Lord of Terror: Chapter 2: Shade

Mr. Bear was beside himself, as Cobalt dropped onto the floor, his shirt staining red.   The man was trying to pull out fragments of wood and metal from his shoulder.  “Grandma…Mom…all said, don’t fire the shot gun.  Did I listen?”  He cursed under his breath and started to pull up his shirt.  The bear headed as quickly as he could around his injured guest, to get to the kitchen.  As the man looked around, “I don’t think we have ever been inside your place.  It looks genuinely nice.”   The cabin was simple, with white painted shiplap walls, golden oak wood floors, and lots of bear sized floor cushions everywhere in a variety of colors.   The kitchen was built in such a way that he would not have to move extremely far to grab items, like that of a handicap accessible design. 

The worried bear got several towels with brown deer embroidered on them.  “How are you doing Cobalt?” The man had stood back up and approached the sink. “do you have water?”  The bear grinned, “have a well, but it has not been working good lately.”  Nodding, “sounds like we need to drill the well deeper than.  I put a tiny well at Pudgy’s house, had to go down about a hundred feet to tap water.  Of course, his use is maybe a gallon a day. He needed backup from the drought since primary is rainwater collection.”  Turning on the large bear sized handles, a slow stream of water started to flow.  Wetting the rag, Cobalt started to clean himself up, while the worried animal host looked on. 

The man started talking about what had happened to Pudgy, and the terror in his eyes as he raced up to the house.  The attack by the shade, and subsequent chase to the cabin.  Mr. Bear had sat down on a large blue floor cushion and was nodding as he listened attentively.  After the story ended, the bear rubbed his chin with his paw.  “Cobalt, this is serious.  Maybe we should tell the authorities what is going on?”  The man smiled, “Hello officer, I wish to report a supernatural monster who can fly, and glowing green eyes.  The monster came from world war one Germany and may have a connection to the pacific northwest.”  The bear nodded, “good point, we are on our own then.  But what now,” the brown bear asked, as he blinked. 

Cobalt turned, as he held a towel hard against his shoulder.  The wounds were not deep, so direct pressure would work for now.  He had medical supplies at his home across the forest. “Tonight, I had back to my place and clean up these wounds once I get the bleeding to stop.  We need to prepare, lay in extra supplies at my house, Pudgy’s home, and your cabin.  I need to make a safety tunnel to link Argente’s home to Pudgy’s home and bury it in such a way that if need be, they can hide.  The forest is not safe anymore, so I will need to take precautions.  Better than an 80-year-old shotgun, with 90-year-old ammunition.  We also need to get your cabin’s well / water storage capabilities in a better state.”

The bear nodded and watched as the man headed to the door. “I will wash the towels, and if I can’t get the blood out, I will buy you new ones.  Thanks for letting me recover here,” he said while placing his hand on the door handle.  “You’ve been a good friend to Pudgy, Mr. Bear.  Thank you,” he said and then opened the door to leave.  Ass exiting, the door was pulled shut, and the bear was left alone in his silent cabin.  The man’s words bouncing in his mind, a resolve formed, and looked to the second bedroom in the cabin.  It had been shut for 40 years, and it was time to open it.   The brown bear stood up, and headed to the cabin’s bedrooms, and placed a paw on the dusty handle opposite from his own.  The door creaked open slowly, as a waft of stale air escaped. 

With one eye to the skies above, Cobalt turned on his flashlight and started to head back to his house.  The Machete held tightly in his right hand; he pointed the flashlight with his left.  The forest was clam once more, though he could clearly tell he was being watched.  Instead of veering towards his hedgehog friend’s home, he headed up the bank and across the road.  This was much shorter to his house, and as his shoulder burned, he knew he needed better first aid than direct pressure with a dish towel.  The towel was still under his shirt, but his bleeding had stopped.  In about ten minutes or so, he reached lawns that ran behind the houses nearby to his, he found Argente sitting on his patio.  As the light beam shone upon her, she padded up slowly to him.  Sniffing the air, she caught the scent coming from the man. 

She placed a paw on his left boot and looked up at him. “Cobalt, you’re hurt!”    The man nodded, “The shotgun exploded on me, which is what the gun store and my family warned me about.  I am all right, but I need to tend to my wounds.  How’s Pudgy?”  The fox nodded and padded alongside the man as he opened the patio door and entered his home.  Turning the basement lights on, he shut the door behind him.  Argente saw the blood stains had soaked his shirt all over his right shoulder, and chest.  “Pudgy, it’s all right, I made the shade go away ….. for now.”  Turning back to the now open window, the man inspected the damage.  The window trim was bent wide, but the windows seemed to be intact as they laid out in the grass.  Turning, he saw Pudgy sitting on the ground in front of him, with tears welling up in his eyes.

Gingerly stepping over the hedgehog, and then the fox, Cobalt headed to the mechanical room in his basement.  Turning the fluorescent lights on, he took off his shirt and tossed it into the garbage can.  The towel was red, and after a quick inspection, that too was tossed to join the shirt.  Turning on the hot water, he started to soak a fresh rag, wetting it.  After lathering up with soap, he began to treat his wounds.  He had a small mirror on the wall and could see the fox and hedgehog looking at him from behind.  “I chased the shade over to Mr. Bear’s house, and the gun exploded on me when I used that second shell.  Everyone told me not to fire it, but did I listen? Nooo…. But Mr. Bear is ok.  I do owe him a new dish towel though.”

Argente looked up at the man, “Cobalt, we should run and hide.”  Pudgy was still crying, and was a total wreck, seeing Cobalt so seriously hurt.  The man shook his head, “the shades have found Pudgy, they know of our homes, so it is clear they will follow no matter where we go.  No, we will stay, and defend our homes.  In the afternoon tomorrow, after I fix my window, I will head over to Pudgy’s house.  I need to enhance some security measures, strengthen the doors, windows, and the rest. Maybe, build a tunnel, to connect Argente’s house, in case either home needs to be escaped from quickly.”  With his wounds cleaned up, he turned to face the silver fox and hedgehog, who saw the extend of the man’s injuries.  He had deep scratches, and gouges in his chest, though the bleeding had stopped.   They watched as he opened a big metal box with a red plus sign on the wall. 

Getting out the hydrogen peroxide, and bandages, he wet another clean rag with the disinfectant, and gingerly dabbed at the wounds.  He cursed slightly, as the burning meant that the bacteria was being eradicated.  Once finished, he began to bandage himself up, and as best he could, wrap an ace bandage around him, to keep the pressure on the areas he needed it.  Walking towards Pudgy, he knelt and patted his head.  The hedgehog began hugging his hand, and looking up at him, still bawling his eyes out.  “Shh…shh…it’s all right Pudgy.”  Argente too was sniffling, so he patted her head too, scratching on of her pointed ear tips.   As the two critters started to calm down, the fox realized this was the first time she had seen Cobalt without his shirt on.  He was not muscular, and in fact had a bit of a belly sticking out.  The man laughed, “Yes, I know I have my shirt off, but just so you are aware, I am keeping my pants on.  No need to add any more horror tonight, everyone has seen enough scary things.”

The fox started to giggle and nodded her head.  Pudgy stopped crying and rubbed his eyes with his paws, looking at his friend.  As the man stood up, he headed back to the patio, and turned on the porch light.  As opening the door, he exited the home and went out into the grass to get the windowpanes and started to fit them back into the exposed sash.  While being careful to not open his wounds, he was able to get the window back together, enough to last through till morning.   Heading back inside, he shut and locked the door, and turned off the porch light.  There was a pile of cushions on the floor, so the tired man knelt and laid onto the cushions.  It was fine for the evening, and soon he felt fast asleep from exhaustion and blood loss.    The two critters scampered up, curled up beside him, falling promptly asleep too.  Thankfully, the night was calm, and soon the light of the morning sun was streaming through his basement window. 

As everyone slowly woke, the man rolled off from the cushions, and over to his computer.  Logging in, he started to work remotely for his job.  The fox and hedgehog continued to nap on and off all morning, until lunch time.  Lucky for them, there were scattered shopping bags in the basement, that held a variety of snack food items.  So while Pudgy was head first into a bag of cheese curls, Argente was eating a pork rind very loudly.  So, while the two critters ate, Cobalt locked his computer, and headed back to the mechanical room.  Inside the room were the many tools from the various hedgehog adventures, as well as more domestic activities, like general repairs.  After selecting the various tools and supplies, he headed through the basement to the patio door. 

Cobalt opened the patio door, and then headed the short distance to the basement window.  It was a particularly good thing; that he had an extra sash left over from a previous window install.  It had been an error by the window company that an extra part was ordered, but the installer recommended he should keep it just in case.  He would occasionally peek inside to check on the critters, and then resume his repair work.  In a short matter of time, the window was fixed, and he was able to go back inside.  After stowing away the tools, Cobalt resumed working at his job.  Once he was logged back on, the man could feel movement under the desk.  As he looked down, Argente and Pudgy were curled up around his feet.  They were not leaving him and looked up expectantly with orange cheese curl dust on their noses.    Pudgy was not bouncing anymore and was clinging onto him for dear life.   Gentle petting and hugs throughout the workday were helping to calm down his friend. 

After the workday was over, Cobalt looked down at the fox and hedgehog.  “Ok you two, back to Pudgy’s house we go.  I need to bring tools, and supplies, and we are going to beef up the home’s defenses.  Also, what do you think about a tunnel to go from Pudgy’s house to Argente’s house?”  The fox bounced, “Yes, that would be wonderful, and if something bad happens, we can hide there too.”  Pudgy nodded, and sat noticeably quiet, looking at his friend.  Argente hugged Pudgy and watched as Cobalt began to load up the wooden wagon, he used to haul materials to and fro from the hedgehog’s underground home.   His tools were already in a hiking backpack, with the aluminum frame.  The only difference was that the rechargeable batteries for the drill and tools were sitting in the charger.  The man learned a long time ago, always keep the batteries charged, as an adventure was around the corner. 

A new addition to the supplies was a little 2 wheeled cart, like one you would use for a horse or mule.  It was a children’s toy, but it was sturdy and made from green painted wood.  Loading it with a variety of food stuffs, he carried it out, and set it behind Argente.  “Pudgy, can you hook this up to Argente?”  The silver fox sniffed and pawed at the cart and giggled.  The hedgehog started to hook it up, while watching his human friend move the wagon full of supplies out the patio door, and onto the porch.  Argente pulled her cart out to the patio, and soon was joined by Pudgy at her side.  Cobalt exited the home and shut the door behind him.  It was already locked, and without warning Pudgy was scooped up and put into the wagon to ride.    He looked up and bounced happily, while the man started to pull the wagon.

Through the back yards they went, and down the hilly path they went.  Argente was struggling at first to navigate with her cart but got the hang of it.  Looking left and right at the road, waiting for the traffic to pass, they crossed the road when it was clear.  Past the thorn bush, and down the hill through the forest to reach the creek.  The water wheel was turning slowly as the water passed below it.  Argente crossed at a portion of the creek where the fluffy bunnies and the beavers had built a little bridge for their friends to cross.  Cobalt stepped over it, and the wagon jostled with its various supplies.  Pudgy rolled back to the back fence and looked out through the weather stained wooden slats.  As the hedgehog looked up, he could see the limbs above him were snapped.  Something big had been moving through the trees, which most likely was the shade.  “Ok Pudgy, we’re here, can you open up your home?”

Cobalt said and watched as his hedgehog friend scampered out of the wagon, and up to his home’s round front door.  Argente had pulled her cart up to the front door and was stuck in the door jamb.  Laughing, the man knelt, and unhooked the cart.  The fox slipped inside, and soon was looking out through the open doorway.  The home’s big room, which was about the size of a garden shed, started to reveal itself.  The home’s big door was a circle like the front door but opened in the middle.  As the golden polyurethane doors started to swing open towards the inside of the home, Cobalt smiled at his hedgehog friend.  “Ok, I was thinking about what to do Pudgy.  I need to make you shutters for the window, as well as a secure door, like a storm door for the front of your home.  But this big one, is going to be tricky.  I can seal it, but what happens if I need to be out here with you too?”  The hedgehog shook his head, “no, don’t seal room!”  The man nodded, “Ok, but I need to figure out a way to reinforce this somehow?  In the meantime, I need you and Argente to put away the extra groceries, and then try to figure out where to put the tunnel?”

Heading back to the wagon, Cobalt got out his notebook, and tape measurer.  Starting to take measurements, he looked up at the summer sun still high in the sky.  Unlike previous adventures, there was an added time constraint.  The shades, and the Kaiser knew of this place, so it was unclear when they would strike again.  After measurements were taken, he opened his tool pack, and started to cut the various pieces of lumber to length.  He watched as Pudgy was taking out the foodstuffs from Argente’s cart and taking them inside the home.  Pudgy for his part was thankful to be busy, as it was keeping his mind from the terror that kept creeping into his mind.  The hedgehog had just put away the last of the groceries into his kitchen cabinets, when he started to hear hammering noises.  There were 2 round windows with plate glass at equal distances on each side of the round front door to his living quarters within the home.  There were 4-way cross bars which held the glass inside the window frames and could be opened inwardly to let in fresh air.  The design was now not good, as the underground home had never been attacked.  Cobalt wanted to ensure Pudgy and his friends could be safe inside. The man was dry fitting the shutter frames and smiled at the hedgehog.

Pudgy motioned to Argente to follow him, and the two critters scampered through the home’s interior door which led into the big room.  Up and over the round door jamb they went and started to scout for the tunnel location.  This kept them remarkably busy for about an hour, which gave Cobalt time to work.  The gray fluffy bunnies were also out and about playing amongst the tall weeds that littered the forest floor.   They told tales of a scary shadow creature with green eyes that was in the forest.  The beavers had decided to stay put in their pond, and below the water surface, they had an underwater den.  Pudgy and Argente explained what happened, to the horror of the bunnies.  They asked if Cobalt was ok and wanted to go check on him.  The group of critters turned around and headed back to Pudgy’s home.   Upon reaching the wide flat area of ground that was beside the home, the Bunnies pointed excitedly.  Pudgy looked up and saw thick wooden shutters had been installed over the round windows.  The man had painted them a dark green color, so now the home was starting to really blend into the ground. 

The front storm door was hinged to pick up and acted like a porch roof in the up position.  Pudgy scampered up and looked at his human friend.  Cobalt smiled at his friend, and showed him how the door would pick up, and legs would drop down so it could stay propped up.  The legs would attach into the jamb, and further secure the door.  It too was painted green on the outside. The man found himself getting bunny hugs and looked back.  He patted their heads and continued to work.   While the critters wandered around looking at the additions to Pudgy’s home, everyone started to realize the light was fading.  Once the main areas of the home were secured, the man turned his attention to the big room.  He added some additional safeguards, though he was running out of materials.  Strengthening the interior doors, and adding a barricade, he knew the big room door was going to be a challenge.  “Pudgy this is all I can do right now, but hopefully it will be enough.  I can get sheet metal to make the doors stronger, and other things as well, but for now, do not open the doors.” 

The hedgehog nodded, and scampered inside the big room, and turned the little gears to make the bifold doors swing shut.  As the little clunk could be heard, as Pudgy locked the doors, Cobalt nodded to himself.  He could strength the insides, but there would be no way to brace the door, which Pudgy would be able to open.   In a short period of time, all the critters were scampering around his feet, excited to show him where the tunnel should go.  Stepping carefully, the man followed and watched the route they were taking.  The route followed the paths they would normally take, and perhaps if was able to find flexible drainpipe for a storm sewer, it might work.  Upon reaching Argente’s underground home, the man spoke, “Hmm, this will work.  Argente, can I see you for a moment?”  The silver fox nodded and scampered up while the man knelt.  She started to laugh uncontrollably as he was measuring her, and his fingers tickled her sides as he touched her.  “Ok, I think I know what I need to buy now, I’ll get a drainpipe, and then dig a trench.  The bunnies can help by disguising the entrances to the tunnel.  Ok, I need to get back, so everyone back to Pudgy’s home.”

As the assembled group headed the short distance back to the hedgehog’s home, the skies continued to darken.  “Pudgy, after I pack up, you head inside.  No going out tonight, and I will come tomorrow to check on you, as well as continue to build defenses here.”  He cleaned up the area and put the tools back into his pack.  Hugging Pudgy first, the man whispered to him, “please be safe, no adventures for now, this is serious.”  The hedgehog nodded and hugged tightly back.  After setting down his front, he took turns hugging Argente, and then each gray fluffy bunny.  The man stood, turned and started to head back towards his home.  As the critters waved, they turned to Pudgy.  The hedgehog was putting on a brave face, but secretly he was scared to be in his home.  Argente placed a black tipped paw on his head gently rubbing. “I’m staying with you tonight, Pudgy.”  The bunnies bounced, and soon had entered the hedgehog’s underground home.  The hedgehog smiled and followed Argente into the home. 

Pudgy entered his home, and then doing what Cobalt showed him, the storm door swung shut with a snap.  Connecting the cross braces to the door jamb, it was soon clear to everyone that it was becoming exceedingly difficult to get inside the home.  Pudgy shut his front door and locked it as well.  The shutters were already in place over the windows, but as Argente noted, could still be opened outwardly.  There were hook latches in place, and it looked like the slats could lower also.   The home continued to darken, so he pushed the little buttons that his human friend installed, to turn on the LED lights in the ceiling.   Soon a warm glow of light filled the home, which made everyone relax a bit.  A bunny tugged at one of Pudgy’s quills and pointed to a pile of boxes. In his eating area, with little round table.   “Pudgy hungry too, let Pudgy make supper.”  And the hedgehog did just that, cooking for all his assembled friends.  Everyone got in on the fun, and soon there was a small feast assembled.   The critters tried to all get around the table, though it was a tad difficult, so Argente was present, but sat further back.  They ate well: carrots, rice, chicken squares, and then cookies with tea. 

After dinner was over, with everyone having full tummies, Pudgy washed up his dishes.  The addition of the well meant Pudgy was not running out of water anymore.  The kitchen was hedgehog sized, and he looked up at Argente while washing. “Thank you for staying with Pudgy tonight.”   Fall was quickly approaching, and Argente looked out the darkened window. “You’re welcome Pudgy, but I am concerned.  Do you think all of the additions to your home will be enough?”  Pudgy wiggled his paws in the water, making bubbles with the soap, “Pudgy hope so.”  The dishes were soon finished and drying on their space on the counter.  While the bunnies were busy telling jokes, there was a tension forming in the air.  Pudgy shut his interior windows and secured them with a nod from his fox friend.  Turning, the hedgehog scampered to secure the big room, and then the interior door.  The extra barricade was set into place, and the interior door was then shut and locked. 

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap… The bunnies looked up and pointed to a round window.  “Pudgy, the pigeon bats want to come in!” As the hedgehog scampered over, he could see the black fuzzy bats peeking in.  Reaching up, he opened his interior window.  The one bat spoke quietly, “Pudgy, it’s coming, let us in!”  The look of fear present in the little eyes of the bat, so Pudgy nodded and undid the latch, letting the shutter swing open.  Two frightened bats crawled into the home and looked at the bunnies.    Argente started to scream, as a large green orb was floating outside the window by the water wheel.  A blood curdling screech bellowed through the forest, as the shade caught sight of the open window.  Pudgy jumped up, and pulled the shutter closed, and hooked the locking bar.  He then shut the interior window and moved backwards.    Argente pushed the light button, and the room darkened.   The bunnies were hugging the black fluffy pigeon bats, and felt the room shake.  The shade was roaring its displeasure, while evil green glowing robs stared within the now barricaded windows.  “Do you think this will save you, Pudgy?”

The front door shook as the shade was striking it with his gauntleted fist, trying furiously to get inside the home.  Pudgy was thankful that when Cobalt built it, there was big metal half pipe that was the main structure of the home, as well as burying it back within the cave.  There was a good layer of dirt and rock that covered the front of the home.  The only way in, was through the doors or windows.   The noises coming from the shade were indescribable guttural noises of pure evil.  Argente was about to say something, when suddenly the one shutter was ripped off the window, and then interior window was smashed.  Two gunmetal claws reached on and grabbed one of the pigeon bats.  It struggled to get free and whimpered.  The critters leapt to the defense of their friend, and desperately tried to free the bat.   The claws were sharp, but the bat was pinned between the flat parts.  With several efforts, the bat was freed, and scampered back to the bedroom which had no windows at all. 

The claws withdrew, and the green orb looked inside, casting a light upon the floor.  Pudgy looked at it, “leave friends and Pudgy alone!”  A laugh echoed through the walls of his home, “you had your chance, Pudgy. Now, we will hunt you down to the ends of the earth and beyond.  The Kaiser commands it!”  Pudgy looked up at the green orb, “who is the Kaiser?”  The orbs darkened, and the claws were thrust in again, but this time did not connect with anyone.   The home was shaking once more, as the shade beat furiously on the hillside ground cover.  The attacks were relentless, and the bunnies began to barricade the window and door that had not been broken yet.  Pudgy realizing the shade was not leaving, headed to his kitchen, and picked up a small knife he used to cut vegetables with.  Turning to the destroyed window, he started to scamper forward.  The pigeon bats looked on in shock, as the hedgehog was standing in front of the open window.  Soon the green orb returned, “Ahh there you are, now come out hedgehog!” The bats watched as their friend rushed forward and thrust the small knife towards the green orb.  The green orb immediately went out, and the shade roared in pain.  The shrieking bellows filled the forest, and as the shade retreated, the home grew silent once more. 

As the critters inside furiously worked to barricade the open window, everyone patted Pudgy on his head for making the monster go away.  After cleaning up the broken glass, everyone settled into their various spots within the home.  Pudgy climbed into his bed, and nervously fell asleep.  Any little noise would wake up the entire home, which led to a critter checking the home, before sounding the all clear.   The light of dawn started to appear, and streak in through the various cracks that had not yet been covered by secure shutters, or interior items.  The bats were nocturnal, so they had watched throughout the night, and had crawled under the table to sleep.  But even though it was morning, the wakening creatures were hesitant to leave the home.  Pudgy scampered over to the sleepy bats and pointed they could use his room for the day.  The two fuzzy pigeon bats nodded and headed over to Pudgy’s bedroom.  There was a door that could shut, which allowed them to rest.  The bunnies looked at Pudgy with pleading eyes, they really had to go outside.

He nodded and started to move the barricade for the ripped apart window and peeked outside.  The forest seemed clear, though he could not see extremely far.  “Pudgy think all right, be careful.  If something bad, come back!”  The bunnies nodded, and soon climbed up a box, and squeezed through the round window.  The bunnies hopped around and waved, “all clear Pudgy!”  Nodding, the hedgehog turned to Argente.  He started to undo the barricade and opened his front door.   Deep gouges were in the front door, and the secure door was ripped to shreds.    As Pudgy lifted the door up, he propped the bars in place, and started to cautiously move outside.  The front of his home had deep gouges in the dirt and rock.   One of the water tank pipes in the front were cut, and a little bit of water had come out. Making some muddy areas.  The big door to the meeting room was also gouged though seemed to be intact.   Motioning for the fox, soon he was joined by Argente.

“Pudgy had phone, will call Cobalt and let him know what happened.” The fox nodded while looking around, “I need to check on my home, and do some things.  If you need me, please come find me.”  The hedgehog nodded, and as his fox and bunny friends went their separate ways, he located the ripped apart security shutters laying out in the forest.  Dragging it back to the front of his home, and tried to put it back, but could not.  Scampering back inside, Pudgy found the cell phone his friend had given him and started sending messages.  This led to a back and forth series of questions, as the man started a parts list to make repairs.  The skies were a brilliant blue, the sun was shining, and the birds flew in the skies above.  Everything looked normal, but Pudgy could feel that he was being watched.  The day progressed, and when it was about lunch time, Cobalt came walking up the path with his tools and wagon full of supplies.   As the man surveyed the damage, he nodded. 

The hedgehog scampered out, and after a long hug, the two friends set out to work on the home repairs.  Pudgy did notice an addition to his friend’s belt: a black pouch that smelled like oil.  He could see these funny silver tubes with round gray tips, that were held in loops.  Pudgy pointed at the pouch, and his friend gave him a sad smile, “The forest is not safe anymore, I need to protect us.  Pudgy, they let me split shift today at work, so I will work here for a while., and then I need to head back.”  Using the time that his friend had, the interior window was repaired, and set back into its frame.  The external security shutter was then reinstalled, though this time, with no hinge to open.  The shutter louvers could be opened and closed with a lever.  The plumbing was fixed for the water tanks, and then with a shovel, dirt and rock were moved back into place. 

The distance between the Fox and hedgehog homes was not far, so the man had brought the drainage pipe with him.  It was flexible black plastic, and a long stretch of it.  The trench thankfully did not have to go too far down, and following the contours of the land, meant that he had enough pipe.  The man started to dig down a good distance, and wide enough for the pipe to lay inside.  As the hours passed by, the digging went quick, though due to several large rocks, the course had to be altered.  With dirt piles everywhere, the black pipe was lowered into place, ad the snaked through the trench.  The man had brought U shaped pins, to hold the pipe into place, and with several anchored in by gentle taps of his hammer, the pipe was secured into its route.  Using his shovel, he then began to bury the black plastic pipe. 

Pudgy decided he wanted to test it out, and soon was scampering through the very dark pipe.  As he began to see light, he bumped into Argente’s snout which had been sticking into the tunnel opening.  She jumped back and fur was standing up before she started to laugh when Pudgy popped out.  The two critters laughed and played, Cobalt reached Argente’s house, and continued to bury the pipe.  Soon the man watched as Argente and Pudgy sneaked into the pipe, to head back to the hedgehog’s home.  The gray fluffy bunnies hopped up, “you just missed them, they headed into the tunnel.  But you two have to stay here.”  The bunnies pouted, and pointed at the tunnel as it called to them to play in.  “No, you have a job to do, I need you two to hide the tunnel. I need it to be hidden so only an animal can find it.  Can you do that?”  The bunnies nodded and hopped off to gather things. 

Turning, Cobalt walked down the hill and around to the front of Pudgy’s home.  The front security door now had a piece of round sheet metal attached to the exterior.  The shutters secured into place, and the home’s plumbing repaired, he realized the home needed more material in front of it to protect from digging claws.   Kneeling, the man hugged his hedgehog and fox friends.  As he looked own at them, “I need to head back now.  Same drill as last night, lock up and stay inside.  Pudgy, we need to figure out what is going on here.  I have been researching what you dreamed.  But also, there are unconfirmed reports of a shadowy figure on horseback riding through the skies.  I do not think it is a coincidence that this happened. Please you two, be safe.” The man said before hugging them once again.  After the embrace was released, the tired man packed up his tools into the wagon, and then headed back to his home across the forest. 

As the man disappeared behind the thorn bushes, Pudgy heard excited noises coming from the tunnel.  So Argente followed him as he scampered to where the pipe tunnel exit was, and found the bunnies had disguised it with rocks, and plants.   They were working furiously on the tunnel, though the lure was too strong to heed, and they had already explored it a couple times.  This new tunnel cut the travel time to Pudgy’s house down by half.  The critters all worked on the tunnel, plus played inside it several times throughout the day.  Though like every day, the skies began to darken, and the bunnies waved as they hopped off to their burrow.  Argente hugged her friend and decided to stay with her friend once again tonight.  It was also due to the fact her home was not as secure as the hedgehog’s.  A point she would make to Cobalt, the next time he was in the forest.   The two headed back to the underground home and headed inside. 

The silver fox settled into her usual spot and watched as the door to Pudgy’s bedroom opened.  The two pigeon bats exited the darkened room rubbing their eyes.  Thanking Pudgy for letting them spend the day there, they bounced out of the front door, and flew off.  While it seemed, his woodland friends were leaving him to face the monster alone, they were not.  They were confused, why did the scary monster want Pudgy so bad?  Perhaps if they were in their respective homes, they might overhear something that was useful.  Plus, with Argente staying with Pudgy, he was safer.  Although if things became too bad, they could hide with Pudgy in his home.    The security door swing shut much harder now, as it was heavier with the addition of the metal plate.  The security bars were locked back into place, and he shut his front door. 

Supper was cooked, and then eaten, with cookies and tea for dessert.  As Argente sipped her tea, she looked outside at the darkness outside of the windows.  “Do you think it will come back once again?”  Pudgy nodded, “The Kaiser is evil, and Pudgy stopped his soldiers.  Pudgy unsure if he can be stopped, but Pudgy curious what is Kaiser up to?”  Argente nodded, “Pudgy, Cobalt mentioned that you had a dream, of the pacific northwest?”  The hedgehog nodded, “yes, it was a big mountain covered with snow.  It stretched high into the skies, and the Kaiser with his three shade monsters were standing on each peak.”  The fox blinked, “did you say three?”  Pudgy looked sad, “yes, Pudgy only was able to stop one.  The second monster, Pudgy hurt shade, with Loki.”  The fox nodded, “originally when my other was still alive, we lived around there.  Foxes move to where the food is, so we always were on the move.  I remember stories of the big mountain, and there were places inside of it where evil things dwelled.  We never went there; my mother said no good could ever come from that place.”

Pudgy nodded, “that is helpful, Pudgy can….” The hedgehog trailed off, as he looked outside of his window.  The shadowy creature was standing outside, with two glowing green orbs fixated on the hedgehog’s eyes.  Argente looked at her friend, “should I turn off the lights?”  Pudgy shook his head, “shade already knows we’re here.  He watches us, every day.”  The deafening roar filled the air, as the shade floated off the ground.  The black miasma blotted out all sources of light around it.  The creature flew in the blink of an eye, and with its fist, punched as hard as it could, through the front door.  The new plate steel took the brunt, though it was bent inwards, and pierced the wooden door.  The claws extended, and soon cut through the hinges, and ripped the door off if its hinges, and was thrown behind the shade.   The gunmetal gauntlet was thrust inside and grabbed Pudgy roughly.   As the hand tightened around him, he was pulled outside of the home. 

Pudgy was screaming, and wiggling to get free, “No! let Pudgy alone!”  The green orbs glowed with an unearthly light, as the hedgehog was inspected.  The terrified critter could almost see a sneer beneath the black shadowy miasma, “No, Pudgy, the time for that is long over.”  The creature roared in paint, as Argente started to bite down on whatever she could reach.  “Begone you foul critter,” the shade cursed, and kicked the fox away hard.  As she rolled off to the side, she struggled to get up.   The shade continued to tighten its hand, “I am going to squeeze ever bit of life from your body Pudgy, and then I will succeed where Elias and Zerstörer failed.”  Pudgy was coughing hard and could taste blood.  “Why do you want talisman?”  The shade laughed, “why, haven’t you figured that out yet?  It is the one thing that can stop us, though your mastery is lacking at best.  The Goddess and her daughter have failed, and you can do nothing to stop us.”

Pudgy coughed again, trying to wiggle free.  “Please…let Pudgy go.”  The green orbs continued to burn bright and narrowed as they looked upon the terrified hedgehog. “No, now die….”  The hand tightened firmly, and Pudgy could not breathe.  The air was being forced out of his body, and even with his quills up, he could not break free.  The orbs started to fade away, as he began to lose consciousness.     Argente rushed forward again, and once more started to bite and claw at the creature’s legs.  She was summarily kicked once more and landed hard against a nearby rock.  As the silver fox looked up, and she could see just barely something running towards her.  Mister Bear was running at top speed on all fours and growling menacingly.  He had black Kevlar body armor on, with an American flag insignia on it.   The bear rammed the shade creature with his head and threw it to the ground.  The shade creature roared in pain and let go of Pudgy.  The hedgehog dropped hard to the ground and landed with a dull thump.

“What is this, even darned creature in this forest is coming to your defense, hedgehog?”   The shade stood up and pointed a clawed hand at the bear. “This does not concern you.”  Mister bear roared in anger, and stood up on his hind legs, now reaching over 8 feet tall.   His claws stretched, and he raked the creature across the chest. While rearing back, the bear lunged and opened his mouth to expose his fangs.  The bear ripped out the throat of the shade creature and could taste something that was not blood.  Spitting whatever it was out from his mouth, the bear began to maul furiously at the creature.   Roaring in pain and anger, the shade thrust its hands at the bear, and then picked him up. “Do you not realize whom I am?”  Mister Bear roared, though he could not break free, and felt himself being flung through the air.  The bear was thrown against a tree and landed hard onto the ground. 

Laughing insidiously, the shade pointed, “this was the best this forest had to offer?  You are a joke, and of no use to the Kaiser. You are just another dumb beast, that would look good on the floor as a rug.”  As Argente limped over to check on Mister Bear, she could see Cobalt running through the forest.  He dropped to a knee behind a tree and pointed something.   There was a popping sound, and soon the creature turned screeching.   Mister Bear coughed, “I’m all right Argente, go check on Pudgy.  Looks like Cobalt brought his rifle.”  The fox nodded, and then limped over to where Pudgy was lying on the ground.  As she reached him, he was not moving, “Pudgy, are you, all right?” The female fox asked with a concerned tone and sniffed the air around him.  Pudgy had an odd scent, and he was not moving whatsoever.  Her eyes started to well up with tears, and she started to wail, “PUDGGGYYYYYYY!!! NO, YOU CAN’T DIE!”

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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