Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 196,453,195 Issue: 909 | 31st day of Swimming, Y22
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Curse Of The Kookith

by zuniak


Asha's mother, Karen, stormed through the alleyways of her Roo Island neighbourhood, eager to see if her daughter was playing a trick on her or if the whole crazy situation was actually real. It just didn't make sense to her, the whole idea of a magical Kookith bargaining with her daughter and stealing her writing skills away and blessing her with math and science skills. There is no way that could actually be happening. Regardless, she knew for her daughter's sake that she had to check it out.


     A voice echoed through the alleys.

     "What?? Who are you?" Karen shouted into the near pitch darkness, before her eyes settled down a long alley with a dim lamp post at the end, illuminating a Kookith.

     "I see your daughter finally got you to agree to come, that's good. You must really love her to address her concerns like this." The Kookith was smug in his tone.

     "Of course I love my daughter, why else would I have done everything I have done for her?? I sacrificed everything so she could be happy."

     "No, Karen, that is where you are wrong. You sacrificed everything because you thought it would pay off and make you happy. That's not the case though, is it? You turned your daughter into a nervous wreck with all the pressure you put on her. You funnelled all your money into a top-notch education, you use all your time to work, but you spend no time with your family or your child. Do you really think she's happy? Do you really think her becoming a doctor will make her happy?"

     "How dare you judge me like this! I do what every parent is supposed to do. I sacrifice for my child's future."

     "Your child's future will be miserable. I know everything Karen, and I know what is happening. Before your daughter met me, she was on a great path. She was doing well enough in school to get into a good university, a good university for writing. Her stories put her at the top of her class. This would have led to her being published, doing book tours, and making millions of neopoints to dig you and your husband out of this neighbourhood. You couldn't give up control though, you couldn't open your mind to this possibility. It was never about what she wanted, it was about what you wanted. You wanted to be able to say your daughter was a doctor. An author, psht, that didn't have the right level of class for you. And so you forced that out of her. And all the pressure you put on her lead her right to me. I gave her what she needed to make you happy, but to do so I had to take away from her what makes her happy. So I took away her ability to write. How does that make you feel?"

     Karen was appalled. She didn't want to believe any of this was true, but she knew deep down what she had been doing. This brought it all to the surface and she finally had to admit it to herself. Her interests have been selfish this whole time, and she had put all the regret of her life's failures and mistakes into her hopes for her daughter. She put so much pressure on Asha that she finally cracked under the weight.

     "So what am I supposed to do??" Karen was starting to get overwhelmed with emotion at this point, unable to control herself as tears started falling from her eyes. "I've failed my child and now it's too late!! How do I fix this? Please turn it all back, make my daughter happy again. Give her a fulfilled life."

     "Do you want her to have a fulfilled life, or do you want to have a fulfilled life?"

     "Both, can't we both just be happy like you said we were supposed to."

     The Kookith looked at Karen, a sobbing mess on the ground at this point, and shook his head. "The time for that has passed now, and it is too late to turn back the clock. Everybody makes mistakes in this life and we have to live with them. The question is, do you care about your daughter enough to make her live with the mistake of meeting me, or will you take the burden and live with the mistake of meeting me?"

     "What does that mean?? What are you going to make me regret?"

     "I usually don't tell those that I trade with what the bargain they'll have to make it. But for you, I'll tell you. Normally, I would force you to live down here for the rest of your life and watch your husband and daughter move away, leaving you behind as they thrive and become rich. Asha loves you far too much though, and it would make her so sad, and the point here is to make her happy, right? So for that, your punishment is that you have to live down here forever. Asha and your husband, they will also stay down here. Asha will get her writing ability back, and she will be published and happy, but she won't ever make millions. You will all earn enough to get by, and it will be enough for Asha to be happy. But you...you will never escape these alleyways. Can you live with that? Your other choice is to leave things as they are now, Asha will be miserable going through medical school, becoming a doctor, and supporting you, but you will get out of here. You will go to fancy dinners, rub elbows with the Roo Island elite, and you can brag about your rags to riches story for the rest of your life. It'll all just be at your daughter's expense. The choice is yours."

     Karen stared blankly at the Kookith. Realistically it should be such an easy decision, to put her daughter's happiness ahead of her own. That is what she was claiming to do this entire time. Something, however, was making the decision so difficult. She had been in these slums for decades, dreaming of the day that she was finally going to get out, and over the last week, it was finally looking like she was going to. She saw the light at the end of the tunnel and was in the final sprint towards it. Her life had been incredibly hard up until this point and it looked like it was all going to pay off finally.

     "Please, there must be another option," Karen pleaded.

     "It sounds like you've made your decision, a selfish one though." The Kookith began to ready up his magic to set it in stone.

     "No!! No, I haven't!! I hesitate because it is such a huge decision. How am I supposed to make up my mind without thinking about this first? This is all so sudden before an hour ago I had no idea any of this was happening. Please, just give me a few days to consider all my options, to consult with my family."

     "The decision is yours and only yours. A delay means you are considering sacrificing Asha's happiness, it's a very telling thing," the Kookith retorted.

     "No!! Take mine!! Take my future fortunes, please. Just give my daughter the chance to be happy. I love her so much, I really did do this all for her. I just did it all wrong. Please, that was my mistake and I will live with it, don't make Asha live with my mistakes."

     "And so it shall be done," the Kookith nodded and turned away. Leaving Karen alone in the dark alleyway.

     Karen returned home and was greeted by her daughter and concerned husband. "Everything is going to be okay," she said them, assuring them she did what she needed to do for her family. "It's all going to be okay."

     And so the years went on, the family stayed in their neighbourhood and Asha went off to a writing college. When she returned, she spent all of her time writing books across genres and age groups, doing editorials and poems, trying to get anything published that she could. She was so proud of the catalogue of work that she was building, and was even making enough that her parents could cut back their working hours and they moved into a larger apartment suited for three adults. Memories of the Kookith began to fade from Asha's mind, and soon it was just a blip in the back of her brain. For Karen though, the night is something she thought of often. Every time the ceiling leaked or walked through the nicer neighbourhoods of Roo Island, she thought of what she sacrificed for her daughter. Then she would look at her daughter, and see her daughter's success, but most of all she would see Asha's happiness. There was a smile on her face every day, despite the conditions they were living in, and that brought a smile to Karen's face. Asha's joy was magnetic, and it was bringing joy to Karen. She realized, in time, that the Kookith had not taken away her happiness in exchange for Asha's, but he gave them both happiness. Just in a different way than she had expected.

     The End.

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