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 9

“Black stones,” Baloo said to himself as he and Rebecca dug around the geode. They had been searching frantically since Altaira vanished.  

As for Rebecca, she tried not to think of it. She didn’t want to give Altaira any other ideas, in case the goddess was reading her mind.  

Baloo was tugging at a large crystal. When it gave way, he pulled a small black object from the quartz.  

“How about this stone, Becky?”  

She looked at the item he held in his hand. “No, that’s not it.”  She held up a similar rock. “It looks like this.”  

“What’s kinda stone did I pick up?”  

“What you have is flint. What we’re looking for is a stone that looks like flint, but will crumble to dust if you crush it. It’ll also be a bit oily. I…I think what we need to find is coal.”  

Baloo looked embarrassed. 

“What’s wrong?” 

“Um… I’ve never seen coal.” 

She gaped at him. “That’s impossible.  Everybody’s seen coal!”  

“Not me.  Not even on Christmas morning.”  He added. “ Cape Suzette ’s always had a warm climate. We never had to heat our homes when I grew up.” 

“Fine.  Just look for a big black rock that leaves black stuff on your hands.” Rebecca frowned. “Just my luck to come from snow country.”  

He looked at her thoughtfully for a moment, “You never talk about where you grew up, Becky.”  

“You never asked.”  

A long three minutes passed between them, before he spoke again. “So, ah… you’re a backwoods bear, huh?”  

“What?”  

“You know… backwoods.”  

“Very funny.”  

“I just meant… well, you said you’d come from snow country.”  

“That’s just an expression, Baloo. The town I grew up in was covered five months out of the year in snow. Phone lines always went down and our family had to can and smoke food for winter storage. Probably one reason my family moved to Cape Suzette when I was about Molly’s age.”  

“Well, that explains it.”  

“Explains what?”  

“Why Molly had that thing for snow that Christmas.”  

“I don’t think soap flakes count.”  

“That’s different.”  

“Oh? Sure it ain’t you bein' homesick?”  

“I don’t have this innate desire to sleep my way through the winter like you.”  

“I don’t hibernate.”  

“The way you nap?”  Her shovel hit something hard. “You sure fooled—BALOO!”  

Rebecca started digging at a ground level spot. Sand and soil were flying. For a moment Baloo was reminded of a mongrel digging up a bone.  

“What is it?”  

She soon pulled out a large black and potato shaped stone. It looked like it had a multicolored film on the surface. A film similar to…  

“Coal” Becky held it up, a bit out of breath. “This…this is what we’re looking for. We just need two more.”  

Baloo stared at the mineral. “Let’s get crack’n jack.”

 

* * *

Back at the Sea Duck, there hadn’t been much of a change. Kit, Molly and the professor were still in a stand-off with Altaira. Molly was now held mid-air by her; little arms and legs flailing as she attempted to strike at the ghostly tigress that held their fate in her hands.  

“Let me go, you big bully!”  

“My, what energy you have.” She looked down at Kit and the professor.  

Molly stopped struggling enough to look back down at Kit. The professor was trying to get him to lie down. The lack of water and the heat from the recent bonfire were taking its toll. He was becoming severely dehydrated and was at the point of passing out.  

The twisted smile on Altaira’s face was broken by sudden and earsplitting wail.  

“You’re killing him! Let him go!”  

Altaira looked back at the yellow airborne bear. “Oh please. You’re already acting as if you’ve seen a ghost. He’s not dead…”  then looking down at the boy momentarily, “…not yet anyway.”  

“Please let Kit go! I’ll do anything!”  

"Promises, promises!”    

A drawn out sniff came from her as she tried hard to hold in the tears. “Please. I’ll make sure he doesn’t…”  

“You really do care about him, don’t you?” she said coolly. "How cute.   

Another sniff, “Yes. It’s…I…He’s the closest thing I’ve got to a brother.”  

Suddenly the waterworks resumed and Altaira was treated to another dose of Molly’s bawling. 

She covered her ears. “Okay…okay…”  

Molly’s crying became louder.  

“All RIGHT! I’ll let him go. Anything if you’ll just shut up!”  

Altaira discarded Molly, and the girl found herself suddenly flat on her back.  

“And don’t be too pleased little one. It’s not merely your crying that gives him release. Move aside, Poindexter.”  

The professor moved out of the line of fire as Altaira took up a floating position directly behind Kit’s left ear.  

“Time to pay the piper”, she whispered in a singsong tone.  “I will let you out of this oral dilemma, but it will cost you something in trust.”  She looked over toward Molly then added, “Her trust in you, that is.”  

“And then?” 

“And then… your debt will be paid… maybe.”  She gave a light laugh.  

“You must reveal the darkest part of your past to her.”  

Kit didn’t know what Altaira was talking about then… images of Daring Dan’s Air Circus, being dumped from Dan’s plane…and that ring of fire.  

“NO!” He squeezed his eyes tight, trying to block it off. He’d forgotten all about that night.  

“Yes… You know what you have to do?” Her voice was almost cackling.  

Weakly, Kit nodded.  

“Very well. I’ll be listening. If I don’t hear you tell her I’ll be back.”  

The goddess placed her hands together, drew them apart to reveal widening a green glow. Suddenly she slammed them together. A nearly deafening thunderclap and then she was gone.  

He put paws to his snout.  

My face… it’s back to normal!  

He looked around, wide-eyed. The professor and Molly stood gaping at him. Kit saw a canteen sitting near the supplies. He pounced on it, practically ripping off the cap.  Greedily, he drained the contents.  

The professor chuckled. “He’s going to make it, Molly.” 

Kit’s head was swimming as he guzzled down nearly a pint of water. He paused, inhaling as much air as his lungs could handle, then continued to drink until the container was empty.  

He sat down on the sand for a few moments, panting, eyes closed with exhaustion. He was still so dazed he didn’t quite hear Molly; she sounded as if she was several hundred feet away.  

“Just…give me a minute, okay?” he muttered.  

It was a long minute; like her mother, she became impatient.  

“What did she say to you, Kit? What’s she supposed to be listening for, anyway?”  

He didn’t reply. 

Kit!” 

When he finally spoke, his voice was barely audible.  

“I’m... afraid of fire.”

 \“That’s silly. You’ve been around lots of campfires, and our fireplace at home.”

Kit moved about seven feet from the bonfire; his gaze returned to Molly, whose fur now took on an odd golden color from the glow of the flames.  

“Molly. Remember when I ran away to join Daring Dan’s Air Circus? Well, he was forcing me to fly through a ring of fire. I was on the ground when he was showing it off to me. Even from twenty feet away my skin felt like it was getting baked. I didn’t want to fly through that ring. Then Dan cut my seatbelt and dumped me from the cockpit. I was falling right toward the ring. If..if Baloo hadn’t…”

Molly didn’t know what to say. She went over to Kit and put her arms around him.  

The long silence was broken by the soft roll of thunder. It would be raining soon.

 

* * *  

Elsewhere, several feet below ground it too was raining… sort of.  

“Only you would hit a spring, Baloo!”  

“Yeah, well I’m not the only one who’s all wet, lady.”  

The two were scrambling back up the shaft they initially came down. Rebecca was ahead of a puffing Baloo. Behind them the chamber was flooding fast; a spray of water started when Baloo pulled the last chunk of coal from the crystal wall. Within minutes the spray became a torrent.  

“About eight feet to go, Baloo!”  

“Yeah…eight feet for you…eighty for little old me.”  

Rebecca made good time, crawling out the hole onto the sandy surface at the top. It was still light, with an oddly green tint.  

“Becky…give me a hand, will ya.” A gray paw was flaying about at the mouth of the hole.  

She tried to pull on his arm, but he was just too big. “Get a vine --- something to grab onto.”  

After scrounging about Rebecca found a long vine that was large enough to hold onto. Baloo grabbed on and began to pull himself along the vine…and pull, and pull…  

Six feet of vine disappeared into the hole as the bear pulled on its length. Finally the slack in the vine went rigid. Baloo slid out of the hole, soaking wet and covered in mud. He only heard laughter as he worked himself onto the sand.  

“It ain’t funny!”  

“Yes it is. I always wondered how you might look from a bath. You look like a slug!”  

Baloo didn’t say a word.  

“Oh …you’re such a party pooper.”  

He was just staring at her. Or rather, he was looking past her.  

She finally noticed. “Baloo, what are you staring at?”  

Baloo stood up to get his bearings; a small flood of water gently welled up from the hole they’d left behind. “What the heck is going on here?”  

It was only then that she noticed… The desert was gone and the jungle had returned.  

“Not again! She puts us in a desert, with no sense of direction, forces us down a hole, I get a mouthful of your best side, crawl through muck, dig for coal and nearly drowned getting out. Now this?”  

“Becky.”  

I’ve had it. I look like a freak and she has the nerve to play games with our lives!” 

“Uh…Becky!”  

“And now we’re…”  

“REBECCA!”  

“WHAT?!!”

“Um…we’re near the camp.”  

She noticed Baloo was pointing to the left and from the boundary of jungle twenty feet away three figures popped out of the foliage.  

“Baloo” chimed Molly and Kit. The professor looked relieved. Then all three stopped and stared.  

“Who’s the kid, Papa Bear?” Kit asked.  

“Er…it’s…me.”  

“Mommy?”  Molly blinked. Then she let out a joyful squeal. “MOMMY!”  

Molly ran to her mother, and gave her a hug. Water began to drip from Rebecca under the pressure of Molly’s grasp. “Molly sweetie?”  

Molly backed off, a small pool of tears welling up in her eyes. “Baloo, is Mommy going to be okay?”  

Baloo pulled three large chunks of coal from under his cap. “If these work like they’re supposed to, Pigtails?”  

Rebecca began marching toward the spot where the kids and the professor had appeared. “Well let’s get going. The faster I get back to normal the better I’ll feel.”  

As the others began to follow Rebecca, it was Baloo that worked his way up alongside her.  

“So, Becky, did you ever figure out what Altaira meant by that ‘boyfriend’ remark?”  

There was a long pause and she began to walk a bit faster. The Sea Duck was nearly two hundred feet away, but it seemed like two hundred miles.  

“Becky? Oh come on, you can tell me.” He added roguishly, “Bet he ain’t as handsome as me, right?”  He laughed at his own joke.  

“You…you…you! Baloo, you’re the most conceited bear I’ve ever known!”  

He stopped laughing, surprised. “Hey, I was just kiddin’.”  He frowned.  “Just what did she tell you, anyway?”  

“Why don’t you ask me, big boy?”  

Everyone stopped in mid stride. Baloo slowly turned around to see Altaira standing directly behind the big bear.  

“Okay… I will!”  

Kit, Molly, and Rebecca grabbed him by the arms trying to slow him down.  The professor looked confused.  

“Well? I’m waiting. Or are you a bit embarrassed to ask?”  

Altaira leaned in glaring at the other three who’d tried to hold him back. One wave of an elegant hand and everyone, including Professor O’Bowens, suddenly found themselves dozen of feet away and out of earshot. Altaira turned back to the big bear. 

“Come on big bear…tell me what’s on your mind,” she said coyly pressing her muzzle up near his ear and whispered, “or I’ll rip your heart out.”  

“Well…is she gonna be normal again?” he muttered, twisting his cap, not looking at her.  

“Normal? Was she ever ‘ normal’?”  

“Um…yeah.”  

For her, anyway.  

“As in ‘...you’re really attracted to her and don’t have the guts to tell her…’ normal?”  

“Now wait just a darn minute!”  

“As in, is she warm for your form normal?”  

“You’ve got a dirty mind, lady.”  

“Mmmmm so she does, because”, whispering even lower now, “…she loves you. Or didn’t you notice?”  

Fortunately, he was the only one who heard her remark. He just stood there slack-jawed.  

“I guess you didn’t. Well if you want her to tell you more you have to save here first. And looking at the position of the sun”, with a smirk, “…you don’t have much time.”  

“What?” Baloo turned around and sure enough it was late afternoon. “Holy Moly! That means we only have...Huh?”  

When he looked back, Altaira was gone.  

Baloo suddenly became a gray blur, and, as before, picked Rebecca up and tore off running down the path, this time for the altar.  Molly, Kit and the professor raced to catch up.  

“Kit…what...where’s Baloo taking Mommy?”  

“Back to that altar. I think he’s figured out how to change your mom back!”  

“Let’s just hope we’ve got enough time,” gasped O’Bowens. “We’ve only got about an hour!”  

 

End of Chapter 9

 

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