THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 85

“Light House Keeper is a scaredy-cat, c’mon, Captain, open one of your books and find out how to find him and confront him.”

“I never intended my life to be that of a universal roaming pirate.  Just lead me back to the Insatiable Princess, will you?”

“Capitaine!” Labaguette says, “pick yourself up!”

“I don’t’ mind this life so much,” the King continues, “I like meeting creatures.”

“I’m surrounded by wimps!” Labaguette exclaims as Love & Hate twists his wings once again.

“Living on this planet over centuries has shown us exactly what the Light House Keeper’s heart is truly like and believe us, there is no such thing known as a heart in him.  We know exactly how he lives and acts,” Hate insists.  “He lives in endless fear.  He hides by mixing his particles with that of the Light House to stay invisible as he holds the Book of Transformations.”

“Why would he?” the King asks, “if he can’t escape?”

“Because of Hope,” Hate says.

“Hasn’t Hope vanished from this planet?  Hasn’t it be destroyed?” the Captain asks.

“If it had, none of us would be here to talk about it.”

Now Labaguette smiles, now the Captain’s eyes shimmer, now the King lets out a huge sigh of relief.

“Love, Hate and Hope all escaping.  Now there’s a romantic notion,” the Captain snarls.  This is when Labaguette scrambles onto the Captain’s hand and relieves himself generously before jumping and falling back heavily onto the stairs.

To be continued…©

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 84

“It’s come close to it many times,” Love continues, “the Light House Keeper is terrified of the Librarians and what they might do to him, including setting him up for eternal death.  This is why he’s never failed to provide bad words and bad books: to keep the fire under control.  He knows all too well that if he failed in any way, his body would be hung above the fire where it would be licked by the eternal flames and that once the torture would be over, he’d be reminded of the pain he suffered at the hands of the Librarians and not be able to fully perform at his job.  This would in turn snow ball in him being tortured again and again and again until eventually he’d be hung above the flames of hell for ever.  His suffering would never end.  He can see the Librarians’ intent in their eyes; it’s to do with the way they look at him.”

“How can this be?” Labaguette asks.

“He saw the Librarians in action, how they burnt bad books that shouldn’t have reached them and hung them above the fire and ensured pages regenerated several times before these books were allowed to meet their fate.  Have you ever heard a book scream?  If you did, you’d be willing to die just to stop hearing the hopelessness in it.”

“I’d never want to die purposely, no matter what,” the Captain insists.

“I’ve my pride too,” the King continues.

“I’d just fly away,” Labaguette says.

“There isn’t enough fear in you, creatures” Hate says, “you haven’t lived through much yet”.

To be continued…©

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 83

“Words cannot disappear for ever,” Labaguette adds.

“There are numerous, meaningless and unspeakable, unutterable words.  They can’t come out in the open.  Best to destroy them,” Hate explains.

“The furnace-with-no-name gobbles the words up along with the books upon which they’re written.  It burns indefinitely and the only way to manage the fire and ensure it remains constant is by feeding it awful words and books.  The more despicable, unscrupulous, corrupt and depraved the books and words are, the better it is for this fire.”

“What about the books’ bad swriters” the King asks, “don’t they deserve a similar punishment?”

“They never get published and fall into oblivion, isn’t that a fair price to pay?” Hate retorts.

“They might try again,” the King says.

“And if they do, they’ll need twice the courage and belief in themselves to think they might get anywhere,” Love says, “but yes, some of them keep hoping and keep trying until they succeed or die.  The Light House Keeper bears the responsibility for maintaining the fire moderately ablaze, under control, and if he doesn’t, then the fire increases in size and rages until it eventually burns the entire Planet of Books.  Smoke is the usual tell-tale sign of the fire burning beyond expectations and if this happens, the Librarians discipline the Light House Keeper.”

“Discipline, huh?” the Captain interrupts.

“He’s never had to be disciplined,” Hate answers, “he fears the punishment more than death.”

To be continued…©

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 82

Labaguette is first to feel unusually tired.  There are noises.  Someone is whispering but no one can understand what is being said.

“My wings,” Labaguette finally admits, “I can’t fly any more.  I’m tired.”

“Walk!” the Captain orders.

“Too much responsibility on your shoulders, huh?”, the King snarls, “it takes some effort for one to become wise and age gracefully.”

“I’m not old,” Labaguette answers, “I’m just tired.”

“It’s the weight of the air as you go further up,” Hate intervenes.

“It’s saturated with the spirit of the Light House Keeper,” Love says.

“Is he dead?” Labaguette continues.

“He and the Light House are one,” Love says.

“I can’t take another step,” the King confesses unexpectedly.

“A minute ago,” the Captain says, “you—“

“—Is this the end?” Labaguette asks.

“Not so,” Hate replies.

“Enlighten us,” the King insists.

“We don’t have the time for this, we might die as this planet explodes,” the Captain says.

“You need the history to overcome the Light House Keeper,” Love says.  “Besides, no books have ever said that we, Hate & Love, would die during this planet’s undoing.”

“True,” the Captain confirms after a quick review of his scanned books.

“The Light House,” Love begins, “is a house where all rejected and unwanted books land.  There’s a dump not far from here that sucks up bad books and lets them lie there until they’re dealt with.  When their time comes, they’re burnt into the furnace-with-no-name which makes words disappear for ever.

To be continued…©

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 81

Part 81

Despite their reluctance to enter, hesitations cannot be had.  Everything around them is disintegrating.  A Planet the size of a universe is dying.

In the days before a planet explodes, the King muses, because he knows exactly what it feels like, restlessness and a sensation of vulnerability grab every creature on it.  It is merciless. You know that everything is going to change, and that for the worse, but still, you keep wondering why everyone around you isn’t giving the slightest hint that all will be back to normal very soon.  Smile, smile, you wish to tell them, why don’t you smile?  But they don’t.  Denial is safe.  Your time hasn’t come nor has anyone else’s.  You’ll never all die at the same time, choices can still be had as well as last minute bucket-lists.  There is no end.  It isn’t true.  Once, twice, more, this King was an only survivor.

He knocks; the Captain knocks.  Silence.  Labaguette sits on the door knob which turns slightly to the right and clicks as the door opens.  Inside, all is metallic, bleak and dark.

“Why is it I thought it would look like a light house?” Labaguette asks as they begin to climb the steep and unending staircase.  Sometimes they take a rest and look through the tiny windows on the sides of the wall.  Far in the distance, they see crumbling shelves, tornadoes of paper and words jumbled up rising up into the air and exploding only to fall back and spin again.  There is lightning flashing from deep within the entrails of a multitude of aisles and corridors.

To be continued…©

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 80

The two words release their hold and Labaguette flies towards the Light, leading the men yet resentful… if only he was independent and free, if only he wasn’t bound to words of no significance to him, if only he wasn’t bound to a man… then he could fly wherever and whenever he’d want to, above ochre lands where the giraffe, the ox and the lion run free, should there be such a place.

Their rocky path is littered with bits of books and scraps of paper that never made it to the bookstands.  There’s nothing left of the large structure of book shelves and corridors.  As they walk onto the edge of the South Pole of the Planet of Books, they reach the Light House at last.  The Captain is looking relieved, his deeply felt need to be reunited with the Insatiable Princes renewed.  As to the King, he feels less like a king, more like a man without a coat, a man of some sort and he wishes he understood that little bit more about himself.

“This isn’t your regular lighthouse” the Captain remarks as they approach it.  Its top cannot be seen as it reaches high in the black sky.  Light emanate intermittently from various minuscule windows as it is needed from parts of the universe steeped in obscurity and for unfathomable reasons.  The Light House rises majestically, metallic, indestructible.

On the door, it reads: “Beware the Light House Keeper.  Trespassers, be gone, your life depends on it,”

To be continued…©

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 79

“I’ve got the map of the entire sky in my head as it expands,” the Captain continues, “we’ll fly you to the area of your choosing to create Harmony before we get home ourselves, but that’s for the long term.  Right now, we must learn to fly and get out of here while we still can.”

“We’ll have to use a platform to launch ourselves from and free fall to enable us to spread our wings,” the King remarks, “the Light House is the only place here that is high enough to do this, but we’re nowhere near it.”

“Will we grow wings or make them?” the Captain asks.

“Grow wings?” Labaguette asks as he bursts out laughing, only to feels a sharp pain in his own right wing.

“Not nice,” Loves says, twisting Labaguette’s feathers, “anyone can fly, not just birds”.

“All you have to do is to want it badly enough to believe it.  Your life must depend on it,” Hate continues, twisting the parrot’s feathers on his left wing now.

“That’s rather desperate coming from two ignorant over-emotional words,” Labaguette retorts.  But the pain gets sharper.  “You’ve no right!” he yells, “this has nothing to do with you and—“

Now he stops short as the words have extended the pain to spread to his neck and it has the better of him.

“Stop torturing my parrot!” the Captain commands.  Labaguette looks at the Captain, almost grateful for his tie to him, “let him fly!  Only he can show us the way to the Light House.”

To be continued…©