Frederick, the body-swapping duck
Frederick ruffled his feathers. The Santa Monica sun warmed his beak as he paddled around the Art Pond. He watches book-laden students pass by, too hurried to talk to one another. Smiling, he turns to his companion without meeting the eyes of anyone else around but his fellow duck, “There will be a great deal of tomorrows between us this year, my love. This season is certain to be marvelous.” Petunia looked at her mallard companion and paddled around the pond gracefully. The petite duck swims in circles whenever she is happy, “Yes indeed dear Frederick. I cannot wait to hear more of their stories”
Frederick had not always been a duck. Before his arrival to the college- to this earth even, he had been a powerful wizard. Parallel to our world there are two others: the shadow world called Sipio and the dream realm known as Elsemere.
Frederick had traveled into the dark realm to rescue his darling, Petunia the Brave- who had ventured into the shadows of Sipio in search of knowledge and wisdom. However she had become entangled with her own fear and self doubt. King Linger, the ruler of Sipio, took advantage of this, and put her to work doing menial tasks- ill suited to dreamsome nature. When Frederick found out an epic battle ensued, resulting in the victory of the dark king. The result was that the Sipian King banished them to the Real World, where they would live among the humans, but transformed them into small birds- so they would not be able to communicate.
Initially when they had appeared in this world, it had been on the beach. Neither of them had ever seen such a vast pond. Petunia had been surprised to discover her once beautiful violet skin had been covered with feathers, she no longer had any horns- now her feet were webbed, and she was considerably smaller. Frederick was not at all upset about his new found proud dressage, but did miss his long trailing bead- and sparkling wizards hat.
The two of them paddled around the pond happily. In their minds, it was a sunny day in Elsemere- as well as in Santa Monica. Frederick still retained some of his magical abilities and every few days he would use them to body swap with one of the students. It was never for very long, at least not in duckhours. Frederick was able to take on a whole new perspective for a time. His appearance in this new world filled him with curiosity, and this was his only way of understanding those around him.
Humans existed in Elsemere as well, but behaved quite differently than those in this world. They came in many other colors, had a great deal of features which did not seem common to those of this race- they had been allowed to evolve without war and the primary concern of the realm was one’s curiosity- and what made one create and become. In Elsemere each person was their soul’s masterpiece. Creation in the dream realm carried on undaunted by reality. Some residents grew fanciful coral gardens, others would become wing surgeons- grafting on the ability to soar above the cloud painters, some would be in charge of inventing new colors.
What Petunia missed most about her homeland was the Grand Elsemerian Library.
Luckily, she found solace in the students who took over Frederick’s body when he swapped. They would at first be very confused and afraid, still worried about classes, exams and work- but she would teach them how to accept being a duck for a moment, and often leaving them a better human afterwards.
The way the duck wizard went about his body swapping began with a gaze, He would match his black eyes with a student and peer into them into he found their soul. Which usually worked, everyone has one- they just occasionally forget about it and leave it somewhere, like misplacing one’s keys. The more complacent, or distracted the person was- the easier time Frederick had swapping bodies. Body switching is as easy as changing caps if you know how it’s done. For two hours last Wednesday, he was a cute Japanese girl learning about cell division in her biology class. As a wizard always does, he made sure to take very good notes- and always made sure to wait until the second or third week of school so he would have a pool of sample handwriting to mimic. The typically quiet girl giggled and drew pictures in the margins of her page.
Frederick was more than partially responsible for the proliferation of the ‘duck face’ trend on Facebook. It takes an Elsemerian wizard to organize such silliness.
Later she stopped by the Art Pond. The girl smiled at the duck and suddenly she was looking back at the pond. While she had been a duck- she had paddled happily and stretched her wings- getting a rare chance to fly. The rest of her day went swimmingly, but she never mentioned it to anyone. No one ever asked, nor did she expect anyone would believe it.
The two ducks make up the secret life blood of the school- when you’re stressed and needing a break from being human, go to find them. Petunia will ask you about your dreams and tell you about the fanciful realm from which she hails and Frederick will help you get by- hoping to understand your world and context. You see, body switching is easy- the hardest part is changing minds and hearts when they’re filled with fear and anxiety. Frederick believes the key to sanity and happiness is your pursuit of knowledge and Petunia reminds you not to neglect your soul. So next time you see our school duck- meet his gaze, and enjoy your day.