Lord of Terror: Chapter 5: Packwood

Eris was sitting in an airport terminal, looking at her laptop, typing an email to her boss.  The Wi-Fi within the airport was spotty at best, though it was serviceable.  As she reviewed her tickets, the company was sending her on another trip.  The company had an overseas contract with a British firm.  The official plan was for her to fly from San Antonio to New York, then catch an international flight to London.    “Now Boarding first class for flight 47 to New York,” the loudspeakers intoned in with a mechanical hum.    Sadly, her company did not get her first class, so she was to wait while the other passengers boarded.  She looked up at an exasperated older businesswoman, carrying a bag on her shoulder, and talking loudly on a cell phone. 

“What the fudge do you mean you bought Hertz stock?  You do realize that they went bankrupt, right Jeff?  And now, I must fly out west to fix up your fudge up.  The client is mad, and you cost them a couple million.  Hopefully, I can save them before they pull all of their assets!”  The businesswoman hung up her phone, and walked through the terminal, heading to the next gate where her connecting flight was.  Her business professional blue gray dress outfit swayed with her steps, as her black heels tapped rhythmically as she walked.    This was not the first time Jeff had messed up, and this mess up was probably going to get him fired.  The scent of coffee filled the air, and as there was a bit of lag time between flights, the woman headed over to the coffee place. 

The coffee bar featured a dinosaur in green neon, that was animated to occasionally sip a cup of coffee.  That drew a smile on her burgundy lips and waited patiently in line.  Of course, there was someone who had an overly complicated order, which is par for the course.  Reaching the counter, an exasperated blonde-haired woman was trying to keep up with the orders.  “Welcome to Dino Coffee Bar, what would you like?”      The businesswoman smiled, “One large coffee with pumpkin creamer.”  The blonde woman nodded, “it will be a minute, what is your name please?”   As she withdrew her wallet from her purse, payment was made for the order, “Lori.”

The coffee was made, and within a few minutes, the cup was placed on the silver counter in front of her.  Lori took her cup, complete with dancing dinosaurs on the cup, and sipped her drink.  It was not overly sweet and had the familiar spices of the season.  Turning, she began to walk with a purpose to reach her connecting flight’s gate.  Due to her coworkers screw up, the company was sending her to the client’s place of business in Washington state.  There were some airplane issues going on, so instead of a nonstop flight, she had to fly from New York, to San Antonio, then to Denver, and Tacoma.  Then after the commercial flights, a private plane to some out of the way airport called Packwood.   “14 hours of flights, darn you Jeff.” Lori muttered, while quickly reaching her connecting flight’s gate.  Hurry up and wait was the saying, and while finding a seat, she sipped the coffee. 

Meanwhile far away to the North, the twin engine Cessna was starting to land in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  Sandra had made good time and had not run into any major weather issues that would cause a flight delay.   With the landing gear down, the plane landed without incident.  Raymond smiled, and patted his wife’s jean covered leg.  “Boy, I will be glad to get out and stretch my legs.  We need to check on Pudgy too.”  Sandra nodded, “Tower, please advise where I can get fuel.”  The tower crackled, and the air traffic controller provided instructions.  The plane bounced along the tarmac, which caused the hedgehog to jostled awake.  He had slept the entire flight, which meant the critter was wide awake and bouncing.   He watched as big hangars passed by in the small windows of the plane.  Soon though the engines turned off, and he heard the propellors whine as they started to slow. 

Raymond opened a small door inward to the cabin and poked his head through with tussled dark brown hair. “Hey Pudgy, we made it to Aberdeen.  Are you up?”  The man looked and saw the hedgehog bouncing and waving.  Smiling, he entered the cargo area of the plane, which had the seat where Pudgy was sitting.  The other seats had been folded flat, which allowed the plane, and a couple other provisions to be strapped in for transport.   Working the interior latched, the copilot opened the door folding the upper and lower sections into their respective positions.  Pudgy watched the man leave the plane, and a rush of cooler air enter the plane.  Sandra was next to appear and was pulling her long brown hair back into a ponytail.  “Ok Pudgy, time to go.  The plane needs to be refueled, plus we need something to eat.” 

She smiled as she reached for, and gently scooped up Pudgy into her hands.  Then turned and exited the plane.  Aberdeen Airport was a commercial place, and there were a variety of smaller planes scattered about.  Raymond leaned in and kissed his wife on the cheek, which drew a giggle from her.  Pudgy covered his eyes with his paws since Cobalt told him not to watch the kissy scenes.   The man smiled, and then shut the airplane doors, locking it.  The airport’s fuel service tanker truck was already pulled up beside the plane, and the hoses connected to the gas nozzle.  A tired looking older gentleman waved, pointing to the terminal. “Bar’s open.”   Pudgy looked up at Sandra, as she carried him.  The plane was parked a short distance away from the terminal. 

In many ways, it was like Latrobe, and a set of service doors allowed entry for the pilots and flight crews.  And while Raymond opened the door, he held it for his wife.  She smiled as she passed inside, and saw the interior appear before her.  As the fuel guy mentioned, a large neon sign flickered red: Bar.   Passing through an archway of knotty pine dark stained paneling, the bar was draped in red checkered tablecloths and sconces of mostly burnt out light bulbs.   Sandra sat down on a ripped red pleather bar stood and sat Pudgy on the bar counter.  Raymond pulled up the seat beside her and waved at an older man with a long gray beard.   The bar tender smiled, bringing a couple paper menus over.  He looked at Pudgy, who bounced and waved. 

“So, what can I get you folks?”  Sandra smiled, “Coffee, black.”  Raymond smiled, “I would like a coke.”  Pudgy looked up at the man, “Can Pudgy please get a little root beer?”  The man’s mouth dropped open, as the hedgehog spoke to him. Sandra smiled, and looked down at the menu, “oh look Raymond, they still have those barbeque sandwiches here.”  Her husband smiled, “Yes, but I wonder what the special is?”  The amazed worker was pouring drinks, and called back with a thick Sioux tribe accent, “Grilled cheese with hot sauce, and we’re out of barbeque, smoker broke last week.”   He returned with the drinks, and Pudgy had a shot glass of root beer placed in front of him. Pudgy waved and bounced, “Thank you mister.”  Raymond chuckled, “Well, I’ll take a special.”  Sandra nodded, “grilled ham and cheese.”  Pudgy looked at the menu, “Mister, what is fry bread?”  The bar tender smiled, “it is bread fried in lard, and dusted with powdered sugar.  Tribe specialty…”  The wife smiled, “and one fry bread, to share.”

Raymond watched the bartender wander off and noticed the dream catchers hanging around the bar.  There were also other scenes, of sand paintings, and related native American artwork.  Pudgy was being a good hedgehog, and did not wander off from the counter, and looked at the various objects placed around the bar.  The menu was simple, which meant it was made and served quickly.   The food arrived, and the fry bread was placed in front of Pudgy.  It was this marvelous golden puffy sweet-smelling food, and about a foot in length.  Sandra cut off a piece with her knife, and watched the hedgehog pick it up with his paws and start nibbling.  The older gentleman sat down at a stool beside the cash register, and started to figure out the bill, pressing buttons one at a time as he squinted through a pair of reading glasses.  Looking back, he called out to the group, “how’s the food?”  Pudgy bounced happily, “this is wonderful!”

Sandra and Raymond nodded, and watched the excited hedgehog bouncing as he nibbled.  Raymond chuckled, “I think the sugar hit him.”  Sandra nodded, and finished her sandwich, and sipped from her glass.  Then cutting off a piece of the fry bread, she tasted it.  As their quill covered friend noticed, it indeed was particularly good.  There was no way it would be healthy, but it was filling.  Raymond chuckled, and took a chunk of the bread, and cut another Pudgy sized piece.  The meal concluded with not much talking, other than the bouncing hedgehog waving at the bartender.  Raymond paid for the meal, which was included in the fee they had charged Cobalt for the trip.   Then one by one the pilots disappeared for a time, before returning.  Pudgy was too hyper with sugar to notice, as he was running up and down the bar counter, making the bartender laugh. 

When Sandra and Raymond were back together, and Pudgy was corralled between Raymond’s hands, they exited the bar.  Unbeknownst to them as the group left, an elderly Sioux man exited from the kitchen.  The bartender smiled, and pointed, as Pudgy waved at them while departing with his friends.  The native American man waved back and spoke in his native tongue.  The bartender frowned, and then looked at him.  “Folks, wait a moment please?”  Sandra stopped and turned back, “Yes?”  The Sioux man walked up and looked at Pudgy.  “Where are you going small one?”  Pudgy bounced, “Pudgy going to Mount Rainier.  Monsters stole friend, have to save her.”  The heavily tanned man, almost a red skin tone, frowned and patted the hedgehog’s head. “Go not towards the well, only darkness is there.”  Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy won’t, Pudgy promise.” 

Sandra looked confused, and then started to turn once more and head out through the archway.  Raymond shook his head, “well that was weird.  Honey, I’m going to grab some drinks for the trip, you head back to the plane with Pudgy.”   She nodded, and exited the terminal, and returned to the tarmac.  The refueling plane was just finishing up filling the second tank.  Quickly she traversed the distance between the terminal and the plane and unlocked the door.  Swinging the hatch up and down, she opened the two sections of door that lead into the plane’s interior.   Entering the interior, she placed Pudgy back into his seat and patted his head.  Then she ducked into the cockpit and withdrew money from the blue leatherette pouch.   She exited the plane and went outside to pay the fuel truck.  Pudgy could hear talking, and soon both Sandra and Raymond returned. 

Raymond closed the hatch doors and locked them into place.  Turning, he checked, “Ok, Cargo and Pudgy check.”  The hedgehog waved and bounced in his seat.  The airplane engines fired up once more, and the plane began to bounce as it moved out to the runway. He could hear Sandra talking, “Tower, this is flight X23-4A, requesting taxi instructions.”  Raymond stowed away the couple bottles of pop and water he had bought from the vending machine in a small cooler they had between the seats.  The tower crackled over the headsets, “Flight X23-4A, you are cleared for takeoff, runway 2 baker, flight plan logged for Packwood Airport, Washington state.  Please be advised, they do not have any fuel, so the nearest refill is in Tieton State.”  Raymond chuckled, “oh great.”  Sandra nodded, “I told Cobalt it was not a good place to land, but it is the closest to the Mountain.  And now we know why,” as she motioned with her head back towards the cargo area.  The plane came up to speed and eased off of the tarmac as it quickly sped below the plane. 

At about the same time as Pudgy and friends taking off from Aberdeen Airport, Lori had just sat down in her plane seat on the connecting flight from Denver to Tacoma.  Cell phones were still allowed at this time, and she was on the phone talking with her boss.  “Jeff’s been fired.  Well, that does not surprise me, given all his losses.  Do we know what the damages are? 50 million?!!?”  That number made her chest hurt, and she placed her hand over her heart.  “Which client, was the losses on?  KGE International?  Oh great, the same one where you are sending me.”  As the no phones icons started to light up on the airplane overhead information systems, Lori ended the call, and then stowed away her cell phone into her laptop bag.  Tucking it underneath the seat in front of her, she sat back up and straightened out her blue gray skirt. 

There was a gentleman sitting beside her and had been working on a gray tablet computer.  Turning it off, he flipped the cover back over the touch screen, and tucked it away into a red backpack.  Several comic book characters patches were sewn on the pockets, including a very distinctive robot face.   The large commercial plane took off, and as the plane continued its ascent to clear the Rocky Mountains, the man kept looking occasionally at Lori.  Lori smiled from time to time, though paid him little heed.  “Excuse me miss,” The man ventured hesitantly.  Lori turned her head and smiled, “Yes?”   A flight attendant walked down the aisle between them, breaking the eye contact for a moment.  “Did you say KGE International?”  Lori nodded, “Yes, an idiot former coworker caused our firm a big issue.” Lori looked at the man, who was about her same age, though had a tan.  Thin silver square glasses were sitting on the tip of his nose framing his brown eyes.  “I’m with MIMA, the accounting firm.  We’re the auditors for KGE International.”

Lori smiled, “well, isn’t this a coincidence?  I’m Lori by the way,” she said with a smile and extended her hand to shake the man’s.  The man smiled, and shook her hand back, “I’m Mike.”  When the Spanish accent hit with the pronunciation of the name, it drew a smile from Lori.  “You wouldn’t happen to be an over the top sort of fellow on a YouTube show, would you?” The gentleman smiled, “yes, complete with my own taco truck.  My online name is Mexican Ironman.”  The woman smiled warmly, “I thought it sounded like you.  It is good to finally meet you in person.  I have to wonder though, the coincidence of this meeting?”  The accountant nodded, “I was sent by the firm to Denver, to investigate certain accounting issues.  The issues have been cleared up through the normal investigation process.  However, the client has requested a meeting onsite.” 

Lori nodded as she listened, “out of curiosity, what was the scope of the irregularities?”  Mike shook his head “sadly I cannot go into more detail than that, but it was of a nature that would have tax implications.  So, off I am being sent to Tacoma.”  The plane finally levelled off, and the attendants started to push the refreshment cart down the aisle.   When it reached their row, Lori ordered a coffee, and her counterpart ordered a hot tea.  The airline companies got rid of the meal service, in favor of a much cheaper drink and snack service.  Along with the drinks, each got the tiniest bag of cinnamon cookie bites.  Lori chuckled and mumbled under her breath, “this bag is Pudgy sized.”  The curious accountant turned to her, “Did you say Pudgy?”  Lori smiled, “Yes, I did.  I bumped into him while he was off on an adventure.  I took him to a museum, where he disappeared.”  The accountant blinked, “wait, you’re saying he’s real?  I thought it was a joke?”  Lori smiled and shook her head, “No, he is in fact a talking hedgehog, that does go on adventures.  I miss him, and hope to bump into him again one day.”

While Mike processed the revelation that Pudgy Hedgehog was real, he looked out of his window.  A tiny twin engine plane was flying underneath their commercial plane.  Little did the two commercial plane occupants know, was that little plane passing was carrying Pudgy and his friends.  After several hours of bouncing, running up and down the cargo area, and investigating the plane underneath Sandra and Raymond seats; Pudgy had finally fallen asleep.  Raymond had made a new rule: no fry bread for Pudgy before plane rides.  They had crossed the Washington state border and had been directed by air traffic control to descend a bit to provide clearance for a commercial flight.  Sandra shifted in her seat and reviewed the GPS map on her plane’s instrument control panel.  “We should be there in about an hour.”  Her husband nodded, “what do we do once we get there?”  Sandra frowned a bit, “Well, Cobalt only paid for a one-way trip.  We will drop off Pudgy, and once he is off, then we will take off and head to Tieton Airport.”

Raymond blinked and rubbed his temples, “We are just leaving him there?”  His wife nodded, “Cobalt says Pudgy has some sort of crystal that lets him teleport.  We had to fly him out, because when he uses the crystal, the monsters notice.”  Her husband turned his head to directly face her, “wait, did you say monsters?  Is that why…. the plane is armed?”   Sandra blinked as she looked over at her husband, “what do you mean armed?”  Raymond pointed back to the cargo hold, “the plane has a machine gun.  It also looks like spaces to attach rockets on the wings.”  Sandra’s face contorted into a worried expression, “Cobalt did not mention anything about that!”  As the pilot and copilot sat in an uncomfortable silence, the grounds quickly sped below the plane. 

The hour quickly passed, and Sandra called out to the airport, “Packwood Airport, do you read me?”  The tower was not responding, so she continued several hails.  Eventually after about ten minutes, a sleepy man answered, “Yes, who is it?”   Raymond laughed, and Sandra nodded realizing it was a less than commercial place. “This is flight X23-4A, from Aberdeen, requesting landing instructions.”  The controller coughed into the microphone, “you can just land, everyone is gone today.  There is no gas, so you might want to pick a different airport.  But I cannot stop you,” then the microphone went dead.  Raymond rolled his eyes and sipped from a nearly empty bottle of cola.  Sandra began the descent angle, and then started to approach the airport.  After making a couple of adjustments, she lined up and extended the plane’s landing gear.  The plane eased down and landed smoothly onto the tarmac.

Packwood Airport was not a big place, having just a wide tarmac runway, and grassy fields on each side of it.  There was one red hangar, that was empty, and the tower consisted of a radio transmitted attached to said hangar.  An annoyed young man was standing beside the radio tower, with what appeared to be a CB radio microphone in his hand.  Raymond noticed, “Ok, we got here at 2 pm.”  Sandra laughed, “Pacific time honey, it’s actually 12, so we are ahead of schedule.  11 hours to Packwood, I was not off on my flight time.  Now, let us wake up Pudgy and offload his things.”   Raymond nodded, and unbuckled his seatbelt, and then stood up gingerly as she had stiffened up.  Slowly he maneuvered into the cabin, and then reached down to gently shake the sleeping hedgehog.  Pudgy woke up and bounced, “are we there yet?” The man nodded and patted his head gently.  Turning, he opened the twin doors, moving them into position so they could exit the plane.  The rush of cool air entered the plane, much cooler than South Dakota. 

The hedgehog watched as both Sandra and her husband moved back and forth, taking out the various items of Pudgy’s from the plane.  The two of them needed to get the plane out, and finally after many trips, the pilot scooped up Pudgy and took him outside.  Pudgy watched as she was carried outside of the plane and saw the big grassy fields that surrounded the runway.  Raymond had opened a cloth bag, which had printed out instructions. Pudgy wanted to run around the plane, but the woman held onto him.  “Raymond, what is that?”  Her husband nodded, “Cobalt printed out instructions, on how to get the plane ready for flight.”  She nodded, and gently hugged Pudgy against her shoulder. “Pudgy, what is this all about?”  While her husband assembled and fueled the plane, Pudgy told her all about what had been happening in the forest.  The woman’s face faded into a frown, and she looked down at the hedgehog calmly explaining about all of the violence in the forest. 

“Pudgy, why are you doing this?!?!” Sandra snapped at him, with a worried tone.  That drew a look from her husband, before he resumed filling the plane’s gasoline tanks from a red 2 cycle gas can filled with the fuel necessary for the plane.   Pudgy looked up at Sandra’s concerned brown eyes, “Because they kidnapped Hecates Daughter Angeliki, Pudgy have to save her.”  Sandra was taken aback by the answer and hugged him again. “Her husband filled up the fuel tanks, and then started to connect 4 bottle rockets to the lower wing of the lane.  After another couple checks, he looked up at Pudgy. “Ok Pudgy, looks like everything is in order.  Are you sure you still want to do this?”  The hedgehog nodded and bounced in Sandra’s hands.   The worried woman looked down at her bouncing friend, and hugged him again, before kneeling to place him within the pilot seat of the plane.  “I want you to test your controls, so you can’t go yet.” The woman said, with a slight smile forming. 

Pudgy tested the plane’s flaps, and rudder controls.  The various parts moved up and down when he worked the controls.  Sandra got a closer look at the machine gun that was mounted to the front of the plane atop the engine. “Raymond, you weren’t kidding,” she trailed off.  Her husband knelt as well, “yes, looks like Cobalt even has an interrupter gear on it so he can shoot while flying.”  Pudgy looked up and nodded while putting on a spiffy pilot hat with goggles. “Pudgy shot up first propellor by accident, so Cobalt fixed.”   The husband laughed, while his wife looked on with concern.  The bi-wing plane was painted in a strange camouflage pattern, with the bulk of the plane being olive drab green.   All the activity beside the much larger plane, drew a curious group of onlookers along the side area of the airfield.   Raymond waved at the assembled group of pickup trucks and their various drivers.  “Pudgy, please be safe,” The man said while taking a few steps back from the miniature plane.  Sandra patted the little hedgehog’s head and tickled his belly with her fingertip.  The hedgehog bounced and hugged back.

As she withdrew her hand, she watched as Pudgy started to work tiny controls.  To her amazement, the engine started to turn over, and the propellor blade began to turn.  The engine had a distinctive noise, and soon the plane began to pull forward.  The faithful husband walked behind the plane, and to the side of his wife, placing his left arm around her waist, “there he goes.”  His wife nodded, and kissed her husband’s cheek, and watched as the tiny plane took off, and climbed into the air.  She gasped a little, “my word, that plane is actually quite fast.  Raymond, what do you think the rockets were for?”  Her husband nodded, “well, the way they were mounted, I don’t think they could be used as missiles.  If I were to hazard a guess, I think more like jet engines, for a quick thrust.”

Pudgy continued to make the plane ascend, trying to get a good height from the ground.  He was starting to approach a large forest full of tall pine trees.   The plane was operating as expected, and the hedgehog was bouncing with excitement.  When the plane disappeared behind a grove of trees, Sandra sighed. “There he goes, off to who know what?”  Raymond nodded, “I hope he can save Hecates’ Daughter from the monsters.  But for now, we need to get going, and Tieton is not going to cut it.  It is a big grassy field beside a lake. Yakima Air Terminal is not much farther to the east, and they have a terminal.  Plus, some restaurant beside the runway, which has these big pretzels.”  The pilot laughed, and playfully grabbed her husband’s rear.  She scooted off into the plane and hopped into the pilot seat.  Raymond followed with a cloth bag and an empty gas can, tucking it away into a storage bin.  He shut the two-part door, and locked it shut, before climbing into the co-pilot seat.   Sandra fired up the engines, and after a brief taxi to turn the aircraft around, the plane took off and headed to the east. 

While Pudgy flew to the North by North West, and Sandra’s plane headed to the east, the big plane carrying Lori and Mike had reached the terminal’s gate for arriving planes.    The various sections could exit the plane, and Lori gathered her bag and stood up.  Mike was just grabbing his backpack when he looked up and saw her rear end wiggle as she walked up the narrow aisle.  The man chuckled to himself and stood up to follow her.   The flight attendants were thanking people for flying with the airline, and the two new friends passed by with a smile each.  The connecting arm of the gate was not that long, and soon they had reached the terribly busy airport gate area.  A slender woman with long black hair that ran to the middle of her back was standing in a black outfit, with pale accents.  She was holding a sign for the Lori and one for Mike.  The two approached and smiled as they approached the woman.  The woman was wearing one of those outfits that make you wonder how someone can walk in it?  Up close, a heavy smell of lilies wafted around her, and her lips were painted dark red. 

“Mike with MIMA accounting, and Lori with Express Investments?”  The late twenty something woman spoke in English, with a thick Russian accent.  The two nodded, while the greeter spoke “I am Natasha.  Your respective firms have been requested for an appointment with our organization’s leader.  We have a helicopter standing by, please follow me.”  The woman tucked the signs under her arm and turned to walk through the terminal.  She wore exceedingly high black stiletto heels, and her hips swung in such a way that it drew all men’s attention.  Lori rolled her eyes and chuckled to herself softly, just wait till this woman was 40 and had a few children, the days of high heels would be over. The trip through the terminal was quick, and the Russian woman did not speak much to them, other than this way or that way comments.  The trio reached a door that led to the private aircraft section of the terribly busy airport.   Down a long gray hallway, they walked, to reach the tarmac.  A black helicopter was sitting nearby and was in the process of being fueled up.  The trio headed towards the aircraft, and the Russian woman opened the doors allowing entry.

Mike helped Lori inside the helicopter first, and then hopped up into the back seat, and slid beside her.  It was a cramped cabin inside, which drew a giggle from Lori as the man was a bit close to her.  He chuckled and positioned his hand to reveal his wedding band.  Natasha shut the door to the passenger compartment and smiled before walking a few steps and getting into the co-pilot’s seat.  Her extremely tight dress made a small ripping sound as the slender woman sat down into the seat.  A pilot dressed in a black uniform smirked, “I told you, that dress does not lend itself to flying.”  The woman shot him a glare and snapped at him in Russian.  Lori laughed, “translation: shut it.”  Mike laughed, and the pilot as well, before starting the engine up.   Unlike a plane, the helicopter’s engine was directly overhead them, and despite some sound shielding, it was terribly loud inside.  Soon though, the helicopter had taken off, and was flying over the airport runways to the south. 

The occupants of the cabin put on headsets with microphones so they could speak to one another.  The pilot, who was a middle aged pale skinned man waved with the back of his hand.  “Welcome folks, this helicopter is part of KGEI property, and my name is Jacob.  The flight to Copper Mountain should only take us about an hour, depending on weather conditions.”  Mike nodded, “Hello Jacob, thank you for flying us there.  Natasha, where will the meeting take place?” Natasha did not immediately respond, though she was having microphone trouble.  After adjusting a setting, she crackled over the interior communication channel. “The Kaiser will meet you at the mine offices.  Then he may discuss his concerns with the operation of both of your firms.”  Lori blinked, “My firm sent me here to explain.”  Natasha cut her off, “We are fully aware of why you are here.”

An uncomfortable silence filled the cabin, save for the loud engine noises.  The city and towns below quickly thinned out, and soon were replaced by rugged forest covered lands below them.  The helicopter continued to ascend, trying to stay a good distance away from the towering pine trees.  In the distance, Mount Rainier towered, with its snow-capped mountain peak.  The mountain and its surrounding lands were beautiful, with pale blue skies overhead.  The pilot narrated, “there are a series of peaks that form a ring around the mountain.  Copper Mountain is one of those, and situated at the south west of Mount Rainier, it is a popular hiking area in the summertime.  Wintertime, no way, though I heard the skiers like it.”  Lori laughed, “Winter in Washington state?  Nope, I will stick to New York.”  Mike laughed and pointed at a looming peak.  But something else drew his eye, and as the helicopter quickly passed, the accountant could have sworn he saw a tiny airplane flying.  It was painted in a camouflage green color and blended with the treetops.  He chuckled to himself, maybe it was Pudgy to come save the day?

Pudgy in turn was watching the black helicopter fly towards him, and then banked off towards the mountain.  The hedgehog looked up at the map that was glued to the underside of the plane’s top wing.  Nodding to himself, he banked the plane and followed the helicopter.  His airplane was not that fast, so it fell behind very quickly.  This was not a race, so the hedgehog did not care.  But the aircraft was heading in the right way, and about a half hour later, the large mine opening could be seen.  Cobalt had told Pudgy that Copper Mountain was famous for the copper metals that were located within.  However, back in the eighties, the mine was shut down, as it was no longer viable.    To the hedgehog’s amazement, there were several large trucks that were parked outside of the mine’s opening.   A makeshift staging grounds had been cut into the side of the mountain, and the black helicopter was sitting on a flat area beside the mine’s opening. 

After sighting what looked like a safe area to land, Pudgy eased the flight stick forward, causing the plane to begin its descent.  He had been flying for about two hours, and his fuel gauge was reading about half full.  The flight to the mountain had taken more fuel that Cobalt had calculated, so the escape flight would be tricky.  Cobalt had told Pudgy, that he could glide the plane, and use the bottle rockets as boosters to extend the flight range.  Or if he got in a jam, he could ignite them for a speed boost.  Either way, there was only 4 rockets, and half a tank of fuel.  So Pudgy had to be careful, and not waste them.   He directed the plane to land in an area beside the main road.  The hedgehog held onto the stick with both paws, and felt the wind cause his plane to veer off course, which required more throttle and a hard right.   The plane bounced down on the gravel road, and started to take off again, which Pudgy corrected.  Soon his little plane was down, and he taxied closer to the mine.  Though as his little plane approached, he could see a couple people around the helicopter. 

The hedgehog guided the plane to an area beside several large packing crates on wooden pallets.  He turned off the engine, which caused the propellor to stop spinning.  One thing Pudgy could not stop, was time, and as the sun quickly sunk behind the mountains to the west, the area started to darken quickly.  The temperature started to plummet, and Pudgy started to shiver.  Easing himself out of the pilot’s seat, the critter rolled out and bounced onto the stone gravel road surface below the plane.    Stretching his legs, and paws, the critter got the blood flowing in his limbs once again.  He turned to the back part of the plane, and opened a clasp that was his size, and revealed a storage compartment.  Inside was his gear, but also supplies for the plane.  First matter of business was to secure the plane, and given its nature, a strong wind might blow it away.  Cobalt had made several tie-down straps and anchors, all hedgehog sized.  So, while Pudgy tied down the plane, and the skies continued to darken, he also put on several pieces of cold weather gear. 

It was the interior part of his space suit but adapted for general usage.  One day Pudgy was going to ask his friend just how he was able to find and make all these wonderful things?  Pudgy noticed it was a green camouflage, with black stripes on it.  The critter admired his new outfit, and then looked up at the mine once more.  The stars were starting to come out, and temperature plummeted even faster.  His belly started to rumble, so Pudgy scurried around the plane, and located the food supplies.  His human friend had again provided supplies to make a small cook fire, and related materials.  Which Pudgy took advantage of and started to make supper.  He was considering his next move, as the Autumnal Equinox was soon upon him.  The shades, and their Kaiser was inside that mine.  Along with the monster was his friend Angeliki, whom he had to save somehow.    The extent of his adventure was starting to settle in, and as Pudgy realized what he had to do, he wiggled his nose. 

“Pudgy make supper first, and then take a small nap.  Then Pudgy head inside mine, to save day.” The hedgehog stated out loud as he convinced himself what to do.  He sounded confident, but inside he was growing very scared.  His human friends had guns, and strength to battle the shades.  Pudgy was just a hedgehog, he thought.  But his mind continued to work out the plan of action and reminded him he had supplies and friends to help him.  With a small bubbling pot of tea going, and a cookie baking over the fire, the critter nodded to himself.   Picking up an edge of the cookie, he nibbled, and smiled.  It tasted good but was not quite ready yet.  However, as the sheer void darkness of night surrounded his camp, the critter heard noises coming from the mine.  Strange guttural tones mixed with demonic laughter filled the area around the opening of the mine.    The hedgehog dipped his teacup into the bubbling pot and sipped gingerly.  “No doubt about it, Pudgy have right place.  Don’t lose hope Angeliki, Pudgy coming to save you.”

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 “Lord of Terror: Chapter 5: Packwood”

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