Fakir stared at the blank page before him. His pen hovered over the paper as he considered what to write.
There was a girl with long orange hair and
He stopped writing. And what? What color had her eyes been? He looked at the duck that nested on his bed. Blue. That was it.
There was a girl with long orange hair and blue eyes. She was a duck turned into a girl with magic. But when that magic faded, she'd been returned to her duck form, but her love for Fakir was able to return her to her true form.
He looked at the duck again. Nothing. Angrily he crumpled the paper and tossed it with the other crumpled papers surrounding him, covering his desk and the floor, joining their fate.
"I'm going out," he informed the duck. The duck tilted its head, quacked, and followed.
Outside he could clear his head. Closing his eyes, he could just let his mind wander, let himself think back to that fairy tale town where Duck had been a girl and not, well, a duck.
Fakir knelt down and patted the duck on the head. "Maybe I should just give up," he told the duck. "I can barely remember what you look like, and if I can't, what about you?"
The duck tilted its head. "Quack?"
Fakir felt tears sting his eyes, but he stubbornly blinked them back. "I'm not much of a writer, am I? I can't even turn you back to yourself. I guess I'm just a failure."
"Quack." The duck bit his fingers.
"Ouch!" He pulled his hand back quickly. "I'm just saying it how it is." Not that he thought the duck understood. Since returning to her duck form, Duck hadn't shown any signs of her former human intellect. "There's nothing I can do for you now. I've tried again and again. I just can't do it."
The tears came forth, spilling from his eyes and running down his cheeks. "There's nothing " Fakir collapsed to his knees. There really wasn't. He wasn't good enough. There was nothing left for him, for duck. Now she was nothing more than a pet, something to pour his efforts into so he wouldn't have to face the truth. The fairy tale was over. There would be no more happy endings. Not for him, and certainly not for Duck.
The duck quacked softly and nestled against him. If he didn't know any better, he would have thought she was trying to comfort him. She'd been so strong as a human, it only made sense that some of her would remain even after losing everything.
Then a thought came to him. "Wait, I know." He stood up. "I have to write a story. All I've been doing was writing nonsense to bring you back."
"There's no time." Fakir scooped up the duck and ran back inside to his desk. He set the duck back down on the bed, tossed her a piece of bread, and picked up his quill once more.
Once upon a time there was a duck who became a girl. The girl danced like a duck, but she dreamed of being a swan. There was also a man who had fallen in love with her.
Fakir paused again, took a deep breath. It wasn't Shakespeare, that was for sure, but it would have to do.
But the magic that kept her human could only last so long. She returned to being a duck, and the man couldn't imagine a life without her. He worked day and night to find a way to return her to her human form.
The endless days and nights took their toll. He fell terribly ill.
Even before the ink dried Fakir could feel the fever coming on. If this didn't work, he might just die. But if I don't do this, he thought, then Duck won't come back.
He continued writing.
As the man lay slowly dying, he looked at the duck that had once been the girl he loved and told her a story. A story of the time when she was human, of how he fell in love with her. But words soon failed him. He could no longer speak, and his eyes slid closed. "I love you," was the last thing he said.
The duck cried. "Why?" she sobbed. "This is unfair. I loved you too."
The tears flowed freely, and the duck did nothing to stop them. They fell and fell and fell onto the man she'd loved's face. And his eyes opened.
He was still sick, but she knew he'd get better as he took her hand, her human hand, and kissed her.
The pen slipped from Fakir's fingers. Ink splattered the page, but Fakir couldn't move to save his work. It was all he could do to stumble to his bed and collapse there.
"I know," he said, hoarse. There was no turning back now. "Duck, let me tell you a story "