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
Baloo grabbed O’Bowens by the lapels of his jacket.
“Ya mean you knew about this?”
The chimpanzee pried the bear’s paws from his shirt.
“I heard about the legend. But I thought that’s all it was---not like the time we dealt with the Idol of the Spirit Switcher.”
Baloo slapped his forehead. “Oh…man!”
Rebecca sat in Baloo’s old green chair, listening to the entire conversation.
She finally spoke up. “Professor? Just what is this…thing I’m going through? Will I ever be the same again?”
He took his glasses off, cleaned them, then put them back on before he spoke. “I don’t think it’s permanent.”
Her eyes widened. “Seems pretty permanent to me!”
Baloo laid a paw on her shoulder. “Easy, Becky, he’s here ta help. Least ya didn’t end up in boxers again,” he added with a snicker.
Rebecca stood up and yanked as hard as she could on his left earlobe.
“Baloo, I may not be… normal, but I can still wring your neck. So watch it!”
Baloo yelped in pain. “I didn't mean nothin’, Beckers.”
Rebecca let go of Baloo’s ear, giving it a small twist in the process. She turned and looked at the professor.
“You’d better know what happened.”
“Well, as I understand it, the islanders of Tigre can put a curse on any outsider by turning them into...well, whatever it is you turned into.”
Rebecca pointed to Kit and Baloo. “But why did it happen to me and not them? It’s not fair!”
O’Bowens gazed over to Baloo and Kit. “They were affected. It just hasn't appeared yet. Baloo? Kit? Have you two looked at the moon, uh… recently?”
Kit said, “No. With school and the last few deliveries I’ve conked out the minute my head hit the pillow. How about you, Papa Bear?”
“Me?” he said, rubbing his earlobe. “Heck, the only moons I’ve seen are moon pies.”
Rebecca just couldn’t resist and added, “Dreaming them or eating them?”
“What about you, Miz Cunningham?” Kit asked.
“I couldn't sleep the night this happened, so I decided to enjoy the view,” she answered.
Professor O’Bowens slowly walked around Rebecca, studying her from head to toe. Finally he said, “These islanders are worshippers of the moon and they asked their goddess centuries ago to place a curse on anyone violating the moon’s place in the heavens. It must have happened when you flew in. The curse changes outsiders into the vilest creatures the goddess could think of, leaving the outsiders with their intelligence and the ability to function as a further punishment.”
Ask a simple question and you get a bedtime story! Rebecca thought.
“That’s very interesting,” she said sarcastically. “But how do we fix this?”
“Simple,” O’Bowens replied. “You’ve got to return to the island and apologize to the goddess and the islanders.”
“Sounds easy enough,” Baloo said. “What's the catch?”
O’Bowens said in an ominous tone, “The apology must be a sacrifice of some kind.”
“A sacrifice!” Rebecca yelled, grabbing the professor’s lapels and shaking him so violently that his teeth rattled. “I think I’ve made enough already!”
O’Bowens gulped. Taking in air and straightening his tie, such as it was, he smiled weakly.
“Uh, Baloo do you think you could get her to calm down a bit?”
Baloo shifted his bulk, leaned against one of the walls and crossed one foot over the other, readjusting his pilot’s hat.
“Sorry. All outta help. Besides, I gotta agree with Becky on this one. She’s been through a lot these past few days.”
“So what kind of sacrifice are we talking about, Professor?” Kit asked quietly.
“That’s the catch, Kit. I…don’t know.”
Rebecca’s mouth opened, but O’Bowens cut her off. “And we won’t know until we get there.” He sighed. “I’m sorry, but at this point I’m just as much in the dark as you are.”
“Dandy,” Baloo grumbled.
“Fine! Then we’ll go. Besides, I hate looking….” She looked at her hands. “…off color!” She suddenly heard a barely stifled snicker.
She whirled on Baloo. “And what’s so funny?”
Still chuckling, he said, “Well…heh-heh…Beckers… I’ve never known ya ta make an ‘off color’ joke before.”
Rebecca’s eyes narrowed. “Oh, really?” He was still laughing until she stuffed an old sock that had been lying at the base of his chair into his mouth.
He gagged and pulled it out.
“Bleah! Hey, what’s tha big idea of stuffin’ a smelly ol’ sock down my throat?”
“Well…be thankful I didn’t think of you as some kind of a heel. You would have gotten the boot!”
Kit said, “Boy, Baloo, that’s really putting your foot in your mouth.” He shared a look with Molly and they both grimaced, shaking their heads.
The professor turned to the two of them. “Is it always like this?”
Again they looked at each other and said in unison, “Yes.”
Kit grabbed his baseball cap and put it on, turning the bill backwards.
“Come on Baloo. I’ll start the preflight.” He started for the door, Molly tagging close behind him.
Baloo waved them off and headed for the bathroom. “Fine. I’ll be with ya in a minute.” He had never been so eager to brush his teeth in his life. He just muttered, “Man! Talk about havin’ bad taste!”
It was now close to mid-afternoon in the tropical paradise of Cape Suzette. The dock area was bathed by temperatures in the high seventies and a gentle breeze and clear skies were perfect for flying. The trip to Tigre would at least begin with good weather.
A good thirty minutes passed before Rebecca, Molly, Kit, the professor and Baloo boarded the Sea Duck. It would have taken five minutes if it weren’t for Kit.
Kit was so distracted that he almost missed some of the key checks; like fuel and the charge of the batteries. He sure wished Wildcat hadn’t gone off on vacation.
“Everything is A-okay skipper.” I hope. Kit then said aloud, “Pull chocks?”
Baloo turned to his navigator. “Pull chocks!”
As soon as the twin Superflights were warmed up, Baloo began to taxi. Within minutes the old Conwing was up to seventy-five miles per hour, and Baloo pulled back on the yoke to start the rotation. By the time they reached the opening of the cliffs, they were over a thousand feet in the air.
It took about five minutes to clear the cliffs. As soon as the last rock had been cleared, Baloo set the course given to him by Kit, and began to climb. At the one-hour mark, the Sea Duck was cruising at eighty-five hundred feet. Baloo and Kit were looking out the cockpit windows, checking for any other aircraft that might be in their way, when they heard a chattering noise.
“What in the heck is that? Kit, look out your side and check for ice.”
Kit looked out the starboard window and everything looked okay. “How about your side, Papa Bear?”
Baloo looked out the port and the wings and engine were fine. “No ice here. Engine’s runnin’ smooth as a baby bear’s bottom. Everythin’s hunky-dory.”
“Hey, Mommy… neat trick.”
Baloo leaned just far enough back to ask Molly, “What was that, Button Nose?”
She went up to the big bear and tugged at the hem of his flight shirt. “Look, Baloo… Mom’s turning blue!”
Chuckling, as he turned to look back at the cub. “Aw, Pigtails, what are …Rebecca!”
Kit turned around to see Rebecca shaking like a leaf. She was indeed a very faint hue of blue.
“Miz Cunningham! I’ll get a bunch of blankets, Baloo. Molly, give me a hand.” Her chattering continued.
Baloo couldn’t believe his eyes. “Becky, why didn’t ya say somethin?” She just looked at him, but finally squeaked out a sentence.
“Didn’t think I na..na…needed anything.” Just then Kit and Molly, along with the professor returned with a half dozen wool blankets.
“Stay under them covers, Becky. Until ya get your coat back, you’re a sittin’ duck for frostbite at this altitude.”
Rebecca just gave a weak nod. She was in no position to argue.
After three hours, under the professor’s directions, the Sea Duck approached the remote tropical isle of Tygre. "Now remember what I said," O'Bowens warned.
"I know, I know. I gotta go around three times," Baloo grumbled as he banked the plane into its first circuit. With each turn around the isle Baloo lowered the Sea Duck’s altitude. With the last pass, Baloo made his final approach. The water rushed up to meet the plane as it came in for a landing. The aging Conwing L-16 cut across the cerulean blue ocean and came to rest with its nose on the beach with a gentle wake of sea foam trailing behind the plane.
Baloo began shutting down the engines as Kit started for the Duck’s aft section for rope and anchors.
“Where ya going, Kit?” Molly asked as she trotted after them.
“I’m gonna help Baloo tie the plane down. You stay here and look after your mom.”
Molly wasn’t the only one who was restless. Rebecca followed, climbing out from under the blankets. O’Bowens stumbled around, trying to regain his land legs.
“Kit,” said Baloo. “We better get some lanterns too… and a few… now where do ya think you’re goin’, Becky?”
Rebecca tossed the blanket into his face. “Outside. I want to get this over with as soon as possible. Besides, now that we’re down on the ground, it’s too hot for me in here.”
“Stuffy is more like it,” said the professor, holding his stomach. “I think I’ll be better off outside too. No matter how many times I fly I never get used to it.”
Rebecca, Molly and the professor disembarked from the plane, with Rebecca holding the professor’s arm. Kit and Baloo soon followed, and tied the Sea Duck down at the shoreline. Within minutes the plane was secure and they headed for the village, which was only a few hundred feet away, lanterns in hand.
The village wasn’t small. It was a teardrop-shaped clearing, with huts surrounding a central area similar to a park. At the far end of the village loomed a smoldering volcano, relatively dormant.
The villager turned out to be a tiger community. Most of the inhabitants were oblivious to them, except for Rebecca. I probably stand out like a sore thumb, she thought, wishing she could crawl into a hole to escape the curious glances and whispers.
Molly noticed that some of the older residents seemed especially interested in her mother. “Mom, those old people in the robes keep looking at you.”
“I know that. Keep your voice down!”
Baloo scratched his head. “So…where to, Doc?”
“Well, if I remember correctly,” said O'Bowens, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “The temple should be this way.”
It was a short hike as he led them up the neck of the teardrop to a small temple close to the base of the volcano. The moon was rising in the east opposite the setting sun.
“Better light the lanterns, Baloo,” said Kit. “If we’re gonna see where we’re going.”
Baloo and O’Bowens led the party, holding the lanterns aloft while the others followed. Their yellow glow illuminated the path before them, but little else.
“Are we there yet?” Molly asked. “My feet hurt.”
“Hey Pigtails,” said Baloo as he leaned toward Molly. “Just pretend you’re leadin’ the expedition of Splamely and Liverstone.”
“Gee, I wonder where that other sock could be?” Rebecca asked, patting her pocket meaningfully.
Wisely, Baloo decided to keep his mouth shut the rest of the way.
After a ten-minute walk they reached the entrance. The temple’s portal was old, weather-beaten and laden with moss and jungle vines. Along the path they encountered ancient sandstone carvings of tigers in caught in various poses. Their features were eroded and barely visible, worn with time.
As they ventured further inside, Molly sniffed and wrinkled her nose. “Ugh. What smells?”
Everyone else noticed it too.
Baloo said, “It’s an old temple, doll face. Stands ta reason that it’s a little musty in here.”
“It’s not just ‘a little musty’.” Rebecca made a face. “It’s worse.”
“Much worse,” Dr. O’Bowens said quietly. He and Kit exchanged a look of dark understanding. There was a putrid, coppery odor permeating the place…the vile smell of death. “It’s evil.”
Kit said, “Something about this place gives me the creeps. Like someone’s watching us.”
“Yeah,” Baloo added. He gulped. “Or some thing.”
Suddenly he turned around and began heading in the opposite direction, walking right into Rebecca.
She was disgusted. “And just where do you think you’re going, Baloo?”
He began to stammer. “Uh… I just, ah, thought I’d get my… my…”
“Rabbit’s foot?” Kit added helpfully.
“Yeah! That’s it! My rabbit’s foot. Can’t leave the Duck without it.” Baloo grinned nervously.
“Baloo, I don’t know what’s more yellow, the Sea Duck or your backbone. Now march, mister,” Rebecca ordered, pointing a finger to the inner chambers.
Kit leaned in toward Baloo and whispered, “Don’t worry, Papa Bear. She’s got to be more scared than you.”
Baloo just rolled his eyes. “Thanks loads, kid. That kinda encouragement I don’t need.”
As they got further into the temple, they noticed that the corridors were dimly lit with torches. There were two on each side, with the walls facing each other. Each was spaced about twenty feet apart. More sandstone carvings of tigers and tigress lined the walls. Erosion had dulled their features as well, but not as badly as the ones outside.
“Wow,” Kit said aloud. “Look at this, Baloo! It looks like gold.”
Kit began to reach out, but was yanked back by the professor.
“No---don’t touch it. It is gold, Kit---and very frail. That’s why I wanted to come here---to examine the ancient hieroglyphics. I think they’ll become even more ornate as we get closer to the altar.”
Surprised, Baloo turned toward the professor. “Don’t ya know fer sure?”
O’Bowens began wiping the sweat from his forehead. “Ah…well you see Baloo…that’s why I needed you before. That cargo you brought was the extra gear I need for examining the altar.”
Suddenly, Rebecca felt her chest constrict, making it difficult to breathe evenly. The humidity of the temple’s interior was getting to her. “Then just how much further is it?”
Baloo rushed back to her side. “Becky? You okay, honey?” he asked, putting his arm around her.
“Yes... just let me… catch my… breath,” Rebecca wheezed.
“How ‘bout it, Doc? How close are we ta the room?” Baloo’s question sounded more like an order. “She ain’t doin’ too well.”
“It’s just ahead. Right through that last doorway,” said O’Bowens.
The professor, Baloo, Kit, Rebecca and finally Molly entered the altar room. It was oval in shape, with the only doorway now behind them and the large stone altar in front.
In the yellow lamplight the walls of the alter room sparkled. There were three large panels embedded in the walls, each featuring a gilded tiger figure. The stripes of the tiger figures were of a black inlayed stone. There was one to each side of the doorway, with the third directly in front of them.
The three panels stretched from floor to ceiling. Each figure had a series of hieroglyphics running vertically along the right side. Almost within the center of the room was the altar stone itself. It was the same shape as the chamber.
“Beautiful!” the professor breathed reverently. “That altar is crafted from Olivine, if I’m not mistaken. The biggest archeological find and it’s all mine! Better even than that snake, Jones and the Ark of the Covenant, better than the Holy Grail. And he said he was never able to get it back. I bet he never even saw this thing!”
“Uh, Professor?” Rebecca waved a hand in front of his face. “What about me?”
His wonder turned to shock, as did the others, when they noticed that the gentle green hue of the stone was discolored in an odd flowing pattern. The strange coppery smell was becoming even stronger.
Molly looked at the others, not fully comprehending their reaction. “What’s wrong?”
The hue in the Olivine was not a natural one. Nothing in this place was natural.
The altar stone was stained with blood.