had a life of its own, a purpose, a mission.


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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2188442