Lord of Terror: Chapter 8: Flight

A couple days passed before Pudgy awoke swaddled in a green and white plaid blanket.  His friend Angeliki was sitting in a nearby barrel style chair, with her legs crossed, as she was reading a book.  Pudgy waved at her, which drew a warm smile from his female friend.  “Oh, good you’re awake, Pudgy.  I was growing concerned.  How are you feeling?”  She watched the hedgehog wiggle his nose at her, and wave with his little paw.  She waved back, and then put the book down onto a nearby round table. 

Pudgy started to bounce a bit, but despite the long rest, he felt weak.  “Pudgy all right, but still feel tired.  Where are we?”  The woman picked up a white porcelain cup and sipped from it.  “This place is called the Hobo Inn.  I live around here, but my friend who works here has always said I needed to come over and stay one time.  She was right, this is a nice place.  I bet the reason why you are tired, is because you are hungry.  You gave me your supplies in the mine, and you haven’t eaten anything for days.”  She stood up and took a couple of steps to reach the bed. She scooped up Pudgy into her hands and smiled as she held him in her arms. 

She headed for door and exited the caboose.  Pudgy saw his plane on the deck, held onto her arm, while they walked.  The inn was 2 sets of train tracks side by side.  All the inn rooms were railroad cabooses on one track, and the other was a series of cars in various states of repair.  The interior track’s central vocal point was a huge redwood deck, with tables scattered about.  The locals would stop here for lunch or dinner, while the tourists would book a night or two.  Angeliki looked down to check on Pudgy when she reached the steps to ascend to the main deck.  The hedgehog sniffed the air, and it had all sorts of yummy smells wafting about. 

The two friends headed to the dining car, which was painted a deep olive-green color.  Menu boards were hung on the exterior, written in chalk with what the specials were.  The doors were wide open, propped open by scare crows in planters.  There was a tired looking, but friendly older bald gentleman working the ovens.  He turned and waved warmly, “hello Angeliki, sorry you just missed breakfast.”  Pudgy looked up at the man and waved, which drew a look and a smile.  “My word, is that Pudgy?”  The hedgehog looked up and saw his female friend nod.  The hedgehog weakly said, “Hello, my name is Pudgy.  Do you have anything hedgehog sized?”

When the critter talked, the man’s mouth went agape, and after a slight moment of disbelief, “Why yes I do.  I have some grits left, as well as a piece of bacon.”  The cook quickly went about his task, and soon a small plate was laid on the counter.  Pudgy bounced in the woman’s arms, and she giggled.  “Pudgy, I hope you don’t mind, I had to go through your backpack.”  She produced a tightly rolled 5-dollar bill, and the cook chuckled.  After he rung up the order, he made 4 dollars change.  The man smiled, “if you stick around, the pizzas should be ready soon.  Tonight’s special is polenta, as well as some family favorites.”

When Pudgy was sat down on the counter, he immediately dove towards the plate and started to eat hungrily.  The two humans watched, as the plate was quickly cleaned, and the hedgehog bounced happily.  Angeliki picked up Pudgy once more, and then headed out to the deck to find a patio table to sit at.  There were a couple guests milling about, with a couple smoking cigarettes over next to a big can of sand.  While his female friend sat down, Pudgy looked at the blue skies and white puffy clouds floating over the surrounding mountains.  The trees were tall, and mostly full of leaves, though the autumn colors had peaked before the hedgehog had reached the area.  The pines stood silently and formed a ring around the horizon. 

The hedgehog was about to say something when he noticed the background sounds had stopped.  The people around them had frozen, and a bird was stopped in mid flight above the train cars.  Three women started to walk up the steps, one with black hair, one with white, and one with blonde.  All were smiling, then began to arrange themselves so they could watch in all directions.  The black-haired woman waved, “Pudgy, I see you were able to rescue my daughter, Angeliki.  You gave my eternal gratitude, little one.”  The goddess was tall, and had a slender build, clad with period garments of ancient Greece. 

Pudgy waved, and looked up at Angeliki, who was smiling though being quiet while her mother spoke.  Pudgy waved, “Pudgy glad could help, Angeliki is Pudgy friend, had to save her!”  He bounced happily on his friend’s lap.  “Pudgy confused though, why did the shades and the Kaiser want Angeliki?”  the Goddess Hecates nodded, and walked a few steps, to sit on a wrought iron patio chair sitting directly across from her daughter.  As the woman sat down, she crossed her legs.  But Pudgy immediately covered his eyes with his paws.  That drew a look from the Goddess, and a giggle from her daughter.  As the critter peeked, he saw it was safe to look again. 

“Inside the mountain where you found my daughter, is a font of power.  The font was created by the God Hades, as a source of power in case of emergency should Zeus ever cast him to the earth.  Well, that plan backfired, because he was cast to the underworld, which cut him off from said font.  The false king is gathering onto him power to seek revenge on some past act.  I know not the reason, nor the plans, but my daughter would have the ability to unlock the seals on the font.”  The goddess explained in a calm tone, with a thick Greek accent.  Angeliki nodded, “I refused.  And so, they imprisoned me within the mountain, until one day a hedgehog came to save me.”

The two women smiled, and Angeliki petted Pudgy gently.  The hedgehog bounced happily, “Pudgy made all the shades go away, the only one left is the Kaiser now.  Thank you for helping Pudgy, Goddess Hecates.”  The Goddess nodded, but frowned slightly, “Pudgy, do you mean to take on the Kaiser next?”  The hedgehog looked at the concerned Goddess and noticed her two counterpart forms also were sending the occasional glances at him from their respective posts.  The hedgehog looked up at his friend, who was casting her sad blue eyes at him, “Pudgy have to stop the Kaiser, or he may kidnap you again.  Pudgy forest was attacked, Cobalt was hurt, Angeliki hurt, Mister Bear hurt, and woodland friends scared.  The Kaiser came to Pudgy here, using the last shade as a puppet.  He told Pudgy not over, and to enjoy brief break.”

The hedgehog felt his friend’s arms tight around him, and he was being hugged tighter.  “Pudgy, no.  You cannot take on the Kaiser.  He is pure evil and filled with darkness.  You might die.”  The Goddess changed positions, and soon the white haired one was sitting in the chair across from the two friends.  She reached out her hand, and gently patted the hedgehog’s head. “Your braveness knows no bounds small one, and I will continue to help you.  The false king must be stopped, for the natural order to regain its balance.  For now, you must return to your forest home.  My daughter and I have much planning to do, as well as your friend Cobalt.  I believe your adventures have a purpose, and they have all been leading to this point.  You have many friends, who can help you as well.”

Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy will need to call Cobalt, maybe he can get Sandra and Raymond to fly back out to pick up Pudgy.  Pudgy plane does not have fuel tank big enough to fly home.”  Goddess Hecates smiled and pulled back her white hair.  “Oh, well I can help you with that as well.  When you fill your plane’s fuel tanks, if you concentrate on the talisman and say wings of Anthus, fly me home, your plane will never run out of fuel.  You will be able to fly the whole way home using your plane.  I will caution you to note use the seer’s stone unless it is short distances.  The false king is attuned to it, and prolonged use will give away your location to him.  His forces are defeated, but he is still dangerous.”

Angeliki nodded, “yes that spell will serve you well in your return home, and future adventure.  Pudgy, please be careful, I care deeply for you and do not wish for you to be hurt.”  When Pudgy nodded at both women, they smiled, and the Goddess disappeared one by one into a cloud of mist.  The surrounding areas sounds filled the air once more, and the scent of pizza cooking wafted out of the kitchen.  Pudgy turned around underneath her arm, and hugged Angeliki properly.  The two friends sat silently for a long time, until a bell rang in the kitchen. “Pizza’s ready!”  His friend giggled and placed Pudgy on the wrought iron table.

The critter watched Angeliki stand up, and head into the dining car to get a couple slices of pizza.  She returned in a couple of minutes and sat the two paper plates onto the table.  Was it the best pizza in the whole wide world? Not really, but Pudgy ate it hungrily, and bounced on the table watching his friend try to eat without dropping grease on her outfit.  Eventually the woman gave up, and headed into the kitchen to get a knife, fork, and a couple extra napkins.  The occasional traveler would pass and watch in amazement as Pudgy munched on his food waving at people.  The cook was smiling ear to ear, as the little critter was selling more pizzas than that time her paid a local kid to dance in a hobo outfit with a sign. 

After a yummy meal, and the table was cleared of the disposable utensils / plates in a nearby trash can, Angeliki sat with her legs crossed, and a full belly.  She accidentally burped, and before she could say excuse me, the hedgehog was cheering and burped back.  She giggled, “excuse me, no Pudgy, there will be no belching contest.  That is uncouth.”  A nearby table had a large man, who belched for 30 seconds.  Pudgy cheered, and the man laughed while tipping his hat at her.  Shaking her head, she scooped up Pudgy, and stood up.  “Come Pudgy, I shall take you elsewhere, for this is a silly place.” The woman walked through the large deck, and down the stairs. 

In reality: she really needed to get up and move around.  The wrought iron chairs had cut the circulation off in her legs, and she needed to get the feeling back into her knees.  So, while the woman walked past the train cars, Pudgy bounced in her hands.  There was a small children’s play area, but the slide looked like it might cut someone, so that definitely was not hedgehog safe.  In between the cars, the two friends could see the outlines of a large river that was approaching a lake.   The nearby trees had turned into a series of deep red and orange colors, quickly turning just in the short time they had been there.  It made sense though, as the mountains were a much higher elevation, and cooler climate than further down.  Upon reaching the end of the train cars and seeing that the murder mystery dinner theater was closed till Saturday, Pudgy pointed at a gas station across the street. 

“Oh good, Pudgy can get fuel there.  Your mother’s spell should help Pudgy be able to fly home.  But what will you do when Pudgy leave?”  His female friend hugged his gently in her arms and turned to walk back up towards the dining car along the caboose side of the tracks.  “Well, Dearest Pudgy.  I will head back to my home.  As I stated, I live nearby here.  Though, it is not easily accessible.  The Kaiser will not be able to enter my home, as my Mother’s wards are much stronger there.  I worry though about you Pudgy.”  The hedgehog hugged her back and looked up at his friend’s concerned face. 

“Pudgy will fill up plane, and then use spell.  Will fly the same way Sandra and Raymond took Pudgy.  That way can avoid the Rocky Mountains and get home relatively quickly.  Pudgy fly straight to Cobalt house and hug him.  Then Pudgy will go back to Pudgy house and recover from adventure.”  Angeliki nodded and realized that they had reached their caboose room once more. “I see, please promise me that you will wait for my Mother’s instructions before running off to find the Kaiser.” The critter nodded, “Pudgy promise.”  He yawned sleepily and started to curl up into her arms. 

Realizing that her small friend would have an exceptionally long trip starting tomorrow, it was a good idea for him to get as much rest as he could.  She ascended the deck steps and opened the door to the caboose.  She tucked the hedgehog back into the green and white plaid blanket and smiled.  Sitting back into the squishy red barrel chair, she picked up the book that she had been reading before.  “I do not know what an Enron is, but this does not sound right.”  The book was close to a thousand pages and had charts on the pages.  Soon after a few pages, she too had fallen asleep in the chair.   

A couple hours passed, and soon the two friends were at the dining car once more.  Pudgy tried the polenta and waved at the guests.  After another yummy meal, his friend brought him back to the caboose, and soon both were fast asleep once more.  With the first streaks of sunlight entering the windows of the caboose, Pudgy woke up refreshed and ready to go.  As he turned, he noticed that Angeliki was not ready yet, and immediately covered his eyes with his paws.  That drew a huge giggle out from her, and in time she was ready to be viewed once more.    Pudgy bounced as his friend checked their room, and soon scooped him up to exit their caboose.    Upon exiting their car, Angeliki locked the door and then picked up Pudgy’s plane.

She carefully carried the plane, while walking to the front desk.  Setting the plane, then the hedgehog down onto the gravel driveway, she smiled. “Pudgy, I will be back, please stay here.”  The hedgehog nodded and watched her climb the stairs to the caboose car that was an office / front desk.  While his friend was inside the car, he checked the plane.  His supplies were all gone, save for a couple tiny canteens of water.  There were no more rockets, nor ammunition for the machine gun.  He located his pack and mining helmet, and noticed the money that Cobalt had given him, was gone.  But he knew where it had gone, as Angeliki told him she had looked through the plane.  Most likely it was for the room and the meals.  Pudgy hoped there would be enough left for a tank of fuel.   

After a few minutes, a couple of curious onlookers were watching Pudgy readying the plane for flight.  Angeliki exited the car and descended the steep metal stairs.  Reaching the plane, “Pudgy, I will pay you back when next we meet.  But you have 3 dollars left, so let us head to the gas station across the road.”  Once more she picked up the hedgehog and the plane, to walk the short distance across the 2-lane road to get to the gas station.  The building itself was a nondescript white block building with a green metal roof.  There was a boutique of some sort, but it was closed.  There was one full-service spot, and several self-services fueling spots.  So, she stopped at the full service, and then stomped her food on a black cable that ran across the driveway.   Setting the plane down, she kept holding onto Pudgy. 

A curious younger man wearing a blue set of coveralls and a green baseball cap on walked out from the building and waved. “Hello ma’am, can I help?”  Pudgy waved at the man, “Pudgy need gasoline for airplane, can you help?  Pudgy have 3 dollars!”  The pale skinned young man nodded, “I think so, how you fill your plane?”  Angeliki felt Pudgy bounce out of her arms, and then slid down the side of her leg like a firepole.  The two humans laughed and watched as the hedgehog scampered around and showed where the fuel nozzle was.  Remarkably, Pudgy even had a collapsible plastic spout to stick into the tank.  His friend Cobalt had provided one, in case he needed to refuel the plane.  Angeliki handed the remaining dollar bills to the young man, who pocketed the money in his chest pocket. 

After turning the pump on, and selecting 87 octanes, he knelt and gingerly squeezed the dispensing handle.  He did not want to douse everything was gasoline.  The pump made an awful racket, but slowly a trickle of fuel started to pour out.  Pudgy was holding the funnel in place and was calling out what the fuel gauge said.  It took about ten minutes, but soon the plane was fueled up.  The funnel could only be used once and had already started to shrivel up.  The service man smiled, and picked up the funnel, and tossed it into a nearby garbage can with a mountain painted on the side. 

Angeliki knelt, and then let the hedgehog run into her hands.  He bounced, and when she began to hug him, he hugged tightly back. “Please be safe Angeliki.”  The woman smiled, “I will, you be safe as well my friend.  I will never forget this.”  The hedgehog looked up and saw her pressing her lips together to kiss him gently on the forehead.  After another long hug, she helped Pudgy into the little plane.   The young man had taken a few steps back, and was watching silently as the two embraced, but also the workers from the inn were wall assembling across the road to watch.  Pudgy was putting on a leather flying helmet and placing little goggles over his eyes.  He waved by at the crowd, and then the service man and Angeliki.  “Bye everyone, Pudgy have to go home now.”

To the amazement of the young man, the little propellor started to turn, and the engine began to crank.  After a few false starts, the propeller came up to full speed, and the little plane started to taxi out into the driveway of the service station.  As the plane began to pick up speed, Pudgy pushed the throttle to full, and pulled back on the stick.  Soon the little plane began to ascend and take to the skies.  Everyone on the ground started to wave, and one of the train cars fired off a train steam whistle.  The shrill noise filled the air with its distinctive sound.   Angeliki smiled and waved, and slowly began to disappear.  The young man was about to comment something to her, but when she disappeared, he turned and walked inside the convenience store. 

Pudgy’s little plane ascended higher and higher, with the heavily forested lands starting to pass below quickly beneath him.  Remembering what the Goddess told him, Pudgy spoke in a clear voice.  “Wings of Anthus, fly Pudgy home, please.”  The talisman began to glow softly golden, and the fuel gauge glowed as well.”  Realizing this meant that he had a limitless supply of fuel, this was how he was going to get home.  He kept the throttle on full, and kept the stick pulled back to ascend higher and higher still, until the forest was just a vase sea of green below him.  Levelling off the plane, Pudgy started to maneuver around copper mountain.  He was going to give it a wide berth, just to be safe. 

Pudgy watched as a black helicopter was flying to the north west from the mountain.  That was most likely the Kaiser, but it was far enough away to not bother him.  At the altitude he was flying at, the land passed quickly below, and soon he could see the long runway of Packwood Airport.  The plane indeed was moving faster, as it was not loaded down with supplies, so he had that in his favor as well as the Goddess’s magic.  While he was excited at his progress, the hedgehog knew he was going to have an exceptionally long flight.  So, Pudgy settled in, and tried to get comfortable. 

The hedgehog’s plane was flying high enough to make the trip proceed at a fair place, but not so high to interfere with commercial air traffic.  Although, the sight of the tiny camouflage bi-wing plane was causing quite a stir on the ground.  Reports were being called in all through the area to local police and airports, who dismissed them as hogwash.  The hours passed, and the plane reached the border of Idaho.  The mountains were vast in this area, so Pudgy had to fly a bit higher.  Each time however, he drew closer to commercial air space, which would mean he could potentially run into other aircraft.  Pudgy had to be careful, he did not have a radio.  Even if he did, would it have been powerful enough to call a plane for that matter?  He would talk to Cobalt when he got home about adding one. 

Morning turned into afternoon and proceeded to the diming light of evening.  The hedgehog had reached the border of Montana if he was reading his map correctly.  Pudgy really wished the state border lines were visible from the air, but for some reason they were only on the maps.  Maybe Cobalt had given him old maps, or the states made the lines go away?  The critter did not know, but unbeknownst to him, he had attracted more attention than he might have expected.  As soon as he crossed into Montana, an exceedingly small blip had appeared on an unlisted United States Air Force base radar.  The air traffic controllers were trying to figure out what the blip was?    

Standard protocol was to send a fighter plane up to check, but due to the rate of speed, the object was most likely a loose weather balloon of drone of some sort.  They would still need to check, but it would require some planning.  While the controllers contacted their superiors to request advice, the little blip continued across the state of Montana.  After some calls, permission was granted to launch a drone.  The tower radioed the flight command and provided the details.  Soon a flurry of activity was occurring on the tarmac, as the unmanned predator drone was fueled, armed, and positioned for takeoff.  In a matter of minutes, the remote operators had sent the command to take off, and the drone shot up into the air heading to the east south east. 

Meanwhile, Pudgy was getting sleepy, and was trying to stay awake.  Montana was huge and was taking forever to pass below him.  The skies had darkened, and the air had cooled considerably.  Thankfully, Pudgy could reach behind him, and pull over a blanket.  He wrapped himself up as best as he could, without interfering with the mechanisms to fly the plane.  With some hedgehog ingenuity, he had figured out how to lock the flight stick into place, so in case he did fall asleep, the plane would not veer off course.  But he was trying extremely hard not to fall asleep, as the wind direction kept pushing him southwards, which would be much higher mountains to contend with.     But even the best laid plans were often fraught with good ideas, and the hedgehog fell asleep. 

It just so happened at the same time as he had slunk down into the seat to sleep, the drone passed by and shone a spotlight on the tiny plane.  However, it was going way too fast, and sped by before the exasperated operator could get a clear look at it.  His superior was sitting at a desk behind the operator, with several large LCD panels set to the drone footage.  The video feed was on a slight delay, so the images were being uploaded to the video buffer.  As the images loaded frame by frame, the blurry images of a bi-wing plane were seen, with a leather bump sticking out of the pilot seat, and a plaid blanket flapping.  The commanding officer blinked and watched as the images cleared up as the resolution increased. 

Pudgy jerked awake, “oh no, Pudgy fell asleep!”  The hedgehog sat up and looked around.  It was till night, with the stars above starting to be blotted out by high cloud cover.  The hedgehog watched as something with a blinking red light was flying to the south of him.  “It must be an airplane.” Pudgy commented, while opening one of his canteens to take a tiny sip of water.  He only had a limited amount of water, and more importantly no where to go when the effects of his drinking would become apparent in due time.  But his short nap had helped, and by the time daybreak started to occur on the eastern horizon, the hedgehog had reached the state of South Dakota, evident by the vast plains of farmland that were stretched below. 

“Pudgy hope that Klingon guy on twitter is sleeping, so Pudgy can get though state safely.”  The hedgehog muttered and checked the fuel gauge.  The needle was still at the full mark, and the glass was still glowing golden.  The magic of the talisman was continuing, but Pudgy wondered if there was a limit of some sort with this?  He would ask the Goddess the next time he saw her.  The critter also hoped Angeliki was all right, wherever she was.  “Now that Pudgy knows she can make herself smaller, she has to come inside house for tea.”  The critter said in a matter of fact tone, while adjusting the controls to start to ever so slightly maneuver to the south east. 

There was a tremendous noise coming from somewhere, which started to fill the rushing air around the plane.    Pudgy started to look around, and then noticed a long metal thing flying beside his plane.  How it was staying in the air, he did not know.  The craft was gray metal, with a tiger stripe black camouflage painted on it.  Pudgy recognized the American flag, but did not know what USAF stood for?  The craft was struggling to maintain altitude, and a glass dome was hanging below the craft’s nose.  Pudgy watched as a black box turned around, and a smaller glass circle was positioned at him.  After a few moments, a small green light turned on. 

The commanding officer from far away in Montana was up all night berating his flight crew.  The operators too were up all night, trying to find the unidentified flying object in the night skies of Montana.  But they had caught a break, when local air traffic controllers mentioned a helicopter had noticed something strange over South Dakota airspace.  When the drone started to transmit its images on the lcd panels, all assembled in the room gasped.  There was a camouflage bi-wing airplane, complete with a tiny machine gun.  In the pilot seat was a hedgehog, wrapped up in a blanket and a leather hat with goggles.  The office was following the rules and began to type up a report.  However much to his amazement, when he searched for hedgehog, a file came up. 

The Army Corp of engineers had filed multiple reports of a Pudgy Hedgehog, who sailed from McKeesport Pennsylvania, the whole way down to New Orleans.  Once in New Orleans, the Coast Guard had a follow up series of reports, with a laundry list of details of a fantastic story of a monster that tried to come out of Lake Pontchartrain.  There was also reports of a subterranean base under Texas somewhere, which was being actively investigated by the Army.    The standing orders were to document, but not engage.  Not relaying this information to his flight crew drone operators, the tired man started to type the report. 

Pudgy watched as the strange craft struggled to keep flying beside him, and as it started to pull away, the hedgehog waved goodbye.  More hours passed, and the states continued to pass slowly by underneath.  Minnesota slowly turned into Wisconsin, then a huge lake began to pass underneath the plane.  The funny aircraft would come visit Pudgy every hour to so, and he would wave at it upon arrival and departure.  Michigan appeared, and it really did look like a glove from this far up.  Another lake started to pass, and after yet more hours and a couple of hedgehog naps, the plane was flying over Ohio. 

Night fell once more, and while the clouds were thick above, thankfully it was not raining.  Pudgy had been in the plane for over 36 hours, and his rear end was numb.  The funny aircraft had stopped visiting, and after a couple more naps, the light of dawn began to appear once more.  But Pudgy recognized landmarks.  There was the big yellow stadium below, which meant he was flying over Pittsburgh.  The hedgehog bounced a bit, excited he was almost home.   He started to push the stick downwards, causing the plane to descend.  At about the same time, the Talisman stopped glowing, and the fuel gauge ceased its glow.  Pudgy had been flying nonstop for close to 2 days if he was accurately keeping track of time.  That must be the limit of the talisman, and the flight spell.

This also meant that the plane was going to run out of fuel, and he would have to glide once more if that were to occur.   The plane continued its descent, with confused birds flying past Pudgy chirping at him.  The hedgehog waved but recognized the roads below and the landmarks.  He knew where he was, and it was close to Cobalt’s house. As the plane flew over the crest of a forested hill, the rows of homes began to appear, and Pudgy aimed for the road that ran parallel to the homes along it.  Counting the houses, he could see his friend’s home.  The fuel gauge went empty, and the engine started to sputter, before ceasing its momentum.  “No not now, Pudgy almost there!”

The engine would not start, and due to a variety of factors: altitude, wind, plane design, the plane started to descend rapidly.   Working the controls, the plane glided down at too fast of a velocity.  The plane hit the ground, and bounced from the ground, taking flight once more.  Frantically trying to control the plane, the aircraft dropped back down hard, and this time stayed down.   Having enough speed to coast, the plane pulled up just short of Cobalt’s big red vehicle.  “Yay! Pudgy made it home to Cobalt’s house!”

While every part of him wanted to bounce out of the plane and scamper over to his friend’s door, Pudgy was stuck.  He had to slowly work the feeling back into his legs and rear end to be able to move.  The man exited his home, starting to carry out a black plastic garbage bag, as today was garbage day for the housing plan.  Walking around the back of his vehicle, he saw the tiny airplane with the hedgehog.  “PUDGY!”  He dropped the bag on the ground, causing a loud clank, and quickly stepped over to kneel beside the plane.  The little hedgehog was stuck, and with a gentle motion, he was able to pull out his friend. 

The hedgehog started to tear up and clung onto him.  Holding the hedgehog gently against his chest, Cobalt hugged him. “Oh Pudgy, I was so worried.”  After many quiet moments passed, the man stood up and picked up the plane gently by the top wing.  He caried both the hedgehog and the plane inside of his home and shut the door.  Setting the plane down in his hallway on the gray ceramic tile, he carried Pudgy into the living room.  The hedgehog was whimpering and hugging back tightly.  “Shh now, it’s all right. You’re home with me, and safe.”  Cobalt sat down on his couch and leaned back into the seat.  Pudgy looked up at his friend and smiled, “Pudgy home.”  He immediately fell asleep, exhausted from his trip.

In the days that followed, Cobalt kept Pudgy at his home.  He did not press as to what happened at the mountain, and instead focused on getting his little friend back to his normal bouncing state.  Lots of rest, good food, lots of cookies, and many hugs helped the hedgehog recover.  When Pudgy was ready to talk, he started to tell Cobalt everything that had happened.  His friend got out the legal sized yellow notepads and started to take notes.  Pudgy would act out certain parts, and sometimes had to tell the story a couple times, because he would remember things.  Everything was important, and his friend wrote it all down.

After the story concluded, Cobalt went into the kitchen, and returned with their supper.  Loki was on YouTube yelling about something, which Pudgy did not understand, but it was supper time and the banter with Dave Bob was fun to listen to.  Cobalt had been quiet up until that point, when he rubbed his chin with his paper napkin.  “Pudgy, now that the shades are dealt with, I think the Kaiser will be coming.  But we will be ready for him.  For now, we will rest, and we will plan.  The Goddess will tell you when it is time to go, and we can put this to an end.  Once and for all,” the man said with a nod to his hedgehog friend.    Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy need a long rest first, but will be ready.”  The man smiled, and patted his head, looking out the living room window into the forest.  The trees had started to tun a brilliant orange and yellow now that it was fall.  “I hope for all of our sakes Pudgy, you are right, and we all can have a nice long rest.”

After supper, the two friends watched silly things on the television, then fell asleep on the couch to the sounds of giant aardvarks destroying a California town.  It was a classic black and white 1950’s era film called, Sierra Madre Aardvarks of DOOM.  Both Cobalt and Pudgy slept soundly on the soft leather couch, and in the morning awoke refreshed.  After a yummy breakfast, the two headed over to Pudgy’s underground home with a wagon of supplies.   Through the bark yards, down the hill, across the scary road with the crazy delivery drivers, and to the thorn bush they headed.  Down the path through the forest, and across the dry creek bed, Pudgy bounced happily while he rode in the wagon.  They quickly arrived in front of his underground home, and Pudgy bounced out of the wagon.  He scampered up to the front door barricade and lifted it up into place.  Then working the door locks, he opened his home and scampered inside.  The windows opened one by one, and soon the big bifold doors opened to reveal the meeting room. 

Pudgy peeked out from the door jamb, and watched Cobalt inspect things, as well as replace the batteries inside his power room.  After the couple of chores were done, Pudgy ran back and forth from the big room to inside of his home, as his friend handed him groceries to put away.  With it being fall, this meant winter was soon to approach.  Even without scary monsters, he would need to prepare for winter.  But there would be time enough for that in the coming days.  For now, he scampered back into the big room, and bounced into Cobalt’s hands.  The man smiled and sat into the banquette seat.  Pudgy hugged his friend and looked up at him.  “Pudgy is home now.”  Cobalt smiled, “yes you are Pudgy.  Angeliki is saved, the shades are defeated, and the world might actually calm down a bit now.”  The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy hope so too.”  The hedgehog buried his face into his friend’s shoulder, hoping beyond hope everything would calm down.  “Pudgy hope so too….”

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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