THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 248

The sight of buses extends far into the skies, an undulating ocean of exhaust fumes, tyres and sparkly yellow roofs.  To the exception of Jimmy’s old upturned bus twisted amidst branches, the Insatiable Princess hovering about the trees, is also willing and ready to go.

“What took you all so long?” the Captain asks.

“Logistics,” Jimmy answers.

Almost simultaneously, millions of drivers step out of their bus and say:

“Jimmy, you’re the one and only, you’re simply the best!” and Jimmy to repeat in return,

“Jimmy, you’re the one and only, you’re simply the best!”

“Only birds can sing,” a dumbfounded parrot says.

“Give us a break!” the Captain exclaims.

“Amasing!” the King continues.

“Huh?”

“That sense of community and togetherness.”

“It’s daft!” Spino continues.

“We are one!” Jimmy retorts.

“We are one!” all the Jimmy reply in unison.

“I don’t get it,” the Captain tells the King.

“Jimmy was never a traitor,” the King explains, “he knew how dangerous Spinostress was and he knew he couldn’t do much to stop Chloroph’s ambitions.”

“How did you come to be in on it?”

“I’m a King, that’s what I do.  I know of plots, treasons and knights.”

“I knew Jimmy was a good lad took but you, you lost your—“

“—Chloroph brought one of his hooks to Jimmy to introduce a new way to travel, Spinostress scheming along with Chloroph in the hope that if she could get hold of the fleet of yellow buses, she would send them in any universe, especially hooks, to seek the Syck Monkey.  Besides, subjugating was her motto and—“

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 247

“Shadows are here to remind us of our duty, of what must be before what could be,” Jimmy adds, furious winds picking up and disseminating leaves among Spinostress, her guards and Chloroph, holding them all in the present, freezing them right here, right now, removing any possibilities of past and future.

“Spinostress!” the King says, “release the prisoner, let go of the Monkeys and surrender!”

“Ha! Ha! Ha!”

“So you still have your tongue, huh?  Not funny, not funny at all!” the Captain adds, throwing a bottle at her, in a desperate attempt to thwart his own powerlessness, missing her by a mile.

Another jeer, another contempt.

“Shut up and get the monkeys while there is still time!” Jimmy orders them, “chop, chop!”

“You, crafty time master!” the Captain mutters.

A flash.  Too much to do in too little time.  Reversal.  There’s the old queen again with old men who were guards, now so wrinkled and weak that it is hard to believe they were once, a second ago, agile creatures unaffected by time and its ravages.  There are monkeys no more monkey to be seen.

“You dumb arses!” Jimmy exclaims, “why can’t any of you take an order and do as I say for once in your lives?”

“Not used to being obeyed, huh?” Labaguette remarks.

The universe’s obscurity appears to stretch and tear and an army of yellow buses appear from the cracks of time surrounding them from every corner conceivable.  There aren’t a mere 10 or 1000 buses.  There’s at least a few millions of them the Captain estimates.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 246

“Where are the monkeys?” Jimmy interrupts.

“How dare you?”

There are questions that can’t be asked from any old, embittered monarch.  She grows large and tentacles re-emerge around her.  In an instant, her ugliness, callousness and abominable, malevolent ways return.  All stare with incredulity, in grief, as three monkeys grimacing on her shoulders re-materialize, bound to her by heavy chains.

“Passing altered states,” Chloroph tentatively explains.

“Make it quick, make it clear!” the Captain insists, “you know there’s nothing we’ll be able to do to save you from her claws this time.”

“Chill Captain!” Chloroph says as the guards tie him and bring him fast before Spinostress.

“This monster’s worst nightmare was to return to her original state without having achieved her biggest dream, that of getting the recipe of the Syck Monkey’s rope and becoming all powerful.”

“Been there, done that,” the King says.  “As things have it, and much like in most known universes, history repeats itself.  Nothing unseen or unheard of before.  Nothing new.  There’s no point to any of this.  This is why on my planet, She-Coat gobbles up anything that comes our way, because all creatures and all things want to take over, disturb the peace and rule.”

“Well look at you now!” Labaguette utters.

Spinostress’ tentacles rise high, high above Chloroph’s head once more, to have him disappear once and for all, he of the experimental Hooks, he of the promising nightmares-to-be-turned-into-dreams.

“We all have such dreams at some point in our lives,” Jimmy says, rushing around, crunching dead leaves and throwing them towards Spinostress and the guards, “we all need to believe there are better things to come, only—“

“—Oh spare us the self-help babble and do something!” the King exclaims, “God dammit!”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 245

“Stop this!”  The Captain insists as Labaguette whispers something about rum in the Captain’s ear.

“Spinostress was a living nightmare living her own despicable dream, if you can call it a dream.” The King explains.

“Precisely,” Chloroph says, “the Hook of dreams reversed her disorder for some time.”

“Nightmares,” the Captain points out.

“For some time, huh?” Jimmy asks.

“There are no strict rules, any state can be altered permanently or not, depending on the experiment.”

“What about us?” the Captain retorts, absorbing a soothing dose of his preferred, golden beverage, “we were part of the experiment, in what way are we affected?”

“You?  Oh you…”

“What planet do I live on?” the queen asks.

“Depends,” Labaguette says, ‘it bloody well depends, depends, depends—“

An empty bottle nearly misses the parrot’s left cheek and he disappears, hiding.

“So, where are the monkeys?” he can be heard asking from a distance.

The guards rally to stand behind what remains of their previous commander, sensing what remains of her power, needing comfort through being commanded, urged, dominated and not having a choice.

“You!” the old queen asks the King, “who are you exactly?”

“I am King Krackskull, ruler of the She-Coat and of the She-Coat planet.  My throne is empty far away and beyond and awaits me.”

“What else have you lost?”

“My crown is missing.  It must be found.”

“An exiled King is a powerless one.  You are destitute.”

“For now.”

“Your crown is lost, so is your throne.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Have we met?”

“Not on my planet.”

“Mine?”

“My memory is contained within my crown.”

“Find another excuse.”

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 244

“Not so fast,” the Captain says, “I need clarity.”

“I do not tolerate any interruptions!  You,” the old queen commands, “you with the oversized head and spinning eyes, tell me who that King is, I beg you.”

“You?  Begging me to—“

Captain Traumatic scratches his head to think and find an answer.  Trouble is, his foggy brain is trying to figure out several answers at the same time as many an important questions keep popping up, insistent.  Is that King the one who abandoned that Queen so long ago?  Are they from the same story?  Are they suited? Where are the monkeys?  Can the bloody guards be tamed?  Trusted?  Gotten rid of? Where did the fucking wind come from? Why is that woman interrogating him?”

“Well?”

“I’ve got a headache.” the Captains answers.

“Goodness gracious me!  If men like you are having headaches, what is this world—“

“—you cut his finger off” Labaguette intervenes, “and now you—“

“—I may be tough but I am fair in all that I do!” she answers, her guards’ tentacles tentatively reaching out for the fleeting bird.  “I would never—“

“—It’s to do with the leaves,” Chloroph continues, “you see, when tree leaves fall, they are transforming, decaying.  It’s a rite of passage.  Spinostress never went through the Hook, the leaves did and came back.  Now, having contact with what was that is no longer and that went through that Hook points to worst nightmares being upturned and reinstated into the original state they came from.  Also, coming to terms with beings who went through that Hook has some effect, although it is difficult to—”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 243

The wind picks up once more, bringing sweet smells on its path that remind the Captain of autumn, of leaves decaying and turning red, yellow, brown, impending change professed.  Amidst branches, Jimmy’s bus is being turned upon itself many times, the turbulent wind blowing through its smashed windows and open doors, sweeping swirls of tree leaves that lay in it, caught from the last Hook it had travelled through.

The first leaves reach them, free drifters in any universe and enrage Spinostress more: no one and nothing can travel free of her bounds.  She is the ultimate master, the light, the Chosen One.  Not wind nor roaming leaves may stop her wrath.  Her tentacles go down onto Chloroph head at light speed.

All avoid the sight.  This is more than any of them can bear.

There is flash.  Silence.  Leaves still floating by.

Jimmy is the first to lift his head.

Chloroph is still standing and an old queen lies at his feet, unconscious.

Labaguette is flying by the face of this seemingly new comer, looking at her, taking it all in, uttering:

“Wake up! Wake up!  Old rag, wake up!”

“A little respect would go a long way in keeping you alive for longer,” she retorts.

All look at her now, in disbelief, the voice barely perceptible.  Spinostress guards are still here.

“Who might you be?” the King asks the unrecognisable woman.

“I asked you the same question a short time ago?  Have you no wits?”

It is Spinostress’ voice, altered yet it is hers.  It bears the promises of her contempt.  Yet the brutal and lethal intent have vanished.

“The battle is won,” Chloroph states, “you’re free to go and return where you came from,” he tells them all.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 242

“They’re looking for me,” the Captain says.

“All the more reasons to erase them” she answers.

Her guards have never before witnessed such luminous oddity approach any of their skies.  All they’d seen so far were strangers from nearby planets and universes which they’d invaded for dominion.  This is new to them.  No one ever approached them looking for a fight as they remain unconquered.  Perhaps they are a jaded lot after all.

“DESTROY!” Spinostress repeats.

The guards hesitate that little too long, wondering if in meeting an alien life form, there might be some secret to learn, some escape, something new.  In that speck of time they take to dare imagine a great wind lifts, a wind so strong it pushes the invaders away and they are gone in an instant.  The Insatiable Princess’s wood creak, her remaining masts fall and as the branches that hold her prisoners spread, she becomes disentangled so that once again she is free to wander.

“There can’t be wind, here,” Spinostress says, “there are no known winds blowing in this region, who ordered for it?” she asks, perusing all potential traitors around her, including her guards.

“My Princess!” the Captain exclaims forgetting his agony, “my ship, my treasure, my bunny!”

“My bus!” Jimmy cries, “oh no!”  Jimmy’s bus is now firmly entangled into a maze of branches, irretrievably lost to this universe’s mysterious ways.

“Let’s us move on!” Spinostress states, ‘this is a dangerous spot, we may not get out of here alive, any of us.”

“What are you afraid of?” Chloroph asks her, smiling.

“What have you done?” she asks, her tentacles looming above his head, ready to strike, maim and kill mercilessly.

“Brace yourselves!” the muffled voice of Labaguette utters, “brace yourselves!”

To be continued…