THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 361

It is rather late when a large gap opens up and a giant snake-worm’s appears, its jaws set with humongous irregular teeth protruding bizarrely, opening and closing wanting nothing more than to snatch, bite and digest.

Birdseye grabs Labaguette’s cage from the Captain’s arms.

“Run!” he says as the Captain follows in his footsteps.

Colonel Loga, alarmed, pulls hard to tear the pins from his body fast.

“WAIT!” he yells.

“Is that you begging?” the Captain asks, turning to the Colonel.

“Take me with you!”

“Don’t waste any time!” Birdseye tells the Captain.

“We could use him,” the Captain answers, “get out of your cage if you dare!”

“I’m in an unfinished altered state, at mid-level.  I can’t get out of it or else, I—“

“—Else you die, huh?  What’s it got to do with me Colonel Loga?”

“When this is over, I’ll put you in charge.”

“I’ve always been in charge.”

“More power.”

“Got that.”

“You can have all the rum you want.”

“This is the land of plentiful.”

“I’ll have it delivered to your ship wherever it goes.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“HURRY!”

“What’s your plan?  How are you going to do this?”

“I promise.”

“He promised me wings too, Captain,” Birdseye says.”

“And wings?”

“I’ll try.”

“His word is worthless.”

“We’ll negotiate when the time comes if we can get out of here.  Failing this, we can always take all the time we need to eradicate him later.”

The chamber is filled with liquid reaching their thighs and the snake-worms are now swimming towards them.

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

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 360

“HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!” Colonel Loga exclaims, “what’s the matter, Captain?  Stuck evaluating this trivial trickle’s tricky effects?”

The Captain hurls a silver stone at the Colonel’s cage.  It bounces back.  Colonel Loga laughs some more.

“This is pointless and beyond your capabilities” the Colonel says.

Birdseye insists, “you have created monsters out of the boxes, against their will, against mine.”

“Boxes are the future, always will be” Colonel Loga explains.

“They contain, restrict and create a state of permanent imprisonment,” Birdseye says.

“They are obedient, kind, compassionate and will do as I say.  They want nothing more than to multiply and create worlds within worlds within worlds.  They are born nurturers, carers and creators.  Nothing you can say will change this.”

“They do not know freedom.”

“No need for it.  Their function is purely to create and belong.  You’ve seen them: all they want is to please the master who selects them and remain loyal to them until discarded or till death.  And the latest models that you see stacked here will be used to create and perfect individuals like you.  All that is needed is a drop of the golden liquid to bring them to life.”

“Some have been known to escape.”

“Tried some did.”

“And?”

“They were terminated.”

“They can think and act independently.  Some roam the wilderness.”

Then, they all hear chomping and they turn towards the darkest corner of the chamber.

“We must go!”

Labaguette is agitated and is flapping his wings uncontrollably inside his cage, knocking himself against its walls.

“The snake-worms!”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 359

“Power, greed and mania, huh?” the Captain says, “I’d be delighted to cut the Colonel into tiny pieces.  What will it be, small cubes or Taco shapes?”

“Born a pirate, always a pirate,” Colonel Loga remarks.

“—Come to think of it,” the Captain says, “I could use you Colonel.”

“Not worth your trouble,” Birdseye says.

“Leave me alone.  Can’t you see I’m busy?” Colonel Loga says, “pass your way!”

“Rather naïve.  Let me unsuspend you” the Captain says, “I—”

“—Don’t you dare touch one single inch of—“

“—I know.  I know exactly why you’re here.  This cavern has been in existence before all others.  You were born here.”

“I landed here.  For you, it’s a chamber.”

“A grotto.”

“A bedroom.”

“Your bed—“

“—Precisely.  GO AWAY!”

“And this is where you hide your egg.  You’ve missed your Mama all along and need the comfort of your secret rum stash.  This is your point of origin.”

“Not bad, Captain,” Birdseye comments.

“You reckon?”

“It’s get stranger.”

“Funnier?”

The Rum is reaching their ankles and the vapours emanating from the potent liquid is reaching their brains, altering their senses.

“This half-breed that you see here, that mites infested bird is born out of a dirty box, dirtiest of them all,” Colonel Loga says, “I snatched him one half out of the jaws of eternity.  His life, I gave him and did thereto add my technique and passion, all his in dedication.  For his sake, I—“

“Come again?” the Captain asks.

“—You used and abused the boxes,” Birdseye remarks, “look at you now Colonel, in your ridiculous suspended state of impossible addiction!”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 358

“We’ve gone in circles, this is the same chamber as before!” the Captain utters, flabbergasted.

“This one is real,” Birdseye says.

“Isn’t the River going to—“

“—Don’t lean against the walls.”

“The River, it’s—.”

“—hurry!  Labaguette is over there and Colonel Loga suspended here, see?”

At the sight of the Captain, Labaguette, encased in a glass cage begins an excited dance, his tragic metallic wings flapping uselessly, the sound of his words contained within his cage, an indestructible cage which the Captain cannot break.

Birdseye is crouching below the Colonel who is leaning in another glass cage, with several tubes pinned to his skin at strategic spots: six over his shoulders, two over each eyelid.

“You’ve gotta be jocking!” the Captain exclaims, “are you praying?” and then, “get up Birdseye, we’ve not time, you said so yourself!”

Right then, right there, a gushing sound of liquid sipping through hurriedly through the room’s walls reaches their ears.

“GET UP!”

“I think that…”

“—what?”

“He should stay here.”

“Leave him to the mercy of the River?  You, a sensitive type incapable of harm?”

“I bear a grudge.”

“He gave you your life.”

“He used me.”

“How?”

“You ungrateful son of a deranged bird!” the Colonel interrupts, “I gave you life, the Captain is right, can’t you see?”

“You promised.  Look at me now, wingless.”

“You have wings.”

“Never did.”

“My word against yours.”

“But—“ the Captain tries.

“—silence!” Birdseys commands, “’wings that this monster had promised, and freedom.  I cannot fly.  Look at him now.  He kept his agenda hidden from all.  One day, the boxes he uses as wombs will revolt.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 357

“—CAPTAIN!” Birdseye exclaims in his deepest voice, suddenly appearing on the side of the platform where the Captain stands, “this is a dead end—“

“—Birdseye?!”

“We’ve no time.”

“You always say that.  Labaguette is over there!” The Captain remarks.

“It’s a make believe.  There’s no Labaguette, nor any Colonel.  You fell under the spell of the roots, they’re smart.  You should have known.  I—“

“—Are you real?” the Captain asks, trying to pinch Birdeye’s waistline and finding skin so hard it cannot be pinched.

“Real enough?”

“—You’ve never said anything to me about this, no, no nothing.”

“I warned you.”

“But—“

“—Silence!  Come!”

Back into dark corridor where he’d come from, the Captain walks into the track of a birdman as if were blind.  He will never stray from this dancing man again.

“The River led me to you,” Birdseye says, “you freed it and now it returns freedom.  You need only ask.”

“Aaah logic,” the Captain says.

“Logic here is different from that which makes you who you are.”

Time speeds.  Soon, Birdseye, the Captain and the hungry roots come to a crossing.  There are many paths to choose from and, as is customary in such tale, only one is right.  Birdseye knows, the Captain will follow.

“Why the darkest?” the Captain asks.

“I see no light, I see no dark,” Birdseye says, his goggles glowing vermillion.

And so, deep into the darkness of a strange planet’s entrails, two creatures, one human, one creature, enter into another chamber, one they open through a wooden door made of wooden roots amalgamated into metallic knots.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 356

“Damn!” he yells, “Holy Demonic Crap!”

“Captain!” Labaguette answers his eyes closed, hearing his master, “IT’S A TRAP!”

But screaming is of no use now.  The Captain is glued to a wall and Labaguette’s head tied to tiny electrodes.

Colonel Loga stirs in his slumber, turns sucking his thumb and seats up, staring at his surroundings in a daze.  Then he begins to laugh, a cynical sneer etched on his face, because the Captain is disappearing into the wall, bit by bit.

“A shitty trap from the abyss,” the Captain mumbles.  His right ear has been submerged by the silver wall and he can hear the sound of liquid rushing.  Another potential ending, he thinks, not being gobbled up by a monster worm nor being swallowed by an eternal void but melting into a wall.  What an ending!  I’m no Jedi, Doctor Spock is overdone and Superman is from another world, the Captain muses, pleased with his recently acquired and useless culture sense.  Who am I gonna call?  There, in his left ear the tune of an old ghostbusting song sings about the end of the world as the rushing sound of liquid infiltrates his right ear.  Now his vision is clouded by golden drops that sting the eyes.

“VICTORY!” he exclaims, “RUM, WE HAVE RUM!” as the sight of Labaguette and Captain Loga fades and gold droplets penetrate the silver wall, freeing the Captain.  Everywhere around the chamber, rum is coming through. “Perspiring walls!”  The Captain mutters, smiling.

Down below him, inside the chamber, the ground is filling with the liquid fast and he has lost sight of Labaguette and the Colonel.

“Can’t be!  Labaguette where—“

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 355

“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…