Polly’s New Home Part 1

A sequel to ‘The Search for Polly’.


James stared at the strange sight that met his eyes. A round white ball with a mouth and a single eye; a larger ball underneath with tiny stumps that looked like flippers; and a large finger that pointed straight at him…

As the strange creature began to shuffle up out of the icy surface, two other, larger white balls began to appear.

At first, James was frightened; he turned towards Mummy and hid his face. Then, the three creatures began to click and whistle. It was as if they were talking together. James, Mummy and Daddy couldn’t recognise the strange sounds the creatures were making, but they could understand what they were trying to say!

They were right. The first creature they’d seen was Polly, and like James, she was with her mummy and daddy. They had spent all their lives as part of a large family called the Fossicles who lived in a huge underwater lake, always wondering what lay on the outside. There were plenty of tiny fish in the lake. The Fossicles fed themselves by swimming around all day with their mouths open.

One day, the water in the lake had become warm and cloudy. It seemed as if a huge fire had been lit. Water was rushing upwards towards a hole in the roof, dragging Polly away.

Polly’s mummy and daddy had grasped hold of her. Without any warning, all three of them shot upwards at a frightening speed in a jet of water, out of the top of a volcano!

At this point in the story, the three Fossicles turned their fingers towards a huge mountain nearby with a wisp of steam coming out of its top.

Polly and her family carried on with their story. They’d tumbled down the side of the volcano until they reached the bottom.

The ground was red, and Polly’s daddy scraped some dust using his finger. When they mixed it with the water ice, they could eat it! Polly shook her head and made a face. James knew she didn’t think it tasted very nice.

It was called Tholin dust; it had kept them alive, but it wasn’t proper food. Her mummy showed them a pouch in her tummy, like a kangaroo has. She’d stored a lot more Tholin  inside.

It had been so, so cold on the surface of Pluto. The little family had waddled over to Sputnik Planum and then sat on the ice. They’d sent out the message for help that James had picked up, then they’d sunk under the surface and gone to sleep for a long, long time…

There was no way back to Polly’s home in the underground lake. They needed to find a brand new home, somewhere dark and cold. Daddy opened the door of the rocket. The Fossicles waddled inside. It was time to leave Pluto.


It was rather crowded with six of them in the rocket. Firstly, Mummy opened a large tin of sardines and mashed them up. She made sandwiches for herself, James and Daddy, then they fed the fish into the Fossicles’ mouths with spoons. James fed Polly, who loved it! He asked Polly how long it had been since she’d eaten fish. Polly and her mummy clicked and whistled for a while. They weren’t sure, but they thought they’d been asleep for a year.

Meanwhile the two daddies had been talking. Daddy Fossicle explained that there was another place like Pluto where perhaps they could make their home. It was called Triton, and it was a moon circling around the planet Neptune.

“Well, I never!” called out Daddy, “James noticed Triton when we were on our way here. We saw big fountains shooting up several miles above the surface!” 

So, they lit some more fireworks and off they headed – towards Triton. Three days later, they approached the moon. The blue-coloured Neptune looked very beautiful as it shone out behind Triton’s rocky surface.

As they came closer, they could see that much of the surface was rocky or was covered by rivers of ice. Polly and her family could never, ever move around on it. 

But then they saw a huge wide-open space that was perfectly flat and shiny. At the edges were strange rocks that stuck out of the surface. Mummy gently brought the rocket down to the ground. She, Daddy and James  put on their space suits whilst the Fossicles waited inside. Outside, the most wonderful view met James’ eyes. Neptune sat proudly in the distance.

Its famous blue spot looked like an eye, keeping watch. And in several places, a huge fountain of gas and liquid was shooting up from the surface into the sky. The Fossicles were hoping that they could wait until one of these fountains had finished, then jump into the hole. They were hoping to find an underground lake to live in, just like their home on Pluto.

It wasn’t windy on the surface, so after a few minutes the Fossicles came out to join them. It was difficult to move about on the surface because the ice was so slippy. In the end, they managed to scramble across the ice together by making a chain.

At one side stood James’ mummy; then Polly’s mummy; James; Polly; then the daddies. The humans wrapped their arms around the Fossicles. Polly made some very odd clicks, and James knew she was giggling. He giggled too!

At long last they found a place where there had been a fountain. Yes, there was a hole. But it wasn’t very big. And it didn’t go very far down into the ground.

“Oh dear,” said Daddy, “I’m afraid we’ll have to go back to the rocket and see what our Space Book says.” Everybody agreed. They were hungry after their walk on the ice. They all enjoyed some more fish, before Daddy took out his book and looked up ‘Triton’.

 “Yes, it  has had volcanoes like the one you were caught inside,” said Daddy, “but they don’t often happen. I’m afraid that if we leave you here, you’ll be waiting for ever before another one shoots up. These fountains are only on the moon’s surface. They happen because the sun warms up the ice in places where there’s red dust underneath. The warmed-up ice becomes gas, and it has to escape by making a fountain.”

Polly’s mummy and daddy made some clicks that said, “if we can’t live here, where else can we go?”

Polly made a low, whistling sound. James knew she was crying. He put his arms around her and hugged her. Then all of a sudden, he cried,

“I know! I’ve got an idea!”

James told them all what he was thinking. Everyone agreed with his plan. Soon after, Daddy lit some more fireworks. Blast-off!

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