THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 219

“I get the picture,” the Captain musters, “get us out of here.”

“But you pulled us in!”

“Not my problem.”

“Bad dreams have been called upon: you pulled the trigger and there’s nothing I can do to undo the split second past that you unravelled.”

“By pulling a tongue?”

There’s a blank look in Chloroph’s eyes.

“In nature,” he says, “there are as many grey areas as there are opposites, like right and wrong, good and bad, fair and—“

“—You like to experiment at the expense of others, no matter what.  You pulled me, dragged me into this Hook knowingly.”

“WHAT?”

“You don’t see things the right way.  You create crap all.”

Upon these last words, Chloroph’s face begins to inflate, turns pale blue and he falls by the side of the pathway.

“Wake up!” the Captain orders.  But Chloroph’s entire body has turned pale blue as he has fallen into a deep slumber.  Around them, the air grows thicker and what appeared ominous and deadly earlier now feels worse as if bad dreams that won’t be ignored were no longer merely passing by the Captain’s eyes but trying to impose themselves.  Now what, he thinks, how can I get back out of this unreality turned real?  So what if I changed my mind quickly?  Besides, Chloroph’s sense of truth had to be tested.  He might be trustworthy after all… in the long run.

Perhaps, he muses, it would be best to leave Chloroph where he is and let him disappear into the unfathomable meanders of his own complicated mind and hope to find this Hook’s exit through some miracle.

To be continued…

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 218

The Captain won’t be fooled.  He grabs Chloroph by the neck of his shirt and threatens:

“You’re coming with me through this new Hook.”

“It’s a mere shadow reflecting the Hook in front of it.”

“You expected me to have me asleep with your potion just like you did with the King.”

Then, he pulls Chloroph, holds him tight with both hands, staring into his eyes with the burning intent of someone needing to hear the truth and jumps into the shadow Hook, dragging Chloroph along with him.

They fall into the shadow Hook.  The Captain lets go of Chloroph who in turn gets hold of the Captain by the boot.  They fall onto a carpet of soft grass that unfolds before their eyes.

“Let go of my boot,” the Captain orders.

“Don’t go anywhere without me.  It is dangerous here and you could lose your way.”

“You’ve my welfare at heart, do you?”

In silence, Chloroph lets go of the Captain, stands up and begins to walk, the Captain behind him.

For each step they take, a new pathway opens up on the side, behind, above, underneath and just about everywhere around them, creatures appear, talking, uttering words that should make sense yet they’re unable to emit any sound.  Some of them have ribbons instead of tongues and before Chloroph has time to warn Captain Traumatic, the Captain snatches one such tongue and pulls it, transforming the creature into a long ribbon that unfolds at length, only to tear at the edge the Captain holds and disappear.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 217

“Have some of this.  It’ll calm your nerves.”

“Is this what you gave the King?”

“I didn’t give him anything.  He was just tired.  He’s been through a lot, don’t you think?”

The Captain looks at Chloroph the way a pirate looks at the enemy landing on his ship.  Still, he takes a sip of the drink Chloroph hands him only to spit it back out in disgust.

“What do you take me for?” he asks, angry.

“It’s good for you.  It prolongs life.  It’s made with Pro-Life tree seeds.”

“Me life is long enough as it is.  It might never end for all I know.  I don’t need your fucking potions.”

“Rum will kill you.”

“I’ll die happy, which is more than you can say, you and your nerdy medicinal tricks.”

“Do try it, you—“

“—What’s this?” the Captain interrupts, pointing at some vague shape whose contours they can barely define, appearing some distance straight in front of the Hook.  He walks to it, Chloroph following.

Deep into the purple night scrutinising, the Captain distinguishes another Hook with the same shape and dimensions as the Hook in front of it.

“This is another Hook,” the Captain says, his brains attempting a high speed search of strange Universes’ occurrences, “it’s barely visible.  It would be interesting if—”

“—It’s just a night reflection effect,” Chloroph claims, “there’s nothing to it.  Tis best to leave it as it is.  Why don’t you set off and look for your friends in the proper Hook.  They’ve been gone a long time.”

“They’re enjoying themselves.”

“How would you know?”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 216

“It’s finished though, isn’t it?”

“Err.  It could have done with a little more polishing, that’s all.  I brought it to you because it hasn’t got the defects the others have.  They’re only tiny, unimportant defects.”

“Got it: a body has to be in one piece.”

“That’s part of it.”

“Crap, lies and more crap!” says the Captain who has reappeared out of the Hook, alone.

“You haven’t changed,” the King remarks.

“should I?”

“C’mon, Captain,” Chloroph adds, “even people like you have dreams, even if it just about corks, swords and ships.”

“Where are—“ the King continues.

“—They’re having fun.”

“No fun, no dreams.  What’s your problem?” Chloroph enquires.

“I don’t need a Hook for fun and dreams.  For this, I have rum and sleep but to tell you the truth,” the Captain continues not without some pride, “I think that my two brains work in parallel.  They give me the ability to separate what is real from what is not.”

“You’re one sided, that’s what.  You only see things from your perspective.  You’re damned stubborn.”

But the King yawns and the Captain stares at him, suspicious.

“You’re sick?”

“I’m never sick,” the King answers, yawning again, lying down to rest.  “It’s getting dark,” he remarks as he closes his eyes and falls into a deep slumber.

“What did you give him?”

“It’s getting dark.”

“Strange place this is, it’s got days and nights.”

“Nights are long and cold.  You should get back into your cabin.”

“The King doesn’t sleep.”

On the horizon, five suns disappear, within minutes from each other and a dark purple night sets in.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 215

“What’s this?  Is it a bit of rope hanging?”

“It’s coming from above.  I don’t understand.”

“It’s about time you told me about this Hook.  You owe me an explanation.”

“I owe you nothing.”

“I’m a Hook Master, you trained me.  I still don’t know about the Pro-Life Hook and seeds, yet you promised that—“

“—I’ve got a reputation to maintain.”

“You what?”

“My genetic make-up has a lot to do with cactuses and their water retention abilities and—“

“You’re off your head!”

“You wanna learn about the Pro-Life or not?”

Now the King looks at Chloroph wondering if he should follow the Captain in his footsteps and into the Hook or if it were better to throw his companion and be done with it.  No doubt it would be useless, it would come back to haunt the King one way or another.  If only he still had his crown about, he muses, he could think like a King, only now…

“Let us start with how dangerous Hooks are.  You had maintained that—“

“—This one is just as dangerous, but only when you’ve exhausted its possibilities.  I mean, near the end.”

“The end?  What end?”

“’With Pro-Life seeds,” Chloroph continues, “you need to be organised and ensure that you have plenty of what you need to survive as well as protection from the elements.”

“Really?”

“You’ve no idea what I had to do to get the Hook you see here reach the stage it is at before you wished for it.’”

“You have a stock of them?”

“I’ve only three and this one is the third I created, the most perfected.  I’d just been bringing the finishing touch to it when it heard your summon.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 214

At the mere bat of an eyelid, the Monkeys execute the King’s wish and throw the Captain, still tied, into the Hook.  Following closely behind the Captain, Labaguette, wife and kids fly in of their own free will.

It seems for a while that the Monkeys struggle to hold the ropes steadily.  The Captain may be small, pig headed and frail looking altogether but when he falls, he weighs a ton.

“Ah frail creatures!” Chloroph exclaims.

“Mere Monkeys.  Frail, stupid and useless,” the King carries on, “ever since they were abandoned by their father, they—“

Upon these words, the Monkeys look at each other and appear to reach an understanding.  Releasing the ropes that hold them bound to the Captain, they leap to the edge of the Hook, look at the King and Chloroph with a spark of smartness and smugness that was never there before, and, without any hesitations, jump into the mirroring liquid, or whatever it is that is reflecting their image, undulating and seemingly wet.

Now the King feels like a fool.

“You’re an idiot,” he says to Chloroph.

“You insulted the Monkeys.”

“You started it, taunting them, humiliating them.”

“I barely remarked that they looked frail.”

“Leave me out of the blame game, will you?”

“I wouldn’t be stuck with you were it not for you.”

“You jumped in it before, go look for them; you can come to no harm.”

“I don’t trust you.”

“You’ve got a way of turning the tables around fast.”

“Where are they?”

“You’ve seen it before.  Labaguette jumped in it a second time without further ado, why don’t you?”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 213

“All right, all right, all right,” the Captain insists, “suppose that that Hook holds some mysterious magical property that converts our inner most desires into realities, how far would the magic stretch?  Let’s bring the Hook to the Insatiable Princess so she and I may return to our point of origin.”

“You can’t do that,” Chloroph says as the King hovers and walks in the air, beaming.

“This is exactly how I suspected it,” the Captain continues, “you’re a scam,” he says to Chloroph, “it’s all lies.  I’d rather be back in the darkness.”

“You don’t mean this,” Chloroph retorts, “why don’t you try the Hook for yourself?  Are you that bitter that you can’t enjoy others experience pleasure and fun?  Show some respect.  This Hook mirrors wishes in life which you can’t have and brings them to you to enjoy, for REAL.  What’s the point in being so knowledgeable if pleasure can’t be experienced because your brain is crammed and jammed with useless, obsolete information?”

“Precisely, you’re a crook of some sort and that makes your intentions suspicious.  You’re up to something: my overly large and jammed brain has a way of telling me not to believe you.  It’s called instinct and knowledge has nothing to do with it.”

The King comes back, two white monkeys in tow, holding white ropes that extend infinitely behind them.

“Untie the Captain from the mast!” the King commands, “hold him tight with your ropes and bring him to the edge of the Hook.”

“Whatever you do,” Chlroph says to the Monkeys, “never let go of the Captain entirely.”

“What are you afraid of, Chloroph, that I may disappear in a soup of discontent and alter each and every particle contained within the Hook into a rancid soup called MY reality?”

To be continued…