THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 300

“Whatever it is that could help us,” the King says, “will be too late to come.”

“Forget the library inside your noggin, Captain!” the old woman says, “if only you’d look—”

“—you’ve sure come some way,” the King retorts, “from killing machine to enlightenment?”

“We’re sinking,” the Captain insists.

What remains of Spinostress looks at them both with a vacant, blank stare, not understanding, unwilling to remember.

The entire crew is holding on to anything it can cling to when the Captain notices that the inside of the hull has, for most parts, been plastered and sealed with unfolded white ropes the old woman and her guards had been working on.

“I don’t recognise the entrails of my Princess,” the Captain says, “is this an egg shell?”

The old woman musters a smile: “one that can’t be cracked.”

They can feel the ship rising up and up, with what they know of gravity precipitously taking on a whole new meaning as all that they are holding on to must be let go of, their hands and paws being vigorously made to release what they’re clinging to, as an invisible physical force urges them to.  Sounds become muffled, time appears to stop, and all that is not attached to the inside of the hull begins to float at random.

Now what, the Captain wonders, frantically scanning and searching his books.

If only my crown had been floating, the King muses.

If this is flying, the old woman dreams on, it beats it all.

Shit, they’re all going to believe they’re birds, Labaguette thinks, look at them… wingless yet flying.

“Anything else aside from submarines you could think of?” the King asks.

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 299

But then:

“By the blessed, blazing, smoking and stinking cannons of this shit!  I’ll—

“—Ship, Captain.”

“I’ll be damned!”

“Fucked, for short” Labaguette mutters.”

“We’re afloat,” the Captain confirms, “what the bee-Jesus is all this?”

“We must close the gates, stop the water pouring in,” the King suggests.

“Some glass ceiling,” Labaguette answers, “we’re in a lost-at-sea-bottle game.”

“KING KRACKSKULL!  LABAGUETTE!” the Captain yells, “RUN INSIDE, FAST!”

“But, but, zat iz impoz—“.

The Captain snatches the parrot and pushes him in his jacket as he and the King run for cover.

As soon as the Captain closes the latch and securely bolts it above them, a few drops of salty water seep through from atop, squeezing from between the wooden floor boards, smudging their garments with a mauve tinge.  The Captain tastes it.

“Definitely sea water,” he remarks.

“It’s mauve,” Labaguette whispers from his pocket, “it could be anything: sewage, tears, industrial waste, painted petrol, molten lava—“

The Captain squeezes Labaguette’s beak shut so tight that the bird desperately gestures with his wings, crossing them for a truce.  Once released, he leans half-way out and stares into the Captain’s eyes, promising with just one look that he will not utter another word for quite some time, if not less.

But, by now, the entire ship is violently jolting, rocking forward and backward at the same time, being hopelessly tossed like a dry leaf on a wild river.  The sounds of rough water rushing and splashing are all around them.

“They will build a submarine someday,” the Captain remarks.

“They?” Labaguette asks.

“We’re flying,” the old woman says.

“We’re floating,” the King insists.

“They?” Labaguette reiterates.

“We’re sinking,” the Captain adds.

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 298

“We’re safe, we’re travelling on the Insatiable Princess,” Captain Traumatic says, “there won’t any need to swim.”

Below them, what looked like a pit, a puddle, a pond, a well and a watery surface earlier appears to have somewhat filled up and risen.

“Granted,” Labaguette adds, “it’s a small lake doing what lakes do best.”

“Huh?” the King utters.

Captain Traumatic rolls his eyes up in despair, “we’ll be fine,” he says, “woman, go to your quarters and prepare for any eventualities.”

“Of what type?” she asks.

“Watery, wet and wobblymatic,” Labaguette answers.

“Wobblyma—?“ the King continues.

“—Make the inside water proof any way you can,” the Captain commands, “lead the Monkeys, use the ropes, the plants and your warmongering skills.”

The old woman, her guards and the monkeys do as they’re told as the Captain, the King and Labaguette keep on watching, incredulous.

“It’s rather a big lake,” the King remarks.

“Rather big…  Rather big,” Labaguette rambles on.

“If we weren’t where we are,” the King continues, “I swear I could hear seagulls.”

“Considering where you come from, you know nothing about parrots, let alone—“

“Salt!” the Captain exclaims, “the smell of salt is upon my nostrils.  It’s an ocean!”

“A glittery, purple ocean with a bit of white added to it,” Labaguette says.

“What is the matter with you?” the Captain asks.

“Enter the Ninja.”

“Now is not the time to see yourself as another type of hero, Labaguette, it WON’T WORK!”

“So you fink.”

“It’s rising so fast,” the King adds, “I feel sick.”

Suddenly, a small, not unfamiliar movement rocks the Insatiable Princess.

“WE’RE FLOATING!” the King yells.

Nah, can’t be the Captain thinks.

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 297

“Shut your gob!”

“He wasn’t the only creature anyways.  One more, one less doesn’t make much of a difference.”

“You’ve seen the creatures above come out: they weren’t wearing their pins.”

“Besides, tolerance is needed; the picture he drew of me wasn’t exactly—“

A few drops of liquid reaches them, dripping from the open gates above.

“I hear an ocean coming,” the King insists.

“I do not like to be visited nor defied by unexplored waters,” the old woman adds.

“—I’ve got a feeling that before long, the Insatiable Princess will regain her composure,” Captain Traumatic says.

Ashe speaks these last words, water begins to flow out of the gates and pour into their universe.

“Thought so,” the Captain says.

“Liquid is malevolent” the old woman says.

“What do you know about freedom?” the King asks.

Worries and concerns get to them unawares: water is pouring upon them in heavy flows.  Drenched, they look underneath them where some of these waters fall, remote and tiny puddle can be seen forming deep, deep, deep below the ship.

“Now we know,” Labaguette remarks, “this isn’t a bottomless pit after all.”

“So there’s a floor,” the old woman says.

“It’s a well, the bottom of a well,” the King remarks.

“It’s a watery surface,” the Captain adds.

“It’s a pond,” Labaguette says.

“It’s rising,” the Captain continues, looking at the Monkeys who are now fidgeting, gesticulating as if to communicate some obvious fact only they’re aware of.

“It’s gonna take an awful long time before this sky fills up.  Why the hell is this water mauve?” the King Captain inquires.

“I can only fly,” Labaguette comments, following the Captain’s gaze.

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 296

“Surely…” the Captain says, “surely this will stop for good…”  He looks above at the Monkeys and in turn at the creatures standing by their gates who, unable to bear the whistling frequencies, collect their hammers and tools, re-open the gates by pulling the door, as if in their own minds being ‘closed, locked or opened’ meant something entirely different, and step back inside the portals disappearing, leaving the gates open.

“I’ll be damned!” the King exclaims, “Captain, do we proceed to the net or should be jump overboard?”

“Hmm, the sound of silence,” Labaguette mumbles, recovering.”

“King Krackskull, would you ever consider abandoning your castle?” the Captain asks.

“I left my planet, I didn’t quite mean to—.”

“—Is this the sound of gurgling of water I hear?” Labaguette continues.

“Mouton Blanc has re-generated,” the old woman ventures.

“Death by drowning,” the King says.

“He was never alone,” the Captain remarks.

“He’s come back to haunt me,” Labaguette whispers.  He’s doing this on purpose.  He wants my soul.”

“I hear an ocean coming,” the King adds.

“We all know what you did last night,” the Captain answers.

“Huh?” the King retorts.

“Did what?” the old woman inquires.

“He was a demon, a ghostly entity of wicked intent,” Labaguette adds, “never in the world would I—“

“—I may not have the full picture, Labaguette,” the Captain says, “but what I do know is that what you did to Mouton Blanc calls for punishment.  He melted during night time, an impossibility for that type of creature.”

“That iz right,” Labaguette retorts, “you do not know the full story, non, non, non.  I reiterate: it was day time.  What would you know about the difference between day and night under these latitudes?”

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 295

He whistles a long, hard, strident signal which, for a bare second stops the cacophony of noises coming from the creatures banging at the gates.

This bird will never stop, the Captain thinks, why would Labaguette interfere with his own squawking?  What does he think he’s doing?

“God or Devil on my door step, or you, shitty blood sucking beasts of all kinds, invisible creatures out there who know-all and more, I beg you, let me return to earth, let my life be as it once was,” he mumbles.

Up there, the Monkeys are spurred into action once more, using only their legs and tails as Labaguette repeats his whistling to get them to move fast and faster, to reach the ship until, one monkey, reaches and snatches the parrot, perches him on his arm and hops swiftly amidst the compact jungle which is sprouting around them and everywhere when Labaguette points to a specific bush.

“There!” he says, “right there,” recklessly letting go of his ears, losing consciousness and dropping onto the ship below.

The two brothers come down to the rescue using their tail, covering the ears of their sibling to allow him to use his arms and hands.  Then, he picks one thick leaf from the bush identified by Labaguette earlier, turns it sideways, holds it in-between his hands and begins to blow through it.  No sound can be heard coming out of it but the creatures stop their banging at once, look towards the monkeys and prepare to hit the gate again but too late: the other two monkeys have each picked a leaf and are mimicking their brother, whistling and emitting frequencies that cannot be heard by anyone except the creatures above.

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 294

Then, an excruciating din interrupts their conversation, so loud they have no choice but to cover their ears.  In less time than it takes to write these words, Labaguette dives inside the Captain’s jacket, into his favourite pocket, traumatised, muttering to himself that from now on, he’ll never attempt to be a hero ever again.  “I’m a bird, I’m a bird, I’m a parrot and I shall remain a bird,” he whispers, almost convincing himself, “anything you want, anything anyone wants but someone stops that damn racket!”

The crew watches in horror as one creature after another, pins off, has entered its gate, closed it and stands by its side, persistently hitting the lock with all its might.  Simultaneously, the branches that extend from the trunk below deck and the plants above it reach out for the gates all around them, an assortment of branches thick with foliage, flowers and bugs that forms a giant net, threatening to tie them and endlessly unite them to the universe they are trapped into.

The Three Monkeys are hanging from branches by their tails, holding their ears too, dismayed and sliding gradually down towards the ship using feet and tails.

The King, the old woman, her guards and Captain Traumatic can no longer bear it and must crouch or lie down on the ship’s deck, overwhelmed by the insufferable noise, powerless to escape from it.

Sometimes, earnest despair brings ideas.  Sometimes, ideas never quite disappear and sometimes, the least likely of creatures is unable to let go of some ideas.  Labaguette, his wings holding his ears, crawls out of its pocket and, hopping from one wooden floor board to another, locks himself into a straight diagonal position to that of the Monkeys.

To be continued…