It was a cloudy night; the darkness covered the city like a thick blanket. The wind blew gusts of air smelling of car fumes through the streets; it sneaked under the cracks of doors and whispered down sooty chimneys.
The weather had been almost identical three years previously as Mr Bell hurried down a dark street, holding onto his bowler hat so that the harsh breeze couldn't steal it. The wind blew harder, almost blowing the short, stout man off-course. Eyes narrowed, Mr Bell tried again to walk into the path of the determined gale. A hazy drizzle of misty rain drifted down in sheets, making him shiver and cough. Cursing the cold, he drew his coat tighter around his large figure. As he made to clamp his hat to his head again, he spotted something black and flapping on the pavement. An umbrella!
As Mr Bell raised it above his head, something remarkable happened. He began to feel lighter as he ran over the cobbled street, holding tight. Lighter and lighter. With a gasp, he realised that his leather shoes were no longer making contact with the pavement. He was flying! The wind lifted him up like hundreds of hands, all pushing upwards.
With a delighted and shocked shout, Mr Bell gazed down at the sprawling city below him. The street lamps looked like beautiful, luminous flowers reaching up to him. Cars reminded him of jewel-coloured beetles crawling through the concrete maze.
The wind led him towards the park; it was the only splash of green in a grey ocean of buildings and roads. Clutching the umbrella tightly, he drifted towards two bronze statues of lions guarding the park entrance. Mr Bell outstretched his free hand and reached towards one. As he passed, he patted it on its cold head. The lion roared deeply and shook its impressive mane, whilst watching the small man float past. Wide-eyed, Mr Bell swung himself away. The umbrella swayed dangerously and as he grasped the handle harder, he waited dizzily for the world to stop spinning.
Still the wind carried him on. He glanced back at the now still statues. The trees swayed in time with the umbrella as he drifted higher again and disappeared off into the distance.
The same harsh breeze blew through the streets again that night. Nobody had seen Mr Bell since that last blustery evening and it was uncanny how similar the weather was once more. Thick cloud covered the streets and the darkness hung heavily over the town.