A TaleSpin story conceived by John Pesterfield.
Written by John Pesterfield and Bearcat. Additional story suggestions by Gidget.
TaleSpin is a registered trademark of The Walt Disney Company.
All characters used in this story are from Disney’s Tale Spin and are used without permission, with extreme respect and for totally NON-PROFIT USE. This is also the first story by these authors and is purely an educational exercise in creative writing.
The following characters in this story are part of Disney’s TaleSpin series: Baloo the Bear; Rebecca Cunningham; Molly E. Cunningham; Kit Cloudkicker; Wildcat; Dr. Bovon; Professor O’Bowens. Any other incidental characters are the creation(s) of the authors.
We thank the creative Disney talent behind TaleSpin for the creation of memorable characters and a series that has a loyal following to this day. We also thank Gidget for her reviews of the story and all her additional suggestions and input. It has been invaluable. J
It was night and the moon was out in all her glory, her rays slanting into a certain window where a bearess slept in peace. As she lay in that twilight between sleep and wakefulness, the light of the moon spilling upon her…
Thirst made her rise.
Rebecca got out of bed; then, putting on her robe and slippers, walked into the hall and headed for the kitchen. She noticed her daughter's door stood ajar and gently closed it. She got her glass of water and stood watching the waterfall from the living room window. Rebecca felt a tingle down her spine and shivered, pulling her gown tighter around her. The feeling increased as she suddenly doubled over in pain.
The glass bounced across the floor, sloshing, then spilling its contents before it rolled to a stop. As the pain abated, Rebecca lay limply on the floor. Then she began to slowly change. At first she didn't notice her fur moving inward and skin turning a pale color, but as the change moved up she began to feel strange. Her nails and hands changed and soon the feeling reached her face as her muzzle pushed inward. Minutes later, and with no further pain, a brunette opened her eyes and shakily stood up.
Now how did I end up falling asleep on the floor? she wondered, not recalling the pain of the last few minutes. Rebecca went to check on her daughter once more before returning to bed. Molly slept comfortably, exhausted after a day full of the fun of just being alive.
Rebecca smiled, enchanted. She’s so perfect…and she’s mine.
She couldn’t resist; very gently, she caressed her daughter’s soft cheek. Then Molly opened her eyes to see a hairless strange creature looming over her bed. The little yellow bear cub was terrified. She couldn't move. She was frozen with fear at the sight.
Then she screamed.
"Molly? What's wrong?” Rebecca's voice hadn't changed.
The young girl cub finally spoke. "Who...what are you?"
Rebecca was dumbfounded. "Molly? It's okay… it's Mommy."
As she reached for her, Molly recoiled. "You're NOT my Mommy!" With that, she bolted from her bed, and raced out the door.
Rebecca was in shock. What's gotten into her? She hadn't even reached the door of Molly's room when she heard another door slam shut, and the lock being thrown from the other side. It was her own bedroom. Rebecca then approached the bedroom door and spoke to Molly through it. "Molly? Open up, sweetheart. Tell Mommy what's wrong?"
But the only reply she got was "Go away!" Now she knew something was wrong. She also knew that she would not be able to solve this problem alone. She picked up the phone, and called Higher for Hire.
The sleepy, rather grumpy voice of her pilot came on the line. “Aw… Becky, it's only two-thirty in the mornin'! Ain't this kinda earlier ta wake me up…even for you?"
"Please, Baloo! I need your help!" She started to cry.
Baloo was immediately contrite… and afraid. "W-what's wrong? Aw, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it. Hold on, honey… aw, come on, don't cry, now. Ol' Baloo's comin'. Me an' Kit'll be there in a few minutes. You just sit tight."
It was a relief to hear Baloo's voice, if just for tonight. Kit and Baloo will be able to calm Molly and figure out what's going on. But what about me? She was now just as shaken as her daughter; even her hands were shaking. "Even my eyes are playing tricks on me."
It hadn't registered, but for some reason, her hands looked... they… they looked different somehow. "Maybe a little water on my face will help," she said to herself as she entered the bathroom. As she turned on the light, and reached for the faucet... Baloo and Kit heard the shrieks as they left the elevator, which deposited them both outside the front door.
"Becky!” Baloo gasped.
Kit looked at the other doors along the hall, surprised to see them all closed. "Why didn't anyone hear that, Papa Bear?"
"Rich folks,” Baloo snorted. “Kit, they don't care ‘bout nothin' beyond their wallets."
Kit still wasn’t satisfied. “Wouldn't they complain about the noise? Being woken up? Or maybe the walls are too thick or…”
Meanwhile, Rebecca’s next-door neighbors had awakened to some strange noises. The wife roused her husband awake with one well-placed elbow.
The husband yawned and rolled over toward his wife, only to find her curlers suddenly jabbing him in the forehead.
"Wake up, Icabod! I heard something!"
“For crying out loud, Marian! How? The walls are too thick, or they should be. Lord knows I pay enough for this fancy sardine can you’re so crazy about."
"Icky, I heard something! I think it was that Cunningham woman."
"Oh her," her husband said sleepily. "Met her on the elevator...zzz...nice legs...zzz...wouldn't mind...zzz"
She sat up in bed. "Wouldn't mind what?" she asked icily. She poked him hard. "Icabod!"
He snored on, enjoying a very pleasant dream.
Marian stared at him in the dark as though she could actually see him and turn him to stone; her curlers stood out in the glow of moonlight that showed through their bedroom window. Her hair was silhouetted like the head of some weird medusa. The woman thought, That hussy probably has a man over there. They shouldn't allow unmarried women to move into respectable neighborhoods!
Again she thought she heard a muffled scream from next door. However, this time she gave her snoring husband a hard kick, flopped down, rolled over and pretended to sleep.
Disgusting, she thought.
In Rebecca's room, Molly lay trembling under the blankets. What did that strange thing do to Mommy? Summoning her courage, Molly decided to get help. Kit and Baloo will know what to do. Realizing that she could not use the door, she went to the bedroom window and cautiously stepped out onto the ledge.
Meanwhile, Baloo and Kit still stood in the hall.
Baloo shifted his feet impatiently. "What's takin’ so long? If she wants our help, why keep us waitin’?"
"I don't know, Papa Bear---maybe we should just go on in."
At that moment, Kit looked out the hall window to see Molly crawling along the ledge. Kit rushed to the window that bordered the outer hallway. Opening it, he cried, "Molly, what are you doing out there?" He grabbed Molly with both hands and pulled her into the outer hallway and away from the ledge.
Finally seeing familiar faces, the young girl shivered in Kit's arms. "Mon... monster."
"Don't worry, Button Nose." Baloo tried to calm her. "We'll find out what's wrong." With that, Baloo fished a hairpin out of his shirt pocket, which he kept handy in case he accidentally locked the keys inside the Sea Duck, and opened the door with great care, not wanting to alarm the 'monster’. Her description wasn't perfect, but it was enough. It was some kind of beast, lacking fur yet speaking with her mother's voice. After encountering Henry, a former sponge-like pet of Molly's, Wildcat's plane wrecking 'lobsters' and a giant squid, he would believe anything.
Creak! went the door.
"Baloo, watch it! Whatever that thing is, it might hear you," warned Kit.
"I know, I know! Kit, you stay here with Molly. Molly...” Baloo looked back at Molly, who was still shaking. Baloo put his hand under her chin. "It'll be okay, Pigtails. Ya make sure 'Danger Woman' looks after Kit." With that little word of encouragement, he went inside.
He began to look around the room,
but didn't see much, due to the late hour and the lack of light. "Only
light I got is that moon." For a moment he looked for a switch. “Nah,
probably shouldn't risk it,” Baloo said to himself. He crept slowly through the
living room. He still couldn’t see much.
Until he got closer to the kitchen.
The hall to both bedrooms was right next to the kitchen door. It led to the right. Molly's bedroom was first, then Rebecca's. The bathroom was between the kitchen and Molly's room. He spun to his left. He heard a body shifting in the darkness. Then he heard...a whimper? Or was it?
Baloo got down to his knees and began a slow crawl forward...and stopped. There was a sliver of light from under the bathroom door. Closer now, he could make out the sound. It was not a whimper. It was crying. And it sounded just like Rebecca.
Molly said that something happened to her… Then he froze. He remembered she also said that this...whatever it was, had her voice too. Well, I'm not about to let any creature do anything to hurt my boss or Molly! He started to reach for the door.
Suddenly, he heard, "Go away. Don't look at me."
He gulped. "Becky?" There was a long pause.
"Baloo? Help me!"
Baloo got up off his knees, entered the bathroom to see. He couldn't believe his eyes.
A pinkish creature, with feminine features, facial and otherwise, looked up and saw him. It was trembling. The woman looked up shocked. Baloo started to back away, nearly tripping over his own feet. It was only when he really looked that he paused. Something about the dark, intelligent eyes was very familiar.
Suddenly, Baloo knew. "REBECCA?!"
Rebecca started to cry again. "Yes… it's me," she sobbed, shaking violently.
Baloo was trying to fight the pounding of his own heart. "What happened… what are ya?"
"I went to sleep just fine and I woke up like this, I didn't even know this happened until I scared Molly…oh! Molly? What happened to her?"
"It's all right, boss lady, she's fine. Danger Woman is 'protecting' Kit right now."
In the hall ‘Danger Woman’ was taking her job seriously. Amazing, Kit thought, as he watched her. Give her something to do and she acts like nothing is wrong.
Molly's thoughts were somewhat different. I have to protect Kit --- Baloo asked me to. I wouldn't want anything to happen to him. But in the back of her mind lurked a tiny frightened inner voice: Is Mommy all right?
"Come on Becky, let's go sit down." When Baloo touched her arm to help her up, he noticed how smooth her skin felt. For a moment he almost withdrew his hand, but then, tentatively, reached out to help his boss to her feet.
As fur touched skin, he realized it didn't feel as bad as it looked. His thoughts kept going in that vein, wondering what could have caused this. Rebecca sat in the kitchen, still too frightened about her own startling appearance to show herself to Molly.
“Becky? Ya need a blanket… or somethin'?"
"I know what you're thinking, Baloo. I should be freezing...but I'm not. I'm...." Her voice trailed off as she looked at her hands and arms… just as bare as her face. Her face! What happened to my face! She put her hands up to her mouth. Still no muzzle. Where was her muzzle? Her coat was gone. The only thing that seemed to remain was her hair. At least, it looked the same in the mirror when she saw... Rebecca then realized that she was feeling chilled, more than she expected. Almost automatically Rebecca grabbed her robe as her teeth began to chatter, drawing it tighter around her for warmth.
Baloo suddenly noticed the chill coming over Rebecca at that moment. "Oh man, you're shakin' like a leaf. Hold on, Beckers." Suddenly the stress was too much and Rebecca buried her head in her hands and started to weep again.
Baloo helplessly watched her cry for a moment, then quietly stood and went into her bedroom. He returned with a heavy wool blanket and draped it over her shoulders. "Easy Boss Lady. This should keep ya warm."
But she cut him off, anger and terror suddenly overwhelming her. "Lady?! Baloo, I don't know what I am!"
Baloo was still frightened, but for her, not himself. She's gettin' hysterical… I gotta do somethin'! Should I slap her? No, she'd fire me---aw, man, I can't let Molly see her fall apart! He sensed that she was about to throw her head back and scream. Before she could, he grabbed her shoulders and forced her to face him. The sensation of those paws surrounding her arms and his powerful grip somehow brought her mind into focus. She was amazed by his strength.
"Now listen to me!" he shouted. He looked right into her now reddened brown eyes. "You are Rebecca Cunningham! You have a six-year-old daughter and she needs you! Not a hysterical...oh, Becky. I'm sorry. Just...just stop cryin'. Okay? We'll call a doctor…or something. They'll know what to do."
Baloo turned to leave the kitchen, just long enough to call Dr. Bovon, but his path was blocked by Kit and Molly. Kit looked at Rebecca in surprise and wonder, he had seen many things in his travels and some went beyond explanation, but to see a friend like this…
Rebecca looked at Molly, who was still cowering behind Kit. "Molly, honey, come here...please?" The little girl didn’t move. "Kit, Molly, why did you come in?"
"'Danger Woman' wanted to investigate," Kit said. As he spoke, he looked down to see a little girl truly torn; one half 'Danger Woman' who would refuse to retreat from anything and the other half a small frightened child who wanted to run and hide.
Molly turned toward Kit, and tugged on his sleeve. "Kit, is Mommy okay?"
Kit didn't have an answer. He couldn't even begin to think of one. He was just as shocked as she was, but Kit didn't want her or Baloo to see his fear so he avoided the whole issue.
Baloo’s own mouth was agape; it took a few seconds for him to make a decision. "Kit," he said handing him a slip of paper with a hastily written number on it. “Go call the doc. And take 'Danger Woman' with you. I'll keep Becky company."
Kit nodded and started out the kitchen door. But Molly wouldn't budge. Her eyes were glued to her mother. Baloo could see she was putting on a strong act, but her eyes welled up with unshed tears. He leaned in toward her and whispered, "He'd never admit this, Button Nose, but he's really scared. He needs someone like you to protect him. Okay?"
She's one tough little gal. Must take after her mom, he thought. It was times like this that he was grateful for that. Thankful too that Molly had always looked up to Kit as a big brother, even from that first day when Rebecca had taken over his air service. Suddenly, his thoughts turned back toward her. Even though her physical appearance had changed, her body language hadn't. He could see the look of amazement on her face.
"Are you sure you've never fathered any children, Baloo?"
Baloo swallowed. "Who? Me? No. Ah...er...why?"
With a crooked smile, the first he'd seen since this whole thing hit the fan, Rebecca said, "Because from what I just saw, I think you'd make a good one. You handled that pretty well." Rebecca didn't notice the blush spreading over his cheeks. She continued... "Baloo. Baloo I don't know what's going on but... but if anything should happen to me..."
He cut her off. "Nothing's gonna happen, Becky."
"But if something does... Baloo, promise me you'll take care of Molly."
He started to shake his head. "Becky, I can't…”
"Hush! Look, Baloo. Like it or not, Molly adores you and Kit. I'd feel much better if I knew she'd be okay right now... just in case."
Reluctantly, he agreed.
Kit ran back into the kitchen. "We got through, Papa Bear. Doctor Bovon wants to talk to you." Kit handed him the phone's receiver, the wire stretching to the brink of snapping.
Baloo spoke into the receiver. "’What are her symptoms?’ Didn't Kit tell ya?"
Bovon was a skeptical doctor and not as willing to believe the stories of the 'Higher For Hire' crew as he was with his other patients. He had dealt with Baloo's tall tales and misadventures before. "Yes," he said to the bear. "He did, and I don't believe it. What your navigator describes is a myth! There's no such thing as a 'werehuman', Baloo."
It was a good thing Dr. Bovon was across town at that very moment. Unfortunately, Molly was in earshot of Baloo's expletives. Kit looked down at her and with a smile, covered her ears, if a bit late.
"Baloo! I take back what I just said. Especially with language like that!"
"Well?” Baloo demanded.
"Okay, okay. I'll be over to the apartment in fifteen minutes. I hope you like my bill!" The sudden 'click' of the doctor's receiver being slammed down made Baloo recoil. Once he let go of the phone, it recoiled back where Kit had found it.
"What'd he say?" asked Rebecca and Kit.
"He's comin' over. Don’t worry, Beckers, he'll be here soon." It was a long fifteen minutes. After a knock on the door, and some brief hellos, Dr. Bovon went into the kitchen. What he saw next was beyond his belief; reinforced by the resounding thud of his medical bag on the floor. "Well, if I were to die tomorrow, I can say I've seen everything!"
"Enough with the colorful commentary, Doc. Can ya help her?"
He looked at Rebecca, if this creature was Rebecca.
"I'll do my best," he said as he began pushing the large bear out the door. "Baloo, go into the living room and wait there. Keep the kids company. This may take a while."
Ten minutes. Fifteen. It was twenty-two minutes before the doctor came back out into the living room. Rebecca was with him, minus the blanket. "Well, I'll still need to run a few tests at the hospital. But from what I can find so far, she appears to be fine."
"Fine?!" Baloo stood up, shouting. "Quit chewin’ your cud, Doc. How about the way she looks?! How can ya say she's fine?"
Dr. Bovon returned to his patient, sitting her down in one the side chairs. "I meant fine. It doesn't explain her outward appearance, but then a simple exam like I've given wouldn't. I need to run some tests on blood, hair, skin... everything. I can tell you this --- it does not appear to be contagious. And I don't think it's life-threatening."
Molly said, "Then she's gonna be okay?"
Bovon gave her a weak smile. "I think so, Molly, but I need to make sure. Baloo go back into the kitchen and get that large blanket you brought out earlier. Kit, where's the phone?"
Kit jerked his thumb toward the kitchen and Dr. Bovon found it.
After the proverbial wait on the line, he finally spoke. "Yes, this is Dr. Bovon. I'm bringing in a patient. No, I'm not prepared to give her name at this time. List her as Jane Doe for now. She's a bear, thirty-four. I'm going to need a private room for her. All access is to be restricted to me, my staff, and the immediate family." There was a long pause while the person at the other end of the line dealt with processed the information. When Dr. Bovon felt the staff had copied his instructions he continued, "As for nursing staff? Get Alice if she's on duty tonight. If not call her in. She'll be in attendance with this patient. No! No ambulance. I'm bringing her in myself." He looked at his watch, then said, "About thirty minutes. Room four eleven? Thanks."
He turned to the frightened eyes of the group.
"Okay, here's what we're going to do. Baloo, I want you to wrap Rebecca in that blanket, including her head. It'll keep her warm and away from prying eyes. Kit, you help lock up the place, then you and Molly meet us downstairs. We'll be waiting in my car." Kit quickly checked to make sure all was safe, and the door was locked before running out to the doctor’s car, Molly following close behind.