Ghosts of Kennesaw: Chapter 4: Demon

Just like Cobalt, Heather had her routine.  Get ready for work, go to work, come home.  The key difference was, she now had Pudgy at her home. Each night, the hedgehog would tell her grand stories of his adventures.  She had had rough couple of weeks, so it was doing her much good to have him there visiting.  Pudgy was getting many hugs, and cookies. It was on Tuesday evening, as the news was playing on her television, she saw Pudgy talking to a curtain.  “Pudgy, who are you talking to?” Heather said, while turning the volume down with her remote.  The hedgehog waved, “Pudgy talking to Elizabeth.  She was checking around, and a nice ghost man lives down street. He doesn’t know Samuel but does know where the camp we should head to soon.”  Heather blinked her green eyes, and her smile started to fade. “So, you’re going to go away?”

Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy need to help Elizabeth.” The woman nodded, realizing that she couldn’t keep him there forever.  She thought to herself and nodded. “Then I’m going with you.  I want to go on a Pudgy adventure too.”  Pudgy scampered over and hugged her ankle. “YAY!”  She smiled, and reached down, to scoop up the hedgehog.  Pudgy smiled while Heather set him on the couch beside her.  “Ok, what is the plan?” The hedgehog opened his pack and took out the maps.  As the clearly excited woman carefully unfolded them, she pulled out her smart phone. Checking her map app, versus what was written and drawn by the colonel, she was able to tell where the camp roughly should be.  She held her phone so the hedgehog could see.  Heather was only 20 miles by car from where they needed to go. Pudgy bounced happily, and she patted his head gently. “Can we go tomorrow?” Pudgy asked making big hopeful hedgehog eyes at her. She laughed, “Ok, we can go. But I need to check with work first.”  The hedgehog started hugging her blue jean covered leg. 

Pudgy started telling his next big tale, of his moon adventure and back to fight Harvey. Hours passed, and Pudgy finished his story.  Heather clapped her hands, “I love Pudgy stories!  I’m glad you got back safe and sound.”  The hedgehog yawned and curled into a ball looking up at her.  As she gently petted him, he fell asleep in her hands.  Smiling, she quietly stood up, and started to turn lights off, and check her doors.  After checking on her guest, Heather headed upstairs.  She had to pick out her adventuring outfit and get ready for tomorrow.  Tonight, was going to be hard to fall asleep.  The faint smell of lilies followed her upstairs.  It was as Heather was laying out clothes on her bed, she caught out of the corner of her eye Elizabeth, dressed in her Victorian outfit.  When she turned her head, the ghost was gone.  Looking around the landing at the top of the stairs, she found nothing.  “Time for bed…”

An awfully long night passed, and when the phone’s alarm went off, Heather opened her eyes.  An excited burst of glee escaped her lips, and quickly she got ready for her day.  Almost running down the steps, she found Pudgy on the couch with his pack and hat on ready to go. “Pudgy, let me pack some snacks for the day, and we will get going soon.” She said excitedly, as unzipping her backpack.  Taking items out of various cabinets in her kitchen, packing a day bag of supplies.  Heather filled up a large water bottle and clipped it to her bag.  Then heading over to the couch picking Pudgy up and carrying him.  As she exited her home, the door was locked, and headed towards her car.  Pudgy noted unlike Cobalt’s car, hers was lower and a light color.  The car went beep, and she opened the door.  Getting inside, she placed Pudgy down.  Pudgy bounced over to the passenger seat while the woman put her bag into the passenger seat’s footwell.  Then she buckled the seat belt for Pudgy then hers.  Starting the car, she shut the door. She looked back, backed the car out, then drove the car away from her home.

“Pudgy, I put the directions into my phone.  It should take us with no traffic, 30 minutes to get to Kennesaw Mountain park,” Heather said while smiling ear to ear.  The hedgehog bounced happily, “YAY!” Pudgy settled into his seat and looked out the windows as the car sped past trees. In a short amount of time, Heather was able to make it to Kennesaw national park. As she put the car into park, and turned off the engine, she looked at her furry companion. “Ok, we made it, so do you have an idea of where we need to go?”  Pudgy nodded and scampered over to the Heather opened her car door, and got her bag, slinging it over her shoulder.  Pudgy scurried up her arm and sat on her shoulder clinging onto her shoulder strap.  Laughing, she shut the car door and locked it.  The horn beeped twice, and she started to walk toward a big gate.

Pudgy gently tugged her brown hair, “can we go to visitor center?”  She nodded, “good idea Pudgy.”  A large red brick building was beside the gate.  The woman walked over and opened a glass door.  An older woman smiled warmly at her, looking at Pudgy on her shoulder.  “Miss, no pets are allowed in the museum.”  Pudgy waved, “but Pudgy came all the way from Pennsylvania to see Museum.” He looked sad, which drew a smile and curious look from the astonished tour guide. “Did, you just speak?”  Pudgy nodded, “how much to go inside?”  The gray-haired woman nodded, “well, it’s free, but we do encourage donations. Ok, you can go in, but your friend has to accompany y’all.” Heather giggled and entered the museum.  There was all manner of displays, just like the Gettysburg museum.  As the woman walked around, the hedgehog bounced happily, and chatted with her.  Much like up north the toll of the war on the south was immense.  Thousands died in fierce fighting on the mountain and surrounding countryside.

It was as Heather stopped to look at a Victorian dress, she felt the weight leave her shoulder. As turning her head, her astonished eyes watched Pudgy floating away with his little legs wiggling.  “Pudgy …. what…. where…”  The gray-haired older woman had followed and watched as the hedgehog floated away. “Jesus….” both women did the sign of the cross and watched as the hedgehog floated towards a large wall map of the area. “Heather, this is not Elizabeth, it’s another ghost. He’s missing his left arm.”  The tour guide adjusted her thin black glasses, “what is the ghost wearing?”  As Pudgy described the uniform, the woman nodded and looked at Heather. “That is a soldier who loaded the cannons.  The Tennessee regular army fought here, so that makes sense, it’s an artillery gunner.”  Heather frowned, worried for Pudgy.  “Can you ask the ghost what he’s doing?”  Pudgy looked at the ghostly man, but he was missing some of his face.  Dull lifeless eyes stared forward, and Pudgy looked at the same location. “Thank you, corporal, Pudgy will for there now. ” Heather slowly headed over to the map, along with the tour guide.

Pudgy started to drop, and she caught him. “Pudgy know where to go,” he pointed.  The map showed a battery of mortar cannons that pointed to the north west.  It was overlooking the site of Pickett’s charge, a horrendous site of fighting.  Pudgy scampered up her arm and clung to her shoulder.  The tour guide, “when you find what you are looking for, please come back.  Our historian will want to talk to you.”  Heather handed her a $10 bill.  The tour guide smiled and waved as Heather walked quickly. She exited the museum and headed towards a trail.  Pudgy nodded, “the colonel in Blacksburg gave Pudgy a metal on a chain.  That drew the gunner ghost.  Pudgy glad you born here, otherwise Cobalt and I would have trouble here as we from Pennsylvania.”   Heather giggled, “are you saying I’m your southern escort?”  Pudgy started to laugh, “yes, and a friend.” The trail started to incline steeply, as they started up the mountain.

Heather saw a bench, and headed towards it, sitting down.  The hedgehog slid down her arm and bounced beside her on the wooden bench.  The woman opened her pack, and took out a can of assorted nuts, and started to munch.  Looking down, Pudgy had a cookie out and was nibbling.  “Pudgy, when we find the camp, what is the plan?”  The hedgehog rubbed his chin, “well, we have to search to find the ghosts.  Elizabeth can help with that.  But when Pudgy went to Blacksburg, the key acted like compass.  Pudgy think medal will be same.”  The woman nodded, taking a long sip from her water bottle.  She watched Pudgy wiggle his ears, and bounce beside her.  The hedgehog’s vest started to hiss, “greetings Pudgy!” Doomcock’s voice started to fill the area around him, drawing a look from Heather. “Hail Lord Doomcock!  Pudgy is in Kennesaw Georgia, with Stellar Heather.”  Heather looked down, “umm, hello Lord Doomcock?”  The lord’s voice laughed, “hail Heather!  Pudgy, I reviewed your many reports. Heather, I have had Pudgy on many adventures to help Xanadoom.  Although this one is a surprise, with ghosts.”

Heather smiled and picked up the hedgehog.  She stood up and started to walk once more.  Doomcock was asking questions, which Pudgy answered.  Heather got to chat as well, and the trio spoke of many things.  Eventually the Lord had to go, and the two said goodbye.  She stopped again, catching her breath.  Without warning, the hedgehog was thrown off her shoulder.  He landed hard on the ground in front of her.  “Pudgy!” She exclaimed but found she couldn’t move.  As the critter weakly stood up, he looked scared.  The light was draining from the sky. The critter took off his pack and opened it.  As he pulled out the metal, it was glowing red.  There was no heat, but the round circle floated.  Wrapping the small linked chain around his paw, he started to float again.  “Heather, something pulling metal!” It was as he said that, Pudgy went flying into a wooded grove off the trail.  The unseen force holding Heather in place let go.  Turning quickly, the concerned woman chased after the flying hedgehog.  “PUDGY! Where are you?”

Struggling to get through the thick underbrush the woman kept searching for him. Heather frantically searched, trying to find the hedgehog.  As the time quickly passed, the light was barely a twilight.  Thankfully, she had brought a flashlight, and started to look for it.  As she looked up, a woman wearing a red Victorian dress with a small black hat was standing motionless, looking into a clearing.  Heather blinked, “is that you … Elizabeth?”  The ghostly woman turned her head and smiled at her.  Heather turned, seeing rows of triangle shaped tents.  Several confederate and Georgia flags stood tattered on flag poles.  A dozen ghostly soldiers stood, looking at the floating hedgehog.  A tall solider wearing a gray long coat, with a black sword belt and sabre was standing transfixed on the glowing medal. “Pudgy will give medal, please put down, can untangle it.”  The lieutenant barked, “you will give it now yankee spy!”  Elizabeth strode forward, “Samuel?” The man looked up, and tears started to well in his eyes, “Elizabeth? Is that you?”  Heather watched as the ghosts approached each other, they embraced. 

Pudgy dropped onto the ground with a thud, “owww… Elizabeth, did find Samuel?”  Elizabeth still hugging her husband, looked at Pudgy with tears in her eyes, “Yes, we did!” The other soldiers wandered aimlessly about.   Heather trying to get a better vantage point, tripped and fell into the open.  A solider who was missing a leg floated over, looking at her, “Lieutenant, got a live one here.”  Samuel nodded, “leave her be for now,” as he turned to his wife. “I wanted to return, but my orders said to return here and wait for General Wheeler.”  Elizabeth hit his cheek with the back of her hand gently, “all these years! We have been separated due to that stupid war!” Samuel became visibly angry, “it is a righteous war!  We have to repel the yankee onslaught, who threaten our very way of life.” Elizabeth stomped her foot, “the south lost the war!  We were losing when you came back.  You said you were done, then you re-enlisted!” Samuel sighed, “I wanted to stay, but…” The hedgehog scampered along the ground and sat looking up at the two arguing ghosts. Elizabeth pointed at Pudgy, “if it were not for Pudgy, I would still be in some darned hole in the ground. He’s more of a man than you are!”

Samuel turned and kicked the hedgehog, throwing him across the camp and into a tree. Heather rushed over to Pudgy looking at him.  “Are you ok Pudgy?”  The living woman asked, as the hedgehog recovered. Pudgy raised his paw, “Lieutenant Samuel, Pudgy have some papers, maybe they are of use?”  Heather shot him then Samuel a look, “he just attacked you, I say we burn those papers, to heck with him.”  Samuel blinked, stroking his bearded chin, with a white gloved hand. “Come here spy.” The critter patted Heather’s hand and scampered back over to the two ghosts.  He opened his pack, and took out the papers, key, and medal.  The solider reviewed the materials. “Hmm, my word, you have all of my war time correspondence, the key to the Blacksburg command, and my medal of St. Matthew. You are missing only one thing, my sword hilt.”  Elizabeth calming down touched Samuel’s shoulder. “We’re together now let’s go home. Leave this war behind us.” Samuel shook his head, ” we have our orders from General Wheeler. We are to remain here until his return with reinforcements.”

Pudgy blinked “Lieutenant, if Pudgy found general Wheeler, and ask him to release your camp, could you go home?”  The lieutenant nodded, “yes, we … I could.  I so want to go home, with my beautiful wife. But I have my orders.”  Elizabeth’s voice boomed, “ORDERS BE DARNED, we are leaving now!”  It was as she said that, when a black mist started to form on the ground.  Red eyes started to appear in the darkness. The soldiers drew their weapons and started to hastily defend the camp. “Lieutenant, they’re back!”  Samuel turned, and threw his arm in front of Elizabeth, trying to guard her.  Heather’s flashlight went out, and the moonlight drained away.  The air was thick, hard to breathe, with a heavy smell of ozone. All sounds disappeared, and the pairs of red eyes started to multiply.  She tried to speak, but the breath was pulled out of her lungs forcibly, causing her to pass out. 

Pudgy gathered the items and put them back in his pack.  He couldn’t see Heather but stood beside Elizabeth.  Then a dark voice boomed, the sound of which caused the ghosts to be thrust to the ground. “YOU ARE MINE FOREVER!”  Elizabeth started screaming, as black shadowy tendrils wrapped around her waist, and pulled her out into the black abyss. Pudgy chased after her, “NO YOU GIVE HER BACK!”  Samuel watched as the hedgehog charged forth without hesitation, into the black mist, watching the red eyes chase after him.  Samuel and the other ghosts in the camp looked around, watching the moonlight return slowly.  As the cool wind began to blow once more, Heather recovered, and sat up.  The flashlight was working again.  Her arms felt wet, and as she shone the light on her arms, three deep scratches were on each of her forearms. 

She had seen enough ghost shows for recognize what those were: demons.  Elizabeth had unknowingly revealed what was holding the soldiers in the camp. “Pudgy, where are you?”  The woman called out, trying to locate him. Standing up, the living woman walked over to Samuel. “Where is Pudgy and Elizabeth?”  The ghosts were starting to fade, but all pointed towards the same general direction. Samuel looked visibly upset, “it took her, and the small one charged after without a second thought.  I’m her husband, yet I could not act.  Why could I not? The war was so long ago…” Samuel faded away, and the rest of the camp with it. Heather screamed, “PUDGY?” But there was no response.  Her flashlight cast a far beam of light, and as she scanned the area, the red eyes followed the light.  They then turned, looking at her.  “Oh crap…” she muttered, realizing she was in danger. As she maneuvered through the brush, she got back to the path. 

Breathing hard, she was running as fast as her legs could take her.  As she turned her head, the red eyes were on each side of her.  Deep guttural growls surrounded her, as she was being chased off the mountain.  What took half a day to ascend, Heather did in an hour coming back.  She collapsed on the ground by the visitor center, and when she looked back, the red eyes were gone.  Wheezing hard, her lungs burned, as well as her legs. After a time passed and she could sort of move once more, weakly she got up, and limped to her car.  The excitement of the day had been replaced with fear.  She needed to get home, patch herself up, as and get in touch with Lord Doomcock. Both her phone, and flashlight were out of power.  The ghosts had drained all the electricity.  Heather got into her car and started it. “Pudgy…” she whimpered, as she backed up, and started to drive home. 

As Heather drove, she thought about the day’s activities.  Lost in thought, the car arrived back at her house in what did not seem that long.  Cursing loudly, she hit her steering wheel with a clenched hand. “I hope you’re ok, why did you run off alone?” Getting out of the car, the upset woman locked it with her key fob, and the vehicle’s born beeped. Heading up the stairs, Heather unlocked the door, and went inside.  As her front door closed, a ghostly man appeared in front of her house, holding a pitchfork.  He looked concerned, looking towards the mountain. 

Pudgy woke up after an unknown amount of time had passed, and it was still dark.  The hedgehog had chased Elizabeth and her unknown captor all night.  Nearby to where the camp was, he found a cave.  It was not a human sized cave, but it was deep.  As the critter crawled, he could feel his pack vibrate. The broken watch like the key and medal was acting like a compass.  Thankfully Pudgy had packed supplies for an underground exploration.  The yellow glowing light sticks packed were a godsend.  The cavern was starting to widen, and the hedgehog peeked his head out.  The chamber was large, with smooth stone walls. Wooden crates were stacked, with cannons in various states of assembly.  Elizabeth was struggling, her hands and feet tied with rope.  The ghostly woman was hanging from the ceiling.  “Darn you, let me go!”  The dark shadow was in front of her, blood red eyes burning with hatred. “No, I will never let you, nor your husband go. You and all who dwell on this battlefield belong to me.” 

The hedgehog had not been noticed yet.  Carefully he slid out, and as quietly as he could, climbed down the side of the cave.  The glow stick faded and dimmed as he descended easing his body onto the dirt floor.   He tip pawed through the stacks of crates, peeking around at Elizabeth and her captor. For reasons he did not understand, the woman was now lying on the floor beside a big stack of cannon barrels.  Elizabeth saw the hedgehog peeking at her, and weakly smiled.  Pudgy scooted around the boxes and looked up at the shadowy figure.  Underneath the black swirling shroud, he was dressed in a military uniform.  In similarity to the Lieutenant outfit, there were two columns of round buttons on the jacket.  Although what differed was the golden embossing on his sleeves.  Where his feet should be, was swirling black mist. 

The hedgehog ducked back behind the crate.  Checking his pack, he pulled out a tiny shovel.  It was the only thing he had that could be of some use to attack or defend.  Clutching his tool, he started to scurry towards Elizabeth.  Elizabeth wiggled, trying to break free.  The dark figure saw the would-be savior approaching and stepped in front of her.  Pudgy’s paws started to burn when he touched the black miasma. “You let Elizabeth go!” Pudgy shouted, and the demonic figure laughed insidiously.  “Begone…pest” The hedgehog was flung across the room, crashing through a box.  “Pudgy,” the ghostly woman cried out.  The captor laughed and started to throw his fist at her head.  The hedgehog poked his head out of the box, eyes narrowed.  “Don’t you hurt Elizabeth!” The hedgehog pulled a cord, and the crate started to fall apart.  The figure’s red eyes locked onto him, recognizing the 6 barrels in a circular design.  The hedgehog had figured out how to load a gatling gun.  It was an untested, union weapon captured by the confederate forces. 

Pudgy started running on the round wheel, and the weapon began to fire rounds at the figure. The rounds shredder the black miasma into tendrils.  The dark captor roared in pain and started to approach.  “You have made a powerful enemy, union spy!”   The weapon exploded, as the black figure tore apart the platform, threw Pudgy against another crate.  As the critter rolled on the ground, he bolted towards Elizabeth once more.  It was as Pudgy approached, now that the figure had moved, he saw a hole in the wall.  There was a door, but rocks had fallen in front, blocking it.  Pudgy ran past the ghostly woman and shot through the hole in the door.  The black shrouded figure roared and flew towards the door. “Get out of there!”  Elizabeth rolled, so she blocked the path, trying to stand. The figure’s blood red eyes burned, and with a dismissive hand, flung her against a wall in the cave.  It started to beat its fists against the door.

Pudgy heard the door banging behind him and got out a glow stick.  Snapping it, he shook the clear tube causing a bright blue light to appear.   His dim light was enough to see he was in a small record’s room.  A oak bureau was set up with papers all over it.  Another side had a wood chair that had rotted and split apart.  But the strong box was what caught Pudgy’s eyes.  As he scampered closer, he saw the heavy black box, with rusted iron reinforcements.  This box must be important, the hedgehog thought to himself.  When he touched it with his paw, an indescribable noise of anger mixed with fear echoed throughout the caverns.  Shining his glow stick, he saw the keyhole on the biggest part of the latches. “Pudgy wonder if key works?” He opened his pack and took out the key from Blacksburg. Placing it into the lock, he turned it. 

The box’s lock popped, as the latches started to crack open one by one around the box’s edges.  Pudgy started to struggle, to open the box. As the box’s lid started to separate, the black figure’s wailing grew more desperate. A white mist started to hiss out of the iron strong box. The hedgehog watched in amazement as the box opened, and revealed a crucifix made of pure silver.  It was packed with various clay pots of oils, and a silver box on a chain that smelled of incense.  The crucifix was missing something, a round spot on the back had an indentation.  Bouncing, the critter opened his pack, and took out the medal.  Placing the circle into the indentation, the crucifix snapped, and a dull tone could be heard.  Just as he had done this, the metal door was ripped open by the black shrouded figure. 

The dark captor approached, extending a clawed hand towards him.  Pudgy turned and pointed the cross to the figure.  Roaring in pain, the shroud was burned away.  An unearthly light started to emit from the holy relic.  The hedgehog started to move forward, pushing back the figure.  As Pudgy slung his pack back on, he moved out of the small room, into the chamber of munitions. Pudgy opened his mouth, but another voice came out. “cast te ad infernum!” The black shrouds exploded, and the miasma disappeared. Elizabeth stood there, eyes fixated on Pudgy and the crucifix.  “Pudgy, you saved me!” She exclaimed, smiling at him.  She turned to see the captor, who had returned to normal.  The ghostly man was shaken and looked at Pudgy. “I have been trapped so long.  So very long, I have held that hatred.  And a union spy is to thank for my release.” Pudgy looked up at him, the demonic shroud was gone.

“Who you, mister ghost?”  The man looked at him, then Elizabeth. “I am Lieutenant General Ezekiel Cartwright.  Assigned command of this battle by General Wheeler of Atlanta, and you are?”  Pudgy smiled, “Pudgy Hedgehog. This is Elizabeth.”  The ghostly woman smiled, and motioned, “can we go outside?”  Pudgy nodded, “let’s go.”  So Pudgy started to walk forward, leaving little glowing silver paw prints as he walked. The two ghosts walked behind him, and in a short matter of time, they exited the cave.  It was night once more, and a clear sky was full of stars.  The moon was crossing the sky, silently shining its light upon the mountain and surrounding lands.  The Lieutenant General rubbed his beard chin with a white gloved hand. “It is so good to be out of that cave. Pudgy, how can I thank you?”  The hedgehog turned, “there is a camp nearby.  Soldiers stationed there for almost 150 years.  Can you release them? Elizabeth wants to go home with her husband Samuel.”  The man smiled, “lead the way.” 

As Pudgy walked, still holding the crucifix tightly in his paws, he felt his body becoming light.  He was moving much faster, almost gliding along the ground.  In no time at all, he had reached the camp.  As the Lieutenant General arrived, the ghosts stood at attention. Samuel saluted and exclaimed, “Lieutenant General Cartwright! We thought you to be lost!”  The superior office nodded, “I was, till our little friend from the north arrived.  Lieutenant, I understand you have held this position a long time.  A job well done, however our part in this war is over.  I release you, and your men.  You may go home.”  Samuel saluted, then walked to Elizabeth and embraced her.  Pudgy smiled, noticing the crucifix glowing once more.  The skies above started to glow with an ethereal blue light. 

The soldiers in the camp began to float upwards, losing their corporeal forms turning into orbs of light.  As their spirits floated towards the calm light, Pudgy saw winged figures flapping their wings.  The entire mountain was bathed in the light, as the Glory of God the almighty shone upon the earth.  Both union and confederate soldiers were being released from their torment.  Soon, only Samuel and Elizabeth were left.  While they looked happy, Elizabeth sniffed as she started to cry.  “This is goodbye Pudgy.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  You reunited me with Samuel and released us. Thank you.”  Samuel saluted, then nodded as he shouted, “Thank you.”  Soon they too floated upwards, losing their forms, and floating into the light above. Pudgy’s pack opened by itself, and the remnants if the watch floated up, disintegrating into a shower of white sparkles.  The crucifix in turn floated out of Pudgy’s hand and shot quickly into the sky. The hedgehog watched as the cross shot up and was caught by an angel.  She waved back, and soon the vision of heaven disappeared, leaving just the night sky. 

Pudgy sat on the ground, looking up, wondering what would happen next for his friend Elizabeth?    Nodding to himself, the hedgehog checked his pack. There was only one cookie left, so he got it out and started to nibble.  Once recovered and the cookie was finished, he put his pack back on.  Scampering through the thick brush, on his way back to the trail. In a short time, he found it, and followed the path to get down off the mountain.  Though at hedgehog speed, this was going to take a long time. The critter noticed; the whole area felt much lighter.  A great sadness had left, and it was the fact so many souls had returned home that affected the area so positively.  Pudgy was glad he could help, and hoped his friends were ok.  Pudgy knew they would be worried, so he had to get back to the visitor center. Maybe the nice tour lady was there, and she could call Cobalt?  As the hours passed, Pudgy scampering slowed since he was growing tired. Deciding it to be best to take a nap, he found a large bush beside the path, which he scooted under.  Trying to get comfortable, he took off his pack and used it to prop his head up, with sleep coming soon thereafter.   

Pudgy woke up, just as the sun rose over the horizon.  Shaking the dew off, he put his backpack on, and started to scamper once more down the trail.  Georgia was a lot warmer than Pennsylvania, so sleeping outside was tolerable this time of year.  Though Pudgy missed his nice warm home, good food, and his friend Cobalt. Hours of hedgehog travel passed, with the sun warmed the area nicely as it rose in the sky.  There was an errant puffy white cloud that floated by, but the skies were brilliant blue.  Pudgy stopped to rest by a tree, watching hikers walk by.  Pudgy waved and looked in his pack.  No food, but he did have water.  During his rest break, Pudgy sipped from his little canteen.  The critter saw Heather walking up the trail.  Happily, he bounced, noticing she was still a far distance away.  The hedgehog packed up his things, and then scampered towards her along the trail.  He was very glad to see her approaching.

A short time passed, and Pudgy waved at Heather when she was close. “Hi Heather!”  The woman waved back, and knelt to pick up the hedgehog, hugging him tight.  “I was so worried about you!  Are you all right?”  Pudgy looked up at her and nodded. “Pudgy ok, all ghosts went to heaven.”  Heather’s green eyes looked at him in an inquisitive way, and she stood up.  Turning, she placed him on her shoulder, “tell me everything!” So Pudgy started to explain what happened while she walked.  The story was incredible, to say the least.  The two talked as she walked down the trail, quickly reaching the visitor center as the story finished.  Heather started to pass by the entrance to the museum, the gray-haired woman waved.  Pudgy and Heather both waved and smiled at the tour guide.   Soon the woman has reached her car, and Heather hugged the hedgehog once more, while getting inside the vehicle.

The critter bounced across the center console, and into the passenger seat. As the woman got into the car, she tossed her bag into the footwell in front of Pudgy and shut the door. “It stinks I missed the action, but my part was scary enough as is.” Heather explained about being chased off the mountain the night they had found the camp.  She spoke of other creepy stuff that happened since then, while starting the car to drive back to her home.  Pudgy listened and bounced happily in the passenger seat. The woman patted his head gently, as she began to realize that now the ghosts were gone, Pudgy would leave her again soon.  Frowning for a moment, Heather realized that her little friend didn’t have to go home that soon.  A couple Darlings were sort of close to her, she could host a Pudgy party at her house. But work schedules were always a bear to coordinate, which drew an audible giggle from her as she realized it might not be able to be done.  Pudgy continued to bounce happily, and with a smile from Heather, she looked over at the hedgehog.  “I don’t feel like cooking, so we’re going to a burger place drive through.”  She pulled her car to a local restaurant.  She put her window down, “I’ll get a number 12, and I need a silly meal. 2 cokes.” 

Pudgy watched as a big building passed by the car.  A window appeared with a smiling lady with a clown faced hat on.  Heather handed money to the cashier, and then started putting bags in front of Pudgy.  Two cups with happy clowns came next, placed in the cup holders.  Heather pulled out of the drive thru and back out onto the highway, heading to her home.  Pudgy was beside the bag, sniffing all sorts of yummy smells coming from the clown bags. Heather laughed, “don’t worry.  We’re almost home so then we can eat.”  The hedgehog nodded, and looked out the window, watching the trees pass by.  Time passed quickly, and soon Pudgy saw Heather’s house appear.  The car pulled up to the house, and Heather turned off the car’s engine.  Pudgy waved out of his window. “Hello, yes Pudgy back from mountain.”  Heather turned, “Pudgy, who are you talking to?”  The hedgehog pointed, “mister Jacob, he’s a farmer ghost.”

Heather pondered that the hedgehog had spent so much time with ghosts, and supernatural things, it would seem to be he now had the ability to see ghosts.  Pudgy waved, “ghost had to go, he checks the houses, before heading to the barn.” Heather nodded and started to get out of the car. Gathering things, bags, and hedgehog; she shut the door and headed up the stairs to her front door. Unlocking the door, she entered her home, putting the bags on her coffee table.  Pudgy fell off of her shoulder and landed onto the couch bouncing. The woman laughed, and while sitting down beside the critter on her couch.  Opening the food bags, she put a napkin down in front of Pudgy, and handed him a box of chicken nuggets.  She saw him grab one and start nibbling.  “Oh, I think Doomcock is on tonight.” She said, turning the television on.

The two munched on yummy fast food goodies, while watching television.  Pudgy was also sipping coca cola through a thin straw.  Heather was soon to learn why Cobalt never gave the hedgehog sugar filled caffeinated drinks.  She watched as he started to bounce and smiled at him. Heather woke up the next day, finding Pudgy snuggled up beside her ankle on the couch.  Days of worry caught up with her, as well exhaustion from chasing the hedgehog all over her house.  It turns out coke plus hedgehog was a dangerous combination.  “Pudgy, are you awake?”  The hedgehog nodded, though he kept his eyes closed. “Pudgy awake, but keep eyes shut, can’t get in trouble.” Heather blinked, confused at first till she looked down and giggled noticing what he meant. As she swung her legs over Pudgy, she set her feet upon the floor.

Sitting up, Heather scooped up the hedgehog in her hands, and hugged him close. Pudgy looked up at her face and looked into her green eyes happily.  “Pudgy very glad to meet you, and you help Pudgy so much with adventure.”  Heather smiled, “I am glad you came too, so i could meet you as well. But it sounds like you’re going to say goodbye?”  The woman said, starting to frown.  Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy need to go home, Cobalt will worry if I don’t come back soon.”  Heather nodded, and hugged him again, “nope, you can’t go.”  The hedgehog hugged back but was quiet. Then a muffled sound of Lord Doomcock started to come from Pudgy’s chest as he pulled back.  “Greetings Pudgy and Heather!” Pudgy bounced and the two cheered in unison, “Hail Lord Doomcock!”  The two excitedly started to tell the future ruler of the world everything that had happened. The lord listened, and asked questions as appropriate.  It was as the story ended; the room was silent for a moment. 

“My word, what an adventure Pudgy… your activities have been a source of research.  I do not believe these to be my ancestors.  The watch was purchased by my Grandfather at an auction on the surface.  I am glad you were able to set those poor ghosts’ souls to rest.”  Pudgy nodded, “yes, Pudgy glad to help.”  Heather smiled, “I’m glad Pudgy came too.  I got to go on a Pudgy adventure.”  Lord Doomcock laughed heartily, “yes, I am glad too.  However, I need my faithful hedgehog legionnaire to go home and rest.”  Pudgy, “Lord Doomcock, can you send Pudgy home?”  Heather hugged him again gently and kissed his forehead.  Setting him down on the coffee table, the hedgehog waved.  “Bye, bye Heather, thank you!” Heather waved and watched as Pudgy faded and went poof in a white light that was enveloped around him. Soon, the woman was left alone in her home.  Pudgy was gone, and her home felt empty.  Still, she was glad he came.  She had a fun, scary, and exciting time with him.

Pudgy blinked, and soon he was standing in front of his underground home.  The ground was soggy, and the skies were dark gray clouds, with errant raindrops falling. It was warm and humid and had just rained hard prior to his arrival. The hedgehog scampered over to his front door, and unlocked it, opening the door. Scurrying inside his home just as a huge thunderclap rumbled in the skies above his home.  Peeking his head out for a moment, he scooted inside as the rain started.  The hedgehog was home and started to turn his lights on.  While putting his pack beside the door, the hedgehog shut it since the rain was blowing in.  The home soon came to life, while the critter put his things away.  Turning on the cell phone that Cobalt gave him, Pudgy called his friend.  Cobalt immediately answered, with the two friends talking a long time of Pudgy’s adventurers in Virginia and Georgia. 

Bad rainstorms were forecast today, so Cobalt would come over tomorrow.  The man was glad his friend was home, and Pudgy said goodbye for now.  With the call ended, Pudgy checked his big guest room.  It was dark and quiet.  Pudgy was hoping to see Elizabeth but knew that was not going to be the case anymore. Shutting the interior door, the hedgehog moved back over to his bedroom.  Jumping into his soft bed, Pudgy curled up.  His travels had caught up with him, the exhaustion overwhelming.  He was safe, and secure in his warm home.  The hedgehog fell fast asleep as the rain fell outside, knowing his latest adventure was now over.

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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