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‘Well, pup?’ the seal asks, and you snap out of your daze. ‘Are you going to remain silent or do you intend to try and speak with me? I’ve no desire to rush you, mind, but I assume you’re intelligent enough to pick this up quickly, hmm?’


You shake your head and drum up what you have opted to say. ‘You…’ You blink as you hear your voice in your head, sharper than when you normally think to yourself, as if your lips are indeed vocalizing words. You blink a few times and continue. ‘You know about the genie?’


Those strange, human eyes hold mirth in them. ‘Of course I do. It’s the most likely reason for why you find yourself in the blessed body of a selkie, pup - normal humans would never fathom of becoming one of my kin unless they’d fallen in love with one of us.’ She pauses, then snorts. ‘Although you seem to have taken to it fairly well, it’s clear you’ve no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into in full. But, yes. I know of the genie.’


You blink a few times, taking this in.


‘Your world is not as mundane as you may have once believed,’ the selkie says. ‘There is much magic lurking within it - many of the myths you have heard to be fairy tales or fantasy hold some kernels of truth to them, or else we would not be having this conversation.’


‘I’m… starting to see that now,’ you reply.


‘Mm.’ She nods slowly. ‘You are not the first human to be transformed into a selkie, pup. Certainly not, and you won’t be the last. There are many others, some of whom live not far from where we stand.’ She nods her head toward the direction you came from. ‘That great rock formation you likely saw?’


You nod as you recall it.


‘That is home to several selkie, some like you, some like me,’ she replies.


You turn toward the direction you chose not to go and soak this in. ‘How many…’ You pause and shift your thoughts around a little. ‘How many others are like me? Humans turned into selkie? And… are they all that way because of the same genie?’


‘I cannot give you a full number,’ she replies, and she shrugs her shoulders to the best way a seal can shrug. ‘Many are like this due to magical influences, yes, though perhaps not the same djinn. Fortunately, there is something you likely didn’t know - or perhaps you were led to think differently by the djinn responsible.’ She leans in to stare at you, her eyes gleaming. ‘You can, in fact, return to your former visage, pup. You aren’t trapped in this body for eternity.’


You are stunned to hear this. You swore there was a voice that told you this would be your new body forever. To hear otherwise is… not at all what you expected. Somehow, you feel relieved to hear this - you think back to the things you thought you’d have to leave behind, and now, you admit a part of you does miss them.


‘But, wait,’ you think, trying to sort all this out. ‘Then why would…?’


‘You must’ve done something to upset the genie, hmm?’ the selkie asks, then gives a snort. ‘So many djinn are ridiculously sensitive beings, offended by the tiniest of slights.’ She rolls her eyes. ‘It is not uncommon for humans to use the wrong tone by mistake or to get upset or whatever, and a genie will curse them out of sheer spite. Fortunately, such magics can be worked around to ensure these cursed humans are able to live happier lives.’


‘So the genie was lying when he said I was stuck this way?’ you ask.


‘Yes, pup,’ the selkie replies. ‘The magic you have been imbued with cannot be undone, however - but you can learn to control it, as many selkie like you do. Doing so will allow you to live in both worlds: yours, that of normal humans, and ours, that of the magically gifted, of the beings you likely know as fae.’


Your eyes go wide. ‘Fae? Fairies? So they’re real?’


‘Not to the extent you might be thinking,’ the selkie admits, giving another shrug in the process. ‘But yes, they are real enough. We selkie are one of many similar beings that fall into the same bracket as the fae you are thinking of - those with the blessed ability to shift between the body of an animal and a human. In your case, you are naturally born human, whereas I am naturally a seal. But time and magic has gifted me the ability to speak, to think, and to comprehend all manner of things as a human being would.’


‘Wow…’ you say.


It’s a lot to take in, of course, and you feel yourself excited to hear this all. You have always been a fan of the fantastical; you never thought you’d be living it, and you admit that you hadn’t considered this when you were first turned into a selkie.


‘You seem to be dwelling a lot on this,’ the selkie remarks. ‘That’s a good sign.’


‘I don’t know where to even start with all this,’ you tell her.


She cocks her head to the side, studying you. ‘Well, what is it you wish to know first? Do you want to find out how to return to your human form? Or would you rather save that and instead discover what you can do as a selkie? Either work for me, unless you’ve another question that’s nagging at your mind.’


You pause to think. Good question. Both of them are decent options, and you feel either one would be useful for you in the moment.


‘Are both possible?’ you ask the selkie.


She chuckles. ‘Of course, pup. I would not deny you the right to return to your flesh form - to do so would be an insult to my kin, and I feel no desire to be malicious to one that, while perhaps foolish, is not wicked themselves.’


You don’t respond to that one since, well, you don’t really want to (you know you messed up and that you haven’t thought of it much since becoming a selkie, but you can dwell on that later, you tell yourself). For now, you think, and weigh the two options given to you.

Written by Hollowpages on 14 July 2020

Schooled II

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