“Stop this!”  The Captain insists as Labaguette whispers something about rum in the Captain’s ear.

“Spinostress was a living nightmare living her own despicable dream, if you can call it a dream.” The King explains.

“Precisely,” Chloroph says, “the Hook of dreams reversed her disorder for some time.”

“Nightmares,” the Captain points out.

“For some time, huh?” Jimmy asks.

“There are no strict rules, any state can be altered permanently or not, depending on the experiment.”

“What about us?” the Captain retorts, absorbing a soothing dose of his preferred, golden beverage, “we were part of the experiment, in what way are we affected?”

“You?  Oh you…”

“What planet do I live on?” the queen asks.

“Depends,” Labaguette says, ‘it bloody well depends, depends, depends—“

An empty bottle nearly misses the parrot’s left cheek and he disappears, hiding.

“So, where are the monkeys?” he can be heard asking from a distance.

The guards rally to stand behind what remains of their previous commander, sensing what remains of her power, needing comfort through being commanded, urged, dominated and not having a choice.

“You!” the old queen asks the King, “who are you exactly?”

“I am King Krackskull, ruler of the She-Coat and of the She-Coat planet.  My throne is empty far away and beyond and awaits me.”

“What else have you lost?”

“My crown is missing.  It must be found.”

“An exiled King is a powerless one.  You are destitute.”

“For now.”

“Your crown is lost, so is your throne.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Have we met?”

“Not on my planet.”


“My memory is contained within my crown.”

“Find another excuse.”

To be continued…


“Not so fast,” the Captain says, “I need clarity.”

“I do not tolerate any interruptions!  You,” the old queen commands, “you with the oversized head and spinning eyes, tell me who that King is, I beg you.”

“You?  Begging me to—“

Captain Traumatic scratches his head to think and find an answer.  Trouble is, his foggy brain is trying to figure out several answers at the same time as many an important questions keep popping up, insistent.  Is that King the one who abandoned that Queen so long ago?  Are they from the same story?  Are they suited? Where are the monkeys?  Can the bloody guards be tamed?  Trusted?  Gotten rid of? Where did the fucking wind come from? Why is that woman interrogating him?”


“I’ve got a headache.” the Captains answers.

“Goodness gracious me!  If men like you are having headaches, what is this world—“

“—you cut his finger off” Labaguette intervenes, “and now you—“

“—I may be tough but I am fair in all that I do!” she answers, her guards’ tentacles tentatively reaching out for the fleeting bird.  “I would never—“

“—It’s to do with the leaves,” Chloroph continues, “you see, when tree leaves fall, they are transforming, decaying.  It’s a rite of passage.  Spinostress never went through the Hook, the leaves did and came back.  Now, having contact with what was that is no longer and that went through that Hook points to worst nightmares being upturned and reinstated into the original state they came from.  Also, coming to terms with beings who went through that Hook has some effect, although it is difficult to—”

To be continued…


The wind picks up once more, bringing sweet smells on its path that remind the Captain of autumn, of leaves decaying and turning red, yellow, brown, impending change professed.  Amidst branches, Jimmy’s bus is being turned upon itself many times, the turbulent wind blowing through its smashed windows and open doors, sweeping swirls of tree leaves that lay in it, caught from the last Hook it had travelled through.

The first leaves reach them, free drifters in any universe and enrage Spinostress more: no one and nothing can travel free of her bounds.  She is the ultimate master, the light, the Chosen One.  Not wind nor roaming leaves may stop her wrath.  Her tentacles go down onto Chloroph head at light speed.

All avoid the sight.  This is more than any of them can bear.

There is flash.  Silence.  Leaves still floating by.

Jimmy is the first to lift his head.

Chloroph is still standing and an old queen lies at his feet, unconscious.

Labaguette is flying by the face of this seemingly new comer, looking at her, taking it all in, uttering:

“Wake up! Wake up!  Old rag, wake up!”

“A little respect would go a long way in keeping you alive for longer,” she retorts.

All look at her now, in disbelief, the voice barely perceptible.  Spinostress guards are still here.

“Who might you be?” the King asks the unrecognisable woman.

“I asked you the same question a short time ago?  Have you no wits?”

It is Spinostress’ voice, altered yet it is hers.  It bears the promises of her contempt.  Yet the brutal and lethal intent have vanished.

“The battle is won,” Chloroph states, “you’re free to go and return where you came from,” he tells them all.

To be continued…


“They’re looking for me,” the Captain says.

“All the more reasons to erase them” she answers.

Her guards have never before witnessed such luminous oddity approach any of their skies.  All they’d seen so far were strangers from nearby planets and universes which they’d invaded for dominion.  This is new to them.  No one ever approached them looking for a fight as they remain unconquered.  Perhaps they are a jaded lot after all.

“DESTROY!” Spinostress repeats.

The guards hesitate that little too long, wondering if in meeting an alien life form, there might be some secret to learn, some escape, something new.  In that speck of time they take to dare imagine a great wind lifts, a wind so strong it pushes the invaders away and they are gone in an instant.  The Insatiable Princess’s wood creak, her remaining masts fall and as the branches that hold her prisoners spread, she becomes disentangled so that once again she is free to wander.

“There can’t be wind, here,” Spinostress says, “there are no known winds blowing in this region, who ordered for it?” she asks, perusing all potential traitors around her, including her guards.

“My Princess!” the Captain exclaims forgetting his agony, “my ship, my treasure, my bunny!”

“My bus!” Jimmy cries, “oh no!”  Jimmy’s bus is now firmly entangled into a maze of branches, irretrievably lost to this universe’s mysterious ways.

“Let’s us move on!” Spinostress states, ‘this is a dangerous spot, we may not get out of here alive, any of us.”

“What are you afraid of?” Chloroph asks her, smiling.

“What have you done?” she asks, her tentacles looming above his head, ready to strike, maim and kill mercilessly.

“Brace yourselves!” the muffled voice of Labaguette utters, “brace yourselves!”

To be continued…


As his second brain gets up to speed and the rum dulls some nerves, the Captain draws on his knowledge that as long as he believes his finger is still there, in time his agony will lessen and there won’t be as much to endure as that of a gap between thumb and middle finger.

By now, the shooting star that was simply passing by earlier has grown larger and is getting nearer.

“What is this?” Spinostress unashamedly asks, pointing to it, the side of her mouth twitching.

“You bitch!” the Captain whispers.

“What did you say, Captain?” she retorts.

“I don’t get angry,” the King intervenes, “the Captain said ‘I don’t get angry, I get even.’”

“And who might you be, you crownless, baseless scum, that you think you can speak for the Captain?”

“We don’t need another hero,” a muffled voice much like that of Labaguette’s can be heard screaming from its hiding spot.

“Heard this before,” the King muses, “I wonder—“.

“—I said, ‘YOU BITCH!’” the Captain lets out, all eyes on him now, all stunned yet ambivalent, being impressed as well as fearing for their lives.

“Death won’t be enough for you,” Spinostress continues, seething, “I will torment you for the remainder of your life.  There won’t be one single day when you’ll not wish you had died before getting to know me and my kind.  Let horror and pain be your lot!”

Undaunted, the Captain raises his other hand and points once more to the bright object illuminating their sky.  It is close now.  Those with scanning, and remote vision abilities can read: “NASA, Recovery Space Shuttle no 593 – CT mission”.

“Destroy the trespassers!” Spinostress commands.

To be continued…


“We will be saved,” the Captain says.

“ENOUGH!” Spinostress bellows, looking at the star passing by, “cut the Captain’s finger off and on with it!” she orders, “we’ve already wasted far too much time”.

“What are you trying to achieve?” he asks, “you’ve got the monkeys, you no longer need us, let us go.”

Spinostress guards are holding the Captain and pressing hard on his index finger.  If he tried to retract it, they’d sure break it.  It’s better for pain to be incurred once rather than twice at short intervals Captain Traumatic thinks, as he gives up on any form of resistance.

“The Captain hasn’t all his wits about him,” Labaguette says, in a last ditch attempt to save his master’s finger.

“Catch the damn, evil bird and cut his throat!” Spinostress commands.

But Labaguette, his wings carrying him fast and faster anywhere he wishes, hides and stays put.

“Huh!” Captain Traumatic exclaims as the King musters a smile.

Now Spinostress waves one of her malefic tentacles in the air and slams it onto the Captain’s index finger.

“That’s one finger lost in space, and no one, you hear me?  No one will ever retrieve it for you.  No such business any more, monkey or not.  Next comes your throat.  Is that clear?”

Captain Traumatic winces and falls to his knees.  Pain will be conquered he firmly wants to believe, once he can overcome the sight of his own blood squirting out.  His other hand, now free, reaches deep inside his ragged jacket and pulls a half-empty bottle of rum which he tips down in his throat before pouring on his bloody stub.

To be continued…


There is much worse than a friend, a lifesaving one at that, and to the exception of Chloroph, the King, Labaguette and the Captain, incredulous, all look at Jimmy’s anxious demeanour.  No, not look, they stare at him intently as if their lives depended on him, which in a way, it does.  No, no, no this cannot be.  There’s no dead end in the universe.  Something is, must be amiss because otherwise, the extent of Jimmy’s betrayal will be impossible to measure and especially, it had better not be felt.  Pain is a funny thin, it reaches deep into the soul, leaving an indelible imprint few can resist: to keep living or to give up, one way or another.

The Captain’s brains are working at light speed, considering, registering and deducting.  Deep into the recesses of his darkest thoughts, a dim light remains switched on: Jimmy’s not a traitor.  There’s a reason for this and he, the Captain of a thousand rum buckets will figure out why.

“The leg work was all mine,” Chloroph answers, “I created that Hook to help you get what you wanted.  Let me go and give me what you owe me.”

“Very well,” Spinostress says calmly, “you’ll be the first to be judged.  Guards, destroy that yellow bus, including that ugly, dirty ship and take all the prisoners to their dungeons.”

Far above and beyond him, the Captain scans the skies for something.  He can hear the Insatiable Princess’ calling.  He doesn’t know what it is he is looking for.  He knows that, in the best of dreams, a Syck Monkey, a shooting star or a genie sometime appear.  There, a dim light.  He points to it with his finger, as if measuring the distance between here and there.

To be continued…