[This is the first short in the Order of Polly. If you want to read more about the series, you can do here!]
The dark and silence of night was a common setting for Polly. It’s not that she meant to go to bed late, it’s just that over time she realised she just couldn’t help it. Just one more minute checking up on her friends on Facebook, who had of course all gone to bed. Trying to find out about the latest news didn’t help either, considering nothing new happens every minute, as often as she checked. There was one day though that the silence was subdued by the thinking in her head. With no-one else to talk to, she kept thinking. She laid on top of her bed just to see if she could at least try and fall asleep to get her in that state when you realise you need to get up and properly get yourself ready for bed. It didn’t work, so she did something she never really thought about actually doing; Polly slipped on her shoes, grabber her jacket and went outside.
Despite it being just before sunrise, it was still quite warm. The English spring had surprised her; it actually existed! Leaving the house was just the first stage. She had no idea where to go or what to do. Who would be up? There would be some homeless people in town, perhaps she could go and speak to them? She quickly realised though that despite unfair conditions, even they would manage to get to sleep. The park would be inhabited by those taking their dogs for a stroll and whilst she didn’t mind dogs, she certainly could do without them at this time of the day. Polly began to lose faith in the idea and headed the short indecisive distance she’d travelled back home.
Along the way, something caught her eye. Something she’d missed before. On one of the side streets, there was a house with a bedroom light on. It certainly wasn’t a party winding down. At least, that’s what she presumed. Out of the morbid curiosity that had already encouraged her to go for a stroll, she headed down towards the house. And then she just stood there. The very next thing to occur was, for her, remarkable. Some might call it luck, or coincidence. To others, it would almost certainly be fate. Another light appeared in the house. Immediately, a dark figure emerged to one side before getting slightly larger as it approached the door. Polly didn’t really know what to expect. Her interest was thoroughly piqued, but there was a constant ticking of fear in her head. What was about to happen? Was she in danger?
The door let out small creaks, the kind that happen when someone tries to do something slowly and quietly no matter how hard you try to stop it. Gripping onto one part of the doorframe, the person leaned out and faced Polly who was now stiff. He looked her up and down before scrunching up his face. It was obvious he wasn’t really too sure of the situation either. “I mean, he has to be interesting. Normal people don’t just come out to meet a stranger at this time of the day”, Polly’s mind said to her. For a moment, there was absolute silence. Both remained motionless, until the person started talking. “Hey. Err, are you alright there? Are you lost? Is everything okay?” he tried to call out not too loudly, but in an obviously concerned tone. Polly had to spend a few seconds working out her reply. This was turning out to be a very surreal experience. She cobbled together a few words before returning to a motionless state, “Hi. Yeah, errm thanks. Yes, I’m fine. Just, you know, out for a stroll and a think?” There was silence again.
“Oh, okay. It’s just I noticed you walked past a few minutes ago and then you came down here,” as he shivered, leaning back and grasping his arms just beneath where the t-shirt ended. “I just thought maybe you had got yourself lost.” Polly spent a moment trying to comprehend the strangeness of the situation, before coming to the realisation that the chance of meeting this person again unintentionally had to be slim, so just being honest actually meant she had nothing to lose. And so she explained how she did not sleep and how she stayed awake, thinking about herself in the world. And her friends. And what they were doing and thinking. She explained everything she could. All the while, no-one else awoke from their sleep, woken by two people talking outside at an ungodly hour.
After explaining all that she could to the boy, whose name was John, he smiled. He invited her in with the promise of a warm drink and any biscuits he could find so that he could explain everything. Why he stayed up late every night. All the things he wanted to say to people. All the things he wanted to do, including those he no longer could. They shared some laughs, as the talking got more and more involving and intriguing as the sun rose. It was as if they were best friends who had been unable to talk for a long time. Polly had not ignored the time though and was very aware that she needed to get back to her house before the people she lived with started getting scared. Before she left, there was one quick exchange. John asked her, “Why did you come outside? Why didn’t you just stay in your room and fall asleep?” Polly immediately replied, “I just wanted to see what would happen. What about you? Why did you come outside?” John’s reply was just as quick. “I…I guess I just wanted to see what would happen.”
[To the next entry: Luck]