Sean had followed the voice all the way to this clearing. He had gone on a walk to enjoy the last of his summer evenings, picking the country park just down the road from his parents’ home where he’d been staying. It was quiet and secluded, the perfect place for him to be alone with his thoughts. It was there that he heard the voice of a beautiful woman. The voice sounded so sweet…and yet so sad. Sean cut through the brush and blackberries, following the voice until it was all he could hear. And then he saw her.
The woman had long, black hair, flowing down to her hips. She wore a flowing green top and a long skirt the color of autumn leaves that fell gracefully around her bare feet. She looked the part of a mature woman – perhaps near forty years old – and yet Sean thought her to appear as young as the girls from his college campus. The woman sang her song as she picked the purple flowers that grew in abundance throughout the grove.
Slowly, Sean approached the woman. As he stood on nearby stump of a long-dead tree the woman spoke, causing Sean to freeze immediately.
“That’s close enough dearie. It’s not very kind of you to sneak up on a woman like me. I might get the wrong idea.” Slowly she shifted her gaze to Sean – he couldn’t help but notice her eyes, colored the same bright purple as the flowers.
“I’m s-sorry, ma’am,” Sean stuttered, “but I heard your song…in my head. It’s beautiful, and yet so sad.” Sean had no idea why he just decided to enter open conversation with the woman, but he felt somehow safe. It bewildered him.
“Well child,” the woman answered, “I have every reason to be sad. A woman my age with none to share my knowledge wish – I tend to think I should be cursed to die alone. At this age what hope is there for me?”
“Your age? But you can’t be more than” – Sean chose his next words carefully – “more than thirty-eight.”
The woman cackled happily, with the chiming of her long earrings accompanying it. “Oh you’re too kind. I haven’t been thirty-eight in a…long time. Tell me, what’s your name?”
“And you said you heard my song…in your head?”
Sean nodded. The woman was starting to make him nervous. Her words made him want to slowly step away, yet the glow of her eyes made him want to stay and listen. A coy smile crossed the woman’s bright red lips.
“You know, Sean, I may not be hopeless after all. How old are you again?”
“Oh, that’ll never do. Much too old. But…” She pressed a finger to her lips, apparently going into deep thought. She began to murmur to herself, shifting her head every so often as if she was having a conversation. “Twenty-one…could just reverse…but then he’s a…hmm.”
Now would be the perfect time to leave, Sean thought. And yet he stood on the stump, transfixed by the woman.
“Aha!” exclaimed the woman. She smiled at Sean, but it wasn’t a smile of malice or mischief. In fact, Sean felt the kindness emanating from the woman, like she had been reunited with an old friend. She took a couple of steps towards Sean, and he felt compelled to stand up straight and proper.
“Ah, darling. Your company has been a most kind gift to a woman like myself. So let me repay the kindness by giving you an even greater gift.”
With that she took some of the flowers in her hand and seemed to whisper some secret to them. She then turned her violet gaze to Sean and blew the petals towards him. At first they just flew in his face, causing Sean to blink and shake off a coming sneeze. However, before the bits of foliage could touch the ground they began to swirl around Sean.
“What…what are you doing? What are you?” Sean was rightfully scared. He wanted to run, but the air seemed to compress around him, rooting his body on the spot.
“Well, the Greeks liked to call me and my sisters Wood Nymphs, but in your modern tongue I suppose you’d call me…oh I think you know by now.”
“You’re a wi…wwww…” Sean felt his mouth starting to force itself shut. The air began to press tightly against his body. The woman before him seemed to be…growing? As did the trees and the plants in the grove – what was going on? The pressure became too much, and Sean forced his eyes shut.
“That’s right, dear. I’m a witch!” The woman exclaimed gleefully. And you” – she tapped Sean on the nose – “are going to be my new apprentice! Of course there are a few requirements, but I’ll get to that later – my favorite part’s coming up!”
Perhaps Sean would have understood if he still had use of his eyes. His whole body was shrinking in size and mass. His arms and legs lost most of their muscle mass, and he shrank from 5’ 8” to 4’ 4”. A tickling spread from the spot on his nose that the woman touched. First it filled his head – his features became softer and petite. His red-brown facial hair faded from his chin as it rounded out. Before any other changes could take place the tingling travelled down through the rest of his body. First Sean’s shoulders shrank and lessened, his shirt beginning to hang rather loosely on his body. His arm hair faded away quickly, and his hands shifted to match the rest of his changing frame, becoming thin and delicate.
As his torso followed suit, his shirt finally began to adjust with its owner. It began to cling tightly to Sean’s new slim, slightly curved frame. The sleeves began slinking back to his shoulders, revealing now hairless armpits, and soon they were reduced to mere straps. Sean felt two small mounds of flesh begin to press forth from his chest, and the shirt pressed back, now having become a girl’s tank top of bright green. The mounds tingled with the pressure – Sean almost enjoyed it. The slight pleasure seemed to spread the tingling faster, as it raced towards the student’s lower half. Sean’s hips flared, and he felt his butt press against his pants. He distressed as he felt his genitals slowly begin to slip into his body – soon he found himself with a small, alien slit beneath his legs. The process proceeded underneath the surface, as the tubes and components of his once male anatomy became female.
Sean’s cargo pants began to tighten – they shifted in fabric too, becoming a pair of slim fit jeans. His feet shrank several sizes, to the point where his jeans almost engulfed them. However, as they slimmed around his ankles they began to cuff and reveal his new, dainty feet, sitting in the shadow of his brown outdoor flip flops. Those too shrank as the sole thickened and became white. From there Sean felt fabric surround them – first the soft cotton of socks, and then a tighter fabric that grew hard around the toes and tight up to his ankle, forming a pair of girl’s Converse low-tops.
Sean noticed a tickling around his head and shoulders – his hair was growing. Unbeknownst to him his hair had changed from brown to a bright, summer blonde. It stopped right at his shoulders, and Sean felt his bangs being pinned back to the side. Slowly the pressure began to abate and Sean lifted his eyes. The last changes were focused there – as his eyes flickered open his lashes thickened and his eyes shone with a bright violet color.
Sean’s head felt cloudy, and he reached his new hand to his forehead, only to find the long strands of alien hair in the way. Wasn’t his hair brown…and short? No, it had always been like that, he was sure. He looked up at the strange woman, who now somehow felt familiar.
“It’s okay sweetie, I’m here.” She mused. “The fogginess will clear shortly, and you’ll be ready.”
“Ready…for what?” Sean’s eyes widened at his…her voice. It was so light and airy, and so pleasant to the ear.
“For your new life as my daughter! See, I said there were rules, right? Well there are two, specifically. One: you have to be on the cusp of adolescence to begin magical studies – you said you were twenty-one, so I took the easy route and flipped the digits. Ideally I would have made you a few years younger but hey, I work with what I get.”
She stopped, noticing her daughter’s uncomfortable rubbing at her new breasts. “Whoops, almost forgot!” She snapped her fingers and Sean instantly felt a piece of fabric form around his breasts – a training bra, no doubt. Shortly after he felt his underwear change to suit his new body more appropriately as well.
“And as I was saying, rule number two is that you have to be a female blood relative. I never got the daughter I had always wanted, so I chose you as the next best thing. Of course, I had to keep the clothes rather modern – no daughter of mine is going without a proper schooling. Which you start next week, by the way. I’ve enrolled you in your original Middle School – should make the transition easier. Oh, you’ve made me so happy, and you just showed up here by chance. The young child who followed my singing – my little Aria.”
Aria…yes, that was her name. And this woman was her mother. “Melody, right?”
“Yes!” Melody exclaimed. “Oh you’re going to make your mother so proud! Now come along, I have much to show you my dear.”
Aria grabbed her mother’s outstretched hand and found herself smiling. Tomorrow was the day she had been dreaming of all twelve years of her life. Tomorrow she started training as a witch.