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Camps, Cruelty, and Julia Elmwood
From: guest (Record Keeper) , 1 months, post #1
For some reason the story Cramps, Cruelty, and Julia Elmwood by the WholesomeWombat have completely disappeared from the internet as well as Mr. Wombat himself... not sure what happened to him, but luckily I saved a copy in case anyone is looking for it...

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Cramps, Cruelty, and Julia Elmwood [TG/Body Swap
by WholesomeWombat, Dec 3, 2017, 10:40:33 PM
Literature / Fan Fiction / Horror
It wasn’t right to judge other people. If Parker had learned anything during his eighteen short years of life, it was that. But as Julia Elmwood sat by the side of the pool twiddling her thumbs on her cell phone and shouting out not-so-silent insults to him and the rest of the swim club, he had a tough time living by that code. They took a short break and rested in the water, and Bee turned to him pleadingly, shooting daggers at Julia. This wasn’t what the swim team was meant to be. Resting on the sidelines while struggling against himself not vocalize his anger, he thought back to how all this had started.

Parker Flat was a student at Huron High, and last month he had been excited to start his senior year. His summer hadn’t consisted of much more than working and preparing for college; after all, he had to be ready for when the orphanage booted out the moment he graduated. Going back to school meant another chance to hang out with friends, learn cool new things, and best of all, swim.

If there was anything in his life that filled Parker with joy, it was the Huron High Swim Club. Many people were confused why it was called a club instead of a team-- school sport associations required at least ten members and participation in local competitions to be considered an actual team, of which they had neither. Including himself, they only had nine, but he never cared about that; the group he had gotten together was an accomplishment in itself.

Despite the school’s possession of a well-maintained and state of the art swimming pool, no swimming organization had existed at all on campus until he had founded it himself freshman year, and as its captain, he had worked hard to recruit people in order to make it the best group he possibly could. None had initially wanted to join, and after a while he had thought it would’ve been impossible to get a group together with the virtually nonexistent interest in swimming on campus. He showed up at the end of every single school day to the pool, hoping that someone would’ve been hooked in from one of his many fliers or classroom announcements, only to end up swimming alone.

That sad state of affairs had lasted almost his first month of school and it probably would have gone on longer if not for him meeting Bee. Back then she wasn’t the mellow voice-of-reason she was now; in fact, she had some serious anger issues. The young girl had been having a tough time with her parents at home, and she brought those issues along to school, lashing out at everyone around her. He remembered one famous incident where she’d almost gotten expelled for punching the gym teacher in the nose; the thought of her doing that now was absurd enough to make him laugh.

Parker hadn’t been sure why the impulse had crossed his mind at the time, but he walked up to the girl sitting alone at lunch and asked her if she’d be interested in joining the swim team. She almost socked him in the face, but he didn’t give up on her, and after a week or two had gotten her into the pool with him. The offer of friendship and a physical outlet had done her much good, and a few weeks later not only did the swim club have a second permanent member, but one who had undergone a complete shift in personality, trading in her bitterness and vitriol for good cheer and friendliness.

It was then that Parker had realized the potential of what he’d created and just what the swim club could be, and working together with his new companion they set off to find more potential members in need. Thus, the swim team slowly became a place where students came to get away from their problems and become better people. Phoebe, that shy girl in Bee’s history class so lacking in confidence that she couldn’t get more than a few sentences out without bursting into tears? A few months on the swim club and she’d become one of the most bubbly and talkative personalities the school had ever seen. Or Fred, the obese fellow who walked around with a perpetual frown as he avoided contact with anyone? The swim club transformed him into about as healthy and socially active a guy as anybody could imagine. And so it went, with the club slowly growing over the years, their friendship only getting stronger with each member. Looking over his eight friends, Parker was proud of what he had done as captain. The swim team stood for a single, all encompassing idea - that anyone could change. And Parker really did believe that.

And he even believed that when the nastiest, rudest and most infuriatingly popular girl in the whole school had shown up for the first club meeting of the year. Julia Elmwood was the last person in the world he would have expected to have come to a swim club meeting; famously known around school for her wealth, family, and overbearing smugness directed at anyone who wasn’t her, she wasn’t the type who seemed eager to jump in a cold pool and exert herself five hours a week. The black-haired beauty of the school, actually joining the swimming team? An Elmwood like her interacting with normal students? It seemed more than strange... but Parker never would have turned down a potential member, no matter what rumors might have said. That just wasn’t what the swim club was about.

She quickly revealed, however, that she had no interest in joining, and as she explained herself Parker felt his blood begin to boil. For her senior year, Julia had a project in mind; she wanted to appear in the yearbook photo of every after-school club. Parker had no idea how that could be possible in terms of scheduling, until Julia explained that she had no intention of actually joining all those clubs; she just wanted to be in the pictures, and she was going around to the leaders of every club to make sure their wouldn’t be any “problems”.

Parker didn’t care much about the photo himself, but he could see that such a gesture would hurt the morale of his team, so he politely told her that it wouldn’t be possible. An angry scowl on her face, Julia left without a word, only to come back with the principle in tow the next afternoon, who told them that they wouldn’t be able to continue as a club if they continued to "exclude students". Parker barely held Bee from going off on him as he tried to correct the record, and once the situation had been properly explained, the principle pinched his forehead in frustration and came up with a solution.

“Look, the school’s rules say that a student must be allowed to join the yearbook photo if they join any club for a minimum of four weeks during the year. If she does that and leaves afterwards, you will have to include her at the end of the semester. However, Ms. Elmwood, you must be an active participant in the club during that time. Is everyone clear?”

And so it was that Julia Elmwood joined the Swim Club-- (which, technically had become the Swim Team along with her membership), although calling her an active participant was a stretch. Julia showed up in a white revealing swimsuit that didn’t look even remotely appropriate for competitive swimming, and she didn’t enter the pool once, claiming that she was dealing with her monthly cramps, a cheeky grin on her face. The excuse went on to the point of absurdity. Working on drills? Sorry, she had cramps. Needed help setting up the lane lines and handing out the kickboards? Cramps, Julia was afraid to report. Asking her to even consider thinking about coming in the pool? Cramps, cramps and more cramps.

Since Parker was a guy, he couldn’t say anything, but Bee was quick to call her out on her lies. Still, they couldn’t do anything about it; she’d just go back to the principal complaining that they were discriminating against her. And so she sat, toying on her phone and openly mocking them, day after day, week after week.

As captain, Parker could have just ended the charade whenever and given her the picture before the month was done to be rid of her, but he didn’t want to. Not because he cared about the photo, but because deep down, he thought it might be possible to help her with the swim club the same way it had helped everyone else. He had seen her do some mean and awful things to people during his time in high school, but despite her immense popularity and family name, she must have been going through something in order to act like that. Maybe things were tough at home, or she was more lonely that she gave the impression of being… after all, people weren’t just mean for no reason, right? If he could just coax her into the water, he was sure he could get her to change her rotten ways.

Bee didn’t agree with him, but thankfully she trusted him enough to let him try. Still, it had been three weeks out and he’d yet to coax her into the water or even say something to them other than a scornful comment. He could see that his teammates were beginning to get frustrated, and eventually even Bee started getting back on his case about just giving into her demands and letting her be in the stupid photo so they could have their club back. He just asked her for one more day. That was all he needed.

It was at the end of that Friday practice, and everyone else but him had left for the weekend. As captain, it was his job to tidy up and lock up the gate after practice, and as he was doing so, he noticed that someone had left something behind on the bench. Walking over to examine it, he saw that it was a pink satchel handbag; specifically, Julia’s. Out of the corner of his eye, he suddenly saw her re-approach the pool. It seemed that she left it there by mistake and was now coming back to retrieve it after realizing her mistake. This was perfect; now he could have a frank conversation with her in private, and maybe try to come to some sort of agreement. Away from all the others, it might have been easier to get her to open up. As she approached, he held out the bag.

“Julia! You left this here… listen, can we talk? I think we all got off on the wrong foot…”

She snatched back her pursed and combed through it, a somewhat repulsed expression on her face.

“You didn’t touch this, right? I swear, if there’s one thing missing…”

He sighed and tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“Um… no, Julia. I just wanted to make sure you it back. Listen, about this whole team thing… maybe you’d like it if you actually joined us the water next week? If you just come in and give it a try, I’d be willing to bet that you’d enjoy yourself.”

Without really thinking about it, he tried giving her a reassuring pat on the shoulder. It was something he did with his teammates all the time, and he didn’t think that much of it, but he instantly knew it was a mistake the way she threw herself backwards from it, visibly retching like he was a diseased animal.

“Don’t fucking touch me, you orphaned freak! You and your whole gang of fucktards disgust me… I’m not touching that pisswater. If you want me gone early, then give me the photo. Otherwise I’m staying the week and getting my picture.”

He ignored the “orphaned freak” comment. He’d heard worse things by this point in his life.

“Look, why don’t you just try swimming? You might like it! We don’t have anything against you, Julia. Neither do I.”

She stared at him, almost flabbergasted that he was still trying to talk to her. Parker had shown her that her petty insults weren’t going to bother him, even if she tried getting personal. He was still going to take the high road.

“I’m not one of you, okay? I don’t have magic workout genes like all you faggots. I could be a swimmer, if I wanted to. But I don’t. My body is built for beauty, not for physical activity. So unless you wanna give me that photo early, you can fuck right off.”

Finishing her rant, she turned around and began stomping out, her heels clicking angrily against the pavement.

That first bit of what she said had caught him off guard. If she wanted to throw around bullshit insults, that was her prerogative, but what she had said had bugged him in a way she probably didn’t even fully understand.

First of all, as he could easily tell, she was absolutely wrong about her own body, which was almost infuriating enough in itself. Julia was tall and slender, with long limbs and broad shoulders; in essence, she had the perfect swimmer body. Most of his female club members would have killed to have started off with a physique like that, even if it wasn’t trained. If she ever did become a serious swimmer, her natural potential would have been far higher than probably around 95% of people, if not more.

The only thing limiting her was her own lack of desire to improve. But that wasn’t what really bothered him; what really ticked him off was what she said about him and his teammates. To devalue all of their hard work like that and say that they hadn’t worked their butts off to get where they were at? That was more maddening than anything else she could have thrown out. It was true that Parker had great genetics, at least for swimming, but most of his teammates didn’t and were still amazing swimmers nonetheless, and for her to say that all that was completely worthless…

It was too much for him to handle.

“You know what, Julia? Fine. Go away, you bitch.”

She turned around. He knew what he was saying was wrong, but he just couldn’t stop himself. It felt so nice to finally put her in her place, taking the high road be damned.

“Yeah, I said it. It’s what everyone here already thinks and you know it. You know why I think you hate us so much? Because you know that we have something you can never have. Your rich family can buy you almost anything, but you no matter what you do or where you go, you can’t become a swimmer without hard work. You’ll never know the satisfaction of earning something yourself. You want the photo? Fine, I don’t care. Just don’t come here anymore.”

He turned around, grabbing his own bag and walking towards the gate. He heard Julia rustling through her bag behind him, but he didn’t care. He was too fuming to think of anything but his own disgust for her. Bee was right; there were some people you simply couldn’t help.

An awful chill hit his back from behind, and he hit the floor fast and hard, the world melting out from underneath him as he slammed into the concrete below with an audible thud.

---

He watched his own body swim, unable to stop his dainty hands from trembling. Julia had no clue what she was doing out there in the water, and it showed. Even with a simple stroke like freestyle, she managed to disregard anything relating to proper form, her arms slamming hard into the water with every pained stroke, her kicks erratic and sloppy. She kept bumping into the lane lines, and her flip turns-- and calling them flip turns was very generous-- were abhorrent, her feet not even pushing off the wall after she somersaulted. It was some consolation to his battered ego that he was well trained enough that his body could still make good time even when controlled by someone without even the slightest knowledge of correct technique, but he still was glad that no one but him was around to witness this sad display.

He had woken up just a few minutes earlier to the sound of his own voice laughing, a pair of large breasts rising up just beneath his line of sight the first thing he noticed, a lock of wavy black hair flying past his eyes as he scrambled to stand up. His proportions were off, and the bounce in his bust was impossible to ignore as he watched himself poke his own abs and snicker to himself. It was like something out of a movie.

Parker was by no means a believer in the supernatural or mystical, but he was genre-savvy enough to know what had happened without having to go through all the motions. They’d swapped bodies, and at least as far as he was able to gauge from her reaction, she’d intended to do this. He didn’t care how or why she’d done this-- he just wanted to change back as quickly as possible. He tried calling out to her, wanting to stop that cruel sounding laughter coming from his mouth as quickly as possible, only to find that he couldn’t speak a single word, his throat not allowing a single syllable to escape. Julia saw the confused look on his face, and laughed again before explaining herself.

“You think I’d do this and let you talk, dipshit? Sorry, you’ll be miss quiet for the next few days- can’t have you ruining my reputation, you know. Don’t think about trying to write shit down, either. Won’t work. You can’t tell a soul.”

He walked over to her, his rage getting the better of him, punching his old body in the gut as hard as he could. Julia didn’t even flinch, laughing even more and relishing the feeling of how much stronger she now was than him. He was frustrated, but took the fact that she didn’t lay a finger on him in retribution well, which at the very least seemed to signify that she intended on switching back at some point. As she went on with her spiel, that thought brought him comfort; she was Julia Elmwood, and the Julia Elmwood he knew would never abandon her life for another. This all must have been just a sick game to her- a theory that was validated with her next statement.

“I was gonna use that charm on that ugly bitch in my science class, but you managed to piss me off even more. These things are expensive, you dipshit. But whatever. I can make this work. Hell, this’ll be fun. Like roleplaying as an insane-fucking-freak. Oh, don’t look so melodramatic, pussy. It lasts for like three days, tops. If I can stand to be in your pigshit small-dicked carcass for more than five seconds I’m sure you can manage to live in my perfect body. Fuck, I should be charging you for the privilege.”

The threat of this being permanent now quashed, he felt himself start to breath a little easier. Still, the thought of being Julia Elmwood for any length of time wasn’t a welcoming one no matter how Parker looked at. He felt so pissed at her, her stupid spoiled smirk plastered proudly on his face. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had gotten him so riled up, if ever.

“So all that shit you were spurting earlier about me not being able to have what I want? I’m Julia fucking Elmwood. I can have whatever I want and whatever I don’t. So shut the fuck up and be a good girl while I screw around with your shit and maybe I won’t wreck your entire life. Then again, I haven’t done this with a guy yet. I really should take advantage of this. Maybe I’ll make out with your little slutty girlfriend…”

The thought of Julia even approaching Bee while in his body was enough to make him flare up again with anger, and he moved to punch her again, Julia easily catching his tiny wrist with his own hand. The size disparity between the two of them was even more apparent with her having stopped him so easily. He wrestled his arm back from her with great difficulty before taking a step back, exasperated. He wanted to scream so badly, but she’d stolen his voice in addition to his body, and no matter how he tried, no sound would come out. It was like someone had removed his vocal cords. He’d never seen The Little Mermaid, but he knew the gist well enough to hope that Julia found herself impaled on mast of a ship by the time this was all over.

Thankfully, even after she’d stolen his athleticism, she couldn’t steal his passion for the sport, and he was only forced to endure watching her swim in his body for a few minutes before her short attention span got the better of her and she got out of the pool. Without sound, he tried begging her to switch them back as she slowly gathered her things and started to leave the pool, but not before reaching into his pockets and throwing his old phone to the ground, shattering it into pieces.

“I don’t want you bothering me. Try coming close to me one more time or doing anything I wouldn’t do and I’ll have you fucking committed before it wears off. Don’t go to school. Don’t go outside. Don’t touch or steal my shit and don’t grab my tits, and don’t do anything with anyone who doesn’t come to you first. My parents are gone for the month so just behave and stay in my room. My place is bugged to all hell and I’ll know the moment you try anything. I’d tell you to keep your pretty little mouth shut too, but I know I don’t have to worry about that.”

And she left just as she came, his body walking with a feminine strut he’d never have liked to see it carry, wordlessly mourning the loss of his phone along with his body. Parker had worked so hard for it. Julia couldn’t have understood how important that old Blackberry had been to him, the girl having brought along a new cell phone with her almost every other day…

The next three days were some of the oddest that he’d ever had in his entire life. She had been kind enough to leave her address behind before abandoning him by the poolside, and he followed the directions in a stupor, simultaneously embarrassed by the sensations of being in a girl’s body and oddly curious by the neighborhood he’d just walked into, the houses around him getting larger and larger with each street until they didn’t even seem like houses anymore.

Eventually, he reached the home she ordered him to go to, and his jaw dropped at the sight of it. Julia lived in a palace, her giant bedroom (which she didn’t have to share with anyone!) filled to the brim with undeserved trophies, expensive gadgets, and dozens upon dozens of pictures of her alongside friends and family in various locales around the world. She must have been to at least fifty different countries- Parker had never even left the state before.

In the corner, there was a walk-in closet filled to the brim with hundreds if not thousands of different girly outfits, although he didn’t dare even touch them for fear of her retribution- not that he wanted to in the first place. He didn’t explore the rest of the giant three-story mansion, ignoring the maids and servants who warmly greeted him the first time he came home, asking him if they could bring him anything his heart so desired. He felt guilty for not being able to thank them or say anything, but they seemed accustomed to being openly ignored by Julia, something that wasn’t lost on him at all.

He stayed in her room for the whole of the weekend, terrified of the prospect of Julia ruining his life out of anger. The bedroom was massive. His eyes had wandered everywhere and he’d yet to find anything resembling a camera or a microphone, but he still wasn’t going to take any risks. He sat in bed, trying to sleep his way out of the situation, ignoring the massive breasts that rose and fell with every breath. Never had he felt so anxious; the thought of what she’d be doing with his body over the long weekend the only thought on his mind.

He didn’t care if she missed a workout or ate like crap for a few days or anything pointless like that... but with her mouth, she’d be sure to insult one of his friends without thinking twice about it. Parker liked being nice to others, and he enjoyed the positive reputation he kept because of it; he didn’t want her ruining a lifetime of friendships he’d worked so hard to maintain. But what else could he do beside wait?

He faced virtually no stimulation over the next few days, other than the constant ringing and vibrating from a pile of old phones she kept in her dresser drawer, which he dared not to touch aside from the black one she told him she had ready specifically for this purpose, although it only received a text once on the first day to confirm that he was still inside her bedroom before it went silent. He tried texting out more than the “yes” that she had asked for, but his fingers wouldn’t let him, presumably a side effect from the same magic that was keeping him from speaking to anyone or saying anything. There was an open notebook on the desk left to a blank page, and he picked up a pen to try writing something, only to find what she said was true; he couldn't even write, his hands not allowing him to move the pen. Unless he wanted to try to play the world's most complicated game of charades, he had absolutely no way of communicating with anyone about what had happened.

The fact that Julia was so organized and calm about having someone else in her body was disturbing in itself, and he got the impression from her earlier comments that she was no stranger to stealing lives. She had said back at the pool that she’d only done this with girls before, and he tried to remember if he ever recalled a girl acting uncharacteristically mean or weird around the time of one of Julia’s infamously long absences from school, but nothing came to him. Huron High was a large school though, and he obviously didn’t know more than a fraction of its thousands of students. It easily could've happened without him or anyone else noticing.

And thinking back further, he did recall one incident around a year ago in which a girl named Jessie had publicly threatened to commit suicide before being removed from school. Jessie had always been a rival of Julia, and just the day before had gotten in a large public scuttle with her at lunch. Parker recalled Julia being particularly snarky the day after they had taken Jessie away, and at the time he had assumed it was just the insensitive bitchiness of a girl happy to see her long time enemy hauled off to the mental hospital, but looking back at it with this new context, it seemed more likely that there had been foul play at work. With that realization came more fear, but he pushed it down. She wouldn't do that to him too, right? Maybe Jessie had tried going against her rules… Julia was a brat and a nutcase, but she didn’t have much reason to ruin his life if he didn’t give her one- or at least that’s what he told himself.

The days passed by slowly, an agonizing wait and lack of knowledge of what was going on outside torturing him greatly. His anxiety eventually gave way to uncharacteristic anger, and he found himself constantly mad, both at himself and Julia. No one bothered him but the maids bringing him his meals, and he stewed alone in his head, unable to express his fury into words. He couldn’t stop cursing up a storm internally, and he occasionally had to wonder if the spell was having an effect on him beyond just the physical effect; he had already caught himself rolling his eyes without realizing it and slamming the door in the face of a maid who had done nothing but politely hand him his dinner. He knew he should’ve felt bad about it, and he did… but not as much as he once would have. His eyes would occasionally dart to the closet, and he’d picture himself trying on an outfit or two for a moment before shaking his head and burying it into his oversized pillow with shame. Being in this body was unhealthy for his psyche- it was almost like he was starting to think like Julia; definitely not a prospect he wanted to consider possible.

Finally, Monday morning rolled around, and he woke up before dawn to a new text on the phone she'd left him. It was a picture of his body smiling while eating a giant breakfast of chocolate-chip pancakes and a pile of other sugary pastries, apparently to taunt him. Julia apparently had some screwed up perception of him, assuming that he’d be especially bothered by seeing his body “ruined” by a day or two of unhealthy eating. He couldn’t help but smile at her childishness. It was good to see that she wasn’t doing anything too crazy with his body if this was the stuff she needed to brag about. It was better if Julia thought that this really did bug him; if she thought this was enough to get his goat, it meant she wouldn’t be doing anything actually harmful.

Laying back on bed with relief, he let out a long sigh, his heavy breasts not feeling like an annoyance for the first time since he’d gotten them. This ordeal was almost over. She said whatever she did was only gonna last three days, so he just had to stay inside her room one more school day and wait for it to reverse. School would give her more opportunities to do weird things in his body, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it. But hey, Julia was known for her terrible attendance record even when she was in her own body; why would she go there in his? Besides, even if she did go, if what she did was anything like what she had sent him, he didn’t have anything to worry about. He started to relax, and by the time a second vibration alerted him to a second text she had sent him almost an hour later, he hardly felt worried at all.

At least until he saw a picture of familiar red one-piece bathing suit lying on the floor of the school’s locker room. He’d know that swimsuit anywhere- It was Bee’s. He suddenly recalled that he and Bee had recently begun early morning practice together on Monday mornings, just between the two of them, and it seemed Julia had somehow found out about it. Before he could even think about how to respond, another text came in.

“lol if you thought that was it btw. don’t fuck with people better than u. enjoy prison ;3”

Julia’s body was astounding untrained compared to his, but he didn’t think he had ever sprinted faster in his life as he ran over to the Huron High pool, any awkwardness about the way his body bounced as he ran the farthest worry from his mind. He prayed she was just fucking with him, that the spoiled bitch was just playing a cruel joke and that Bee was fine. If she touched her- if that daft cunt had laid even a single finger on Bee, he was going to do something so impulsive and wrong that he’d probably regret it for the rest of his life. But that didn’t matter right now. Right now he just had to see that Bee was alright. She had to be.

Parker was out of breath by the time he made it, but he unlocked the gate and ran inside, his heart breaking in two the moment he heard a soft sob coming from the inside of the girl’s locker room. Going inside as fast as he could, he saw Bee hunched over a wooden bench, quietly crying to herself, messy tears running down her face in streaks. Her hair was disheveled, her swimsuit having several noticeable tears on one side, the top left strap stretched out as if someone had tried grabbing it from the front. The moment she caught sight of him she buried her head into her hands and cried even louder.

“Go away, Julia. Please…”

He wanted to do a thousand different things at once, but without a voice, there was no way to explain himself. Almost starting to cry himself, he reached out with a hand to comfort her, only for Bee to slap it away, before standing up and walking over to a nearby stall, locking herself in.

“Just leave, please. I can’t do this right now. He... just......”

Never in his life had he experienced such pure rage. He wanted to release a scream so primal and foreign that it would shake the heavens themselves, but no sound would leave his mouth. The desire to sink to his knees and die was only slightly beaten by the rage that had consumed his everything, and the moment he heard the vague echo of a weak splash inside the pool through the open door of the locker room he felt something pop off inside of his head. There was only a single person who could’ve been swimming. After all what she’d just done, she decided to go for a swim. Julia Elmwood was not a person anymore in his mind-- she was a nothing, an inhuman stain on his school and on his club and on the face of the earth. His head spinning, he walked outside, ready to confront the most vile person he’d ever had the displeasure of meeting. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he was going to do something. This would not go unpunished.

The Huron High swimming facility was designed like many similar pools in that one had to go through the locker room in order to reach it, so Parker hadn’t seen the water prior to his encounter with Bee. There were a million words that wanted to come out of his mouth when he saw Julia, and a million more feelings that he wanted her to understand, so that she would suffer and hurt and never ever be able to do anything bad to anyone ever again. And the shriek that left his mouth, the first sound he’d heard from himself since this whole thing had began once he saw her was loud and guttural, a high-pitched screech without words or meaning.

His body floated still just beneath the surface of the water, pale skin shimmering peacefully in the early morning sunlight, his smooth belly facing upwards towards the sky. It did not move or breath or worry, not for the next minute and not ever again.

---

The official coroners report for the untimely demise of Parker Flat was reported as death by drowning. Being captain of his school’s swim club, this was an unexpected situation, and foul play was initially suspected until surveillance footage seemed to eliminate the possibility. Video of the pool showed the young man stepping out of the locker room area at 6:49am with a smile before hopping straight in the pool, stopping at a point in the deep end several minutes later while grabbing his left leg and sinking to the bottom, struggling weakly against the water for several minutes before he stopped moving.

An extensive autopsy report revealed that the young man had eaten an abnormally large breakfast the morning immediately before swimming, which detectives and medical professionals eventually concluded had given him the leg spasm that prevented him from moving to safety, thus indirectly causing his death. This was a puzzle to most of the surviving members of the swim club, as anyone even slightly experienced in the water would have known to wait at least thirty minutes after eating to enter a pool; after all, everybody knew how easy it was to get cramps.

The tape of his demise had been leaked, and it circulated within the school’s student body before the week was over, thus giving Parker the unique opportunity of watching his own death play out before his eyes over and over again in the weeks that followed.

His voice and power to speak as he intended returned to him fully only minutes after the death of his body, but it seemed that he’d be trapped as Julia Elmwood for the rest of his natural life, much to his horror. Julia’s death had robbed him of almost everything: his future, his freedom, and his life. His only consolation was that she’d never be able to hurt another soul again, and at the very least, he still had his best friend. He had confessed to Bee everything almost as soon as he’d been able to, and she believed him with much more ease than he expected, grabbing him in a full bear hug while tears ran down her cheeks.

Bee was a true friend, and he cried right alongside her, happy that he at the very least still had her. Later that night they discussed what had happened at Bee’s home, and while what Julia had done to her was still unforgivable, it thankfully wasn’t nearly as dramatic as he had initially assumed. He had gone there with the expectation of comforting Bee, but found that she was far more concerned about him, spending the evening assuring him that she was fine and was just glad to know that her friend hadn’t betrayed her like she’d been led to believe. That was when the reality of the situation had hit him for the first time. He had lost his life, and he’d be forced to live in this new one. He was a girl. He was Julia Elmwood. It almost made him start to cry all over again.

Living in Julia’s body took its toll over time, and the more time he spent as her, the more he found her mannerisms and behaviors rubbing off on him, his gait and movements having begun to change mostly without him having even realized it. At the start, Bee was constantly pointing out how he was changing, sometimes at the start with teasing laughter and later with earnest concern, the way he’d flamboyantly flick his hair back or cock out his hip girlishly while standing still.

But, as he was horrified to discover, the changes that were to come were not limited to unimportant behaviors, her impulses and urges crawling their way into his mind like a twisted parasite. It started off small, but it grew quickly, the urge to act and behave as she would have becoming almost overwhelming at times. At first it just was the little things, finding that saying please or thank you was slightly less automatic than it had been before or that he’d feel oddly offended whenever someone neglected to hold the door open for him. But it slowly spread beyond the superficial, and the little surviving piece of Julia Elmwood constantly whispering in his ear always commanded at least part of his attention, spreading irresistible and undeserved contempt for all those around him.

With great effort, he managed almost never to vocalize or demonstrate the mean-spirited words and cruel insults constantly popping into his brain, but the thoughts were always present, sneering and jeering in the background. He could never see his friends or his teachers or his servants and think of them as real people with thoughts and feelings, but just as worthless animals, nothings when compared to someone of his stature and importance. On a factual level, it wasn't hard to recognize how ridiculous this line of thought was, but that didn't change the fact that he kept thinking it. Occasionally he’d let his guard slip for just a moment and he’d have called someone a rat-faced bitch without even realizing it, sending yet another self-conscious girl crying to the bathroom or humiliating some poor soul in front of their peers. Whenever it happened, the guilt he felt would eat him up inside for the rest of the week, feeling even worse when combined with the sense of undeserved self-righteousness that always came with it.

Bee was incredibly supportive, and he doubt he would’ve stayed sane near the start without her constant presence in his life. She was always just a phone call away, ready and eager to spend time with him as he needed, whether it was lending him an ear to vent away how crazy Julia’s emotions were or asking for assistance dealing with the more technical aspects of his new gender. She was so kind- kinder than she’d ever been, even, and he started to wish more and more that he was still a guy so he could reciprocate that kindness in the way he really had wanted to. Homecoming soon came around, and they both watched with silent envy as guys and girls asked each other out and paired together, both knowing that with the way their friendship had been progressing prior to this that they probably would’ve been joining them had Julia not interfered with their lives.

Eventually the cruel thoughts started talking about Bee, too. She was patient with him, realizing what was going on, but it must have hurt her watching him occasionally recoil from her touch or mutter an unnecessary comment about her weight under his breath. He always apologized immediately and profusely, and she always said that she understood, but he could see the hurt in her eyes.

Swimming stopped, and the swim club found a new leader in Bee. Parker had tried to rejoin the swim club and start over from scratch, but Julia Elmwood despised swimming, and as had expected to find out eventually, he did too. He simply couldn’t stomach the water for more than a few minutes before storming out in frustration, infuriated at both his own mediocrity and how boring he found what was once his true passion in life. His interests continued to grow to match Julia’s, his mind drifting more and more to fashion and mindless gossip, any interest or ability in schoolwork melting away as he began to speak with added regularity to Julia’s former friends and less and less to Bee. The more time passed, the more their shared interests began to diverge, and soon conversation between the two became stilted and forced, the pair frequently ending discussions early and avoiding each other in order to prevent arguments.

Senior year soon came to a close, and the two hardly even spoke anymore aside from an awkward weekly phone call which seemed to get shorter and shorter each time they had it. When Parker told her that he had decided on attending Harvard after all rather than the state university they had been planning to go to together since sophomore year, Bee hardly seemed surprised at all. He had tried so much to get over his pride in order to keep with his original promise, but the thought of attending a place that had once brought him so much excitement now only brought him disgust, and no amount of self-awareness over how stupid that thought was could change the way he felt. He had to go to Harvard; the status of any other school just wouldn’t be enough to take him where he needed to go in life. He tried getting that across to her, but Julia Elmwood was much worse with words than he had been, and he could tell he failed completely in getting his point across. Bee just cordially congratulated him on his decision, no noticeable excitement or malice in her voice, and politely told him she had some work to do before hanging up. He could hear her choke on the last word she got out before she hung up, and he wished more than anything that his mind didn’t spend the next hour ridiculing her for her sadness until he almost began to agree with it.

He spoke to her a few more times before the year ended, their encounters brief and uneventful, the two both too embarrassed to say that they didn’t want to be seen in public around the other. Bee didn’t say anything to him when he attended the prom along with a date, but he caught a glimpse at her staring intensely at him from the sidelines as he danced along with the star of the football team. His heart assumed jealousy, and he knew deep down that probably wasn’t what it actually was, but racking her mind she could think of no other reasonable explanation.

Julia Elmwood graduated from her class without special academic honors (although she did manage to get her face in just about every club’s yearbook picture, much to her satisfaction). Statistically, her grade point average and combined test scores gave her less than a 0.08% chance of getting accepted into the most prestigious school on the planet, but she was approved nonetheless, her father’s significant contribution to the school and the new Elmwood wing of the main library not having been said by anyone to have been a factor in the decision. At graduation, she briefly saw Bee in the crowd while posing for pictures with her boyfriend, but she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye in person.

Looking at her diploma, she found herself loving the name written on it, unable to stop her own smug sense of self-satisfaction from shining through. She was Julia Elmwood, and for all that entailed and implied, she absolutely loved it.

She’d go on to keep Bee’s number saved in her phone for several more months, and she occasionally considered calling it, but never did, the right time never seeming to come up. While rushing the most sought after sorority on campus, she met a fellow pledge also called Bee during a frat party and got her number, adding her to her phone’s contact list. She briefly considered keeping both of them on it, but decided against that, not wanting to accidentally call the wrong one. Without a second thought, Julia deleted the number of the old Bee, assuming that she had it saved somewhere on her computer or something. She never checked to find out whether she actually did or not, and in fact, never thought about Bee again.

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