The "End" of Polly the Spotted Gelert
The damp cobbled street of the market place was my home. The place I slept, got my food and made my few friends. Time and time again I had wandered these streets, taking something from here and snatching something from there. I was young. I had no morals. No sense of right and wrong. As far as I was concerned, if street vendors where trusting enough to set up stalls outside their shops on the street, it was mine for the taking. I rarely got caught. I was an expert at theft.
My small paws padded down the street, the smooth cobbles leaving small mauve grooves in the bottom of them. It wouldn’t be long until I was wincing every time I took step. As I made my unceremonious way down the street, pets strode past me, taking care not to let their posh pretty clothe come within an inch of my spotted fur. A snooty looking royal Aisha waltzed past me as if I didn’t exist.
With a small sigh, I leapt lightly onto a nearby bench and lay down. An abandoned copy of The Neopian Times was folded up next to me. I separated the many layers of greying paper and used several of the sheets as a duvet. I promptly snuggled up underneath it.
“Hey, you!” I jerked upright at the sound of a deep gravely voice which appeared to coming from nearby. It belonged to a fat well-dressed Skeith. Maybe he was the one from the bank? I didn’t know. It had been many years since I had been able to go to the bank and collect any interest, not to mention withdraw neopoints.
“Yes, sir?” I asked politely.
“You can’t hog the bench. Others need to use it. Now get yourself home!” He was growling now, his voice low and menacing. I felt quite scared.
I hopped off the bench and scurried down the street before he could realise that I had no home to go to. To be honest, I would have expected that to be obvious in the first place, what with my newspaper duvet and wooden bench mattress.
“Hey! You! Spotted Gelert!”
I sighed as yet another person yelled my name. Stopping and slowly turning around, I found myself facing a red Gnorbu. He smiled and trotted towards me, seemingly in high spirits.
“Yes?” I asked him, licking my lips anxiously.
“I’m Espen. I watched you just a minute ago, get bullied off that bench by that Skeith. Well, it’s pretty obvious that you’re homeless, so I thought maybe you would like an apprenticeship? It’s a chance to get trained, get a job, earn some neopoints and get yourself off the streets. Are you interested?”
Interested? It sounded like a dream come true! Or was that all it was? It was entirely possible that this was some rich overly privileged Gnorbu who was aching with trying not to laugh at the “hilarious” joke he was playing on the poor homeless Gelert.
“If you’re not sure, take this.” Espen handed me a card. I glanced down at it and by the time I had looked up again, he was gone.
The card was just plain white with some words written in the centre. It was an address. I was confused. Surely I wasn’t being offered a home? After all these years of being a loner, aimlessly wandering the cold dark streets at night, I might finally get a home!
“Polly,” I said to myself, “I think that happiness might be just around the corner.”
I trotted along the road until I was out of the market place completely. I was more than a little surprised to find that the address was none other than that of the coffee shop in the Ancient Art Gallery. I never been there before but one of my friends had. She said that everything was pretty and classy. I was little nervous about striding in with my fur an unruly tangle.
However, the place was deserted when I entered besides an orange Shoyru who was wiping off tables. She plastered a smile on her face as I came in.
“Good afternoon. We sell the best coffee in all of Neopia! Can I interest you in some Purple Juppie Java? Islandberry coffee? Maybe a slice of Tigersquash Swirly Cake?” she blurted out in an overly happy voice.
“Um, no. No thank you. Actually, I’m here because of this.” I stepped forward and handed her the card that Espen had given me. I saw the understanding in her eyes before she had even read the address.
“Oh yes. Of course. Please, follow me.”
The Shoyru led the way around the counter and ushered me into the back room. It was dark and stuffy and small. I heard her brush the wall with a hand and then a small click and the light flickered on. I blinked and glanced around. The room was empty except for some shelves containing various food products and one or two cardboard boxes. The Shoyru promptly moved them to one side, revealing a trapdoor beneath.
“Well, down you go,” she said, swinging it open with a rusty creak. A rickety ladder seemed to the pave the way down into darkness. “It goes down quite a way but you’ll reach the bottom soon enough. Then follow the passage and when you reach the fork, choose the left path.”
I began descending the ladder. I heard a muffled thud and I knew that she had closed the trapdoor and was replacing the boxes. This wasn’t at all how I had imagined it. I thought that I would just have to stride into the coffee shop and maybe she’d employ me. I certainly hadn’t imagined any of this.
Just as I was thinking of this, my foot slipped on a rung. I found myself toppling through the air when suddenly – BANG! The world faded to nothing.
I open my eyes. It’s bright. There’s a light shining in my eyes. It’s a torch, being held by a red Gnorbu. He looks dimly familiar. Perhaps I’ve seen him around. He reaches out and grabs my paw. He slowly pulls me to my feet. Why was I on the floor? I was up in the trees a minute ago. I was swinging from vine to vine without a care in the world.
“Are you all right?” the Gnorbu asks.
“Yes. I’m fine.” I nod at him, beaming.
“Are you sure?” He sounds worried for some reason.
I nod impatiently. He doesn’t appear happy but he grabs my paw and tows me gently through this odd place I’ve found myself in. He keeps trying to talk to me but his voice sounds far away and fuzzy. Maybe he’s coming down with a cold? The sound of his fuzzy wavering voice makes me giggle.
“What’s your name?” I hear him ask.
“Polly,” I reply, desperately trying to keep myself from laughing. “What’s yours?”
He frowns more deeply at that. “I told you earlier when I met you in the market place, remember? I’m Espen.”
The name stirs nothing in my memories. I don’t know anyone called Espen and I never have. Who is this strange Gnorbu?
“Where are we? Why are you here? Where are all the trees?”
“Trees?” He sounds confused. “Why are you asking about trees?”
“All Myncies like to play in trees.”
He frowns yet again. He’ll have permanent wrinkles across his brow if he’s not careful.
“Myncies? Polly... What type of pet are you?” He asks it hesitantly. I think he’s joking but then I catch sight of his face.
“I’m a Mynci, of course! I thought it would be obvious!”
Espen says nothing. He grips my paw more tightly than before and drags me through this tunnel place much faster. We come to a fork in the road and he drags me down the left passage. Eventually the passage widens out and a small light appears. Espen flicks off his torch and drags me into a large cavern, which is brimming with pets.
“What have we here, Espen?” A red Grarrl steps forward and stares at me. I beam back at him. “A spotted Gelert. Never had one of those before.”
“I’m not a Gelert.” I say, giggling at his stupidity. “I’m a Mynci.”
A confused expression comes over the Grarrl’s face. It matches the one that was on Espen’s exactly.
“She’s a Mynci,” Espen puts in quickly. “Trust me.”
He begins muttering to the Grarrl. I hear odd phrases. “She’s called Polly... Fell from the ladder... Slightly confused, nothing to worry about... Now thinks she’s a Mynci...”
“Well, Polly. It’s nice to have you here,” the Grarrl says after Espen finishes talking. “We’ll have you apprenticed to Bertie when he gets back from Terror Mountain. You should feel very privileged to be working alongside him, I can tell you. Bertie is an expert in the area of paranormal activity. Bertie will be back in a week, so until then, make yourself comfortable!”
I nod my thanks and carefully navigate my way through the room, avoiding all of the other pets who are peering curiously at me. I find a nice dark corner and settle myself down. I ignore the stares and concentrate on the warmth and comfort of the shelter that I have somehow stumbled upon. It feels as though this sort of place has been avoiding me my whole life and now, I have found a place of true happiness. I think that it’s safe to say that I, Polly the Mynci, will never have to worry about being lonely ever again.