“LABAGUETTE?” the Captain screams as bits of confused metallic roots turn, twist and extend, sensing an intruder.  Captain Traumatic runs faster, certain that the roots want nothing more than a good meal.

“Here, Captain!  Here!” the echo calls.  This time, the distinctive flapping of the parrot’s wings calls, a sure sign that he is close.  Oh and here’s the fifth chamber to the right, the Captain thinks, entering the chambers and walking high above flat, hard stones, until he reaches the edge of a stone platform that stops abruptly before a fall.  On the walls beside him, where metallic roots would have projected, entire walls are covered with clear, smooth silver, mirroring everything, as if they the roots had melted and been spread all over the walls.

And down below there, where mounds of square black boxes of all sizes lay about, a familiar figure lay high above the floor in a transparent box.  Inside it, Colonel Loga looks sound asleep, in a foetal position.  Could he be ill or maimed?  Unless he is dead, the Captain thinks.  Tied to that box a small pipe is attached to Labaguette’s head.  Yes! Labaguette!  Victory at last, the Captain muses, unless…  unless this is a reflection, a duplicate… a photocopy?  Labaguette raises one leg intermittently. His wings flap at a rapid succession of clicks and clacks.  He looks tired and weary even with his eyes closed, the Captain considers; why does he flaps his wings in this way if he isn’t flying?

“Labaguette!” the Captain tries whispering softly, “Labaguette!”

As he leans against the wall behind, the silvery material glues the Captain to the wall.

To be continued…


“Follow me!” the echo says.

“Who talks?” the Captain asks.

“Silence!” Birdseye commands.

“Here lies your way…” the echo suggests.

“Here?” the Captain repeats.

“I know your name,” it insists, singing softly into the Captain’s ear, “the Insatiable Princess awaits you over there… up, up and away.”

“Where are you going?” Birdseye asks.

“My ship awaits me.  This is the way to it, I must—.”

“—I see no ship.”

“Don’t be such a party pooper.  I’ve been told—“

“—Keep steady and follow the only path forward, that which I light up, will you?”

“Can’t you hear them?”

“Hear what?”

“Them talking.”

Birdseye’s pauses for a brief instant.  Then he resumes his walk following the path they must take.

For the Captain, the sound of wings flapping echoes again and whispers:

“Captain!  Captain!  It’s me, Labaguette.  I’m in the cavern on your right, five chambers ahead.”


“We’ll find him, Captain.”

“He’s here.”

“You’ll die if you stray.”

Here, in the entrails of an orange planet plagued by out of control policemen and monster worms that reek of rum and body parts, a pirate and a dancing birdman become separated in the darkest tunnel of them all.  Here is Birdseye, following unseeingly a path being opened up before him by metallic roots hungry for more.  Here is the Captain blindly following the voice of his parrot from hell down another corridor.  It is too late when Birdseye recognises that the Captain has given up the certainty of his protection for the sake of a parrot’s fleeting and fluttering sound of wings.  Birdseye should have known better, he who knows.

To be continued…


“Did the Rum give you special powers to deter evil?  Could it be that I—“

“—Rum, Captain, nothing more than Rum.”

“What’s with your goggles’ colour?”

“Blinding light and an exchange of thoughts, it saved us.”


“I know.”

“No need for a cage once one is free to roam within hell’s entrails, huh?  I s’pose part of the challenge is to arrive unharmed and in good time by the cauldrons’ chamber?”

“There are no soups from hell made here Captain, we’re alive.  The roots are getting acquainted with us.  This is all that remains of the cage.  They ate it,” Birdseye whispers, displaying the rod’s remainder in his hand and staring untrustworthily at the roaming metallic roots.

“You could have fooled me, we’re next on the food chain.”

“This is bait.  I promised them some more.  They’ll transmit the smell and the rod along.  Right now, they’re conferring and debating about us.”

“How can you tell?”


“—you know.”

“The Rocky hills hides a rich supply of cages.”

“Some war.”

“A species’ war.”

“Can you see a way out of this mess?”

“They will show us the way out,” Birdseye says, as he hands the rod to the myriad of metallic roots reaching out for it, begging for a sniff and a feel, passing it among themselves, along this tunnel which opens up in front the Captain and Birdseye as they follow the rod.  Birdseye’s goggles glow to light their dark surroundings.

Soon, the tunnel transforms into several corridors that are plagued by gusts of wild winds bringing with them unfamiliar sounds that bounce against the walls, echoing.

To be continued…


It could have lasted an eternity.  In all, two minutes and twenty five seconds elapse, and in that time Captain Traumatic sees an enormous, all-encompassing light which he mistakes for heaven.  I’ll be damned, he thinks, paradise!  I’ve missed out on the tunnel.  It’s far too bright in here: my eyes are closed and I’m still holding my breath, and in all honesty, I know that evil darkness of biblical proportions should be my lot because this is what I’m made for and—.


Who the fuck is this calling the Captain thinks.  Here, here it is Labaguette, Labaguette before and after: with and without wings.  A stumbling bird singing songs that click and clack.  Oh but here is the King and hey, oh!  He must have called.  Here, right here, the love of my life, my kindred soul, where art though oh thee roaming Princess?  Who called?  I miss you, me strong and silent travelling companion from before the beginning of time, my dearest Insatiable Princess.  Who called?  Will you be waiting for me?  Are you lost, wandering the skies of—.


This time, the wake-up call comes with a splash and the instantly recognisable taste of rum on the Captain’s lips.

“Birdseye! So this is what a dark tunnel looks like.  Made it to hell, didn’t we?”

“Quiet, Captain!”

Birdseye’s goggles are glowing of a fading orange light.  He is holding a small metallic rod in his hand and a myriad of tiny metallic roots coming out of soil and rock walls are sniffing that rod.

To be continued…


“We’d better stop before—”

“—You can’t stop this cage running and besides, it’s going to take us where there are others and that’s all we need!” the Captain retorts.

“We’re in danger—”

“—Whatever you know now, now isn’t the time.”

“My timing—”

But the Captain’s last word fall flat along with the cage and its contents.

“Told you,” Birdseye says calmly.

The cage’s feet have become entangled in metallic branches protruding out of the sand that are pulling the cage relentlessly underground.

“Lay flat and stay calm!” Birdseye says.

“What is it?”

“Wild bush.  It senses the cages are made using the same metal.  They’re family, only those branches haven’t been worked on nor tamed.”



But the metallic bush has ensnared the bars and is pulling the cage into the sands while some of its branches are exploring the Captain’s body, tapping and sniffing him.

“It’s going to eat me.”

“It’ll drag you under before.”

“Do something.”

“Shut up!”

Birdseye lands on top of the cage reaches for a small flask he keeps by his tights’ belt, and drinks from it before handing some to Captain Traumatic.

“Rum from the River, huh?” he asks, “my last hour has come, don’t lie to me.”

“I’m going under with you.  When I say so, catch your breath and close your eyes until it is safe.”

“When will—”

“—Do as I say, NOW!”

Birdseye lays flat on the cage before he, the cage and the Captain inside it are irremediably sucked up under sand, soil and rock.

To be continued…


Guards who are hit fall screaming and disintegrate into tiny popping bubbles.  Others, greedy and dexterous, dodge the burning bubbles to command teams of abandoned boxes to salvage some rum from the large pond that is forming around the volcano.

“They’re going to die,” the Captain remarks.

“Not our problem.”

“We’re attracting attention.”

“You’re going to be arrested.  I’ll give you in then hide following you.”

“You took your time.”

As they reach the gate, two guards stop them.

“Call a cage,” Birdseye says, “take this pirate to the Colonel!”

“We’ve order to stay put.  We’ll set the cage’s GPS to track the Colonel’s abode.”


“We’re trusted, we’ve got the code but you must stay with us, Birdseye, until the Captain is long gone.”

Once more the Captain looks inside Birdseye’s googles trying to guess his intentions.  A guard whistles a cage to approach and confine the Captain in it before taking him away.

“You’re on your way,” the guard says, “you’re a waste of breath, may the desert gobble you up before you get anywhere!”

Another strident whistle and a group of wild, scattered boxes gather fast, wrapping themselves neat and tight around the two helpless sentinels, the boxes’ small metallic limbs clicking and clacking, locking and securing a tight, hermetic trap.

Across the uninviting, flat desert land, close to where the horizon line falls into an abyss, a cage is running, Birdseye flying fast behind it on his spherical box before reaching it.  They travel days and nights until the rays of the third sun are born and point to a range of low rocky hills.  Then the cage decidedly turns towards them.

To be continued…


“There is power in what can’t be seen,” Birdseye says.

“What do you know now?”

“I know,” Birdseye answers the Captain who raises his eyes to the skies in contempt, wondering if this hellraising birdman is well read, knows of Star Wars and Yoda, or if common sense eludes him.

Birdseye now points his finger with insistence at the fountain as the remaining creatures either retreat under the sands, conquered, or go on feasting on each other until there is nothing left of them.  Above them, guards hover and stare fascinated until the creatures are no more.  Then they scatter around the streaming liquid in an attempt to collect it.

“We’d better make a move,” the Captain says.

“What do you propose?”

“Thought you might know.”

“When the time comes, I know.”

“Well, now is the time.”

Birdseye shifts his attention back to the fountain.

“All right, all right, ‘when the time comes’, listen, we’d better find the King and the monkeys,” the Captain continues, looking deep inside Birdseye’s goggles, frowning.

“Can’t even see my reflection”

“Many have tried,” Birdseye says.

“Let me see your eyes.”

“They could be anywhere,” Birdseye says, still averting the Captain’s persevering gaze and focussing on the fountain.

“Back to square one,” the Captain adds, “back where we came from, that gate over there, is best.”

Captain Traumatic’s last words are drowned by the fountain’s strength as it overwhelms the crumbling grounds surrounding it and erupts into a volcano of kind, spewing fumes, rum and bubbles that pop and explode into the air, in turn spewing treacherous sparks of burning material that reaches out for anything within close vicinity before falling back onto the ground, burning it and forming holes of bubbling matter of unfathomable consequences.

To be continued…