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Orson Scott Card's trip to Jakarta, Indonesia

Stories from students at Jakarta International School

Stuck as a Nectar Bird

by Shirelle Noble

Man, I hate it when my arm turns into a lion paw. It always happens to me. I mean, all of my friends always get mouse paws or kitten legs but not me, no sir. I have continually been getting lions legs since the time I chickened out of, or messed up, a dare. I mean it wasn't my fault.

One morning, during school holidays, my buds and I were just doing our regular thing. Hanging out on the Pure Hill when Gulth, being the hot-shot that he is, dared Bowath to cast a returning a spell on a little Hurmp beetle. Now everyone knows that if you cast a spell on an animal you get that animal's body parts and we all remembered the time that my sister got an ants leg, it wasn't fun.

So Gulth goes, "Are you a chicken Bowath?"

And Bowath goes, "I don't see you putting a returning spell on that Hurmp beetle."

Then me, being the tough guy said, "Look you guys, if you want to get this over with why don't you both just do one at the same time?"

"No!" they screamed at me. "We are not in school anymore, no teachers to supervise our spells now."

Gulth mumbled with a sly grin on his face, "Why doesn't Andryen do the spell first, seeing that he is the teacher now, come on Adryen. Come on teacher.:

"Yeah, teacher," Bowath said. I was getting a bit nervous, normally Bowath would stick up for me but ...

"Oh come on you guys, you know what happened to my sister, Tarish, last year when she was playing around with ants!" I weakly protested, knowing that the guys had their minds set on me getting beetle leg.

"We would have let you off the hook, but now it looks like your dangling from it!" Gulth replied laughing at his own joke. It is fun to see Gulth try to use words smartly but fail so well. Anyway, by now I had a deep feeling that I was going to be stuck with a beetle leg for a couple of days. Back in school they take the restriction of The Changeable Body Parts off so you can learn Wizardry, but they put it on you during holidays and during summer until you graduate. Many people I have known have gone the whole summer with lobster claws instead of hands.

"Andryen, Andryen," they both chanted while I started the returning spell. Just this year they taught us this one. It makes the subject do whatever you want and then it would return back to you, quite useful. The problem is if you send it on a long task you have to bear the animal change, plus if the beetle gets your leg or something (though it is usually a finger with this spell) it can't do anything but sit still until it dies or you change it back.

"OK, guys almost done!" I cried at the peak of the spell and then suddenly it was over. The beetle had my finger and I had no thumb. In its place there was a little beetle claw, just squiggling around.

"Great, now lets send it to get Mrs. Tepryls drying laundry," Gulth suggested.

"No way! I'm not doing anything!"

"Come on, if not that then how about Mr. Ruckles flowers?"

"No, nothing. I am changing it back right now!"

"But if you do then--"

"I don't care, I did the spell now its over." I quickly did an unraveling spell and got back my finger back.

"No, you retarded rodent! Didn't you pay attention when Ms. Hugyl told us the dangers of this spell? You didn't send it on a task and the spell wasn't completed. You basically backed out it!"

"Nectar Bird, Nectar Bird. Andryen is a Nectar Bird." Gulth sang, knowing I hate being called a Nectar Bird. Back when I was little they used to call the scared children in every family Nectar Birds, and I was always it.

"Well what are the consequences?" I asked, feeling a bit scared.

"Oh, I don't know," Bowath answered, teasing me a little.

"Yes, you do! If you don't tell me I'll turn you into Swirgle pulp!"

"Fine, fine. From now on you're going to have something on you that proves your a coward."

"But I'm not! It was just a mistake!" I interrupted loudly.

"Let me continue. You will only have this for a while, until you prove yourself. I think. I mean I took notes and all but I forgot it a little."

"Sweet mother of Gurump, this always happens to me!"


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