She stood huddled against the rough brick of the building, her arms wrapped around her body trying desperately to stay warm. The icy drops of water pummeled her face, blinding her view. She pressed back further against the cold stone seeking shelter from the storm soaking her clothes.
A strand of hair slid free from its moorings and dripped like cold seaweed against her cheek. She lifted a shaking hand and tried to push it back into the twist at the back of her head. She glanced at the sky.
The rain poured in a fountain of water.
Taking a step away from the illusion of shelter, she started walking along the deserted street. Spying a doorway, she darted towards it.
"Mine," a voice growled from the shadows.
"I'm sorry," she gasped through chattering teeth. "May I stand here for a moment? Please?"
"Mine." The edge in the voice had her retreated back into the rain.
She wandered for what seemed like hours, seeking shelter, a dry place to wait out what was proving to be an epic storm. Each doorway housed a dark voice and bright, gleaming eyes. Some of the voices growled. A few beckoned with slimy, silky tones that made her heart pound and her feet run. She paused, finally, against another brick wall tucked under a slight eave. She closed her eyes and dreamed of a fire and soup so hot it burned her tongue.
She could almost taste the savory broth sliding down her throat, the salty flavor and chunks of potatoes warming her body from the inside. Moaning at the self torture, she opened her eyes.
At first, she wasn't sure what she was seeing was real or if her mind had snapped with the wet and cold. A bright red umbrella, spun on its tip, whirling in a puddle of water.
Pushing away from the wall, she looked up and down the empty street and then back at the umbrella. She stole a glance up the brick wall, but all the windows above her were sealed tight and curtained against the gloom. She reached her hand for the shiny black handle.
Grasping it, she pulled it over her head and gasped at the pleasure of being sheltered from the relentless pounding of the rain. On the umbrella's stiff fabric, the rain pattered and bounced in an almost cheerful melody. Backing towards the wall, she bent herself into a stiff crouch. Her frozen limbs ached as she adjusted the umbrella to form a shelter from the cold. She leaned her head forward and rested them on her knees.
Sighing at the luxury, she closed her eyes and listened to the drops as they lulled her into a doze.
This is a piece of fiction prompted by a picture posted on Write on Edge of umbrellas. The picture was whimsical and colorful. I'm not certain why it prompted something so sad. Although, at the end, she did find shelter, didn't she?
This is not a part of any particular work, just a little one off.
1 hour ago