Ghosts of Kennesaw: Chapter 3: Blacksburg’s Secret

A couple of days passed, with Pudgy sleeping in and recovering from his Gettysburg adventures. It was a gray raining sort of Pennsylvania day.  The water wheel was turning at a brisk pace, recharging the battery for his home.  The antique metal box recovered from Cemetery Hill was on the concrete floor, open.  Pudgy had removed and unfolded the map that was contained therein. The hedgehog had been studying it intently.  He had papers strewn about, where he was taking notes.  His phone was getting a workout as the research was occurring.

Cobalt was at work and could not come over due to some crazy shifts he was assigned to.  Elizabeth also would stop by occasionally to help Pudgy translate the Latin inscriptions on the map.  The hedgehog had discovered that this was a map that outlined mortar batteries for the confederate army.  There were troop placements, resupply routes, and other key details. If this had fallen into the union army hands, the war would have been lost much sooner.  It was no wonder they hid it there. What Puzzled Pudgy was the key. It lined up with several markings on the map, pointing at Blacksburg.  What was there, the critter wondered? 

Lord Doomcock had been silent for days. He was adamant that Pudgy not go till he researched something. As he bounced happily about his home, Pudgy baked little loaves of bread.  While deciphering, his phone was playing a video.  “Blacksburg, Virginia in the Civil War. A history of the 4th Virginia Regiment, part of the Stonewall Brigade, consisted of many men who were recruited from Blacksburg, Virginia. … The Stonewall Brigade distinguished itself at the First Battle of Bull Run also known as First Manassas 1861.”  Pudgy pondered, 4th Virginia drew forces from there, so it was safe to assume that something may be hidden there.

Elizabeth’s translucent gloved hand reached in through his interior door and patted his head. The hedgehog bounced happily and turned. “Hi Elizabeth, please let Pudgy get bread out.” The hand withdrew back towards the big room.  As he opened his stove, Pudgy quickly took out the bread leaves and sat them on his wood counters. Shutting the stove and securing its fire box latch, he bounced over to the big room. She was sitting with her legs crossed, smiling at him and the mess of papers surrounding the map.  Pudgy explained as all he found out about the map, and what he located about Blacksburg. She smiled, with a soft look coming from her hazel eyes. She spoke, “My goodness Pudgy, you have been busy.”

Another couple of days passed, and Pudgy was standing outside of his home. Heavy rains had kept him inside all morning.  The skies cleared as the day progressed.  It was now a warm day with bright sunshine.  As he bounced happily, he saw a shimmer of light appear where his old cabin stood.  Lord Doomcock appeared and waved to the hedgehog.  Pudgy waved back, as the future ruler of the world strode up to him. “Greetings Pudgy!” The hedgehog bounced happily, “Hail Lord Doomcock. Pudgy very glad to see you!”  The lord laughed heartily and looked around.  “It is a warm day; I’m glad spring has sprung once more.” Diktor said while examining the forest. When he looked back, the hedgehog was gone. “Pudgy? Where did you,” he trailed off as he noticed the big room doors opening by themselves. The hedgehog peeked out over the door jamb.  Diktor walked over while laughing, “you made some enhancements to your home I see.”  Pudgy nodded, “Cobalt put gears in, so Pudgy can open doors to big room. please come in.”

As Lord Doomcock swung his leg over and down into the underground home, he saw the civil war materials about the home’s big room. As he sat down on the banquette, Doomcock saw the hedgehog scamper inside of his little area, then back with a tray of cookies. As Pudgy raised his tray as high as he could muster, Diktor leaned down and take the tray from him.  The tray fit within Diktor’s hand, drawing a smile from the Lord.    He watched as Pudgy scampered back into his home, then returned with a cup of tea.  Diktor laughed and accepted the cup as he leaned down once more. “Pudgy, you are always prepared for visitors. Thank you.” The hedgehog bounced, and without prompting, started to explain everything that happened since the last report to him.  As the lord set his tea aside, he inspected the map.  Pudgy climbed up the banquette, and bounced closer, looking up at him.  “My word, and Cobalt helped you find this?  Do you still have the box?” 

Pudgy nodded and pointed across the room opposite from him.  Diktor nodded and tapped the side of his golden mask.  His eyes started to glow blue, which illuminated the room. “Oh, my Pudgy, there is something on the box.” Pudgy looked up, “eyes glowing?”  Diktor nodded, “my helmet has a scanner in it. It can detect many things both visible and invisible to normal sight.  The box while appearance to be rusted, is in fact painted that way.  Doomcock rubbed his hands over the box, staining his gloves with a dark paint.  The hedgehog watched as the box started to reveal its secrets.  “Smith….field…. plantation.” Pudgy read out loud.  The Lord nodded, “now we know where you need to go.  Pudgy, I want you to go there.  I never knew that my grandfather’s broken watch would lead to ghosts, and a civil war mystery.  I am concerned where this may lead, but I want to know more about my potential lineage.”

Pudgy nodded, “can Pudgy please use transportation grid?”  Diktor nodded, “yes, I will allow it. And I want regular reports of your progress.” The critter nodded and looked out of the door smiling.  The lord noticed his friend’s gaze and turned his head.  His mask’s sensor detected the anomaly floating in front of the door. “Pudgy, is she here?”  The hedgehog waved, “hi Elizabeth! This is lord Doomcock.  She says hello.” As the lord patted the hedgehog’s head, he marveled at the resourcefulness of his hedgehog legionnaire as well as his abilities. The two continued their visit, while discussing plans.  Once the plan was finalized, Doomcock exited the home.  Waving, “my friend, I must go now.  Please be safe in your travels.”  As the lord waved, he exited the room.  Once outside, Doomcock teleported to his home in Xanadoom.

Pudgy kept his doors open, and watched as Elizabeth glided inside, sitting down beside him.  She patted his head as best she could, “so, that was Lord Doomcock? A bit pretentious, do you think?”  Pudgy looked up at her and gave her a confused look.  She smiled, “well, I admit, I am not, up to speed with this modern world. Please tell me of him.”  Pudgy told Elizabeth many things, who and what Doomcock was.  She listened and rubbed her chin, with a thoughtful expression. In time she faded away, leaving Pudgy alone.  Tomorrow Cobalt was coming over, so that made him glad knowing he would not be alone for long.  A thunderclap echoed in the skies above, which meant a rainstorm was coming. The hedgehog scampered about, shutting the big doors, and then turning the lights off, before returning to his living area.  The critter started to pack his belongings; he was going on a trip soon to Virginia.

Pudgy slept soundly throughout the night.  When he woke up the next morning, he secured his home for an extended trip.  He texted Cobalt letting him know he was going on a trip.  His friend was not able join him to say goodbye.  Cobalt learned a long time ago to not try to talk him out of an adventure. The man wished him a safe trip and asked him to be careful. Pudgy slung his backpack over his shoulders and put a spiffy hat on.  The hedgehog clipped little tools to his pack, and tapper his Xanadoom crystal.  “Lord Doomcock, can Pudgy go to Blacksburg Virginia now?”  The crystal glowed, and Pudgy was enveloped in a white mist, then the world disappeared.  Teleportation was a strange experience, which the little critter was still getting used to.  Soon a bright light appeared, and Pudgy heard birds chirping. 

Rubbing his eyes with his paw, his eyes adjusted to the light.  The hedgehog had arrived in a big grassy field.  Looking around, he started to scamper through the tall grass. “Hail Pudgy, it is I Doomcock.  Teleportation successful, you are at Smithfield plantation in Blacksburg, Virginia.”  Pudgy cheered,” Hail Lord Doomcock. ” Pudgy stood up, feeling his backpack vibrating. “Something happening, backpack shaking. “As the hedgehog took off his backpack, he opened it finding the vibration from the rusted metal key. “Lord Doomcock, the key is vibrating.”  Pudgy held the key, it vibrated stronger as he turned towards the east. “It’s vibrating stronger to east.” The lord coughed, “I am out of my expertise here, but I say if it is pointing east, go east.” The hedgehog put his pack on, he scampered towards the east. The key kept vibrating, as large white buildings started to appear in the distance.  Pudgy noticed that there were plots set up, roped off with vegetables growing. 

“Green beans, lettuce ….” Pudgy read out loud, as little signs documented what was being grown.   As the hedgehog scurried between the planting beds, he found orchards of trees around the white buildings.  Pudgy could see the apple, pear, plum and cherry trees surrounding the area.  “Boy, this plantation is huge!” The hedgehog exclaimed, taking a moment to look at the beautiful farm.  The key shook again, “what is it mister key?” The key was pointing him to a building.  As Pudgy crept closer, he saw humans walking around dressed in Victorian era farm clothes.  The clothes were simple, gray wool pants, with white button shirts.  The women had pale white long dresses, that were pleated on the front.  As Pudgy observed them working the farm, he saw a little sign nearby.  He started to read. “The Preston Family cemetery.” 

The key vibrated again as Pudgy scampered through the tall orchid flowers with their purple and while flowers. The plants swayed back and forth with a light breeze.  It was an overcast sort of day, as the hedgehog explored the grounds.  He scooted across a pale brown brick path, faded over years of weathering.  Thick verdant moss was growing along the joints. Pudgy noticed the workers painting the wood buildings.  They had not noticed him, which was good.  The hedgehog wanted to keep a low profile for now.  He continued his travels, finding a black wrought iron fence.  He was not able to squeeze through the fence, so the hedgehog walked along the fence.  Every 20 feet or so, there was a brick column, capped with a triangular stack brick top part.  In time, he found the gates, which had blown open from a recent storm.  Big rain puddles were around, which Pudgy was able to circle around. 

The hedgehog reached a big placard: Preston family members, spanning six generations, including William and Susanna Smith Preston, are buried at the site.  The first known burial in the cemetery was their daughter Anne, who died in 1782 at age 13.  Pudgy nodded, and the key jerked towards the left. As he wandered along the brick path. Pudgy noticed he was in an old section of the cemetery. The gravestones were worn, barely legible.  Reaching a plot of land, with a plain stone, flat on the ground. Pudgy ran his paw along the stone, tracing letters.  “Colonel Ezekiel Davis.  Born 1821, passed 1862.” The key jerked out of his paw, and like a magnet stuck to the stone. “Colonel, are you here?” Pudgy asked as he looked around. There was no one around the air was heavy, as the light faded, the shadows started to spread along the walls.  Pudgy reached for the key, and took it in his paw, sniffing the key.  Nothing was amiss, though the gravestone looked off. 

A small hole was in the middle.  The hedgehog positioned the key over the hole, and it dropped into place.  Turning the key, he heard a loud click. The cemetery was quiet, and the sound of birds drained away.  Pudgy started to get scared, ears trained on any source of sound.  CLICK. A nearby gas lantern kicked on, and the flames danced within. CLICK, CLICK, CLUNK.  A big stone monument started to shudder.  Pudgy had passed it earlier and thought nothing of it.  The dark brown bricks started to separate, as a door opened.  The hedgehog nodded and started to scamper towards the door.  Pudgy peered inside, and found rough cut stairs, leading down. Pulling out a small torch, he ignited it.  Then started to climb down the stairs.  One by one, the hedgehog descended into the darkness.  In a short time, Pudgy had gone down 20 steps.  He reached a tunnel, rough cut into the clay soil.  The wood beams were of ancient oak, thick, clearly hand cut. 

As he looked around, he took a step forward.  The sounds of battle immediately filled the tunnel.  Pudgy stepped back, and the sounds drained away, becoming silent once more.  Turning his head, he sniffed the air, noticing it was musty. Pudgy stepped forward, and the sounds of battle returned.  He continued forward, ignoring the swelling fear that was creeping into the back of his mind. The tunnel was not long, and sloped further down, leading towards a chamber.  The hedgehog scampered quickly and reached a brick chamber.  The hand formed brown bricks were pressed into the clay walls.  There were flags hanging on poles, one was the Virginia flag, and the confederate flag.  There was an empty oak table, with several wood chairs around.  Pudgy stammered out, “Hello, Colonel?” 

A fully uniformed ghost appeared at the table sitting.  The ghost appeared to be a man and was in a gray long coat with two vertical columns of gold buttons.  He had a burgundy belt sash around his waist. A black collar with two gold stars signified his rank.  Steel gray eyes looked forward, and he called out. “Who’s there? Show yourself!” Pudgy scampered forward and waved. “Hello, my name Pudgy.”  The ghostly man looked down, seeing the hedgehog standing there. His brown eyebrow raised, as steel gray eyes locked onto him. “Are we that desperate for forces, a hedgehog?  What unit are you with?”  Pudgy shook his head, “Pudgy not part of any unit.  Pudgy and friend Cobalt found a metal box buried in Gettysburg.  It had a map, and a key that led here.”  The colonel’s voice boomed, “A UNION SPY!” The hedgehog shook his head, “Pudgy wasn’t born during war. Colonel, Pudgy trying to find Samuel, he was with a unit from Georgia. Pudgy friend Elizabeth looking for husband.” 

The colonel folded his arms, revealing his white gloved hands, rubbing his bearded chin. “Let me see the map.”  Pudgy scampered up to the table.  As the critter climbed up, he sat on the table, and pulled open his pack. The hedgehog unfolded the map and spread it out.  The colonel’s eyes went wide. “This is general Wheeler’s map! You said, this was in a box?” Pudgy nodded, “buried in ground at Cemetery Hill. Ghost soldiers appeared when we dug it up.”  The ghost man nodded, “they were defending the map, and now 2 Yankees have seen our secret battle plans.  I would dispatch you myself, sadly,” his voice trailed off, as his hand passed though the table, “I cannot seem to touch things.  So, Pudgy Hedgehog, tell me what happened”

So Pudgy told the colonel everything Cobalt told him about the civil war.  The colonel corrected certain statements as the story progressed.  When Pudgy advised the south had lost, and became part of the union once more, he slunk down in his chair. “I, gave my life, for nothing?” Pudgy shook his head, “did you have reason to fight?” The colonel nodded, “they were trying to destroy my home.” Pudgy nodded, “then good reason.  Pudgy don’t understand why happened.  Many good people went away, but that all over now.  Pudgy just want help Elizabeth find Samuel.” A cough was heard, and as the Colonel looked up, he stood from his chair. Pudgy turned around and saw Elizabeth standing there.  Pudgy waved, “Hi Elizabeth.”  The ghostly woman smiled and waved back. “I lost track of you Pudgy but found you in this dark place, with a colonel.”

The ghostly man nodded, “the hedgehog told me of the outcome of our war.  Madame Elizabeth, tell me of your husband, I shall endeavor to help.”  As Elizabeth explained what her husband had told her, and what he looked like, the colonel nodded. Pudgy folded the map, putting it back into the pack.  The ghostly man nodded, “yes, I knew that man.  Samuel was a courtier for the confederate forces. He would ride as fast as the horse could carry him.   After Gettysburg, his rendezvous was back here.  I sent him to Kennesaw.” Pudgy bounced, “that’s in Georgia isn’t it?” Elizabeth nodded, “that’s only an hour or so ride from my home. Pudgy, we need to go there!”  The colonel turned to him, “Pudgy, if you go, can you not tell the men what happened? I am concerned it will cause issues.”  Pudgy nodded, and the ghostly man continued, “Since you are going, may I ask a favor?” Pudgy bounced and waved, “yes, Pudgy will help.  What can Pudgy do?” 

The colonel walked over to a wall and pointed. As the hedgehog slid down the table leg, he dropped onto the ground.  Scampering over, the critter saw a loose brick.  Pulling the brick out, Pudgy found papers. The ghostly man nodded, “that’s correspondence to be sent in case of emergency.  If approached by soldiers, it will grant you access. Take it, find Samuel, and reunite him with Elizabeth.” Pudgy put the papers, along with a metal circle on a chain into his pack.  Scampering over to Elizabeth, he looked up at her, then the colonel, “Thank you Colonel.” Elizabeth nodded, and the colonel started to fade away.  Elizabeth faded also, leaving Pudgy alone in a dark room.  He quickly scampered up the tunnel and started to climb the stairs.  The battle sounds drained away, as the hedgehog quickly exited the secret tunnel.  Once more into the cemetery, the hedgehog looked up to see the star filled sky overhead.  There was a stiff cold breeze blew through the quiet rows of graves. Pudgy scampered back to the gravestone of the colonel and retrieved the metal key. 

As he put the key back into his pack, Pudgy tapped his Xanadoom crystal.  “Pudgy would like to go home now.”  The crystal did not respond. The hedgehog realized Doomcock was most likely busy and would respond later.  This meant he needed to find somewhere to stay.  So, as he put his pack on, he walked through the cemetery.  Reaching the gates, Pudgy turned back and saw the monument closed once more.  The gas lamp was off.  There was a sense of sadness now, which was the realization of dreams expiring. Maybe Pudgy should not have told the Colonel of the war’s end.  But it was too late now.  Looking off into the distance, Pudgy saw a row of lights faint on the horizon.  Perhaps there was a phone, he could call Cobalt?”  So, off the critter started on a hike.  The fields were cold grass, heavy dew covered the ground.  As the hours passed, he stopped occasionally to look at the clear star filled skies. A row of trees was running along a road, which Pudgy was heading towards. 

He could smell the faint scent of lilies, which meant Elizabeth was nearby.  “Pudgy glad to know where to find Samuel.  But what will happen when we find him?” The ghostly woman did not respond. So Pudgy continued to scamper through the dark fields.  Many hours had passed, eventually reaching a pale-yellow house with large porches.  Typical southern home design, the hedgehog noticed as he approached. It was as he reached the edge of the property; he could see the front door.  The porch light was on, and a dog was in the front running around.  As Pudgy approached, the dog barked at him.  He waved and barked back.  The hedgehog had troubles with dog language, but he was able to get his point across.  The dog motioned to follow, so Pudgy scampered beside him.  The hedgehog reached the wide steps, he started to climb up.  The face of the steps was painted white, but the treads were black. Once he reached the porch, the dog was whining and scratching at the door.  The door started to open, and a woman with shoulder length brown hair appeared, letting the terrier dog in. It was as she saw Pudgy, she started to smile.

“And who might you be?”  She had a Doomcock darlings’ shirt on, and plaid pants.  Pudgy waved, “my name is Pudgy.” She giggled, “oh my goodness, Pudgy hedgehog came to visit me!  I’m Sandra.  Please come in!”  Pudgy nodded and scampered inside of her home.  She shut the door; the hedgehog looked up at her. Sandra motioned to follow, and he scurried beside her.  The dog was already curled up on an overstuffed chair. Reaching down, the woman gently scooped up the hedgehog and set him on a plaid couch. Sitting down beside him, smiling ear to ear. “The other Darlings have said you visited them, and I was hoping you might one day come.  Why are you here in Blacksburg?”  Pudgy bounced happily as he started to tell her about the ghostly woman Elizabeth, Gettysburg, and now the trip to the plantation.  She marveled at the story, and the talking hedgehog now sitting beside her. “I toured that plantation a couple times, and had no idea there was a secret confederate room hidden in the cemetery.  You said the Colonel gave you something?”  Pudgy nodded, and took off his pack, pulling out the metal on the chain.  Sandra took the chain and examined it.  “Hmm, this is a religious medal. Looks like it has seen better days though.”

She handed it back watching as Pudgy took out the small folded papers.  The hedgehog examined, “it’s another map.  This time in Georgia.” The woman smiled, and gently took the map from him to examine it. She handed it back to him, “are you hungry?”  Pudgy looked up at her, putting the map back into his backpack.  The hedgehog nodded, and his hostess smiled, as she stood up.  Heading off around the couch, she headed to the kitchen.  Pudgy looked at the terrier, who was yawning as curling around into the chair.  The hedgehog looked around, and Sandra’s house was a lot like Cobalt’s house. White walls, pictures on the walls.  Though her pictures had family members in a variety of locations.  Sandra returned with a plate of hydrox sandwich cookies, and two cups of coffee.  Pudgy’s cup was much smaller.  She sat down and handed him a cookie. Pudgy looked up, “thank you!”  He gratefully took a vanilla cream filled cookie from the plate and started to nibble.  She too took a cookie, starting to munch.  The large tv was playing local news, but Pudgy wasn’t watching.  He was too busy nibbling and watching Sandra.

The hedgehog started to yawn, and his new friend smiled down at him. “I think you should spend the night. I should get to bed myself; I have a trip tomorrow.” Pudgy looked up, “where are you going?” Sandra smiled, “well, I am a pilot.  I was hired as a courier, to take a package to Georgia.”  Pudgy bounced, “can you take Pudgy with you? Pudgy need to go to Kennesaw. That is where Elizabeth husband Samuel is.”  Sandra smiled, “why yes I can take you.  Does this mean I’m on a Pudgy adventure?” Pudgy bounced happily and hugged her leg.  The woman giggled and patted his head softly.  The woman turned off the television. And started to stand up, turning a lamp off.  Turning and waving, “you can sleep on the couch Pudgy. I will wake you up when it’s time to go.”  The hedgehog waved, and as the woman exited the room, he heard her going upstairs. He heard steps above, as she moved through the home. Pudgy curled up beside his backpack and started to drift off.  The terrier was already asleep and snoring softly. The hedgehog had a busy day and was very tired. He too fell asleep, knowing he was safe.

Pudgy woke up several times throughout the night, but quickly fell back asleep.  In the morning he was gently woken by Sandra shaking his softly.  The woman was dressed in blue jeans, and already had her bright yellow winter coat on. The hedgehog rubbed the sleep from his eyes, “is it time to go?”  She smiled warmly, “yes, but we have an hour drive to the airport.”  Pudgy put his pack back on, and little hat.  Giggling, she picked him up, and gently hugged him. Pudgy hugged back though shut his eyes when he started to pass a certain region.  If his eyes were shut, he could not get in trouble.  The critter hugged her shoulder and smiled.  Sandra also smelled like lilies and watched as the house moved a out quickly.  Soon they were leaving the house, and Pudgy was quickly placed in the passenger seat of a green pickup truck.  Sandra got into the driver’s seat and shut the door.  Starting the motor, Pudgy watched all the displays light up.  The truck backed out of the driveway and pulled out towards the west. “The airport I store my plane is nearby, about an hour away by vehicle.” Pudgy nodded, “a month at hedgehog pace.”

The two laughed.  She was paying attention to the road but noticed Pudgy checking his pack. “Do you have everything?”  Pudgy nodded, as he sealed it shut, “good. How long will take to fly to Kennesaw?”  She rubbed her chin, “well, about 30 minutes to prep the plane, 3 hours to fly, then 30 min to disembark if there is backup.  My client will be meeting us in the maintenance area to accept delivery. In addition to teaching flying, I have a very small courier service. A way to afford owning a plane.” Sandra smiled, tucking an errant strand of brown hair behind her ear, as she continued to drive.  Pudgy sat on his seat, looking out of the windows.  He watched the trees pass by, tapped his Xanadoom crystal, and did not respond again.  Pudgy was starting to wonder what Lord Doomcock was doing?  He wanted regular reports, but not responding to the several messages he had sent via the crystal.

As the time quickly passed, they reached the airport.  Pudgy saw a big sign that read: Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport.  The hedgehog looked up at her and bounced. She smiled back and headed towards the hangar where her airplane. As the truck slowed, she parked it.  Sandra looked down, “please stay in the truck.  I need to get the plane ready.”  Pudgy sat in the warm truck cabin.  Soon the hangar doors opened, and a white airplane was being moved out.  The truck tailgate opened with a bang.  Pudgy couldn’t see too well, as he had to look up. After a long time passed, Sandra appeared again, and reached across to truck’s interior.  She picked up Pudgy gently and held him against her shoulder as she exited the truck.  Securing the vehicle, the two headed off to the plane.  “Plane ready,” he asked.  She giggled, “yes, fueled up, and ready to fly.”  As she entered the plane’s interior, she shut the door locking it.  There was only one door, so that required her to climb across the passenger seat to reach the pilot seat.  Sandra sat Pudgy down onto the passenger seat and buckled the seat belt.

While the shoulder strap did nothing, Pudgy was glad for the lap belt.  He held on, watching her flip switches.  The motor started, and the propellers started to turn.  Sandra put a headset on, “tower, this is whiskey foxtrot alpha 17, requesting instructions.”  The plane started to move.  She nodded, “roger tower, runway baker 2.” Pudgy bounced, as there were no shock absorbers in the plane’s wheels.  She moved the controls to full, and the engine roared.  Pudgy was wedged into his seat and felt the plane’s nose began to lift.  Like his rocket trip, the g forces were strong. The plane was still climbing and did not level off for a long time.  Pudgy started humming the Indiana Jones theme song when the big red arrow would show the plane. The hedgehog always wondered what people thought as the red arrow passed overhead.

The noise in the plane was very loud, so Pudgy could not talk to Sandra as she flew.  Nor did he want to, as she was flying the plane.  The last thing she needed was to be distracted.  The hours passed; the hedgehog had fallen asleep.  It was when the plane tilted down, he awoke, and grabbed onto the belt.  Sandra was talking again, “Cobb County control, request landing instructions.”  She was talking to the airport tower, and Pudgy held onto the belt.  An empty pop bottle fell forward onto the foot well in front of the passenger seat.  A cross breeze hit the small plane, and the right wing shot up hard, causing her to have to correct.  “Sorry Pudgy, air speed is high here today. It’s going to be a rough landing.” She said loudly, while fighting the controls of the plane.  Then the plane suddenly dropped hard.

The hedgehog was very glad he did not eat today, as it would have come out by now.  Pudgy saw the long runway in front of them, and since it was a clear day, he could see other small planes nearby, also having trouble staying level.  Sandra tilted the rear of the plane trying to compensate, until a breeze literally moved them sideways, causing another correction.  She was saying words that Doomcock says when describing Doctor who.  Luckily, he couldn’t hear too well, and did not know what the fruiting wind meant. The plane lined back up with the runway and the tires screeched as they made contact with the tarmac.  Reducing power, the back to the plane landed too, and the plane started to bounce again as she taxied to the prearranged hangar. 

They had landed at Cobb County airport, and the private planes went to a separate series of runways, and hangars.  The big passenger planes had their own runways, so if the tower was on the ball, there would be no issues.  The little plane moved along, heading towards a big hangar labelled, “Private / Corporate Planes.” As Sandra reduced power, the propellers started to stop turning, and the plane’s momentum coasted it into a parking spot.  Sandra took off the headset, “That was a rough landing, Pudgy are you ok?”  The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy don’t want cookie.”  She laughed, and patted his head, noticing the normally light brown hedgehog was appearing to be a tad pale.  She reached across, and unlocked the door, pulling it open.  A warm fresh breeze blew in, which helped the hedgehog recover.  Pudgy smiled, and watched as Sandra undid his belt, and a white ambulance pulled up beside the plane.

Pudgy waved as an EMT got out of the ambulance and trotted up to her. “Are you Sandra?” The heavily tanned man with a fuzzy salt and pepper beard asked.  She nodded, “yes, I have the coolers in the back.”  Pudgy looked at the EMT and waved, he smiled, but turned to the small cargo area, with a big white cooler.  The EMT opened it up, and as Pudgy looked, plastic bags with red things were packed in ice.  The man nodded and sealed the cooler.  “You arrived in the nick of time; we really needed those kidneys.”   Sandra smiled, and watched as he removed the cooler, and loaded it into the back of the ambulance.  He came back with some paperwork, that she filled out and signed. The man nodded as he reviewed, “everything is in order.  You will receive payment from the hospital within 30 days.” 

Sandra nodded, and the EMT trotted back to the ambulance, and the vehicle drove off quickly.  Sandra patted Pudgy’s head, “I was contracted to move organs, for a transplant surgery today.  That’s why I was coming here.  I normally do freight, and correspondence, though this was a rush order.  Let’s go to the pilot lounge, and we can recover from the flight?”  Pudgy nodded, and Sandra picked him up, and got out of the plane.  She pulled the door shut and locked it.  Pudgy saw the clear blue skies above and was very glad to be safely on the ground once more.  They approached the hangar, where a maintenance man was standing next to a gas truck.  He was dirty, with a blue maintenance outfit, and smoking a cigarette.  Sandra smiled, “can I get a fuel up?”  The man smirked and started to move the truck back towards her small plane.  Pudgy waved, which drew a look.  The lounge as she called it, was in the hangar, and had a couple torn benches along the wall, with a soda pop machine.  There were two bathrooms, labelled men and not men.  Clearly the mechanics were a sarcastic lot, and Pudgy wiggled when she sat him down. 

Sandra went over, and bought two cans of ginger ale, and returned sitting down.  She opened Pudgy’s can and handed it to him.  Thankfully these were the tiny cans, so he could handle them better.  He took a long sip, then BURRRRPPPPP.  “Scuse Pudgy.”  she laughed and took a long sip.  After a short time had passed, Sandra turned and looked down at Pudgy.  “So now that you are here in Georgia, what next Pudgy?”  The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy have to get to Kennesaw mountain, to find the civil war place.  The map seems to point to a section.  Maybe it was a camp?  Elizabeth the ghost will help Pudgy find Samuel.  Then when all done, Pudgy can contact Lord Doomcock to send Pudgy home. He has not been responding though, so Pudgy worried.”  Sandra patted his head, “Well, he did an 8-hour live stream Friday to Saturday night, then another stream with Gary for 6 hours.  He’s been very busy these 2 days.  so most likely, your messages are on the answering machine.  Oh … I know, why don’t you visit Stellar Heather?  She lives somewhere around here.  I bet she would be able to help you.  Let me get my phone out….”

The woman trailed off, as she pulled a cell phone out.  Sandra was busy tapping on her phone and nodded. “Word of your visit has spread amongst the darlings again Pudgy.  Cobalt also says hi.  Ok, Heather says it is ok to visit. The address is, ” she wrote it down on a small piece of paper and handed it to Pudgy.  The hedgehog nodded and started to wiggle.  Sandra smiled, “here is how to get there.”  Pudgy took the second paper, and put them both in his backpack, then strung the straps over his shoulders.  He hugged her leg, “Thank you for helping Pudgy!”  She smiled and picked him up to hug back.  Then set him down on the ground.  Pudgy waved, and then scampered off through the hangar.  When he reached the garage doors, he turned back and waved again, before scooting off out of sight. Sandra smiled, though was a bit sad, as she had grown fond of her little friend.  But she had to get back to her home and take care of her family and her dog.  She was happy to have helped Pudgy in his latest adventure.  She too could brag that she had a Pudgy visit, which drew many comments online.  Many darlings wondered when they too would have a visit.

Pudgy scampered through the airport, dodging the occasional maintenance vehicle.  After an hour of scampering, he had made it to the grassy field that was beside the airport.  He stopped in the grass, to rest. Pudgy watched as Sandra’s little plane started to taxi out to the runway.  Pudgy waved, though he knew she didn’t see him. “Thank you.”  The hedgehog turned, and then scampered through the grass, and under a silver chain link fence.  Cars were driving past very fast, on a 4-lane highway that ran beside the airport.  He knew there was no way he could make it safely across, so the hedgehog scurried along the side of the road, looking for a way across.  In time, he discovered a creek, which was coming out of a silver corrugated pipe. Cobalt had used the same kind to build his house with, so it must run the whole way under the highway. 

Pudgy slid down the grass and started to scamper into the partially water filled pipe.  As the light faded, soon Pudgy was in the dark.  The sounds of cars were deafening, as they raced overhead.  Soon the light appeared, and Pudgy peeked his head out, continuing his trip to Heather’s house.  Sandra’s directions gave him a car way of getting there, but sadly google maps was never designed for hedgehog travels.  Pudgy scampered as quickly as he could. Thankfully it was a warm spring day in Georgia. Pudgy was glad he had a place to stay.  The hedgehog stopped at a stop sign, trying to read the street names.  A robin was sitting on it and looked down.  He started chirping, and the bird flew down.  Pudgy explained he was lost, and the bird nodded.  Animal directions were sometimes much better.  The bird told him where to go, and how to get there.  Pudgy thanked his bird friend for the help.  The bird chirped happily and flew off.  The hedgehog in turn scampered forward, up the road labelled Beaufort road.

As Pudgy followed his new directions, Pudgy scampered through a small grove of elm trees.  In the south, the trees had already started growing leaves. Pudgy stopped at a 4-way stop sign, and he looked in all directions.  There were no cars, so he started to run.  Crossing the road, he found a big sign, with a street map.  It had been hours of hedgehog speed.  The directions instructed Pudgy to head to a housing plan.  As he reviewed the street names, he found the road that Heather lived on.  He started to scoot through the high grass.  The day progressed, he made it to the street where she lived many more hours later.  Pudgy sat down out of breath., opening his little canteen, and started to drink.  The smell of lilies wafted around him, which meant Elizabeth was nearby. “Pudgy tired.”

The hedgehog stood up and started to move once again.  All the home’s looked the same, but luckily, he had a house number.  Another hour passed, and he found the house in question. Pudgy was moving much slower and leaned against a metal mailbox post.  Big concrete steps lay before him, and slowly he ascended the stairs.  It was as he reached the second step, when the green front door opened.  A woman started to exit the home.  She had dark brown hair, tied back in a ponytail. Her green eyes looked down and focused on him, and her painted lips drew into a warm smile.   “Pudgy?”  The tired hedgehog looked up and waved, “hi, are you Stellar Heather?”  Waving excitedly, “why yes I am!  Sandra sent me a message you were coming.  I was actually coming out to find you, since it was starting to get late.” She quickly ran down and knelt picking him up.  Pudgy soon was being hugged, and he looked up as happy brown eyes were watching him. Pudgy hugged back, and was very glad she was carrying him up, as he was out of gas.

Heather brought him inside her home and shut the door.  She moved quickly and sat down on a beige couch. Pudgy looked up at her, and she giggled.  As the kind woman let go, she sat him down on the couch beside her. Heather patted his head, “so why are you in Georgia Pudgy?” The hedgehog smiled and started to tell her the tale of Elizabeth the ghost, Gettysburg, Blacksburg, and now Kennesaw.  Heather listened intently to the grand tale and smiled the whole time.  After Pudgy was done, she patted his head, then left to head to her kitchen.  Returning shortly with cups of tea, and a tray of cookies. As the woman returned, she sat down not realizing where Pudgy was.  Looking around, “Pudgy? Where did you go?”  She felt something wiggling behind her, “oh crap!” Leaning forward, the hedgehog popped out from behind her and bounced up beside her.  “Oh boy cookies!” Pudgy exclaimed, and happily took a chocolate chip cookie nibbling. 

The woman laughed watching the critter scoot out from behind her.  The time quickly passed, and in no time at all, the sun had set.  Pudgy started to yawn, “would it be ok if Pudgy spent night?”  Heather nodded, “sure, tomorrow we can discuss what our plan is.  I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, and I could really use a Pudgy Adventure to take my mind off the events as of late.  You can sleep on the couch.”  Pudgy bounced happily, and curled into a ball, waving. “Night, night.” Soon he fell fast asleep.  Heather smiled, quietly stood up to turn the lights off.  Ordinarily she would stay up later, but she could do that upstairs.

She exited her living room, checked the doors, and went upstairs.  Heather started chatting online, telling everyone Pudgy came to visit.  The darling chat became quite animated, before everyone turned into the inquisition. As the chat flew on YouTube, Doomcock noticed his follower Stellar Heather talking about Pudgy, and he made notes to check in tomorrow know his faithful hedgehog friend. The computers registered 12 messages from Pudgy, so it might be important to listen to them.  The avid viewer Pudgy wasn’t watching, since he was fast asleep from exhaustion due to a very busy day.

By Cobalt

Cobalt is a normal guy that goes to work. Pudgy is his hedgehog friend who lives in a hobbit style home nearby, and goes on epic adventures. All Pudgy stories are copyrighted to Cobalt. Doomcock, Harvey Cthulhu, and Xanadoom is copyrighted to Overlord DVD.

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