Chapter 1 ~ No Heartsong?

"What is a heartsong, class?"

The day had just begun. Ms Viola, the singing teacher, had asked the question, in her thick English accent, her daughter's flipper raised. The little chick knew almost everything.

"Bo, sweetie, let the others answer the question before you do, okay?" Ms Viola said gently. Bo nodded and put her flipper down. Another one rose in the back.

"Andrew?" said Ms Viola. All fluffy little heads turned to see. A small grey chick was standing there, shuffling his black feet nervously.

"It's a song that we hear in our hearts that we sing to get a mate?" he tried. Ms Viola nodded in approval.

"Yes, but what else?" she asked. A few more flippers shot up, the baby birds jumping up and down saying:

"Pick me, pick me!"

Ms Viola laughed.

"Bo." she said, pointing to her own chick. The little thing stepped forward.

"It's a song we hear inside that is our own, no two are the same, and it tells us who we truly are. We can't have help finding it, we have to find it by ourselves."

The whole class, even teacher, was stunned. Then they all erupted into clapping, for the teacher's child had described a heartsong perfectly.

"Yes, yes! Wonderful, very wonderful." Ms Viola stated. "Well done, sweetheart. Now, to find your heartsong..."

Bo giggled and stepped back to her spot. She looked around at her classmates. Some were really close friends: Erik, Atticus, Cass, Ada, Leo, Alice... She wondered what their heartsongs would be. Or what hers would be. She hoped it would be something nice and cute and fun, just like her. Wait, she heard something. Something small, a tiny voice singing a catchy little tune. Could it be...?

Suddenly, the whole class's flippers were up, waving in the air, the chicks shouting to get picked. Bo then realized they had heard their heartsongs. Ms Viola laughed at the fact that every single baby 'guin wanted to sing.

"Atticus." she said. The plump chick stepped forward.

"We callin' a comeback! I been here for years, rockin' my peers, puttin' suckers in fear. I'm gonna take this itty-bitty road by storm, and I'm just gettin' warm!"

Everyone clapped again for Atticus and his heartsong rap. It was something. Bo's classmates all raised their flipper again, but she didn't, knowing that her mother would pick her anyway.

"Um, how about Ada?" she said, picking the very small chick in the middle. She waddle to the front and raised her head confidently.

"It's been said and done, every beautiful thoughts been already sung, and I guess right now here's another one, so penguinaty will play on and on, with the best of 'em."

She stopped and looked at the teacher.

"That's all I heard so far." she said.

"Yes, thank you Ada. Very nice. Whose next?" Ms Viola asked as Ada hopped back to her spot. "Huh. Let's do Leo, Alice, then Cass, one after another."

Leo stepped forward and started to sing:

"You're insucure dunno what for. You're turning heads when you walk through the do-o-or, don't need make-up to cover up just the way that you are is eno-o-ough."

He stepped back as Alice, who was already at the front, sang:

"Bam, bam, bam, what I'd do to have you here here here. Bam, bam, bam, what I'd do to have you near near near. What I'd do to have you near."

The last one was Cass, and the class cleared a path for her as she came from the back to the front.

"This one is for the boys with the boomin' system top down AC with the coolin' system whe he come up in the club he be blazin' up got stacks on deck like he savin' up."

As she finished rapping, Atticus gave her googly eyes.

"Stupid boys." Bo muttered to herself, followed by a laugh.

"Bo, would you like to go?" Ms Viola asked. Bo nodded.

"Then Erik?" she asked, looking at him. He smiled as Ms Viola nodded.

"Yes, dear." she said. Bo took a deep breath and started to sing what she heard:

"I wanna dance and sing and dance with you but first tell me that you love me, yeah, tell me that I take your breath away so that we can dance and sing and dance some more."

Ms Viola smiled.

"That was beautiful, darling." she said. "Now Erik, get your tail feathers up here!"

The whole class laughed as the small chick waddled to the front.

"Um, mine is sort of a... ah, um..." he stuttered nervously. "I, uh, heard... this:

Hey, I just met you, and this is... crazy but here's my number so call me maybe."

He smiled a weak smile, followed by a weak laugh. Ms Viola nodded.

"That was cute, Erik." she said and gently pushed him back to his spot. "Now, we will learn how to-"

"Ms Viola." said a voice. The class turned to see Gloria standing there. "It's time for breakfast."

"BREAKFAST!" the class yelled in unison. Gloria giggled. Ms Viola looked at the sun.

"Oh, dear me, it is. Come on then, class." she said and led them to the cafeteria. Bo watched as Erik waddled up to his mother and said something with a worried look. Gloria looked a bit stunned.

"Bo." Cass said. She waddled up with Alice and Ada behind her. "Time to go."

"I know, I was just-"

"Stalking Erik and his mother?" Ada said in her strange way of talking. "That's, like, so not you. Ugh, come on, Bo, baby."

Bo turned to look at Erik once more, seeing he was crying. She shook her head and followed her friends. Then it hit her.

"He had been stuttering when he got up there." she stated. Her friends, including Leo and Atticus, turned to stare at her blankly.

"What?" Leo asked.

"Erik!" Bo said. "He had been stuttering! And that heartsong is taken. By Jonah. You know, French Accent Guy?"

Her friends started to understand now.

"So that means either Erik is bieng a trickster, or..." Alice said. Bo smiled and finished Alice's sentence:

"He has no heartsong."