Foiled! Curses again?

BY : I_write_badfic_not_tragedies
Category: +S through Z > TaleSpin
Dragon prints: 1958
Disclaimer: I do not own Talespin or any other Disney fandom. I make no money off of this fic. Please don't sue me.

In the dead of the night, guided only by the glow of the moon, a group of laborers gathered outside the secret archeological dig.  It was only two days after the full moon, so there was more than sufficient light to move stealthily without extraneous light sources.

The archeologists in charge believed they had found the untouched tomb of Princess Jolene, the most feared woman in all recorded history.  They were waiting to open the tomb museum’s big-money donors and news reel crews arrived in the next two days.  The laborers, however, had other plans.  Open the tomb of the Princess, take a few things that won’t be “missed”, and seal it back up again enough so the big wigs would never even know what happened.  After all, they were the ones who would have to lift the huge stone block covering the entrance.  They would the only ones to know if it had been moved previously or was still sealed. 

Once below, the workers began to eagerly shovel the gold piles into bags.  They planned to take only the coins and leave everything else behind to avoid suspicion.  “That’s the last of the coins in the bags, boss.  We’re ready to load out,” one of the men said to the lead digger.

“Why, how gracious!”  voice came from behind them.  They were unprepared for heavily armed air pirates pouring into the opening, as they hadn’t thought to bring their own weapons to free up space to load the treasure.  They thought the dig site was secret.  Apparently, they were wrong.  “Thank you for doing all the heavy lifting for us, we will be taking those treasures out of your hands now,” Don Karnage smirked.

“How-how did you know we were opening the tomb?!”

“Let us just say you had a beaver in your midst.”  Gibber quickly tugged on Karnage’s sleeve and then whispered something to him.  “Why would I care about moles?” he asked, and Gibber signed and face-palmed in frustration.  “All of you can stand back against the wall with your hands in the air, if you don’t want us to get shooty.” 

As the pirates were loading up the stolen goods that they were re-stealing, something glinting in the back of the room happened to catch his eye.  “What is that?” he asked, pointing.

“That… that is the sarcophagus of the queen herself,” the lead digger shuddered.  “But you can’t touch it!  The Princess placed a curse that no man may touch her body, lest they… uh…. Erm… I’m trying to think of a good way to say this… lest they find themselves loosing what makes a man, a man.”

Several of the pirates flinched and crossed their legs.  Their leader seemed unimpressed.  “Don Karnage fears no curse!  These are just the silly superstitions!” As he reached for the lid, however, he seemed to be having second thoughts as he hesitated.

“That lid is really, really dirty and I just had my clothes cleaned.  Whoever opens that lid, you may have ten percent of the value of what is include!”

No one spoke up.  “Twenty percent?”

Still silence. “Thirty?”

Finally, he sighed and added “If I have to open it myself, I am not sharing what is inside.”

“Oh, that’s fine boss!” one pirate said as he gave a thumbs up.

“Yeah, captain, it’s all yours!”

Realizing that he couldn’t back down now without looking like a coward, Karnage turned back to wrestle the heavy coffin lid off the case.  “Congratulations, behind door number two you have won… a skeleton and a box?” he asked, confused.  He’d been… expecting something a little more dramatic.

The laborers all screamed in unison and bolted for the exit; armed pirates be damned.  They almost trampled the poor pirates in their scramble to escape into the night.  Undeterred, the pirate wrenched the elaborately carved box from the skeleton’s hands.  The boney arms crumbled to dust immediately, causing him to make a disgusted face and declare “Ew.”

“Are you… really sure you should take that, captain?” Dumptruck asked nervously.

“Superstitions are just silliness for keeping children in bed at night.  They should not worry your head.” 

Thus, they carried the treasure back to their ship, with constant uncomfortable side-eye glances being given to the box their leader was carrying.  It was entirely covered with a thick wax seal, which Karnage decided to dispense with through several hacks from his sword.  When he managed to crack it open, the other pirates once against decided the wisest place to be would be on the complete other side of the room.

The box contained a single necklace, a black chain with an enormous flat emerald set directly in the center and two smaller teardrop style emeralds on either side.  He couldn’t stop staring at it.  It almost felt like it was calling out to him. 

Inside was a script, strangely written in English.  Strangely because… wasn’t this from some ancient, absent culture?  Whoever shall wear this stone, shall have her greatest wish granted by the light of the full moon.  But beware, for he shall never wear it. 

Karnage lifted the necklace up in the air and declared “This is my kind of necklace.  Green is a good color for me.  Do you not think green is a good color for me?” he asked, showing it off to the still hesitant crew. 

“Sir, not to doubt your fabulous sense of fashion, but... that’s a woman’s necklace, and probably a cursed one.”

“No, it is MY necklace.  That makes it a Don Karnage necklace, not a women’s necklace,” he snapped.  It was almost like it had him in a trance.  The back clasp slid shut with a satisfying snap as he wrapped it around his neck.  The air pirates flinched back, but… nothing happened.  No smoke, no flame, just a lot of nothing.  “See?  No. Curse.  I cannot believe you- you-“ He stopped talking, tugging at the back of it.

“What’s wrong, captain?”

“It is stuck.”

“The curse!” Hacksaw shouted, and the rest of the air pirates all scattered like scared cockroaches when the light is turned on.

“A broken lock is not a curse!”  He couldn’t believe how stupid they were being.  He made several more attempts to open the back again, but it held as tightly as the glue had held when he’d been stuck to Baloo (unpleasant memory, that was…)  He hated to break it since that would lower the resale value, but he had only put it on to tease his crew about the curse.  He didn’t want to wear it.  Unfortunately, the chain was just a tiny bit too short to slide back over his head. 

“Someone get a pair of bolt cutters from the workshop and get back here!” he ordered.

After having to spend way too much time chasing down and rounding up the rest of the errant crew, he managed to convince a still terrified Dumptruck to slide a pair of bolt cutters under the back of the necklace.  “Careful, do not cut me!”

“I’m trying captain,” he responded.  As he pushed down on the handles of the bolt cutter, there was a loud CRUNCH.  Dumptruck held up the bolt cutters, which now had a massive dent in them.  The necklace, however, remained firmly where it had been.  “Uh… captain?” he asked, sweating nervously. 

“Defective! Get something else!” 

A few hours later and breaking nearly every cutting utensil on the Iron Vulture, the crew was in a state of blind terror. 

“Maybe if we used a blow torch…”

“No one is shooting a blow torch near my head!” 

“We’ve tried everything we have to get it off and it won’t budge!  It HAS to be cursed!”

“It is not cursed, it is just… very stubborn,” he grunted as he continued to pull at it.  It didn’t look like it was made from some mysterious metal that couldn’t be cut.  It just looked like an ordinary black necklace with beads and a big emerald on it.  “You know what?  I am going to bed.  When we get back to the base, we have to have something that will cut it.” 

“But captain, what if this part of the-“

“Next one to say curse rides back on the outside of the ship.” 

He checked the necklace one last time.  It was still stuck tight.  How strong could this stupid thing be?  He was starting to think this stubborn necklace was stronger than half his crew. 

-

He woke up the next morning with the worst splitting headache of his life, far worse than even any hangover he’d ever had.  It felt like an elephant had stepped on his head.  Deciding that he was not in the mood to get up he rolled over, pushed the bedside intercom, and ordered his crew to bring up two aspirin, a cappuccino, and a donut.  He noticed that his voice sounded kind of off that morning.  He hoped he wasn’t getting sick.  That would just feed the crew’s fears of a stupid curse. 

The ensuing loud knocks on the door only made his head hurt more.  “I am coming, I am coming,” he called, rubbing his eyes and yawning as he finally pushed the covers off and stepped down onto the floor.  “Do you have to knock so LOUD?” he asked as he opened the door.

Dumptruck, standing on the other side of the door, immediately dropped the coffee on the ground.  He also practically dropped his jaw on the ground.  His eyes looked like they were going to bug right out of his head. 

“What is your problem? You spilled the milk!”

“C-c-c-c-c-captain, your eyes!” he stammered.

“Not more of that stupid curse, it is giving me a headache.”  Just to humor his second in command, though, he turned around to look at the full-sized mirror he often used to admire his handsome visage.

His eyes, normally a dark black-brown, had turned a brilliant green.  It was a green that could rival even the color of the emerald.  Which, by the way, was still stuck around his neck.    

Within a few moments most of the rest of the crew had gathered at his door, pointing and whispering about a curse.  Their whispers were making his headache worse.  “Stop clucking like the old lady hens,” he shouted angrily.  “If making my eyes pretty is the worst this curse can do, it is a weak curse,” he said, slamming the door in their faces.

When his headache had subsided, he informed the crew that he would be taking a short trip to visit the old voodoo lady who had removed the body switching curse from Dumptruck and Mad Dog.  Unfortunately, her services did not come cheap.  “I need to visit the lady with the power.”

“What power?” Dumptruck asked.   

“The power of voodoo,” Jock answered.  

“Who do?” Mad Dog asked.

“You do,” answered Hal.

“Do what?” asked Sadie.

“Remind me of the babe,” shrugged Jock.

“QUIET!” Karnage shouted.  “This is not the time for a magical dance number.”   

“That voodoo queen reminds me of a goblin babe,” Mad Dog said and got a backhand from Karnage for his comment. 

“Your mother is a fraggin’ aardvark,” he said in annoyance. 

It wasn’t so much as he necessarily wanted to go to that creepy island alone as he didn’t think the others had the flying skill necessary to make it to the old woman’s island.  The entire island was perpetually surrounded by a thick, almost electric blanket of fog that shorted out radios, sent compasses spinning, and sometimes caused engines to mysteriously choke and die.  Some said the Voodoo queen had cast a curse around the island to keep it protected from interlopers.

The air was saturated with the scent of every kind of incense, from every possible country.  Candles in decaying lanterns hung from the trees.  A few of the “lanterns” appeared to be the skulls of various unidentifiable species with the light coming out of their eye holes.  Dolls in various states of decomposition were hanging from several branches, along with unidentifiable wood shapes twisting in the breeze. At the dead center of the island, the Queen lived in a slumped, snarled tree that looked ready to slide back into the earth at any moment. 

Queen Mary Loveyou was sitting behind a table with a crystal viewing ball on it.  The table itself was covered with a rich velvet cloth embroidered with gold stars and moons.  She seemed to be more ancient than even the world itself, if that were possible.  There wasn’t a surface on her that wasn’t covered in wrinkles, even her closed eyelids.  The fact that she appeared to be a Shar-Pei didn’t help.  She gestured to a chair in front of her.  Her fingers had impossibly long nails, long to the point where they had started to curl in on themselves.  Her white hair went to the floor.  Smokey white clouds of incense clung to the ceiling.  “Sit down, child, sit down.  The spirits told me you would be coming.” 

Normally they would have objected to being called a child, but compared to her, everyone was probably a child.  They were apprehensive about the whole chair thing though, as the chair itself looked like it might collapse if you breathed on it.  “Hurry up, child, haven’t you heard that lurking in doorways is rude?”  She chuckled.  “I had a friend who used to say that all the time.”

The pirate leader finally accepted the chair, although it creaked, crackled, and snapped threateningly.  The woman lifted her lids enough to show small black eyes, glittering with eagerness.  “Hurry, hurry, show it to me! Show me the stone of Jolene!” 

Taken aback by the woman’s mannerisms, he didn’t say anything, and simply pulled it out from under his coat by its chain.  “Oh my, oh my, the real stone of Jolene.  You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for this.”

“You want to buy it? I am thinking of having a flash sale,” he said dryly.

She laughed with a crackling sound like old records, only turned up to a thousand.  “That’s why you are visiting me, isn’t it?  You can’t sell something you can’t remove.  Well, let’s see what I can do for you.  Oh, nobody knew what kind of magic spell to use for this!”  She ran her long-nailed fingers over dozens of vials on the wall.  “Slime and snails? Or puppy dog tails?” she asked, suddenly turning around and grabbing Karnage by the tail.  Getting way too close to his face, her black eyes glittering wildly, she whispered “Thunder or lightning?”

In involuntarily jerking away from her, the chair snapped under Karnage, and he ended up on the ground on his back.  “I am not liking any of those options,” he groaned as he picked himself off the floor. 

“Too bad.  I wasn’t asking you.  I was asking the spirits!  My friends on the… other side, if you will.” 

“And the answer…?”

“The answer is… return in one week’s time.  I need time to confer with the spirits about the reverse to the curse. Of course, I’m going to want to keep that shiny as payment for getting it off you.”

Karnage rolled his eyes.  “Fine, I will not want to see it again after the annoyances it has caused me.”

After he left, the Queen paused in deep thought for a moment.  “I wonder if I should have told him that the curse wasn’t done with him yet.  Ah, well.  He’ll find out on his own.”  



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