War Shadow: Chapter 2: Enfield

As the man stood beside his hedgehog’s friend’s home, he watched the ghost floating silently beside the water wheel.  There were many stories of people disturbing the belongings of the deceased, to result in hauntings.  The solider was dressed in a green uniform, with marking consistent with USMC insignia of that time.  The familiar doughboy style metal helmet adorned the soldier’s head.  His eyes were hidden, and only the scruffy beard covered chin could be seen.  

Pudgy peeked out of his home, and then scampered over the door jamb.  He ran through Cobalt’s feet, and towards the water wheel waving.  “Hello Mister Ghost!”  However, with each approaching step, the ghost started to fade away.  By the time Pudgy made it to the water wheel, the solider had vanished.  The critter looked around, and then scampered back up to his home, while looking at his friend.  “Cobalt, where did he go?”

The man nodded, “Looks like he doesn’t want us to approach yet.  Pudgy, we should have left that footlocker alone.  But now that it has been disturbed, we will need to set things right.”  The hedgehog nodded and watched as Cobalt sat down outside of the big door on the ground.  Looking at the trunk lid, he started to take pictures with his cell phone.  “My grandfather served in the army, so the family had his footlocker.  It was from world war 2 and was in better shape due to it being in a closet.  The trunks, had cloth lined interiors, but it is rare to have a picture like this.” 

Pudgy crawled up into his friend’s lap and peeked into the lid.  Pointing with his paw, “What is there, Cobalt?”    His friend patted the critter’s head, “I don’t know Pudgy.  I am not finding it anywhere on my usual app sources of information.  This place may have existed but has since long gone away.  Remember how that strip mall made the miniature gold place go away?”  The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy miss windmill, loved to help ball get through tunnel.” 

Cobalt started to laugh, and then after taking notes on his phone of several things.  Helped Pudgy back onto the ground, before standing up and heading inside of the big room in the underground home.  He took inventory of the objects from the trunk, and then stepped back outside.  “Pudgy, I will head back to my place now.  I have to do some research and will return when I have more information.”  The hedgehog nodded and waved as the man turned to walk back through the forest. 

The man shook his head and grumbled a bit under his breath, “it’s not even two weeks…” While the adventures were exciting, the increasing frequency was becoming a drain on him.  His hedgehog friend did not know the amount of extra work he had to do with his employer.  Overtime, extra time, make up time, and comp time: it had all caught up.  So, delay tactics were in order this go around, but he had to be careful.  His friend sometimes would wander off without thinking, so Cobalt knew he had to be tactful. 

Through the forest the man walked past the thorn bush, across the road, up the little hill, to reach the back door of his home.  As he turned back to investigate the forest, the trees had grown in so thick, he could no longer see the underground home.  After unlocking the door, he entered the basement.  The cool air of the basement was refreshing, after the overheated air from the outside.   Taking his shoes off, he walked through the basement, and headed upstairs. 

After a quick stop in the kitchen for a coffee, he headed to his upstairs office, and logged into the computer.  Opening a new word document, he started to transfer the notes from his phone to the computer.  He also transferred the pictures and arranged everything into the Pudgy folder.  Firing up Twitter, he messaged Stone Loki.  “Hi Loki, it’s Cobalt.  Hey, you said you were from Branson.  I have a question to ask, please?”  After sending the message, he continued to research. 

The internet was a wonderful invention, and all manner of information was available.  For safety purposes, all the materials recovered were at Pudgy’s house.  The appearance of the ghost was a clear sign of disturbance.  There were many resources for both historical look up, as well as contacts for the various military branches.  The service papers indicated that Gunnery Sergeant Miller was with the United States Marine Corp.   It would be good to start there, and after locating the correct website, he started to read. 

Locating a contact, us for more information section, he used the online form to fill out a request.  He advised that he had found a footlocker with World War 1 documentation, as well as personal belongings.  After submitting, an email confirmation was sent, with a recruiter’s contact information.  “Oh boy, here we go.” The man muttered.  When he was in college, he checked with a military branch for information, and the recruiter calls started morning noon and night.  At the time, he was physically unable to serve, so after many conversations the calls ended. 

The familiar bird sound went off on his computer and noticed a message had been received.  “Hi Cobalt, what’s up?”  There was an invitation for a voice call.  After clicking the link, Loki’s familiar icon appeared on the screen. Cobalt spoke, “Hi Loki.  Hey, Pudgy may have started another adventure, and I need some help.  He found a footlocker, with USMC documentation.  The paperwork seems to point to a base somewhere outside of Branson, Missouri.”  Loki’s icon blinked, and the man spoke. “Oh yes, Fort Enfield.  Though it was decommissioned I think back in the 60’s.  That is about an hour from my house, so it is not too far away.” 

His computer made a ding sound, an email came in, from the USMC recruiter.  Loki laughed, “is that your cell or computer?”  Cobalt laughed, “computer, I messaged the Marines for information on the service papers.  Pudgy stirred up the ghost they belong to, so I need to know how to ensure proper handling.  The recruiter says …. Thank you for your message, please call me to discuss your possible future with the Marines.”  Loki chuckled again, “you can’t enlist, who will help Pudgy?”  The man nodded at his computer, “Yeah really.  Well I am 10 pounds over the weight limit, more than 20 years past the age max, wear glasses, and have a hedgehog friend.”  The two men laughed hard and ended their call.   Dialing using his computer, he called the recruit, but received a voice mail greeting.  Leaving his contact information, Cobalt ended the call. 

Over the course of the next couple days, in between actual work at his job, the man continued to research.  Multiple calls with the recruiter yielded results, as well as several Veterans of Foreign War calls to the various posts scattered around the area.  The main problem he kept running into was that most of the WW1 veterans had passed away.  The resources dedicated for their care had been reassigned to the surviving WW2 veterans.  He had gathered so much information, the Pudgy folder was overflowing with word and text documents.     

The man continued to receive text messages from his hedgehog friend.  One of the best things he provided was that cell phone, tied into his data plan.  It allowed more frequent communication, without trips to the forest which made him late to work.  Thankfully, his company allowed him to work from home, which helped a ton.  Getting out his binder, he started to print and organize the documentation.  When Friday work ended, and the required overtime completed, he locked his computer and grabbed the binder. 

In a short time, he had exited his home, and was walking down the little hill that led to the road.  A severe drought had hit Pennsylvania with unending days of 95 plus degree days.  The formerly green leafy plants had all begin to curl and resemble that of autumn leaves.  Past the thorn bush he walked and frowned when he saw the creek was dry.  The ghost solider was standing at the water wheel, pointing to the west.  “Hello Gunnery Sergeant Miller.” The man said as he walked past and watched as the ghost disappeared when he approached. 

Looking back, with each step away from the water wheel, the ghost returned into focus.  He reached the underground home and smiled as the windows were all open.  Pudgy was peeking out of the window, waving. “Hello Pudgy, please open the sitting room.  I have information to share.”  The hedgehog disappeared, and soon the big doors began to slowly open.  As the man looked inside, he noticed the various objects were moved off to the side, so he could step inside.  Smiling, he did just that, and then sat down onto the banquette seat in the back of the room. 

“Ok Pudgy, here is what I have found,” the man said as Pudgy was climbing up the banquette and scampered over to sit beside his friend.  Cobalt explained that Ezekiel Miller was a WW1 solider, stationed out of Fort Enfield, in Branson Missouri.  He had been deployed to France, where he was a tank operator.  The French tanks were made by a company called Renault, who made automobiles.  The French tanks were the first and were a cramped affair where two men were smashed into a tiny compartment.  One stood to work the machine gun and cannon, while the other sat to drive.  The vehicles were essentially armored cars, with tank tracks strung tight on the wheel rims.  Over time, the designs grew better, though the first models were notable for their effects on the battle.

Fort Enfield was to the west of Branson, and close to Stone Loki’s home.  Loki over several chats, had offered to help Pudgy, and invited him out to his home.  Pudgy expression froze, and he looked forward timidly.  As Cobalt turned, Argente was standing in the doorway.  Her ears were up, and fur standing on edge.  “It has only been three weeks!  And you are running off on another adventure!”  The fox was clearly upset.  The man nodded, “I agree with Argente, I would prefer that you stay home too Pudgy.”  Pudgy looked at his two friends, “But we have to help Gunnery…” Argente cut him off, “NO!”  Cobalt helped Pudgy off the banquette and watched as the hedgehog scampered up to his fox friend. 

Pudgy looked up at the fox’s upset face and her brown eyes were burning bright.  She whimpered, “I don’t want to see you get hurt, or otherwise.”  Pudgy hugged her leg, “Pudgy won’t get hurt.  Pudgy promise only to go and come back.  Pudgy would miss you, and Cobalt, and everyone else if Pudgy went away.”  The fox hugged back, “please be careful.”  She realized that despite what she would say her hedgehog friend was going to go.  Looking up at Cobalt, the man smiled back, and nodded while speaking. “Argente cares for you, as do I, Pudgy.  But you disturbed the footlocker, and the solider.  We need to set things right, to put his spirit to ease.  The part I can not figure out is, why was the footlocker buried out here anyway?”

Pudgy waved at Cobalt, and then scampered over to the various items.  There was a leather-bound booklet, tied shut with a leather string.  As the man bent over, and picked up the book, he sat back into the banquette.   Cursing under his breath, he was able to untie the knot and open the book.  Cobalt had taken French in high school, so he could somewhat read it.  Argente and Pudgy came back inside and sat on the concrete floor looking up at him. “Pudgy, this appears to be a bible … no …. wait…. this has tank diagrams….”  As his friend started to translate, the hedgehog scampered inside to make some tea. 

The fox stayed with Cobalt, looking sad, and laid on the cool stone floor.  When Pudgy returned with the cup of tea for the fox, she smiled a bit and started to drink.   Pudgy made cobalt a cup of tea, though that required him to drag the cup through his home.   By the time he made it back to the large foot of his friend, Pudgy was tired.   Cobalt smiled, “thank you Pudgy.  Ok, this makes sense now.  I think they disguised the tank operator manual in this bible.  If I am translating this correctly, the Gunnery Sergeant hid something on the base.  It’s a box of some sort, underneath the munitions battery.”

Argente turned and saw the ghost solider standing in the doorway.  Pudgy froze, and Cobalt looked up. “is this what you want us to do?  Should we find the box?”  The solider nodded and pointed at the crucifix on the tattered flag.”  Pudgy scampered over to the flag, he looked up at the ghost.  Beneath the helmet, there was nothing, and the chin was starting to disappear.  “should Pudgy take these too?”  The solider nodded, and then looked up at Cobalt.  The man nodded, “We will find the box, but when then?”  The ghost turned and then started to disappear once more.  Argente blinked, “well, that was helpful.  Find the box, then Pudgy must go somewhere else?  That will make the adventure longer! I change my mind; you are not allowed to go!”

The trio of friends laughed slightly but watched as the tattered flag started to disintegrate.  Argente blinked and watched the fabrics swirl around Pudgy.  In his paws a tiny flag started to weave itself together, and as all watched in amazement, a 48-star flag appeared.  Pudgy looked up at Argente, “Pudgy have to go now.”  Cobalt nodded, “Ok, start packing up Pudgy.”  The hedgehog nodded and scampered inside his home’s interior.  Cobalt took the cup of tea and sipped.  Sighing, “you can see my dilemma Argente.  I want to keep him safe; he is my best friend.  But this keeps happening, and I can’t seem to stop it.” The man trailed off, while Argente the fox nodded, sipping her tea with sad eyes. 

Pudgy was scurrying through his home, getting his pack ready.  The hedgehog was excitedly, packing various supplies.  After he clipped his tools to the exterior, of the pack, he put on his mining helmet, and then scampered out to the big room.  Cobalt had knelt and motioned to take his pack off.  As Pudgy did so, the man handed him money that had been rolled and folded carefully. “Pudgy, that’s $50 dollars.  It should be enough, I think.  Please come back to us, both Argente and I will be incredibly sad if you do not return.  Also pack up the dog tags and crucifix.”  The critter nodded and then packing up the tags, crucifix, and the money, he tied his pack shut.  Cobalt stepped through the threshold and exited the big room.  

Pudgy moved over to the door close cranking wheel and started to turn.  The gears creaked, as the chain moved to pull the bifold round doors shut.  Once he had shut the door, he threw the locking bar in, and sealed the room.  The room was quiet once more, and as he put on his pack and mining helmet, he shut the interior door sealing the big room.  Checking his home, and the firebox, the home was secure once more.   Pudgy scampered outside and secured the door behind him.  His home was safe and saw both his friends standing by the big door.  Argente padded over and hugged him tightly. “Please be safe.”  The man walked over and knelt.  Then scooped up both Argente and Pudgy, hugging both gently.  Argente was unsure about this but hugged back.  But she felt safe and joined Pudgy in burying her face against the man’s chest.    

After several moments of quiet embrace, the man set both back onto the ground.  “Safe travels Pudgy, please come back after Branson.  Even if this points somewhere else, we need to regroup.  I let Loki know you would be coming out soon.  He said he lives at…” The man trailed off while showing Pudgy on his phone app where he lived.  It was a nondescript brown brick ranch house, with a couple of trees in the front.  Cobalt had written the address on a tiny slip of paper and handed it to Pudgy.  The hedgehog put it in his outer pocket and nodded.   Pudgy placed his paws on the sapphire gemstone he wore in his vest, “Mister stone, Pudgy needs to go to Branson Missouri, please.”

The stone did not respond, which drew a smirk from Argente, “See, even the stone does not want you to leave?”  The hedgehog looked down at the stone, “what’s wrong Mister Stone?”  The stone started to flash, and then started to glow.  Withdrawing it from his pocket, the hedgehog investigated the stone.  The strange blue discoloration tinted the world.  As the hedgehog turned to the west, he could see the city far away.  In a flash of white light, soon Pudgy had vanished.    Argente jumped at the flash and looked around sniffing the air.  He ears folded down, and Cobalt turned to her.  “It looks like he has to look into the stone to activate it.”  The fox nodded, and padded up the hill to her house, while Cobalt headed back to his. 

The familiar disorientation had hit Pudgy, flying through what should be the air.  He watched as Pittsburgh passed below him, then the familiar landscape of Ohio.  Cobalt had said, if drove, it would take 14 hours to reach Loki.  Plane trips were longer, because of the security, and check in procedures.  As the hedgehog settled into his long flight, he pondered the event s that led to this latest trip.  Argente was right, if he had left the footlocker alone, this trip was not necessary.  But something stirred in his mind, why was it buried in his forest anyway?” The hedgehog held onto the stone tightly with his paws and felt something behind him.  He could not turn around, or the teleportation flight would stop. 

On the peripheral of his vision, he could see black smoke flying beside him on each side.  Something was travelling with him, “Who is there?” Pudgy whispered, and a familiar ominous voice whispered in his ears. “Do not think I forgot about you.”  The hedgehog immediately was scared, it was the demon from Warwick castle. Swallowing hard, “Pudgy want to help solider, leave Pudgy alone.”  The deep guttural voice laughed insidiously.  “We will see you soon, Pudgy Hedgehog.”  The voice trailed off, and the shadows disappeared.  The words filled his mind, and the evil tones his ears.  The hedgehog realized that there was something else going on.  Thoughts of Hecate’s Daughter trailed in his mind, with her warnings that doors had been opened.  What doors, where were the doors, and how could he close them?  Questions filled him, and he dwelled on them, not realizing the Mississippi river had passed below him. 

The sounds of birds chirping snapped Pudgy back into focus.  As he looked around, he was in a green grassy field.  He put the stone back into his vest pocket and tapped it gently with his paw.  “Good job Mister stone, now you take a break.”  While using the boat was fun, it was a lot of work.  Pudgy was glad to have a teleportation method once again.  As the hedgehog looked around, he started to get his bearings.   Scampering through the tall grass, he located a street sign, “Eagle Rock.” Pudgy read out loud, while he got out the tiny slip of paper, and saw the address his friend had written down.  Putting the address away, the critter started to walk.

Over time, he started to see a series of ranch homes appear.  Due to the threat of tornadoes, most homes were built one level.  Large mature trees were filling the land, full of green leaves swaying in the air.  Like Pennsylvania, Missouri was swelteringly hot.  This slowed Pudgy’s progress down, though he kept moving from shady spot to shady spot.   This constant movement had attracted attention from a blue jay bird, who flew down to check on the strangely attired critter.  Pudgy waved, “Hello Mister Blue Jay.”  The bird smirked at him, and spoke with a female tone, “Miss Blue Jay, ‘all not from round here?”  Pudgy looked bashful, “Pudgy sorry Miss Blue Jay, yes Pudgy from Pennsylvania.” The bird laughed, which was a series of high-pitched chirps.  “That’s all right, that is a far way to the east right?”  Pudgy nodded, “Do you know where….” The hedgehog explained why he was there, and where he was going.  Lucky for him, the Blue Jay advised that the house was 12 houses down.    Pudgy waved and thanked the bird as she flew off. 

House by house the hedgehog scampered, until he reached the 12th house down the street.  Panting, the hedgehog was severely overheated.  The air was not moving, and was so thick with humidity, Pudgy felt like he was going to pass out.  He rested against an oak tree and took out his little canteen.  Taking a long drink of water, Pudgy looked at the big green truck that was outside in the driveway.  There was a bumper sticker that read, “Kurtzman Trek sucks.”  Pudgy knew he had the right house, and after he recovered, he started to cross the driveway.  The concrete was burning hot, and he could feel his paws sizzling.  “OW, OW, OW, OW, OW….” He said while traversing the driveway of fire up to the front steps.  Looking up, it was then when the critter realized the next quirk of Missouri homes.  Built on crawlspaces, they were raised off the ground more so than normal homes, to protect from floors.  For humans, it was no big deal, but hedgehogs, it meant scaling a mountain. 

An hour passed, and when Pudgy reached the concrete from porch, he laid on his belly. “Mister Stone, you need to get Pudgy closer next time.”  The stone vibrated a couple of times beneath him, “That’s ok Mister Stone…”   As the hedgehog started to sit up, a woman dressed in a blue uniform came walking up the path to the front door.  She smiled at him, “and who might you be?”  Pudgy waved, recognizing the USPS logo, “Hello Miss Mail Lady, my name is Pudgy.”  The extremely tanned woman smiled ear to ear, “you talk? Oh wow!  It is genuinely nice to meet you Pudgy, my name is Tisheena.  Are you visiting here?”  Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy can’t ring doorbell, can you help please?”  The woman smiled and patted his head.  She stepped over him, and up to the front door.  She placed a finger on the doorbell, and Pudgy scurried up beside her foot.    

A minute passed, and soon the light oak door opened.  A man was standing in a pair of blue jeans, and a black shirt with a dragon picture on it.  He was bald, with a long black goatee on his face.  “Hello, how can I help you?”  The mail woman smiled, “I needed to help Pudgy ring the doorbell, and give you your phone bill.”  She handed the letter to the man, which took it but looked down at the hedgehog sitting beside her foot.  “Oh yes, I was expecting Pudgy.  Pudgy, please come on in!”  Pudgy waved, and scampered inside the doorway, and onto a cool set of tan colored ceramic tiles.  The air conditioning was on full, and Pudgy started to cool down.  As Loki said goodbye to Tisheena, she shut the door and turned to his quill covered house guest. 

The man was in disbelief, having thought up until now that everyone was just joking.  But here was the hedgehog, with his backpack and mining helmet on, sitting in his entrance way.  “Welcome to Branson, Pudgy.  I bet you could use something to drink?”  Pudgy nodded, “yes please Mister Loki.”  The man smiled and motioned for him to follow.   The hedgehog wiggled as he walked and looked around.  The home resembled what Cobalt used to live in, which was a ranch house built in the 60’s.  The same sort of doorways, and trim pieces were around.  Hardwood floors that had seen many years of service, were stained with a pale golden color.  Into the kitchen they went, with big white and black diamond on the floor.  A retro style looking fridge was in the corner, which Loki opened to retrieve two bottles of root beer.   Setting his bottle on the table, he opened a white upper cabinet, to get out a shot glass.   Setting the bottle and glass on the table as well, the man turned and Knelt to gently scoop up Pudgy.

Smiling, he stood up and set the hedgehog onto his kitchen table.  It too was well worn, with the age of many memories.  The distressed white finish was coming off, exposing the gray weather stained wood beneath.  There was a shine from the polyurethane, which let Pudgy slide into place.  Laughing, Loki sat down into his seat, and opened the bottle of root beer.  He poured Pudgy a shot, and then opened his bottle and sipped.  He watched the hedgehog pick up the shot glass and sip the bubbly brown beverage.”  However, this started the time told story of the belching contest.  Loki won the contest, and Pudgy laughed.   

Loki asked Pudgy tot ell him all about his adventures.  Soon the hedgehog started telling his grand tale, and over the course of a bottle of root beer for Pudgy and a couple for Loki, he was brought up to speed to the current adventure.  The man stroked his goatee and nodded while listening.  Realizing that the Valkyries were not kidding him, Pudgy really did go on epic adventures.  He watched as the hedgehog took off his pack, getting out the dog tags and crucifix.  Loki picked them up and inspected the objects. “And you said that Gunnery Sergeant Miller started to appear when you took these things from the footlocker?  Hmm, yes that would make sense.  You disturbed his eternal rest, so you need to settle his affairs now. What did Cobalt tell you?”

The hedgehog began to explain everything that his friend had told him.  Loki got out his phone, and sent a quick message to Cobalt, that the critter had arrived safely.  Listening, he nodded and made notes on a piece of paper on his table.  “I see, well ….   Fort Enfield is the most logical place to start.  Part of it is open to the public, as a historical site, but there is a portion that is technically off limits to us.  That would be the place to look for the munition’s battery.  Ok, let us go!”  Pudgy started to put away the tags and crucifix, watching the man toss the empty bottles into the recycling blue bin in the kitchen.  Getting his keys and wallet from a little basket beside the fridge, the man put them into their respective jean’s pockets. 

Pudgy burped again and put on his pack and helmet.  In a swift movement, he was scooped up by Loki, and was quickly through the home to the front door.  Back into the heat they went, and soon into the tuck’s interior cab.  The inside of the truck was even hotter, and as Pudgy was set down on a tweed cloth seat, he watched as the man rolled down the windows with hand cranks.   Starting the truck’s engine, there was a whine from the fan belt slipping for a moment.   Backing out of the driveway, soon they were off down the road.  The wind was hot, but the moving air was pleasant.  Loki laughed, and started to narrate as they drove.  In many ways, Branson resembled Las Vegas, though it had a unique charm to it.  Traffic had grown much worse over time, as the city was barely able to contain the crowds.  Soon it expanded into a greater area, and the side roads became tight with cars and trucks. 

Pudgy looked up at the older truck’s interior and pointed to a picture of a young woman. “Who is that?”  The man smiled, “Oh, that’s my daughter Abigail.  She’s with her mother this weekend.”  Pudgy nodded, seeing a small twinge of pain in his eyes, so he did not press.  “She looks pretty, “the hedgehog said, and kept looking around.  While he could not see too well, as the dashboard covered the front of the vehicle, what he could see was interesting.  Gigantic signs everywhere, and strange names for restaurants he had never heard of.  He did recognize Popeye’s chicken, and hoped when this was all over, they could stop for those spicy mashed potatoes they serve. 

The hedgehog had arrived in the morning, so there was plenty of daylight left for a trip to the fort.  Despite the heavy traffic in spots, they made excellent time, and reached the parking lot for the historical site.  Loki reached over Pudgy and started to crank up the passenger window, which once up allowed him to lean back and crank his window shut. “My truck is in the shop, so had to borrow this Dodge.  I miss power windows and air conditioning.”  Pudgy nodded, and scampered across the bench seat, and let the man pick him up.  As they exited the truck, Loki locked the door, and let the door slam shut. 

A big sign carved into a white painted piece of lumber said, “Fort Enfield.”  Like Gettysburg, and Valley Forge, this was a self-directed museum and common grounds.  There was a request for donations, which Loki put two-dollar bills into the donation box.  The fort was old, and had few standing buildings left.  The signs were on boards along a stone walking trail.  The placards were well worn, and several laying on the ground.  “The fort has seen better days, Pudgy.  Let us go find that munitions battery.”   As Pudgy rode on Loki’s shoulder, the two explored the fort.  It was basically a big grassy field, though some derelict building stood in the distance, behind a split rail fence.  Pudgy wiggled, and pointed, “Loki look!”  The man turned, and saw a solider dressed in green, with a doughboy helmet pointing.  “I think the solider is trying to tell us something.”

As he approached, like with Cobalt, the solider disappeared as he faded from existence.  Swinging his legs over the split rail fence, they crossed into the field.  There was no one else around exploring today, so chances were good that no one would say anything.    At human speed, traversing the brown crackling fields of grass were quick.  They reached the first cement block building, painted white.  The paint was flaking off badly, and broken windows were strewn everywhere.  “Last year’s tornado really did a number on this place.”  Pudgy nodded, “Tornadoes scary.”  The man nodded, “yes they are Pudgy.  Oh look, it says… Motor Pool.” 

The hedgehog nodded, and rode along narrating, “Mess Hall …. Officer Quarters …. Munitions…this way.”  As he continued to walk, the man was smiling.  He stopped, to take a selfie, with Pudgy, with the tag line he was on a Pudgy adventure.  That instant got a series of likes, and comments from several interested parties.  Purple lady was quite interested in why Pudgy was now in Branson?  As the man texted people, walking around the fort, they soon reached a huge mound sticking up from the ground.  Pudgy tugged at his ear, “Can you set Pudgy down?” 

Loki nodded, and then knelt, to help Pudgy onto the ground.  Soon he watched the hedgehog bounce off his shoulder, down his arm, and scampered around his feet.  A big faded warning sign was in front of a set of rusted steel doors.  “By order of the United States War Department, do not enter this building.  Hmm Pudgy, maybe this is a bad idea?”  Looking around, he watched as the hedgehog slipped through a hole in the mound wall and inside.  Shaking his head, covering his eyes, “Oh boy, well… here goes…” He placed his hand on the steel latch handle and started to turn it sending a terrific screech into the air as the door resisted opening. 

The interior was dark and smelled heavily of Sulphur. Getting out his cell phone, he turned on the flashlight app, and looked around.  “Pudgy, where did you go?”  There were decaying wooden shelves everywhere.  Spaced out in a manner, that resembled the height of an artillery shell.  Carefully walking through the room, the dirt floors sent small clouds of dust in the air around his feet.  “Pudgy, this isn’t safe to be here.  We should go outside….”   A small voice called out, “Loki over here….”  The man carefully maneuvered through the shelves, and his light beam shone upon the hedgehog.  The critter waved and pointed.  Turning his head, and moving the light, the beam illuminated an American flag painted onto a tank.  “That looks like a tank, Pudgy.”  He heard movement behind him, and as he turned Loki could feel his body being gripped by an unseen force. 

Before he knew it, he was sucked out of the munitions bunker.  The man was flung out into the mustering grounds and landed hard onto his back.  Coughing hard, he started to sit up, “what the hell?”  That was an apt choice of words, as he watched a large black cloud floating around the artillery mound.  A set of golden glowing orbs floated, in place, fixated onto the doorway.  “PUDGY, GET OUT OF THERE!” The man shouted and watched as the black miasma swirled around and inside the building.   The wind was still knocked out of him, and as he started to stand, he felt dizzy.  Struggling to get up, he made it to standing height.  He walked slowly towards the structure and reached the doorway once more.  Just inside the doorway was a rusted sledgehammer.  It was not much but would be enough.  “Ok, you mother…. say hello to Stone Loki.”

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.

One reply on “War Shadow: Chapter 2: Enfield”

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