Episode 4 – The picture of Polly

While browsing through my collection of books I stumbled upon ‘The picture of Dorian Gray’. It had been my first big story of Oscar Wilde and has been one of my favourite stories ever since. I opened it on a random page and the story came rushing over me.
I opened my eyes and found myself in the middle of a library. In front of me was a young man, who I immediately recognized as Dorian Gray. Everything Oscar Wilde had written about him was true. He really was incredibly beautiful. I was staring at his face while I noticed he was looking at me like I was a ghost.
‘Who… How… What just?’ I realized that appearing in front of someone who wasn’t used to crazy things might not have been the smartest thing to do.
‘I’m sorry, Mr. Gray. I didn’t mean to scare you. I shouldn’t have appeared like that. Usually this doesn’t happen.’
‘Appear? Who just appears? What are you?’
‘I’m Polly. Nice to meet you.’ I wanted to shake his hand, but he only looked at my hand with disgust.
‘What’s a Polly? Some kind of devil?’
‘I’m no devil. I’m just a girl. I’m really sorry I scared you like that. I just wanted to ask you a question.’
‘A devil disguised as a girl! You are here because of that Sybil Vane aren’t you? You are here to punish me for treating her badly.’ He stammered while walking away from me. I finally noticed he had been standing in front of his painting. He saw me looking at it en pointed.
‘Did you do this to my face? Are you going to do that to me now?’
‘It has already changed? May I see it?’
‘Already?! So you knew this was going to happen! Please don’t do this to me!’
‘I would never do such a thing. I’m really not the devil, you have to believe me.’
‘Believe you! How can I believe a girl that just appeared! You don’t just appear! Only God or the Devil would do such a thing. And you are no God.’
‘Please calm down Mr. Gray.’ He kept on screaming at me, going on about the devil disguising like a girl. ‘I only want to ask you a question. Please Mr. Gray.’
‘And how do you know my name! I have not told you my name!’
‘I’m from a different world. I just-’
‘You come from hell! This painting is an omen! I see that now! You have come to take me to hell. I will not let this happen!’
‘But that’s really not why I’m here. I promise.’ But it was too late. Dorian had already turned around and run out of the room, leaving me alone with his painting. I sighed. They usually handle girls appearing out of nowhere better. I walked around, so I could finally have a look at the painting. It was already showing signs of ugliness. Dorian had a scary smirk on his face; his smile had turned into a grimace. The painting gave me a sinister feeling. The real Dorian Gray was an ugly person and this face was only the beginning.
That the picture had changed meant that Sybil had already died. I felt sad. She always seemed like a nice person to me. I would have liked to talk to her. I sat down on a chair and positioned myself so I could see the painting. It was too bad Dorian ran away. Now I couldn’t ask him about Sybil. Maybe I should go look for him. If I could only explain that I wasn’t the devil, he might calm down. But on the other hand, Oscar Wilde did make him into a dramatic person. I wondered if I could make him believe me. I stared at the face in the painting. Maybe he would answer me.
‘Painting of Mr. Dorian Gray, have you ever been in love?’ No answer came. I wasn’t shocked, but it was a chance I had to take. I took one more look at the picture and got up from the chair. Dorian wasn’t coming back anymore. It was time to go home. I pushed the chair back and closed my eyes.
‘Take this, you Devil-woman!’ I felt something fly by and I opened my eyes. Dorian had returned and was throwing cutlery at me.
‘Mr. Gray! Could you please not throw things at me? I only came to ask you something,’ I said as I ducked for a fork.
‘The devil will not get me!’
‘I am not the devil. Why don’t you believe me?’ A knife had fallen before my feet and I picked it up. ‘I give up. I know what happens to people that run into you with knives. I’m sorry, Mr. Gray, but I have to go now.’ A spoon flew by my legs and there was more to come. Disappointed I closed my eyes and left. This was the first time I came home without an answer. But I guess it was my own fault. I did scare him a bit. I should be more careful next time. The knife was still in my hand and I looked at it. Dorian Gray didn’t give me any answers, but he also didn’t send me home empty handed.

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