The Mommy's Curse

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


Chapter 8

She exploded, “Would you just suck it in already!

He said, somewhat injured, “Now who’s bein’ huffy!”

You better start huffin’, buster! We don’t have all day! Altaira’s probably laughing her head off.”

Baloo took a deep breath. His belly only moved about two inches, and most of his gut still sagged around the opening of the cave like some large fur-covered gasket.

“I… I can’t get it any further in, Becky. Maybe I need to borrow one of your girdles.”

“What do you mean, one of my girdles! I’ll have you know that I don’t… I mean, my figure is exactly the same as it was… um… oh, mind your own business!” 

“Ah Becky. I didn’t mean nothin’. Besides, you look good with a few pounds on.”

“I am not fat!”

“Okay. You’re not fat. You’re a string bean. Flat stomach, flat waist, flat…”

“Watch it.”

For a moment Rebecca just stared at this large lump of bear stuck in a hole. He looked like a gray paper ball jammed into the end of a straw, about to be launched as a spitball. A strange, almost fanatical light came into her eyes. Baloo knew that look.

Oh, no!

In a flash she began crawling up onto his shoulders.

“Hey, what are you doin?”

She pulled herself up, and placed her feet to either side of his head.

“Re-Becca! What are you… ouch! Hey!”

“Just… hold… still!”

Rebecca was jumping up and down on his shoulders, putting as much force behind each impact she could muster. He winced as he felt the shock of her feet hitting his collarbone, and felt himself being wedged even further down into the caves entry. Small rocks were starting to cut through his thick fur, and into his flesh.

“Ow! Beck---!”

“Just a a bit more, Baloo! Ooh!  I think you moved.”

She jumped again.

“Becky!” he gasped. “Stop. Stop!  I can’t feel my feet!”

“Almost… there…”

She continued to pummel his shoulders. Baloo knew he’d be black and blue before the day was through. He didn’t have much of a choice left. The tight opening was beginning to cut off not just his circulation, but her efforts were now wedging him into the hole, and was beginning to cut off his air.

“Stop!”

His yell was so violent, that Rebecca lost her balance, and landed on the ground with a thud. A small cloud of dust rose from the sand.

“What’s the big idea?”

What…?” He was gasping for air. “What do you mean? Ya got me in here so tight now, I can barely breathe!”

“Like when you found out you weren't the 'Best Pilot in the World'?”

“Becky, I don’t think we’re gonna make it. Not like this.”

“Baloo. Maybe if you just relaxed…”

“Relax? How am I supposed to relax?”

“Well, there’s got to be another way to get you through, or get you back out!”

“What if there isn’t?  I’ll be stuck here til Thembria thaws!”

“Maybe if you skipped a few meals…”

He gave her a withering look.  “You mean, starve myself outta here? Think harder, lady.”

“Well, at least I’m trying!  You’re not doing anything!”

“That’s because I can’t, genius.” 

"Think of something you like. Like flying, food, anything."

Baloo closed his eyes and began to think of all the things he enjoyed.

"Well?"

"I'm thinkin’. I'm thinkin’...about fishin’… flyin’…"

"Good. Keep it up. The more relaxed you are, the better chance we have of getting you out."

"Cakes, cookies, chocolate malts, dancin’ girls…”

Baloo!”

“What, don’t ya like cake?”

"Very funny. Just stick to flying and food."

"Party pooper." He closed his eyes again.

"Let's see... Banana Burritos and Louie's 'All you can eat for a dollar specials'... Good music, good friends..."

Baloo's breathing began to slow down. Suddenly there was a bit of movement.

She noticed it almost immediately. "Uh... Baloo?"

"Then there are Louie's Mango Fandangoooooooossssss!"

"BALOO!"

But it was too late. Like Alice , Baloo fell down the hole into darkness.

Yeow!

“Baloo!  What is it?”

Baloo felt the wind rushing past his head as he plummeted out of control.

Oh man, this is it! he thought. His life began to flash before his eyes, and then...

Splorsh!

Rebecca, who up to this point had seen nothing but blackness, suddenly saw a short flash.

"What in the world…?"

Baloo thought he saw something too.

Rebecca was about fifty feet above him now, still kneeling in the sand and peering down anxiously.

"BALOO! Are you all right?"

"I...I don't know Beckers. It's, well it's..."

"It's what? Sandy ? Muddy? Rocky?"

"No... swampy."

"Swampy! SWAMPY! Are you sure you didn't hit your head? Maybe you've broken something."

"No Becky. It's swampy and..." What happened next, even he couldn't explain. He shifted his weight and the entire floor around his seat glowed.

"Holy Moly! Becky... You're not gonna believe what I've just saw!"

"Seen."

"What?"

"The word is 'seen' Baloo, and I saw it too. Move around some more.  You’re blocking my view."

Baloo obliged. He moved a lot more, and soon the entire floor of the hole was filled with an eerie green light. The more he moved around, the longer the glow remained.

“It’s comin’ from the sand!” he shouted. "Becky, can you make it down?"

Squinting, Rebecca saw the inner walls of the hole. A miraculous thing had occurred. As soon as the floor lit up, torches hidden within the rocky wall tunnel came to life. Within seconds the vent was awash in the same eerie green light that illuminated the bottom, where Baloo was now standing.  Her mouth fell open. What looked like small rungs of an ancient ladder became apparent.

“I… guess so. I'll be right down."

It didn't take Rebecca that much time to climb down the ladder, though her short legs were stiff and sore from the effort.

"Welcome to Wonderland, Becky."

"That's not funny."

"What? Maybe a white rabbit’ll show up. Maybe with a decoder ring?"

She made a sound of exasperation. “What are you talking about?”

“Nothin’”

Rebecca just clenched her fists in frustration. It wasn't worth the effort.

"Just let’s see if there's some other way out of this pit. Okay!"

"Well, how about that trail there?"

To their right, about five feet away was a small side-vent. It was just large enough for both to pass through.

He gestured for her to precede him. "Little ladies first."

“We don’t know what’s down there. Why don’t you go first?”

“Been there, done that.”

"Oh no, Baloo. Age before beauty."

Baloo got down onto his knees and mumbled, "Sure... pearls before swine."

"What was that?"

"Oh, nothin’, Becky. Nothin’ at all."

Baloo began to crawl forward through the hole and surprisingly enough he was able to make it in, barely. Rebecca couldn’t believe it either. Within seconds Baloo was squirming his way into the tiny opening. He looked like a fat mole looking for grubs and soon the only thing showing of the bear was his bottom.

“Hey, Becky? You ready?”

Rebecca didn’t answer right away. She caught herself staring at the furry rump of a pilot. It wasn’t something she did on a regular basis and it left her with a weird feeling in the pit of her stomach.

She blinked, realizing that she’d been staring.

“What was that?” asked Baloo, whose voice was muffled by the tunnel. Rebecca didn’t realize that she had made the comment aloud. She got to her hands and knees to follow. Down the dark passageway to heaven knew where.

“N..noth… nothing Baloo. I’m right behind…” She found herself staring again and Rebecca shuddered with disgust. “…you. Unfortunately.

While the floor of the tunnel was relatively smooth the walls and ceiling proved rougher. As the tunnel began to open up more the further it went Rebecca began to see small tufts of gray fur and one shred of a yellow flight shirt. In addition a small amount of light began to filter into the opposite end of the tunnel. It had an eerie rainbow glow to it, almost as if someone had filtered sunlight through a prism.

“Hey Rebecca?”

“Yes?”

“Dang tunnels opening up, up here.”

“Good.“

“Oh baby! You’re gonna love this!”

She wasn’t in the mood for idle conversation at that moment. Between the slightly gagged rocks around the upper part of the tunnel and the stench of a bear, who obviously hadn’t bathed in a week, Rebecca was getting impatient, dirty and…

“Hey! Becky, what gives?”

Rebecca wasn’t quite sure what had just happened. She had smacked her face into something. It looked like…

“Oh…gross! Ick!!”

Baloo could hear the sound of gagging; as if someone was either spitting out a bug or losing their lunch.

“Becky! You okay?”

“Why did you stop?” It was about all Rebecca could utter between gagging and spitting.

“That was you?”

“No, it was your proctologist. Of course it was me! Who else is directly behind your… behind!”

“Rebecca!”

“Ohhhhh, just get moving so I can get out of here!”

It was a good thing Rebecca was behind him so he couldn’t see her rude gesture.

At last, they squeezed through the last yard of the tunnel.  What they saw would have put the gem stone gravel pit of Lars’ village to shame.

“Wow! Becky, look at this place!”

It was an astonishing sight. Everywhere Rebecca and Baloo looked light covered the chamber. The walls, floor and ceiling area were covered in crystals. Small quartz like outcroppings was giving off an odd glow of daylight. They didn’t appear to have energy coming from them. More like the light was coming in from behind them, leaving the filtered sunshine to illuminate the room.

“Amethyst!”

“Ama..who?”

Amethyst.  This purple crystal mixed in with the quartz. And look!”

Baloo was standing to the front and left of Rebecca. She was examining some mineral just in front of them both.

“Gold!” they both breathed.

“Amethyst, gold and quartz…BALOO! I know what this is!”

“One of them fancy Perigee Eggs?”

“No. Baloo, we’re inside a giant geode.”

“In English?”

“It’s a type of volcanic rock. When they cool they leave these crystals inside.”

“And here I thought you didn’t learn anything from your little village trip. I’m impressed.”

There was a moment of dead silence. They knew who it was.

“You mean this is…?” they asked in unison.

“Bingo! I suppose you want the riddle now?”

“That might help,” Rebecca said with some sarcasm.

“Don’t get flip with me little one, or you’ll be left to grow up again. Only this time you stay a Werehuman. My…What the doctors will do to you. Maybe I shouldn’t give you the riddle. It might be fun to see you locked up in a circus freak show.”

“Now just a gosh darn minute!”

Altaira glanced at the bulbous bear. “Or, perhaps a nice zoo. Fat Boy here can come every day to check on you. Oh…I forgot. They won’t let visitors feed the animals.”

Rebecca was relieved that Baloo kept his mouth shut for once, but she saw him flinch, and could tell the comments hurt him deeply.

“Well. The two of you have learned haven’t you? It’s nice to have some silence for a change. A fact that young cub of yours is learning all too well.”

A look of shock came over the two of them, but it hit Baloo hardest. The heat, the sand storm, the pit… His punishment by Altaira had completely slipped their minds. Rebecca looked to Altaira and then to Baloo. Beads of perspiration were trickling down the back of his neck. A moment later he uttered the one question burning in his brain, “Is…Is he…”?”

“Alive?”

If Baloo and Rebecca had been back at camp that instant they would have had their answer. And it wasn’t pretty.

Kit’s snout was still sealed shut by some great weld of flesh.  The boy could breathe and mumble, but he couldn’t talk, eat and worse --- couldn’t drink.  He leaned weakly up against the hull of the Sea Duck Dehydration was setting in. If he didn’t get water soon he’d pass out. If this went on more than three days, he would starve to death.

Professor O’Bowens watched him worriedly.  It was time for some drastic measures.

“Molly? Could you find the first aid kit for me?”

Molly got up and crawled through the side hatch of the plane. She looked up and down the cargo bay for the box. She knew she’d seen it before, but where? Then she remembered. It was on the wall, near the lockers. She had used it as a hiding place over a year ago when she was hiding from Covington . Both the professor and Kit heard boxes shifting here and there; finally she was back with the first aid kit.

“Okay. Now what?”

As the professor began to rummage through the first aid kit, he asked Molly to add a few new pieces of driftwood to the fire. He then began to pull out some alcohol and a small bag of cotton.

“Make sure it’s hot, Molly.  And be careful.”

“But Mommy told me never to play with fire.”

“I don’t think she’ll mind just this one time. Please, Molly. I need you to do this for me.”

“Okay, but why?”

The professor rifled through the bag until he found what he wanted.  Both Kit and Molly’s eyes went wide as the professor pulled out the tiny scalpel. The stainless steel glinted as the light of the flames caught the tip.  Kit gulped.

The professor saw Kit’s reaction. “I don’t know what else to do Kit. I’m…I’m sorry. You should move by the fire so I can have enough light to work.”

Kit hesitated for a moment or two. He began to wonder if having his mouth cut open was worse than Altaira’s punishment. Or, what this Altaira’s idea of punishment?  

O'Bowens waited until the fire was a roaring orange and yellow blaze. The professor then took the cotton and bathed it in the alcohol from the first aid kit. He took the cotton and rubbed in vigorously against Kit's snout, right where the seam of his mouth should had been.  

Kit winced at the smell of the alcohol. He'd smelled that odor before, in the orphanage; when ever the orphanage nurse had to administer shots to the children she'd swab skin with alcohol. It always made him sick. With the proximately to his nostrils the odor was making him nauseous. Kit had a need to vomit. He held it down as best he could.  

"Hold on Kit. It'll be over in a minute."  

The professor told Molly to go inside the Sea Duck and wait. She protested.  

"Molly, I'm sorry, but what I have to do may be messy. Besides, it might make Kit worry if you stay to watch."  

Molly looked at Kit and he gazed back at her. His body language was clear and she reluctantly headed back to the plane.  

When Molly was out of sight the professor took the scalpel and placed the tip in the alcohol, then into the fire. He wasn't a doctor, but he didn't know any other way to sterilize the blade. When he felt the heat creeping down the handle the professor removed the blade from the flames.  

Kit, I...," he swallowed, "...need you to hold very, very still.   

Heart pounding, Kit braced himself.

Professor O’Bowens’s hands were trembling. He thought, This is going to hurt.  

“Ha ha ha ha ha... If you only knew!  Kit’s eye’s widened as a ghostly silver image of Altaira floated above the sand.  

“So little man, it isn’t as much fun to drink through you nose is it? My, aren’t we squeamish!” she mocked. “Don’t you have any faith in the good Professor? Such steady hands!”  

The professor turned around, the scalpel still in his hand. “Maybe you…should let him go, before someone really gets hurt.”  

Altaira suddenly became coy.  Affecting a Southern belle accent and pretending to fan herself, she cooed, “Ah do declare! Ah nevah expected such strength out of an itsy bitsy POINDEXTER!”  

The sudden flare of fire that transformed the vaporous figure of Altaira into a spectral vision of hell caught everyone by surprise…save one.  

Molly scowled and stomped from the Sea Duck. Kit’s eyes darted toward her. He hoped to catch her eye and telegraph a, “Will you back off, for crying out loud” look, but like her mother, Molly was a bit stubborn.  

“You leave them alone you, big bully!”  

“How sweet…” she said, her voice dripping with venom, “…Like mother like daughter.”  

“Lifff ferf affoofn!”  In his current condition, Kit could only sound like some wounded animal with a snout full of mud.  

“Mirror, mirror on the wall? Who are the most pathetic of all?” she taunted. “Maybe I should teach you both a lesson you’ll never…What are you doing?”  

Altaira looked down to see Molly swinging her little fists. She was trying everything to jump up and strike the wisp that was Altaira.  

“Oh, do try harder, little cub.  This is so boring.”  

Back at the cave, Altaira was giving Baloo and Rebecca another twist of the knife.  

“You want the riddle now or after I finish off those two whelps?”  

“If you harm even one strand of their fur I’ll…”  

“Baloo…She won’t.”  

“Oh, and how can you be so sure?”  

“Then you wouldn’t have any fun.”  

“Hmmm. You aren’t as dumb as I thought. Would you like to see them?” With a flick of her wrist a foggy image of Molly, Kit and the professor appeared on the crystal wall. The blade in the professor’s hands was prominent.  

“What have you done!?”  

“Nothing. Yet! That little brat of yours is become more trouble than she’s worth though. It’s amazing how much she cares for that juvenile delinquent.”  

“Juvenile delinquent?! Kit’s not a delinquent lady.”  

“Hahahaha, if only you knew his past you‘d…Oh, but then I don’t want to spoil the fun. He does have a secret admirer though. Bet you can’t guess who!?”  

Baloo looked at the image. He suddenly realized she was there too!  

“Hey! How can you be there when you’re here too?”  

Altaira’s lips twisted into a cynical sneer. “Oh…You are brighter than you look. That’s part of my riddle!”  

“Which is?” Rebecca snapped.  

“Listen carefully to my riddle, because I’ll only say it once, and…”  

Altaira stopped in mid-sentence when she noticed Baloo taking out a small black book from under his cap.  

“Oh please! Must you write this down? Very well. I suppose I can bend the rules just this once.”  

“What rules?”  

“BALOO!”  

“Hush, both of you. Now here it is:  I mark time. I do not fail. I stand alone in mud and shale. Burn I must to set it free, but dust will come if crushed by thee. For three are needed to make me see!”  

There was a flash and she was gone again, along with the image from the campsite. Baloo looked as if he swallowed a boulder. The thought of Kit and Molly being…His heart raced at the prospect.  

“Baloo! Baloo! Snap out of it. The only way we can save the kids is to find those stones.”  

He thought:  I stand alone in mud and shale. Burn I must to set it free…  

Aloud, he wondered, “But what in tarnation did she mean by that?”  

“Just that…The stuff tar is made from. Now start looking for black stones!”

 

End of Chapter 8  


Back to TaleSpin Fiction