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Because You're Cursed


by kidagakash_nedakh

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Trill! Trill! Trill! Trill! The alarm clock shrilled loudly, slowly waking the yellow Kougra in the bed beside it. Yawning, Simba stretched his aching muscles before knocking the clock onto the floor, conveniently ceasing the alarm.

     "Good morning, Draco," Simba greeted his petpet cheerily. Draco, the Drackonack, growled in response as usual but this time there was a vehemence that was never there before. Oblivious, Simba climbed out of bed and made his way toward the bathroom, leaving a puff of fur that surrounded Draco.

     "Achoo!" Draco sneezed violently and glared after his owner just when Simba slammed the bathroom door shut behind him.

     With every move Simba made, more puffs of fur fell to the ground but he didn't seem to notice it. Singing the hit song by Chomby and the Fungus Balls in an off-tune beat, Simba turned on the bath water and started getting ready for his morning bath. He first tested the water to make sure it was just the right temperature then went to the sink and deftly squirted some toothpaste onto his toothbrush. Soon the toothbrush was in his mouth.

     But after a few seconds of scrubbing his pearly white teeth, Simba frowned and removed the toothbrush to study it. Much to his dismay, what he found on his toothbrush wasn't pretty. There were strands of yellow hair that clung to the bristles of his brush and because he had no idea where the hair came from, he was disgusted.

     Immediately, Simba rinsed out his mouth and toothbrush then stared at his reflection in the mirror. He shuddered as images of where the hair could have come from ran through his mind. Maybe someone dropped his toothbrush. Where? On the carpet? On the grass? In the gutter? Still confused, Simba lifted a paw and scratched behind his ear.

     "Aaaaccchhhhooooooo!" He sneezed and that's when it hit him. Cautiously, he scratched his ear again and noticed the puff of fur that fell and surrounded him. "Oh, no!!!!" he screamed. "My fur is falling off!" Panicked, Simba stumbled back into his room and frantically looked around his bedroom though he didn't know what he was looking for exactly.

     "Draco," he called out once he spotted the Drackonack. "My fur is falling off!" Draco only sniffed before turning away. The carpet floor was covered with fur and the sight of it only made Simba even more scared. He had to find help. Someone must know what was happening to him.

     Maybe that someone was the one person he could look up to, the one person he wished he could be when he grew up; his brother Drakon. Because he idolized Drakon, he had wanted a petpet he could name after Drakon and Kasha, his owner, gave him Draco.

     "Drakon!" Simba called out as he ran from his room. Simba found the blue Zafara in the living room, calmly reading the Neopian Times newspaper as he sipped a hot cup of Borovan.

     "What is it?" Drakon asked quietly without even glancing at Simba. Drakon loved reading the newspaper in the morning and hated to be interrupted. Whenever someone did something that he didn't like, Drakon could be downright cruel to them. Simba was no exception.

     "My fur is falling off!" Simba answered anxiously. Drakon smiled blandly but still his eyes were glued to the newspaper.

     "Mmmm, that's good," he murmured distractedly.

     "Didn't you hear me?!" Simba yelled. "My fur is falling off!" Growling softly, Drakon tore his eyes away and focused on Simba.

     "Oh, you're just shedding," he told Simba and then returned to his paper.

     "Oh," Simba replied quietly. "What's shedding?"

     Groaning in exasperation, Drakon answered, "It's when your fur falls off to adapt to the weather."

     "Oh," Simba said. "Why?"

     "Because it's that time of year," Drakon answered automatically.

     "Oh," Simba said again. "Why is it that time of year?" Moaning, Drakon angrily put down his newspaper and made a gesture with his hands. To Simba, it looked as if he was about to hug him but to others, it was clear Drakon wanted desperately to throttle the young Kougra.

     "I. DON'T. KNOW. WHY," Drakon answered through clenched teeth.

     "Erh... why don't you know?" Simba asked innocently, completely unaware of Drakon's annoyance.

     "BECAUSE... YOU'RE CURSED!" he yelled at Simba.

     "Cursed!?" Simba repeated, aghast.

     "Yes! Yes! You're shedding because you're cursed! You're evil. PURE EVIL!" Simba was dumbfounded and stared in shock at his brother. Satisfied that Simba wouldn't say anything anytime soon, Drakon returned to his paper and continued sipping his hot cup of Borovan. The next time he looked up, he was surprised to see that Simba disappeared.

     ~*~*~*~*~*~

     Hours later...

     Whimpering, Simba tossed and turned as he slept. Sweat pooled around his head, soaking his pillow through.

     "Evil... cursed... pure evil," he muttered deliriously. Abruptly, he woke and saw Kasha, his owner, sitting beside him.

     "Aww, poor Simba." She soothed him. Simba sighed happily and stared up into Kasha's concerned face. "Here, I got you something." She held out a blue Ixi plushie but instead of reaching for it, he bit it. Barely missing Kasha's fingers.

     "Eek!" she shrieked. "Why did you do that!?" she scolded. Suddenly, Simba roared which sent Kasha running from the room frightened. He could feel himself changing and once the moment passed, he looked into the mirror and gasped. He looked as if he just paid a visit to Dr. Sloth!

     "Nooo!" Simba roared and woke up again. He looked around, breathing harshly and then slumped down in relief. "It was only a dream." He climbed out of bed and walked to his closet. It was awfully chilly in the room, despite the hot weather.

     "Help us!" someone cried out from inside his closet. "He's gone mad, he's evil! Please, help us!" This time, he realized that the voice belonged to Kasha. Immediately, he swung open the door and found all his brothers and sisters, as well as Kasha, trapped inside a cage.

     "Oh no! He's back!" someone screamed. Shocked, he could only stare at the frightened faces as he thought, 'I did this. I am evil!' Suddenly, he coughed. Then coughed again. Soon, he was chuckling and not long after that, he was cackling. Laughing maniacally.

     "Muahahahahahahaha!"

     "Simba, wake up!" someone called out to him. "You're having a nightmare, wake up." Simba opened his eyes and stared warily at the concerned face. It was only a dream, he thought with relief. But what if this is also a dream? Simba couldn't tell if he was still dreaming but just to be safe...

     "Stay away from me," he told her. It was Ana, not Kasha, who was sitting next to him this time. She frowned quizzically at him.

     "Simba, what's wrong?"

     "I'm cursed! I'm evil!" Simba told her.

     "What?" Ana laughed. "That's ridiculous. What gave you that idea?"

     "It's not funny. I am evil and I could hurt you so stay away." Simba immediately ran from the room, leaving Ana bewildered on the bed.

     Simba continued running as fast as his little legs could go and soon he found himself in the backyard. Breathing roughly, he looked around and saw Draco, resting in the sun.

     "Hey, little guy," he murmured as he picked Draco up. Draco gurgled softly at him which made Simba laugh, sadly. "Well, it's time for me to go. I'm cursed and where I'm headed, it's for evil only." Reluctantly, he placed Draco back onto the ground and started walking away.

     Draco sniffed loudly as he lay down, getting ready to sleep. Just when he closed his eyes, he heard running steps. Quickly, he opened his eyes and saw Simba running back to him.

     "Who am I kidding?" Simba said breathlessly once he was next to Draco. "You're a Drackonack. You're automatically evil."

     ~*~*~*~*~*~

     Ana, a yellow Aisha swept into the living room with all the regality of a royal. Though, she was yet to be painted royal, she still had the grace and dignity of a queen. Drakon, a blue Zafara who enjoyed others' misery (especially if he caused it), dreamed of being painted Darigan. He knew he'd look awesome and so he saved the little neopoints he earned everyday. Right now, he was busy reading the Battlepedia so he can plan out new strategies for the Battledome.

     "Drakon, something's wrong with Simba. He's got a ridiculous notion that he's evil."

     Drakon laughed before looking up. "So he fell for it? Ha! He's too much for me." Drakon laughed louder which made Ana glare angrily at him.

     "You told him that he was cursed?" she demanded angrily but she didn't wait for him to answer. "I can't believe you did that, Drakon! You know Simba's impressionable! Plus, he'll believe anything you'll say since you're his hero."

     "Alright, I'll admit that what I did was wrong but what harm did I do him? He's in his room doing who-knows-what completely unaffected by what I said," Drakon said, sheepishly.

     "That's where you're wrong," Ana said. "He's having nightmares and he just ran away, I think."

     "He's only a baby; he couldn't have gone far."

     "That's not the point! The point is that he felt it necessary to run away. Now get up. We're looking for him." Sighing, Drakon obeyed and got up.

     "Fine, I'll look," he said, feeling guilty now. He walked towards the window, placing the battlepedia on the desk when something caught his eye.

     "I don't think we'll have to look far," Drakon said.

     "Why do you say that?" Ana asked curiously.

     "Because he's in our backyard." Soon Drakon felt Ana next to him and then heard her gasp as she stared out the window.

     The tree house the siblings had built years earlier was no longer an innocent place. Now it looked sinister, covered with shadows that made it look creepy. A bolt of lightning flashed right behind it and a lone werelupe could be heard howling.

     Quickly, the pair left the house and a moment later, stood in front of the evil-looking place.

     "Maybe it isn't Simba," Ana said, uncertainly. Drakon smirked at her then pointed at their feet.

     "It's him, alright." There was a welcome mat that read 'Home Sweet Home' and 'Hope You Have a Wonderful Day'. Convinced now by the nice greetings that Simba was behind all this, they climbed up the rope ladder that hung listlessly from the tree house and entered it.

     "Simba!" Drakon called out. It was dead silent except for the soft sounds of their footsteps as they walked deeper into the dark hall.

     "Is it just me or has the tree house become... bigger?" Ana asked Drakon. Drakon didn't know what to say. When they built the tree house, it was just large enough to fit only four people. Now it looked as if more than one mansion coudl fit inside, though it didn't look like that from outside.

     Silently, they continued on their way when suddenly a large cage fell over them, trapping them where they stood. Light then illuminated the once dark hall and in front of them, there was a throne... with someone sitting in it.

     They couldn't immediately tell who it was that was sitting there since he or she was covered by shadows but dread filled them when they heard the cold, heartless voice that spoke to them.

     "Welcome, newcomers, to the Palace of Evil! Muahahahahahaha!" A flash of lightning lit up the room and in that second, Drakon recognized the evil being.

     "Simba?"

     "Drakon? Ana?" the voice called out. "It is you!" Suddenly Simba raced down towards them. "I didn't recognize you." He beamed, speaking in his normal baby voice.

     "Er, can you let us go?" Ana asked.

     "Sure!" Simba said and soon, they were free. "I'm glad you came! You want a tour?"

     "Um, why not?" Drakon said.

     "How did that lightning flash inside the tree house?" Ana asked Simba. Simba laughed.

     "Oh, that. I have a button on my armrest. There's another button I hold down when I want to speak in my evil voice."

     "Cool!" Drakon said, in awe. He climbed toward the throne and immediately started playing with the buttons. Bolts of lightning flashed and Drakon spoke in the evil voice.

     "Come on!" Simba gestured at them. "I want to show you the rest of the place."

     ~*~*~*~*~*~

     "And finally, the last room!" Simba announced. Exhausted, Ana and Drakon sat down in relief, letting their poor feet relax from all their walking. Who could have known the tree house was so huge and that there'd be so many rooms to see?

     "This is where my hirelings work on my doomsday project," Simba told them as he swung open the large doors. It looked very much like the laboratory that their brother, Sin, visited every day but much larger. The only other person in the room was obviously Simba's hired scientist. The person wore a long white robe and gloves while pouring chemicals into a large test tube. The scientist turned around once the doors slammed shut behind them and what Ana and Drakon saw caused their jaws to hit the floor.

     "KASHA!?!" Ana cried out in disbelief. Their owner looked mildly surprised to see them.

     "What?" She asked, as if nothing was unusual about her being an evil scientist. She then shrugged. "This kind of work suits me," she explained.

     "Being an evil scientist suits you?" Drakon repeated. Kasha shrugged again and then returned to her work.

     "So that ends the tour," Simba said, clapping his paws together. "Do you like the place?" he asked eagerly.

     "Yeah, it's... erh, awesome. Kinda creepy but cool, I guess," Drakon answered hesitantly.

     "Simba, what's the doomsday project?" Ana asked, already dreading the answer.

     "Oh that?" Simba said as if talking about something as meager as a flower. "I plan on using that machine there to take over the world of Neopia! Muahahahahahahaha!" he cackled evilly. The laugh was really, really scary. Perhaps more so than even Dr. Sloth's. It sounded like a child laughing and the fact that something so young and innocent like could sound so evil chilled them to the bone.

     "WHAT!? But you can't do that!" Drakon said. Surprised, Simba looked at him.

     "I can't? But you said I was cursed."

     "He was lying to you, Simba. You're not cursed. You're a sweet boy with no evil inklings at all," Ana assured him.

     "You lied to me?" Simba asked Drakon, on the verge of tears. Guilt-ridden, Drakon shrugged.

     "I'm sorry, but you were annoying me when I just wanted to read the morning paper." Simba's lower lip started quivering, his golden eyes large and sad.

     "Come," Ana said. "Let's go home." A crash sounded and suddenly the room was filled with little green Grundos.

     "What the --?" Drakon said, confused and suddenly he knew who was paying them a visit.

     "It's Dr. Sloth!" Ana said.

     "What are you doing here, Sloth?" Drakon demanded though his insides were quivering with fear. Sloth raised an eyebrow at him before turning his back on them.

     "My minions have reported to me that someone has created a machine. One that will bring all to their knees, worshipping whoever uses it. Is it true?"

     "Of course not," Ana answered immediately. "We're only a bunch of kids. How can we build such a thing?" She laughed.

     "I did! I built it! And it works too!" Simba shouted excitedly. Drakon groaned.

     "Geesh, Simba. You weren't supposed to say anything!" But it was already too late.

     "Seize them!" Sloth commanded, stretching out one long, crooked finger at them. Almost immediately, the green Grundos swarmed Drakon, Simba, Ana and Kasha, pulling them off their feet and tying them down.

     "Give me the Kougra," Sloth commanded. Obediently, they brought Simba to Sloth, who stared disdainfully at the trembling Kougra. "I cannot believe that you, a mere child, have created a machine of such capabilities. Are you lying to me?"

     "No, s-s-s-sir, Dr. S-s-s-sloth, sir," Simba stuttered. Satisfied, Sloth nodded towards the machine.

     "Now, how does it work?"

     "No, Simba, don't tell him!" Drakon yelled but the shout was muffled by the rag the Grundos stuffed in his mouth.

     "I can't s-s-say, sir," Simba told him. Sloth raised an invisible eyebrow and pursed his lips. After a moment of thought, he snapped his fingers and his little minions grabbed a hold of Simba and held him down. "Wha-what are you going to do to me?" Simba asked.

     Sloth didn't answer him. He simply reached into his robe and pulled out a long golden feather. Simba's eyes grew wide when he saw the feather then started to squirm.

     "Are you, by any chance, ticklish?" Sloth asked rhetorically and soon he started rubbing the feather against Simba's paw.

     "Please stop!" Simba begged, laughing. "I am! I AM! I'M VERY - HAHAHA - TICKLISH!" Laughing, Simba squirmed violently but nothing loosened the Grundos' hold on him.

     "Whatever you do, don't give up!" Ana yelled but her words were muffled and fell on deaf ears. After a few more torturing moments, Simba was laughing so hard that it hurt. His ears, his stomach... everything throbbed as waves of laughter flooded him.

     "OKAY! I'LL TELL YOU!" He screamed and immediately, Sloth stopped tickling him. "You... need... to enter... the code... that'll let you... access... the doomsday weapon... then you press the red button... and everyone... will be under your control," Simba informed him breathlessly.

     "I can't believe he told him," Drakon said in a low muffled grunt.

     "And what is the code?" Sloth demanded. "Remember, if you lie, I will torture you and it will be far worse than the last time." Nodding, Simba sighed sadly.

     "The code is... pudding."

     "Pudding?!" Sloth repeated incredulously. "What kind of code is that!?!" he demanded but then he shook his head. "Never mind. I should have realized I was dealing with children." Grumbling, Sloth made his way towards the enormous machine and rapidly typed in the code. A red light started flickering on and off in warning.

     "World domination will commence in T minus ten seconds," an automatic voice announced. "Ten... nine..."

     Simba glanced at his family and he could see the fear in their eyes but there was nothing to do now. There was no override code to stop the machine.

     "Five... four... three... two... one." Ana squeezed her eyes shut and waited for something, though she didn't know what exactly. When nothing happened, she slowly opened her eyes.

     "What in all of Neopia do you take me for!?!" Sloth demanded. "Do you think me a fool to actually believe that you expect to dominate the world by covering it with flowers!?!?!" Sloth sputtered angrily. Drakon chuckled. The machine was shooting flowers into the sky which then floated down to the ground in a pretty flower shower.

     "This must be some kind of decoy!" Sloth reasoned. "Where is the real doomsday weapon?" But Simba only shook his head.

     "That's it. Lots of people in Neopia are allergic to flowers, you know," Simba informed him. "Including me. Aaaaacccchhooooo!"

     ~*~*~*~*~*~

     Later that night, the Nedakh family was resting at home in front of a comfortable fire.

     "The look on Sloth's face was priceless!" Drakon laughed, wiping the tears that fell from his eyes. "If only the Space Faerie could have seen it!"

     Kasha, Ana and Simba all laughed as they told their adventure to the rest of the family.

     "What did he do?" Triste, a white Grundo, asked. "When he realized Simba wasn't lying. That the flowers were indeed his weapon."

     "Well..." Ana smiled. "He turned a bright red. It was, in fact, an incredible feat since he is, after all, green."

     "Then," Simba continued, "he started stuttering and speaking deliriously. No one, not even his minions, could understand what he was saying!"

     "And the best part," Kasha said, "was when he knelt down onto the floor and started sucking his thumb! It was as if the shock of all of it was just too overwhelming and traumatic for him." Laughing, the Nedakh family sat back, drinking a cup of hot Borovan that Drakon had just cooked up.

     "Well, I guess I wasn't ever really cursed," Simba said. Drakon looked sheepishly at him and had the good grace to look guilty.

     "I'm sorry about that, Simba. I should have never told you that. It's obviously not true, little bro." Drakon smiled. He reached over and rubbed hard on Simba's head.

     "Ouch," Simba said in response but he didn't really mind. "It's alright. I'm actually glad that you told me that I was cursed. If you didn't, I'd never would have known the whole me. I would have just kept living the rest of my life, only knowing the good side of me."

     "So you're saying it's good to be bad sometimes?" Ada, a red Acara, asked him. Simba shrugged.

     "Who knows? All I know that without the bad people in Neopia, there wouldn't be any good people because we wouldn't be able to recognize that we are good." He then smiled roguishly at everyone. "Besides, it'll just be plain boring."

The End

 
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