Aakash Arasu

The Umbrella (First Draft)​

The door opens to a boy of twelve, charging in like the very devil was after him. Screaming in joy he launches at the family sofa.

“Looks lovely doesn’t it?”

“Yes, yes it does”

The couple watched on with weary smiles as their son played with the brightness control of a huge chandelier above the sofa, in the middle of the drawing room, of the bungalow. A bungalow, the likes of which they couldn’t even dream of renting a couple of weeks back. Suresh’s promotion almost coinciding with Nandy’s raise meant they could now afford the two-story bungalows in the suburbs.

“Even with our increased budget, don’t you feel like the rent is too little for such a big, fully furnished property?”

“Whaaaa. . .?” Nandy had already started exploring with her son, leaving her husband to daydream at the entrance.

“Never mind,” Suresh sighed to himself and went back down the stairs to the driveway where their luggage laden sedan was parked.

“Amma look at this” Roj was holding a big green cane-umbrella, the sort that you could picture an old man holding in a back and white photograph. 

“Put it in the usable pile”

Roj complied and put the umbrella in the smaller of two piles of everyday things. While exploring the house the two had come across a puzzling backyard storeroom that was filled with random everyday things, mostly in top conditions. There were clothes, toys, utensils, just about everything that one might need to live in the house. It was almost as if the previous family had just up and left, leaving their things behind. Suresh was all for throwing everything out, but Nandi and Raj had vetoed that decision on discovering some beautiful toys and drapery. Of course, Nandi said something about too much waste being dumped on the planet, reusing and such. All Suresh could do grumble and go to sleep on the couch. A nap that ended almost as soon as it had begun, with the tight slap from both mother and son on each butt cheek.


“Who said you could go to sleep mister?”

“Wha but I-“

“If you are not going to help us, go make dinner!”

“Aaaagh! Ok, ok I’m going!”

“Papa papa!”


“I don’t like this new dish!”

“Stop complaining and eat quietly!!”

Nandi sniggered into her food.

“Oh come on! Don’t you start as well!! You also make mistakes with salt in dal!”

“Ok ok.”

Nandy and roj sniggered. Suresh had always been sensitive to criticism of his cooking

“And why’s that dirty great umbrella hung on your chair anyway?” 

“Wha?” Roj turned around and found himself staring at the huge green umbrella from the store room.

“I told you not to take anything from the pile until we clean it!”

“But I didn’t get it amma!”

“Right, I guess it just grew legs and walked over here on it’s own”

“Mma uh dnt gdit”

“Don’t talk with food in your mouth-“


“What was that?”

“It came from above” Nandy was looking at the ceiling as though trying to look through it.

Suresh saw the opportunity to escape doing the dishes and dashed up the stairs in the blink of an eye.

“I’ll go check, you guys clear the table”

“Heyyyy don’t just go deciding by yourself!!” But Suresh was long gone by the time Nandy even realised what had just happened.

“Roj clear the table, amma is tired”

“But ammmmmaaaaa!!”

“Aey don’t talk back and do what you’re told”

Mandy washed her hands and turned towards the inviting embrace of the couch-


Nandy and Raj ran up the stairs to find Suresh standing at the entrance to Raj’s room glaring.

“Will you kindly explain the meaning behind this work of art Mr. Raj?”

Nandy and Roj approached the room warily. 

“Bu bu but-“


Nandy also felt her anger rising as she looked at the mess in the room. Dirty toys from the storeroom downstairs strewn across the room in various poses, as if struggling against nets. Of course the ‘nets’ in this case were Raj’s clothes. In the middle of this chaos was Raj’s suitcase, thrown open. Inside which, as if conducting the chaos, was a baby doll missing an eye. Nandy grit her teeth and controlled her anger.

“Clean your room. We’ll talk tomorrow. Suresh let’s go do the dishes”

Suresh walked away. Now was not the time to shout.

“But amma I didn’t do-“


Nandy promptly turned on the balls of her heel and walked away briskly after her husband.


She rushed down to find Suresh lying on the floor glaring at the umbrella.

“Who leaves an umbrella on the stairs?” 

“Our dear son, who else. Here, get up, we’ll talk to him tomorrow when we’re not this angry-“


Nandy had just bent over to pull Suresh up when the umbrella suddenly opened in her face.

“Ow!! What’s wrong with you?”

“I didn’t do anything! Damned umbrella must be broken. I told you we shouldn’t have taken any stuff from the storeroom”

He jumped up, went to the backyard door and threw it in the direction of the storeroom

“Let’s just go to sleep”


“Did you hear that?”

Nandy had her ear towards the storeroom, listening intently.


“I don’t know. Sounded like laughter.”

“You probably heard the umbrella fall or something. Come, let’s go sleep.”



The rocking horse turned to the legless action figure.

“Did you hear that? They thought Umbrella is broken!!”

“A disgrace to ghosts if ever there was one”

“Hehehe, what was he thinking of making a move before Baby and her gang.”

“Real pros those guys”

“Shame you lost your legs and had to leave”

“Yeah, anyway we better get in position”

As the rocking horse and the legless action figure made their way out of the storeroom, towards the house, they could hear a whimper from above.


“Wait a minute, did you hear that?”

“Yeah, it’s coming from the roof”

They looked at each other and burst out laughing.

“Hahahaha, he threw Umbrella on the roof”


“Should we get him down?”

“Nah, he deserves that. He’s useless anyways, we’re better off without him”

“You’re right, let’s go.”

Both the ghosts turned their backs to the Umbrella and continued towards the house.

“On the roof, hahahaha. . . . . .”


“Did you hear that just now?!!”

Suresh just turned in his sleep, mumbling.


“Suresh!! Listen!”

“Hmmm? What is it?”

“I think I heard someone talking downstairs.”

“What? Probably Raj. Go back to sleep.”

“No! I heard mumbling and then laughter! It’s not Raj. I’m going to check the doors.”


Just then a blood curdling scream rang out and then stopped mid scream.



Nandy almost threw herself out the door closely followed by Suresh. They burst into Raj’s room and slapped the lights on, only to be greeted by a surreal scene which stopped them dead. Surrounded by a semicircle of toys, on the floor, was Raj. But it was not this bizarre arrangement that had shocked the couple speechless. It was what held him down. The baby doll was sitting on top of him, pinning him down with it’s legs. One of its hands covering Raj’s mouth and the other hovering mid-air holding, the couple realised with a start, a knife. Nandy and Suresh were taking in this surreal scene, their brain knowing but struggling to understand, when, as one the toys began to turn their heads. 


The wood in them creaking as it bent beyond design. 

Suddenly the couple found themselves face to face with a dozen odd toys, all smiling madly. The baby doll’s head turned to one side and it’s mouth fell open. From within came a curious, gurgling, cute baby voice.


Then the laughter started.


The couple were frozen on the spot. Their brains struggled to comprehend the nightmarish scene in front of them. But Raj had already struggled with the baby doll for a few minutes now. His brain understood enough.

An adrenaline charged kick and Raj was flying towards his parents. The sudden movement broke the trance, Nandy grabbed Raj and Suresh slammed the door shut on the baby dolls hand just as it reached out to grab the boy.

“Nandy, get the car keys and go down. We’re leaving now!”

Nandy dashed into their room, grabbed the keys and then grabbed Raj and half ran, half jumped down the stairs.


The lights went out.




Hearing the screams Suresh doubled his efforts. He opened the door a bit and just as the baby doll’s hand had withdrawn to the wrist he banged the door shut breaking off the wrist. He quickly latched the door and fumbled his way down the stairs.


From the bottom of the stairs came a steady creaking noise. Then a whimper.

“There’s something here!”

At that moment, as if on cue, the whole room lit up momentarily as the family found themselves staring at the side of a toy rocking horse and an action figure riding it. Creaking back and forth. Darkness came again, blinding them. Nandy instinctively switched on her phone flashlight. Thunder boomed and the horse stopped mid creak.It turned, slowly, towards the family. The painted lips broke away in small pieces to reveal a crooked, ear to ear grin. The action figure raised a hand.


Suresh threw himself at his family and the three of them half tumbled, half sprinted across the room and out the bungalow. As they jumped into the car and drove away, never to return, the sky broke into a thunderstorm. The windows of the house beat in the wind. A drunk walking past would later swear that he heard the house laughing.

A couple of decades later.


“Told you it’s great”

“And cheap!”



“Yes, Ravi?”

“I love it.”

Shazia grinned at her boyfriend.

“Now, since I did all the house hunting you get to do all the shifting”


Shazia put two fingers on Ravi’s lips.

“Shhh! A deal is a deal.” She mockingly skipped to the couch in joy, plopped down, crossed her arms and looked expectantly at Ravi. He sighed and walked down the steps to get their luggage. True to her words Shazia lazed around, playing with the living room chandelier’s light control and saying random things like ‘Whoa! This light is so bright!!’and giggling whenever Ravi struggled past, dragging heavy suitcases. 

At last the shifting was done and they ordered food. Tired, Ravi went to bed at once. Meanwhile Shazia got to washing the dishes.


She froze, had she misheard or was that laughter? She started thinking of all the ghost stories and murder mysteries she’d ever heard of.

“Haha! Silly me.” 

She shook her head laughing at her own childishness. Regardless, she left the dishes for the next day. She switched off the lights and walked as fast as she could without running, to the bedroom upstairs. She opened the door and slammed it shut.

“Mmm? Shazia?”

The noise had woken Ravi up. She was about to tell him to go back to sleep when she noticed something next to Ravi.


The lights came on and Shazia screamed.

There was a baby doll with a knife poised to strike next to Ravi’s face. It had crazy smile on its face, and it’s one lifeless eye was fixed on its target. Ravi slammed his hand into the doll and jumped off the bed to stand next to Shazia. It was then they noticed the dozen or so other toys standing around the bed all staring at the only living beings in the room. Them.

The couple threw open the door and tumbled out. Ravi slammed the door shut and latched it.

“Downstairs!! And call the police or someone!!”

Ravi agreed and they’d just taken a few steps down the stairs when the bedroom door flew open. They turned and looked directly into the bloodthirsty, lifeless eyes of the doll and his gang. That was the last straw. Both ran screaming into the living room, Shazia grabbed the car keys and they ran out of the cursed bungalow.

“Haha! We didn’t even have to do anything Mr.Baby!”

The baby doll and his gang joined the rocking horse and the legless action figure in the dark living room.

“Yeah, the young joy ones are always easier to shock.”

The ghosts stood at the doorway, shielding their eyes from the usual wind and lighting, watching as the couple left, never to return.

Whoooooooooo. . . 

“What’s that noise?”

“What the-“

Suddenly a bright light lit up the living room, throwing shadows down the stairs.

“Weren’t the lights supposed to. . .”

The baby doll trailed off as he turned around and caught sight of the light’s source.

“What in the world?”

A huge disc of light was floating in the air spinning very fast. A piece of light came flying to hit one of the action figures squarely in the chest and sent it flying out the door.


The baby doll screamed at the group.


“N- no idea”

Two more pieces of light came flying at them.

Thup thup

The legless action figure was reminded of some foggy old story one of their victims was telling her kid.

“I- I think I heard something about some God and his spinning disc of vengeance. Vishu or Vishnu or- or something. . .”

By now the lights were coming at them three or four at a time, forcing them to retreat down the stairs.


The action figures were scared now, a few of them hurt from falling down the stairs.

“I’m not messing with any Gods”

“Me neither”

“Hey don’t get all superstitious on me now!”

But the baby doll couldn’t do anything as his gang ran for the gates. He of course was not about to risk fighting a ‘God’ over a house. The horse and the baby doll took off after their brethren. Never to return. The local drunk would later be declared mad and put in rehab.

Meanwhile inside the bungalow, the umbrella stopped spinning and jumped off the chandelier, now missing quite a few crystals, to land neatly on the couch.

“God eh? Not too bad for a ‘disgrace to ghosts’.”



The End


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