Umbrollia was unique in nature having developed a wormhole between it and its neighbouring parallel universe, through which lonely and lost brollies and umbrellas and other misplaced weather protectors passed in the hope of finding a more caring environment where they would be remembered even though it had turned out sunny. And generally those abandoned parasols and parapluies contented themselves with their new situation which, while not heavily peopled with caring users at least had eradicated all windowless lost property offices and dank cloakrooms. No spring loaded rain protector languished for long in the low gravity environment of Umbrollia but spent happy days auditioning for remakes of Mary Poppins and Singing in the Rain with robotic actors taking the human roles or enjoying a spin class on a windy beach where the experts turned themselves inside out and back again to the astonishment of the recently arrived.
One day, when the forecast squalls had the world’s protective apparatus heading for the outdoors, a frisson of excitement rippled through the tight-furled tripled-tipped populous. Word had it that an owner had been seen on the hillside, striding around and muttering about its much loved and lost rainshade. Every time this happened hope soared in the artificially canopied crowds – could it be that their old owner cared so much that they had made the effort to cross to the next universe in defiance of all natural laws to look for their trusty coverage? Older members of Umbrollia’s elite worried he might be some sort of opportunistic trickster, intent on grooming the more vulnerable members of Umbrollia’s community with a view to cruelly selling them a vision of caring new owners and considerate drying facilities only to sell them on the cheap to the indifferent if inadequately prepared?
After a lot of tooing and froing and a fair bit of opening and closing a delegation of the most robust brollies and bumbershoots, parasols and sunshades was dispatched to inquire of the man’s intentions. Umbrellas are naturally silent so the man didn’t see them until he was surrounded. To the watching audience he looked startled when he saw what he had approached him.
The leading brolly opened slowly and spoke. It got as far as ‘good morning’ when the man lost all definition as the life drained out of him, the shock of animated weather guards being too much for him to take.
The lead brolly looked at the sunshade representative. ‘Well?’
The sunshade looked at the overcast sky and shrugged. ‘Looks like he’s become a shadow of his old self. He won’t be needing us.’
The brolly nodded. ‘Shame.’
The parasols watched the brollies go. ‘Why do they always put a dampener on things?’
‘It’s the nature of the beast. Fancy a quick twirl?’
This was written in response to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt