THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 176

“Belchiore won’t have me as I stand.  I must tell the living before I tell the dead.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake, Commander…” the King mutters.

“The Monkeys’ health will improve as my story unfolds and especially once I’ve disappeared.  You listen to it.  What you feel from me is released and absorbed into the general stream of universal directions.”

“If above, below, left and right aren’t quite the trend for now, how could North, South, East and West even be considered?” Labaguette inquires.  Upon those words, the Captain seizes the parrot’s beak and ties it with a piece of hair tentacle he snatches from the Commander’s head.

“I had a sister.  She had a box,” the Commander begins.

“And?” the King asks.

“Inside were shifty sands and spirited dust with special properties when sniffed.”

“A magic box to sniff from, huh?” the Captain snarls, “come along, Commander, what do you take us for?”

“Just before my sister died, she advised me to sniff some of the sands to enable it and spread a message of peace to Spinostress and her peers.  But there were no keys to the box.  It could only be opened by rubbing a piece of metal between the fingers of one whose well-wishing intentions are cleansed and protected from evil.”

“I thought you were an orphan.  Besides, haven’t you always been alarmingly wicked?” the Captain enquires.

“We all take funny turns in life, Captain, don’t we?”

“What are you suggesting?”

“Were you born a pirate?”

“I might have been.  There’s nothing wrong in knowing who you are and what you want from life.  You can’t judge me.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 175

“Then, I got caught by my hair, immediately getting an insight into the Syck Monkey’s genetic make-up and especially how he felt and functioned.  I took its inherent chore feelings and mixed it with my own, adding to them and grafting these, through various manipulations, onto the best of our population.”

“La crème de la crème?” Labaguette asks.

“What has it got to do with the two monkeys dying on this ship?” the King asks.

“Better breeds aren’t what they used to be,” the Captain remarks.

“They’re young, too sensitive.  They can feel me through their ropes,” the Commander continues.

“Badness and wickedness lurking within, huh?” Labaguette snarls.

“I’m no longer evil.”

“Sure,” the Captain says, “heal those monkeys or—“

“—They’ll heal once I’m gone.”

“Gone where?”

“Into Belchiore’s entrails.”

“She-Coat might have enjoyed tasting you.” the King remarks.

“We must press on,” the Captain insists, “these are the Syck Monkey’s children.  They must be kept alive and well.  They’re needed.”

“Be gone,” Labaguette insists, “let us live, Commander.”

“I was still hoping that—“

“—nope, Commander, we’re not going to stand up for you nor give you the support you still think you deserve,” Labaguette says, unforgiving.  The Captain and the King look at the talking bird as if he’d fallen from outer space, which he could have done, really, thankful for once for a bird that dares speak its mind aboard their ship.

“One Monkey’s enough, there’s no need for more,” the Commander insists.

“What do you know?” the Captain continues, “the Syck Monkey might be overworked and may not be able to catch enough of the falling.  Two children following in his footsteps isn’t a big ask.  Besides, each of his children has its own gifts.  Would you jump now, would you?” the Captain insists.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 174

“We went free falling to seek the Syck Monkey’s help.  The end of each of our hair strands can stick to anything solid if wished.  At the time of the trials, we hadn’t perfected the security aspect of our tentacles.  Some were stronger than others as accurate formulas and measurements for hold were still at a developmental stage.”

“Help from the Syck Monkey, huh?” the Captain asks, “or catch him and submit him to your experiments?”

“Shut up, Captain!” the King orders, “let’s hear him, he’s doomed.”

“There were many casualties and some of my peers fell into oblivion as their rope could not sustain the extent of the stretching required from it.  We knew that if one of us got caught by the Syck Monkey, we’d be able to gain the ultimate knowledge and to re-create the rope.”

“But you didn’t,” the Captain says.

“We did, I did.”

“Spinostress is still trying to find the recipe’s secret,” the Captain remarks.

“I got caught by the Syck Monkey and greatly improved our hair strands, but not to the extent expected.”

“How lucky was that?“ the Captain retorts.

“—I was lucky once,” the King adds, “landed in a yellow bus.”

“You’d have gained something from the Syck Monkey catching you, only you don’t know it,” the Commander continues, “most creatures don’t realise that—“

“—Is that why you don’t look burnt?” the Captain repeats, “the Syck Monkey’s rope healed your body?”

“That’s ingrained.  We’re born with the ability to shed our skin when it gets affected by external events but we did get gifts from the Syck Monkey’s rope.  We can feel and emit.  We have inherent empathic qualities.”

“Really ?  Empathic killers?” Labaguette asks, reappearing.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 173

Below them, deep into the darkness, there’s a pale halo of light with its edges blurred.

“What you see is her mouth,” the Commander says, “it’s wide open.  She won’t bulge till her hunger is satisfied.”

“What did you do?” Labaguette insists.

“Never mind your sins and tribulations, Commander, this monkey’s dying,” the Captain says, “can you help?  Have you got to do with it?”

“I went free-falling,” the Commander says.

Free-falling they all muse knowing what it entails.  They’d heard of it before but never before had they met anyone who’d tried it and survived.

“It took me many a number of Elabrium years,” the Commander continues, “but I got lucky in the end.”

“Lucky?  With your burned out face?” Labaguette tries as the Captain seizes the parrot and shoves him inside his jacket’s pocket for a while.

“We were all trying to please Spinostress and find the rope’s recipe.  I knew it could be done, you know, being here at the right time and at the right place.  We all dream of it.  There were so many attempts.”

“I don’t understand,” the King says, “how can you free fall and come back from it at all?”

“Our tentacles, they’re part of Spin-to-Kill’s scheme of things.  Combined with the threads and ropes we make, we’re able to transpose the stretching ability of what we make onto our hair.”

“Hair and tentacles are one and the same?” the Captain asks.

“The tentacles are considered hair to protect our head from the weather but the tentacles aren’t hair when they come to be put to use.  They have in common that they can grow back indefinitely if pulled out of the skull.”

“Your body and hair should be burnt” the Captain remarks, “you look like you’ve recovered.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 172

“Commander”, the King says, pacing the floor board in an upright or upside down position depending on how one is willing to look at it, “you’re responsible for this upheaval.  You owe us an explanation.”

“Fools abound here” the Commander says, “it’s between Belchiore and me only.”

“You’re finished, mate,” Labaguette answers, “see this guy here, Commander?  With or without a crown, he’s a King and a Hook Master.  What about you?  What’s your shit?”

“You want a story, anything for a little entertainment Labaguette, huh?” the Commander retorts.

“If being easily amused is my only shame, then be my guest.”

Captain Traumatic looks at Labaguette, wondering how smart and cynical his pet bird has become.  Then, he looks at the Commander with a penetrating stare.

“One way or another, you’re gonna get it,” the Commander finally submits, “I’ve reached the end of the road, nothing really matters and what I say to you or anyone else soon won’t make a difference.”

Then the Insatiable Princess cringes as if she were stretching, as if she was being pulled from all directions without moving.

“This is the end,” the Captain says, “Belchiore is going to pull my beloved apart.”

But the whale has something else in mind as she suddenly pushes forward so that the monkeys’ ropes which hold her attached to the ship snap and let go.  Belchiore dives deep below, disappears and resurfaces slowly right underneath the ship, her fetid breath reaching them all.

“Is she above or below?” Labaguette enquires.

“Take it as something lurking in the dark,” the Captain adds, “about to gobble us all up.”

“She’s just below,” the Commander states, “she’s waiting for me.”

“For us,” the King adds.

“Not if I can help it,” the Commander concludes.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 171

“What’s above is what’s below, that’s what.  Does it matter?” the Captain observes, “in space, what you believe is what it is.”

“Some belief!” the King exclaims.

“At this place and time, the ship is its own gravitational center,” the Captain continues, “untie yourselves!”

Labaguette emerges out of the cabin on wobbly legs, “I’m as sick as a monkey,” he claims.

“Are they still breathing?” the Commander asks.

“Where’s North?” Labaguette asks, “why are you walking upside down, Captain?  Am I that sick?”

“It’s to do with my belief.”

“Like the one that had us fall of the horizon because you thought that the earth was—“

“—You’re definitely sick, try and fly backward!” the Captain says, “now, tell me how the monkeys are doing?”

But then, an emaciated monkey appears out of the cabin only to falls at the Captain’s feet, a pleading look in his eyes as unconsciousness catches him unaware once more.

“Belchiore has come for me,” the Commander interrupts.

“Do you have anything to do with the monkeys being unwell?” the King asks.

“Let it out,” the King orders the Commander.

“Belchiore has stopped because of—”

“—HEEEEELPP!  A L’AIDE” Labaguette screams, struggling to stand on the ship’s floor, his neck contorted and his eyes imitating that of the Captain a moment earlier.

“Being obedient…” the Captain explains, “trying to fly backward… nothing ever stops that damn bird’s stupidity once it’s at work for all to heed.”

“You weren’t always that smart, Captain!” Labaguette yells, “’cause you believed the earth was flat!  Look where it’s taken us!”

“The fact is that it was flat then, even if my perspective is changed now.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 170

But Labaguette’s words are lost in space.  Belchiore has implemented a full turn of the Insatiable Princess: she flipped it over bit by bit.  She doesn’t care what happens to this ship’s crew.

“BELCHIORE!” the Commander yells, “STOP!  I will let the truth out.  I will reveal all and you’ll be free to do as you please with me but let my enemies go free.”

“’Enemies’ is a good choice of words,” Labaguette says.

“You’re your own worst enemy,” the King tells the Commander.

“I’m fine with all this,” the Commander continues, “now, do let me finish with this part of my life with some respect and it’ll all be over sooner than you think.”

So it goes that the giant and angry whale stops and rests although she won’t turn the ship back into its normal, upright position.  Labaguette is sitting on the Captain’s shoulder as he hangs by a rope, trying to climb it and reach the cabin above where the two monkeys lay unattended.  The King is holding the rudder by both hands and is at risk of falling.

“Go check on the monkeys in the cabin!” the Captain orders Labaguette as his eyes are spinning at high speed, seeking a quick answer to their predicament through the zillions of books that are stored in his head.  Finding none fast enough, and getting close to the ship’s floor, his fingers reach for it above him and, touching it, he unties himself with his other hand and falls onto the ground before getting back onto his feet and standing upside down.

The King and the Commander look at him, dumbfounded.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” the Commander mutters.

“That’s kind of smart,” the King whispers.

To be continued…