Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 196,453,187 Issue: 907 | 17th day of Swimming, Y22
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Curse Of The Kookith

by zuniak


As much as Asha had tried to put her encounter with the Kookith behind her, she couldn't stop thinking about how weird the whole situation was. A Kookith just standing in the alleyway who knew everything about her life and situation... and that bizarre promise that he would help her change her life for the better in exchange for some unknown object from her life. She tried to push the thoughts out of her head as she arrived at school. She had an exam to face and she had to focus on it. She continued down the hall and to the empty classroom where her teacher was going to administer the new exam for her to take alone.

     "This exam is the same as yesterday's, for fairness to the other students. You passed out so early we don't believe that you had time to memorize anything, and the first few questions were on the practise tests we took as a class anyway." The teacher set the exam down in front of her. "You have one hour to complete it. Take a deep breath, don't let your anxiety take over again. You got this."

     The assuring words of her teacher were comforting. She picked up her pencil and began working on the first problem. She read it, and then read it again, and something clicked in her brain and the answer came to her. So she started on the second problem and the same thing, the answer came through to her. All of her studying was paying off and she was breezing through the test. The revising, the extra hours, it made all of this make sense like never before. Like never before...she had studied this hard for exams in the past but nothing clicked like this. Could it have something to do with the Kookith? Asha pushed the thought out of her head and continued to focus on the exam. She persevered through, barely breaking a sweat on any of the problems, and handed it in.

     "Results will be posted tomorrow."

     The teacher smiled as Asha left the room. She entered the hallway and was satisfied but also stunned at how it all went down. Math had never come that easily to her, and something about it all made sense. It made sense to her the way writing does.

     "I guess all my studying paid off..." Asha was unsure though, she felt in her core that it had something to do with the Kookith.

     She finished up the rest of her classes for the day and went home. Upon her arrival, her parents rushed to the door to greet her.

     "How was the test?? How did you do??"

     "The results will be posted tomorrow, Mom! You will be able to check online," said Asha, with relieved confidence in how she did. "I did well though, I think I may have even gotten the top score."

     "Wow!! I'm so proud of you honey," her father said, beaming with pride. "Regardless of how you did, we are proud of you."

     "We are ESPECIALLY proud because you did so well! I can't wait to see the results," her mother was also beaming. There was a glimmer in her eye that Asha had not seen in a while, a glimmer of relief almost. Like her mother was seeing the end of their situation, like she had hope for the future again. "Now you just have to ace that science exam in a few days and we will be in the clear!! Get to studying, push the old math out and make room for the new science!!"

     Asha chuckled at her mother's logic, and her father gave a knowing smile.

     "Yes ma'am!"

     Asha retreated to her room to get some much-needed rest. She put on her favourite Gruundo album and spent some time cleaning up her room and rocking out before turning in for bed. As she closed her eyes she thought of the Kookith and what he said, and if that could be the reason, she pushed that thought right out of her head. She didn't want to become obsessed with that right now. And she drifted off to sleep.

     The next morning her mother ran into her room, waking her up.

     "Mom, come on, it's the weekend, let me sleep!!" Asha was exhausted from the previous days, between all the studying and the fainting and the exam. Plus the Kookith which kept creeping into her thoughts. All she wanted to do was take this weekend to catch up on sleep and rest. Her mother had other plans for her though...

     "Your test scores are up!! Go log in and let's see how you did!!"

     Asha rolled out of bed, still wearing her blanket all around her and opened up her laptop. She logged into her school's online portal and clicked on the test score button. As the page loaded her nerves kicked up, and then the results showed up. And there was her name, at the top of the list, with a 100% next to her name.

     "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!! YOU ARE AT THE TOP!!!" Asha's mother ran around the room shouting and cheering. "HOO HOO HOORAY! THAT'S MY DAUGHTER!! SHE BEAT THOSE RICH KIDS!!"

     Asha's father gave his daughter a pat on the back. "Wow, you really did it!" He was always proud of his daughter, no matter the circumstance, but you could hear the sense of relief that his wife was just as proud this time. He hated the way she put so much pressure on Asha, she was too young to have to deal with all of this.

     "I'm so proud of you!! Now you can just do this all over again for the science exam and you can make sure you get into a top university!! And from there you will go off to an amazing medical school and you will be making so much money we can all move out of this rubbish dump we live in!! Neopia, say hello to your next doctor!! Dr. Asha!" Karen was practically in hysterics celebrating at this point.

     Things started to settle down in the house and the weekend went on mostly as normal, but with a much lighter air in the home. Asha's mom was much more relaxed and jovial, almost gliding through the apartment on a cloud of joy. Her cooking was even better than usual, and every meal was served with a smile. Her father also seemed happier, mostly that his wife was finally seeming to return to her old self. Asha, on the other hand, was conflicted.

     She was so happy to achieve such high results, and she was focusing on studying for her science exam, but in the back of her head, she knew she still had to write her submission to the writer's guild. And she also knew that she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming an author, not a doctor. The high test scores didn't matter that much to her, she wanted her writing to shine and she knew she could make enough as a writer to pay her family's bills. Yes, it would be a harder road, but she knew she had the talent to make it happen. So while the test scores were amazing, she was nervous that doing so well would force her down this path she didn't want to be on. At the end of the day though, she wanted to make her family proud and make their life easier...and if this was the sacrifice she would have to make, she had to decide now if that is what she really wanted. After seeing how happy all of this made her mom, she knew what she had to do. So she cracked open her science books and got back to work on revising and studying.

     The weekend passed by quickly, filled with thoughts of chemistry and biology, and being showered with praise by her parents, especially her mother. This was a feeling she wanted to keep up, and so on Monday morning she packed her bag and went off to school ready to take her science exam. As she walked the familiar streets, her thoughts drifted back to that Kookith, and her wondering if she would see him again today, but when she passed his alleyway, he was nowhere to be found. She was still curious if he had something to do with her acing the math exam, and if he will have something to do with the science one as well. She knew she got all the answers correct before, she was confident, so she knows that he didn't manipulate the scoring of the test. How else could he have affected her outcome? He couldn't she pushed the thoughts of him out of her head. She didn't want it to distract her from the task at hand.

     She walked into her science classroom, with her head held high. She knew there was added pressure because of how well she did on her last exam, but it didn't affect her because she had gained so much confidence with her math test. The test began and she opened the first page and got to work.

To be continued…

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