Rain surged down from the sky, like volcanic rock would spew from a volcano. Finn could barely see the road ahead. Not knowing where was safe to place his feet, he stumbled clumsily into a puddle, drenching his left foot entirely.
The downpour continued merciless for another half hour and it was only then did Finn realize that he had stuffed his umbrella inside his back pack. He took shelter from a nearby tree, threw off his bag and dug it out from underneath his torch; sketchbook and battered book entitled 'Art Design'. His umbrella, he had now learned, had four large tears in it, but despite this, he slung his bag back onto his back and carried on walking.
The umbrella quickly became unruly as the wind lugged it away from him; wrenching the fabric from its frame. He was adamant that he would win this ongoing battle until he came to a small cottage on the right hand side of him which had the sign 'Bed and Breakfast' on the door frame. As soon as he was adjacent to it, the gale, almost immediately elevated and snatched the frame of the umbrella, hauling it upwards so that it turned inside out and when finally the fabric was released, it was tossed onto the other side of the road, like a used tissue, and the frame shattered above him.
He realized he was in desperate need of cover as his hands-which started off as a pale pink- had now become a distasteful blood red. Moments later, he headed towards the window of the B&B to see how it looked inside. It looked wondrous. There was an open fire on display, a china teapot with matching cups and saucers with sweet cakes all laid out, seeming to be waiting to be indulged and appreciated by him. He had made his decision and was already heading towards the door.
When he rang the bell, he could hear it echoing through the hall. Not long afterwards, a woman with silver, curly hair opened it and stood smiling brightly at him. "Hello. Oh you poor lamb, do come inside. Come out of the cold". Before he had anytime to answer, she tugged relentlessly at his sleeve and insisted he come in. "Now what's such a young, handsome man like yourself doing out on a night like this?" she asked, whilst handing him a towel. He automatically began to dry himself off. "Thank you for letting me in Miss, it was ever so kind of you” he replied.
"Not at all, not at all petal. Take your shoes off and your jumper then come into the living room, we’ll have you warm in no time" she said, still smiling at him. He left his bag next to the door, did as she said and followed her through, but knocked over an umbrella on the way in. "Oh I do apologize Miss" he said picking it up and propping it back onto the wall.
"Could you do me a favor and just pop it into the room at the end there please sweetie?" she asked. He picked it up and did as she said, but noticed the umbrella possessed a very unusual texture to it. He opened the door of the room and was surprised to see tones of umbrellas, all stacked up against the walls. "If you don't mind me asking Miss, why do you have all of these umbrellas?" he called.
"I make them my dear" she answered. He stared at the many different shades of fabrics. Some were white, some were pale pink, some possessed a tinge of orange, some were slightly peachy, some were light brown, some darker and others were even black.
"Unusual colors if you beg my pardon Miss. And why do some look more rugged than others" he continued.
"It depends what material I use. Now come on dear, come and sit down.".
He shrugged it off, placed the umbrella inside, closed the door, made his way to the living room and sat down opposite the old woman, next to the fire. She poured him some tea. "Sugar?" she asked very sweetly. "No thank you Miss"
She smiled to herself. "No of course not, you’re sweet enough aren't you." There was a pause.
"I was wondering if you have any rooms available Miss? It's just that I saw your sign and just thought there might be a vacc-" she cut him off. "Well of course, of course!" she exclaimed.
"Well thank you Miss. How much is that a night?"
"£12 per person my lamb. But because you're such a charming young man with beautiful rosy cheeks, you can stay for £8" she beamed at him.
"That is so generous of you Miss" he answered with a sense of thrill in his voice.
"You're very welcome. The pleasure is all mine." She looked him up and down thoughtfully and noticed his pink completion almost glistening in the light. Her eyes seemed to gleam with it.
"Your completion is so mesmerizing" she breathed. "Did you know I read tea leaves and I can tell you your future from just looking at the palm of your hands? Here drink up and hold them out" she explained. He did so and for a few minutes she studied and examined his skin with her fingers gently. Then she peered into his tea cup. "Ah I see”. Another pause.
"You're having some difficulty at home I see."
He nodded, shyly.
"A lot of trouble involving you Mother and Father."
He was hesitant to nod but did so in the end.
"Does your Father beat you?” She asked very quietly.
He removed his hands from the clutches of hers. "Sorry Miss..I..I am awfully tired. Would you mind if you were to just show me to my room now please" he replied briskly, diverting away from her eyes.
"Of course dear" she said. He then got up and began to daydream about his horrific experiences at home; not realizing an extremely large laundry basket was in front of him. He walked straight into it. "My Miss, that’s a bit on the big side isn't it?"
"Let's just say I have a lot of washing to do" she chuckled to herself.
The next thing he knew was he was fully naked, inside the laundry basket with an agonizing pain on his hand and shoulder. Concerned, he glanced over and saw two chunks of flesh had been removed from both places. One where his purple and blue bruises had been and another where his pink completion had dazzled the land lady. "HELP!" he screamed out. Two eyes glared down at him from outside of the basket. "Oh my dear, sleep. After all, you did say you were tired" she giggled.
"WHERE'S MY SKIN? MY FLESH? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?!" he cried in desperation.
"You will be another of my creations you dazzling little star. I've always liked the thought of a contrast of pale pink with purple and blue on an umbrella...haven't you?" she smirked.
And with that she wheeled him into her umbrella room.