Christmas Catastrophe: Chapter 6: Party

Pudgy woke up hearing something tapping, and as the hedgehog wiped the sleep away from his eyes, he saw that Xylenia had rolled over in her blanket.  Pudgy sat up on the cold concrete floor and heard the tapping sound once more.  It was coming from his front door, so the hedgehog scampered through his home.  As he peeked out of the round kitchen window, he saw a large brown fur covered leg standing there.  “Just a minute Mister Bear!” Pudgy called out, as he headed to open his front door.  After opening it, and lifting the storm door, the hedgehog peeked out.  The large brown bear was standing there and was wearing a Santa hat.  “Hello Pudgy, did I wake you?”

Pudgy bounced happily, “Xylenia just brought Pudgy back home this morning, so we were napping.”  Mr. Bear grinned, “oh yes, your dragon friend, I remember her.  Where did you go Pudgy?”  The hedgehog waved and started to tell the epic tale of his trip to Savannah and back.  The bear listened and grinned, while the cool wind blew through the trees above in the forest causing the branches to clatter.  After the story had concluded, the brown bear nodded, “I’m glad your latest adventure worked out Pudgy.  Hey, the reason I was stopping by, is that I had a question for you.  I am hosting a Christmas Party in a couple of days on Wednesday.  Would you like to come?”  While the bear spoke, the Santa hat’s tussle ball dropped to the right side of the bear’s jaw.  He blew out the side of his mouth and rocked his head so it would tuck back behind his ear.

The critter started bouncing even more excitedly, “Pudgy love to come to Mr. Bear house for party!  Can Cobalt, Xylenia, Argente, the bunnies, the beavers, Mr. Dino, and the field mice come too?”  The bear laughed, “Yes, they are all invited, and have already said they were coming.  I talked to Cobalt yesterday, who will be helping with the cooking.”  The hedgehog started to twitch his nose, “Oh, Pudgy should bake too!”  The bear shook his head, “No, you don’t have to Pudgy.  I have attended many of your parties, so this time you just come and enjoy yourself at my home. I look forward to seeing you at the party.”  Mr. Bear waved his paw at Pudgy and started to walk slowly through the forest back towards his home.  As Pudgy waved until he was out of view, he lowered the storm door, and then shut his front door. 

Inside he saw Xylenia peeking through the interior door that led into the big room.  Pudgy waved, “Mr. Bear invited us to a Christmas party on Wednesday. The dragon nodded, and then curled back up and fell asleep.  The hedgehog loaded a couple more logs into the wood stove and started to cook breakfast.  As the hours passed, he tried to stay as quiet as he could.  It was not until late that afternoon, as the sun started to set, when his dragon friend woke up.  Pudgy had texted Cobalt on his phone letting him know he had returned, and of the party invite.  Occasional buzzing was heard from the phone as a message would be sent or received.

Pudgy scampered inside of the big room and helped his dragon friend untangle herself from the blanket.  Afterwards, he removed the leather saddle bags and harness straps from her.  She wiggled and smiled at him, as it felt particularly good to get that off from her.  Pudgy investigated the bags and found the food stuffs that Cobalt had packed were still inside, as well as another twenty-dollar bill.  After retrieving, and putting away some of the travelling supplies, Pudgy returned to Xylenia eating a stick of summer sausage.  Pudgy brought her a cup of tea, as well as crackers from inside of his home.  She hungrily ate, and then asked Pudgy if it would be all right for her to go outside? 

The hedgehog agreed and opened the round doors.  Pudgy twitched his nose, as he saw Xylenia hop over the door jamb, and then run behind a cluster of bushes.  The snows had been melting, and while still present in the forest, much of the brown packed leave ground had returned to view.  He could see dinosaur and bear tracks in the mud, so he knew his larger friends were in the area recently.   Soon he saw Xylenia walk out from behind the bushes and was stretching her wings out.  As she approached the big round door opening, she looked around.  “You have a wonderful home Pudgy. I am glad you have a big place I can stay now.  But what happened to your cabin again?”  Pudgy nodded, “oh, when Pudgy went to moon, rockets blew up cabin.”

The dragon nodded, “ok, I need to hear the story again.”  As his dragon friend re-entered the home, Pudgy started to shut the bifold doors.  Pudgy made tea, and then began to tell the grand story from the point after he saved Santa last year.  His dragon friend asked many questions, which meant it too much longer to explain.  The two friends talked late into the night, until both felt the need to sleep return once more.  Night turned into day, then night once more, but Pudgy did not care because his friends were there.  Stories were told, goodies were baked then eaten, and laughter echoed throughout the home.  Argente stopped by every day, and soon the critter had two friends to hug and play with.  So, it was almost in a blink of an eye that Wednesday morning came, which meant everyone within the forest was excitedly getting ready for the Christmas party at Mr. Bear’s house. 

Pudgy woke up so excited that he could hardly stay still.  Xylenia giggled and watched as the little hedgehog started putting on his white Santa hat on and scampered into the big room.  His bear friend did not say exactly what time the party was to start, so he was getting ready now.  Plus, it would be a chance to go show his dragon friend where Argente and the others lived.  After working the door controls to allow Xylenia to exit, he shut the big set of bifold doors to seal the room once more.  He scampered back inside, shutting the interior door, and checking on his wood stove, that everything was secure.  The hedgehog exited his home, and locked the front door, then lowered the storm door down.

Scampering up to Xylenia’s side, Pudgy waved at her, “Let Pudgy show you where Argente lives.  Cobalt made her a nice cottage to live in up the hill from here.”  So, while the dragon nodded, she walked slowly behind the scurrying hedgehog.  He pointed out the secret tunnel that was built when the monsters came to the forest, which drew a small tinge of sadness from his friend.  But soon that was out of sight out of mind, when the small cottage appeared that was partially embedded into the hill side.  There was a round window, with a cross bar pattern, painted white.  There was also a yellow door with a round top and a tiny circle of glass in the middle.  An exterior porch light was next to the door, along with a pull chain doorbell.       

The hedgehog gently pulled the chain, which caused a bell to ring inside of her home.  Soon a smiling silver fox was peeking out of the door glass, and then the door opened.  “Hello Pudgy, are you excited for the party too?”  Argente said as she poked her head out of the door, waving at Xylenia.  The dragon waved back, and peeked into the home, seeing that unlike Pudgy’s, it was more plain in the inside.  But that was by design, as the fox had trouble working certain types of controls.  Cobalt had made it as fox friendly as he could, which was appreciated by her and the other forest creatures that would stop to visit.    Across the clearing was the bunnies’ warren, which was now covered with a series of stones.  They too had a wooden door, though theirs was orange.  Pudgy pointed, “Did Cobalt help them with their home too?”  The fox nodded, “a couple of weeks ago, they saw I had a door and pouted when Cobalt stopped by.”

The group laughed, and soon the orange door opened, and two fluffy gray bunnies hopped out.  They shut their door, and then bounced over in front of Argente’s house.  They started hugging Pudgy excitedly, while bouncing around Xylenia looking at her.  The dragon smiled all the while and was happy to meet all Pudgy’s friends.  She could also see another tiny wood door, which opened as well when the field mice exited their underground home.  The mice waved at Pudgy, and then scurried down to sit beside Argente’s front paws.  They bashfully peeked at the dragon from behind her paws, which drew a smile and laugh from all those in attendance.  Argente exited her home, and then secured her door, and wiggled her ears.  Pudgy turned to everyone, “Ok, let us go to Mr. Bear’s house for the party!”

Soon a parade was being led by Pudgy through the forest: down the path, past Pudgy’s house, and then to the beaver pond.  The beavers had just swum out from their underwater mound and were shaking the water off from the pond.   While they did not get a hug due to their current wet state, everyone waved hello, and then parade continued.  Down the creek they walked, and climbed down beside the waterfalls, as the creek descended the hills through the forest.  Further and further, they went, until they reached the trail to Mr. Bear’s house.  Up the path they walked, reaching a large granite boulder, that was split and scorched.  While Pudgy stopped to catch his breath, Xylenia examined the granite boulder.  “So, this is where you found the coins and sword hilt?”  Argente nodded, “yes, and the ghost soldiers started to appear.  I hope they never come back.”

The field mice were riding on Argente’s back, as they could hardly keep up.  Soon the bunnies were hopping circles around Pudgy, excitedly wanting to continue.  The dragon laughed and could just barely see a cabin further up the hill.  The assembled group started to walk once more, up a much steeper path, though worn down from much usage by the local animals. A myriad of deer tracks was in the dirt, as well as large bear prints, and a couple sets of dinosaur tracks.   Soon Mr. Bear’s cabin came into view, which was a stacked log cabin, with a cedar shingle roof.  The windows were painted a deep hunter green, with similar shutters that flanked the windows.  A huge, stacked gray stone chimney was puffing full bore with wood smoke.  All sorts of yummy smells wafted in the air., which caused the group to sniff their noses in the air. 

Cobalt had already arrived, and had brought not only the big blue cooler, but the red cooler as well.  Both had wheels and were sitting on the covered front porch.  The man was in the process of stringing Christmas lights around the porch railings, when he looked up and waved at the group of approaching animals.  “Hello everyone, Merry Christmas!”  What had been an orderly parade, descended into a scattering race of critters heading to the cabin.  Xylenia beat everyone, as she was the biggest, and then started looking at the brightly glowing lights.  They were LED bulbs, which meant they gave off little to no heat, and were bright, despite the gray sky day outside.  Pudgy peeked over the steps, “Hi Cobalt, is Mr. Dinosaur here yet?”  The man shook his head, “No, not yet.  He was supposed to bring a couple logs for firewood.”  The man called back through the open porch window, “hey Mr. Bear, everyone’s here!”  The man using zip ties, secured the lights to the railings, and then clipped the tail edges of the plastic leads. 

The cabin’s green front door opened, and the large brown bear walked out waving a paw at his visitors.  “Merry Christmas, welcome to my home!”  Soon all the critters were bouncing up the steps, hugging Mr. Bear, thanking him for letting them come to the party.  Everyone laughed, and soon let the bear return to his kitchen.  Everyone followed, and then looked around in amazement at the cabin.  The ceilings were vaulted, with wood beams stained with a golden oak varnish.  Lights hung from the ceiling, on silver chains, with the electrical wires wrapped inside the links.   The cabin was open concept, as interior log walls were a paint to set, though there were hallways wide enough to accommodate the bear, which led to a couple rooms in the rear of the cabin.   The doors were shut to rooms, and everyone was respectful of their hosts wish for privacy. 

The living area did not have any furniture, because no human-built furniture could support the bear’s general disposition.  So, there were large fluffy floor pillows scattered about in a variety of colors.    Xylenia giggled as she looked around, and then sniffed towards the kitchen.  The bear smiled and extended his paw to her, “Hello, I believe your name is Xylenia?”  The dragon giggled and took his paw, “yes, I do not believe we have met before, Mr. Bear.”  With introductions made, the group saw the fireplace was roaring with a huge fire, and the largest ham anyone had ever seen was roasting over it.  Cobalt had somehow maneuvered the assembled gathering and was basting it with something that fizzed.  Pudgy bounce, “which glaze are you using this year Cobalt?”  The man laughed, “caramel glaze this year.”  What many people did not know, was that a cheap and easy way to glaze a ham, is to use soda pop.  It did not matter the brand, as all would work, though some offered a more unique flavor than others.

Black enamel pots were bubbling in the white oven, and silver pots on the stove, with pictures of the bear’s family hanging around the kitchen.  There was a large television set hanging on the wall opposite from the kitchen, though it was off.  Today was a party day, and the silly people on TV can wait till tomorrow.  While everyone was laughing and talking at once, several loud crashes were heard outside.  Xylenia turned and walked out to the porch with Pudgy.  A tall tyrannosaurs rex dinosaur was dropping huge log sections beside the wood piles stacked along the end of the house.  On his tiny arm, a blue glowing device was lit and attached in a matter that it would fall off.  Pudgy waved, “Hello Mr. Dinosaur!”  The dragon giggled, and waved her clawed hand at the dinosaur, who sniffed and looked at her.

“Pudgy, you did not tell me that you had a dragon friend, and a pretty one at that?”  Pudgy bounced, “this is Xylenia, she came to the surface during and after Pudgy’s adventure to the center of the earth.  She lives at the North Pole now, with her mother.”  Xylenia giggled again, and batted her eyes at the dinosaur, “hello Mr. Dinosaur.”  She was noticing he was flexing for her, which made her smile.  “What is that device on your arm?” She asked with a curious look, and without explanation, the dinosaur immediately pressed the device causing himself to shrink down to a more manageable size at about Cobalt height.  “This allows me to control my size, and makes life living in these areas easier.  I thought dragons were bigger though?”  The hedgehog waved, “as long as Xylenia is happy, she stays this size, it’s when she gets upset, she gets bigger.” 

The dragon nodded, “so you be on your best behavior mister, or you’ll be sorry.”  She turned and walked inside, swinging her tail.  Pudgy was unsure what was going on and noticed his Dinosaur friend staring intently at her as she walked inside.  Pudgy shook his head and bounced happily as he heard all his friends inside laughing.  Mr. Dinosaur poked his head inside the doorway, which drew many cheers and warm greetings.   Sadly, despite the cabin being bear sized, it was not big enough to accommodate the dinosaur, so he had to remain outside.  But that did not matter, as soon everyone came outside to be with him.  Mr. Bear remained inside the cabin with Cobalt, who was assisting him with the cooking.  In time though, things began to finish, and a low table started to be filled with all manner of foods. 

The beavers really wanted to nibble on the cabin, all those lovely logs.  But they were guests here and did not want their hos to be cross.  However, soon their temptations were placated when Cobalt handed them sticks covered in maple syrup.  That was a hit the last party, and the beavers bounced excitedly and munched away.  Soon a line of critters was forming, as Cobalt helped the bear serve people.  There were the candied carrots from Thanksgiving that the bunnies enjoyed, as well as scalloped potatoes in a white sauce.  Several kinds of vegetables had been cooked, and were spread out in holiday bowls, forming a rainbow on the table. The ham was taken off the spit and placed onto a wire rack inside of a large roasting pan bottom and cooling down.  All manner of baked items was spread out around the room: breads, cookies, pies, and things Pudgy did not recognize. 

Dinner was being served, and each animal was given a nice plate of food to munch on.  They thanked Cobalt and Mr. Bear, and then headed outside to eat with Mr. Dinosaur.  Pudgy got a tiny piece of ham for his plate, while Argente got a nice slice.  After Xylenia, Mr. Bear and Cobalt were served, there was still a huge haunch of ham remaining.  So, with a thick cooking gloves, he picked up the pan and carried it outside.  The dinosaur was starting to get a bit agitated, as everyone was eating, and he was hungry.  “Hey Grumpy, I got the biggest ham they had.  Hope you like it!”  Before Cobalt could even speak, the dinosaur snatched away the ham in his jaws and started munching.  The happy noises coming from him was sign the meat met his approval.   Mr. Bear sat on his rear, and then started to munch on a thick slice of ham the man had cut. 

Soon Cobalt was sitting on the porch steps with his plate, said a belated grace for the food, and started to eat.  Pudgy joined him and sat beside his friend, bouncing happily while munching on goodies.   The smaller animals made many trips to the buffet table for food and were having a wonderful time.  Mr. Bear also made a couple trips was well, while Cobalt helped Mr. Dinosaur with another round of dinner.  After a couple hours, the food was all eaten, save for a myriad of wonderful cookies.  The refined sugar was starting to kick in, and the bunnies were hopping circles around Xylenia and Cobalt.  Rubbing his chin, Cobalt came up with a plan.  It would be the first annual Christmas party scavenger hunt.   After making a list of objects which included, pinecones, flat stones, an orange leaf, and a Christmas cookie, the critters all scattered around looking for the objects. 

Xylenia sat with Cobalt on the porch, while Mr. Bear started to clean up inside.  She sighed happily, “it is so nice here, I don’t want to leave yet.”  The man smiled, and patted her head, then rubbed the back of her scaled neck.  “I know you have to get back to the North pole.  But please tell Pudgy and the others you are leaving first.  They will be sad,” the man said with a smile.  The dragon leaned in close and started hugging him.  He smiled and sighed, “after all of the terrible things that happened as of late, this was a welcome respite.”  The dragon nodded, and whispered in Cobalt’s ear, “if it gets too bad, I will come back.”  Her tongue flicked out like a snake and it tickled his ear, making him chuckle, “that tickles, he…he…  Ok, thank you Xylenia.”

In a matter of moments, there was a stream of bouncing critters, having returned the various scavenger hunt items.  With all items collected, the prize was a hug from Cobalt, and a little sparkly present from Mr. Bear.  Some boxes, like the field mice, needed done by Cobalt, as the bear’s claws could not wrap that small.  Even Cobalt had trouble and had to break out the tweezers.  One by one they opened their party favors, and everyone had a spiffy Christmas scarf to wear.  Soon everyone had their scarves on and were hugging Mr. Bear again.  Well except for Mr. Dinosaur, who was having trouble with the scarf.  Cobalt helped him put it on, which drew a happy look from the large animal.  Pudgy was unsure who started it, but soon everyone was singing Christmas carols.  Which sounded unique with a dinosaur and dragon roar at certain moments. 

As the hours passed, the sun started to set, and the animals began to depart the cabin to head back to their respective homes.   After Mr. Dinosaur made another set of strange comments to Xylenia, Pudgy watched as the dragon giggled, and the dinosaur walked away shaking his tail.  Xylenia turned to Mr. Bear, “Mr. Bear, you have a wonderful home, and this was a spectacular party.  Thank you very much for inviting me, “she said with a huge smile.   The bear nodded, “I am glad you were able to come.  I believe I will be hosting this again next year and hope you will be able to come once more.”  The dragon soon found the hedgehog hugging her leg and looking up at her sadly.  The dragon scooped up Pudgy and hugged him back properly, “Yes Pudgy, I need to go now.  I must get back to the North Pole.  You remember how busy Christmas night is, and plus my mother will be worrying herself silly.”

Pudgy hugged his friend, and soon the dragon was being hugged by Cobalt and Argente.  The large brown bear smiled and was sitting on the porch waving his paw at her, “goodbye Xylenia, I hope your travel home is safe and uneventful.”  The dragon nodded, “Thank you Mr. Bear.  Argente, it was a pleasure to meet you as well. Can you please keep an eye on Pudgy while I am away?”  The silver fox laughed and nodded, “I can try, he gets into these moods, and there’s no talking him out of helping.”  The group started to laugh, and then started to let go of the dragon.  She set Pudgy down on the porch, and then started to walk out to the grassy area that surrounded the cabin.  She waved at everyone, “goodbye everyone, I can’t wait to see you again next Christmas!”

The dragon started to flap her wings, and soon was hovering in the air a good distance from the ground.  She circled the cabin with a happy roar, and then flew off towards the northern skies.  All the while: Mr. Bear, Pudgy, Argente, and Cobalt were waving and yelling their goodbyes.   Pudgy sniffled his nose when he could no longer see his dragon friend, but soon was hugged by Argente.  The porch grew quiet, with the soft glow of Christmas lights illuminating the area.  Cobalt turned and shook Mr. Bear’s paw, “wonderful party Mr. Bear, I’m glad I could help out.  I will be talking Pudgy and Argente home, and then heading back now. Merry Christmas.”    The large brown bear smiled as the man put Pudgy and Argente on the top of each cooler to ride, and then started to drag them along the ground behind him.  The plastic wheels squeaked a tiny bit, and soon the cabin was quiet once more.  Standing up, the bear entered his home, and then shut the door.  He had some cleanup to do, and then a long winter’s nap was in order.

Meanwhile Cobalt had passed the granite boulder and was walking up the creek.  The now empty coolers rocked back and forth.  Soon Argente and Pudgy had hopped off, as it was too hard to ride them any further.  Pudgy climbed onto his silver fox friend’s back, and then she walked beside Cobalt in the ever-darkening forest.  The skies were still cloudy, and the occasional snowflake fell from the skies above.  In a couple of minutes, the trio had reached the hedgehog’s underground home.  Cobalt knelt, and then hugged Cobalt and then Argente one by one.  “Merry Christmas Pudgy, Merry Christmas Argente.  You two sleep well, and tomorrow night you can come over my house if you would like.”  The two critters bounced happily, and hugged Cobalt back.  Pudgy excitedly spoke, “oh boy, yes Pudgy want to come to Cobalt house! Did you buy cookies?”  The man laughed, “yes, and cheesecake too.”  Argente bounced happily, and hugged Cobalt then Pudgy again.  She padded off silently through the woods as she headed to her home. 

Pudgy looked up at his friend Cobalt again, “Pudgy hope these quiet days last awhile.”  The man nodded and hugged back, “I do too Pudgy.  For everyone’s sakes, I hope next year is happy and safe.”  The hedgehog nodded and yawned sleepily.  His friend placed him down beside the front door of his underground home, “Ok Pudgy, time for bed, good night.”  The tired hedgehog waved, “good night Cobalt.”  He opened the storm door, and then the interior door.  Entering his home, he secured it, and turned on the lights.  Before the hedgehog could go to bed, he had to build a fire to heat his now empty home.   While the hedgehog scampered about, he watched as his human friend walked through the forest to the creek, and then up the hill past the thorn bush.  Soon Cobalt had disappeared, and a little fire was going in the stove.  Pudgy washed himself up, and then turned off the lights.  He climbed into his bed and got under all the covers.    As the hedgehog started to fall asleep, he whispered, “Merry Christmas Everyone.”

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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