Land of Sorrow: Chapter 1: Air Force

Cobalt had just woken up a couple minutes ago and was just buckling the top button of his pants, when he noticed a strange sight approaching the front of his home.  There was a white Pennsylvania state police car leading two large black vehicles.  They looked like Suburban(s) and had dark limousine tinted windows.  Hurriedly, he put on his shirt, then his boots, and then started to head downstairs.  While descending the stairs, the man held onto the handrail, and noticed shadows starting to move behind his front door’s curtain.   The door had a oval piece of glass, which meant that for privacy and to keep the heat in for the winter, a beige thermal curtain was required.   The doorbell rang, “one moment, please,” he called out as he moved the curtain back.  There was a state police officer standing there in his gray uniform, and the police hat on, with the black chin strap just below his lower lip. 

The worried man opened the door, “hello Officer, is everything all right?”  The pale skinned officer’s blue eyes locked onto his, “Are you Cobalt?”  The state police officer’s tone was matter of fact and had a piercing glare.  This was par for the course with most officers, so the worried man nodded, “yes, how can I help?”  The officer turned and motioned to the black SUV vehicles to approach, which pulled in on opposite sides of the police car.  Cobalt’s home did not have a garage or driveway, but there were parking spots in front of the house along the road.  The neighbors would be thrilled when all the empty spots were taken up by official looking vehicles.  As the gray clad officer stood silently, he watched Cobalt and then occasionally the vehicles behind him.  Two doors opened on the black vehicle that had parked to the left of the state police car, and a couple men exited the vehicle.  They were dressed in navy blue uniforms and a variety of military insignia on them.  As they walked around, each placed a hat on their head, and then approached the beige brick home’s front door.  The men were around their late 50’s to early 60’s and approached with a gait that could clearly reveal military training. 

Cobalt could recognize the insignia: these were Air Force uniforms.  The officers approached and looked at Cobalt with a determined glare, as they sized up the tall overweight man dressed in blue jeans a flannel shirt.  “That will be all for now, Officer Jackson, we will take it from here.”  The state police officer nodded, gave a look to Cobalt, and then returned to his patrol car.  As he stood in entry way to his home, the worried man felt under dressed in the presence of all these officials.  The two Air Force officers were fair skinned, with gray hair, and piercing blue eyes.  They approached the front patio and stopped at the threshold of the front door.  “Cobalt I presume, we have come here to talk to you, and a hedgehog friend of yours.”  Cobalt nodded as he realized the day had finally come, that the authorities were aware of the multitude of adventures his little hedgehog friend had.  Nodding to the men, Cobalt coughed a bit and then said, “would you like to come in?”  The two officers nodded, and while the state police car backed out of the parking spot, the two superiors entered the home.  Shutting the door behind him, Cobalt turned and watched the men enter his living room.  “Would you like some coffee?  I apologize, I just got up, so I need to make it through.” 

The one officer nodded, “Yes please.”  The other officer noticing a large painting on the wall of an autumn forest hanging on the wall, “that is a nice painting.”  Cobalt nodded, “Thank you, I got that at a store nearby.”  His hands were shaking, as he scooped the coffee grounds into the basket, and then filled the water into the maker.  Turning it on, the smell of coffee perking soon filled the kitchen.  Cobalt entered his living room through the dining room pass through and motioned to his couch. “Would you like to sit down; the coffee should be ready soon.”  The two officers nodded, and then sat on the couch.    As Cobalt pulled up a dining room chair, he sat down so he could face the two men.  “How can I help you?”  The man with the two stars on his lapel nodded, and took off his hat, sitting it down on a brown coffee table.  “I am Major General Williams, and this is Colonel Jackowski.”  The colonel’s uniform did not have stars, but an eagle insignia of some sort.  The colonel took his hat off and set it down on the same table.   Major General nodded, “we’ve come here to talk to you about your hedgehog friend, and his association with the supposed future ruler of the earth: Doomcock.”

Cobalt nodded, “I see.” The man said, but before he could respond, the Colonel stared to speak once more. “When your hedgehog friend was detained by the US Coast guard in New Orleans, he revealed many things that the two of you had been involved with.  Ordinarily we would take reports like these as wild unfounded stories.  But when an entire drilling rig disappeared on lake Pontchartrain, military leadership of many branches started to take notice of odd occurrences occurring within their jurisdictions.  And these oddities continued to occur, with your hedgehog friend showing up in places worldwide, we started to not be able to ignore these strange events.”  As the two men stared through Cobalt, the coffee was finished percolating.  While their host stood up, the superiors watched as Cobalt headed to the kitchen.  Once he had reached the kitchen, it was hard not to notice that a military police officer was now standing in his front entryway.  “Hello, would you like some coffee too officer?”  Cobalt said with a worried smile and watched as the officer shook his head now. 

The Military Police: MP officer was dressed in a heavy black winter outfit, gun belt with a serious looking firearm holstered, a night stick, and the air force insignia in a variety of places on his uniform.  Thankfully for Cobalt, he had washed out the carafe and coffee service set for when his mother came over to visit.   Filling the carafe with the steaming hot coffee, he sealed it before getting milk from the fridge for the cream pourer.  After filling the creamer, he returned the gallon of milk to the refrigerator.    Placing the items on a metal tray, the worried host carried everything into the living room, to set down in front of the officers on his couch.  Cobalt also noticed that the MP was now sitting in the living room in a recliner, looking at the crazy big television set on the long wall.  Cups were arranged on the tray, and then the worried man started to pour the coffees in their respective cups.  Cobalt spoke nervously, “I’m sorry I do not have cream, but I do have milk.  I don’t normally put sugar in my coffee, so if it is a solid chunk, I have packets in the kitchen.”  The two officers shook their heads, “this will be sufficient.  Now, Cobalt, while we are aware of your activities, we do have some questions.  So, in order to fill in the gaps: let us hear from the beginning everything that has been going on here.”

After taking a cup of coffee for himself, Cobalt sat back down on his chair, turning in such a way he could see all the two command officers and the MP.  Taking a sip of coffee, Cobalt then began to tell his story after he had swallowed the drink.  There was no use of hiding or papering over things, as the man realized that he was possibly in a lot of trouble.  Honesty was the best policy, so he started from the beginning, and told the grand tale of Pudgy and his adventures.  The first story was about the journey to the center of the earth, meeting Lord Doomcock, and then the return.   The superior officers sat forward and listened intently, though interrupted many times, asking for clarifying details. Multiple digital recorders had been set out on the coffee table, as well as by the MP sitting in the recliner, to record the conversation.  The coffee was quickly drained, which required a second pot to be made.  Cobalt asked if he should put a second pot on, to which the room nodded in agreement.  It was times like this, that he wondered if he should purchase a commercial coffee pot, so he could make more than 12 cups at a time. 

After the coffee was made, and the carafe filled once more, the host returned from the kitchen.  Cobalt sat down, and then began to tell the second grand story of Pudgy saving Christmas and Santa Claus. This story drew looks of confusion and amusement by the assembled men, until Doomcock came up again.  The giant robot fighting the giant lizard creature drew much conversation.  Santa’s castle also drew many questions, but Cobalt could not answer them as Pudgy had those details.  The MP raised his hand, and asked for a cup of coffee, Which Cobalt served him after the superiors’ cups were refilled.  After that task had been completed, the next tale told was that of Pudgy’s trip to the moon.    During this story, all occupants began to question from all sides, so quickly it was hard to keep track of them. But somehow Cobalt was able to answer them, with the existence of the moon dinosaurs causing all questions to cease.  The story continued of the battle that occurred on and over the moon, and the defeat of Cthulhu, with Pudgy’s return to the earth.  As places were mentioned, the MP was furiously writing down things on a yellow legal sized paper tablet.  The little hedgehog eventually returned to his forest, for a scant period of peace and quiet. 

It was then when the two friends focus returned to the forest, and Pudgy headed south on a civil war adventure. This story drew the least number of questions, as the intended subject of the conversation did not appear much, but the men listened wide eyed and mouths agape.  When Doomcock disappeared, Pudgy headed to New Orleans via a steam ship to save him.   It was at this point in the story, that the officers requested a pause.  Two pots of coffee and a hours long interrogation yielded certain effects on the human body.  After showing where the powder room was, the various men took turns, before returning to their seats.  Cobalt put another pot of coffee on, and then grabbed the box of pastry cakes he had bought from the store.  He set them out on the tray and waved at the MP. “Hey, you want a twinkie?”  The officer at first did not move but nodded.  Cobalt tossed him over two twinkies, and then grabbed one for himself.  When the colonel returned, he laughed a bit and sat down grabbing a cake.  Once the remaining officer returned, and motioned for the story to continue, Cobalt did so.  The story concluded with Pudgy being cast out from Xanadoom, and having his credentials revoked.  The steam ship broke down, which required Cobalt to drive to Kentucky to pick up the stranded hedgehog and fox.  They never saw the lord of the earth again, though he continued his show on YouTube. 

As the room grew quiet, Cobalt cleared his throat, “but the adventure didn’t end there.”  The MP excused himself and headed outside to grab more tablets.   The two officers were sitting there with bewildered looks, that this amount of activity had happened here without their knowledge.  The Major General blinked and took a sip from his cup.  “What else is there to tell?”  When the MP returned from outside, along with another MP officer, they sat down in the quickly filling living room.   Cobalt then started to tell the story of Pudgy’s revolutionary war adventure.  The part where the British ghosts were chasing the big red vehicle up the Pennsylvania turnpike drew astonished looks.  There had been reports of errant re-enactors that had run amuck awhile ago, but that had been dismissed as a fantasy.  Pudgy’s conscription to the continental army by General Washington drew smiles from the MP but looks of confusion from the Major General and Colonel.  The revelation of a still active General Washington guarding Valley Forge, as well as the dark entity in Britain quickly changed their expressions. 

Taking a breath, Cobalt then began to tell the story of Pudgy going on his World War one adventure.  The ghost soldiers from the great war made an appearance again, and the adventure took place all through the central part of the United States.  There was a tank battle outside of Branson at a decommissioned army base, and then a submarine battle in Texas on Cedar Creek Lake finished the battles.  Upon the return trip to PA via teleportation using a magic stone, and the appearance of the dark entity known as the Kaiser finished out the story.  The revelation of a tank with live ordinance, as well as a hidden submarine in a decommissioned base in the bottom of a Texas lake made the room deathly silent.  The officer’s hands started to shake as they held their cups.  Before they could interrupt, Cobalt then continued to the rescues mission to Mt. Rainier.  It was at this point in the story, that the Colonel snapped back to attention.  Cobalt pondered and decided to omit the most recent Christmas adventure.  This calculation was a safe bet, because he realized due to the way the men were sitting and looking at him, there tolerance for hedgehog adventures had been reached. 

The room’s occupants began had begun to tense up and tablets were readied once more for notes.  “This was an amazing story to say the least, which many parts I am finding hard to believe.  However,” He trailed off, and withdrew from his jacket’s interior pocket a picture.   The superior set the picture down so Cobalt could look at it.  There was Pudgy in the bi-wing plane, armed with rockets and a machine gun.  Cobalt looked down at the picture, and then back at the Colonel.  “This was taken over the Washington airspace.  “Our drones followed your hedgehog friend all the way from Mt. Rainier back to your home here in Pennsylvania.  So, I know that at least part of the story appears to be true.”  The Major General nodded, “This Kaiser you have been speaking of,” he said while taking a sip of coffee, “whom do you think that he is?”  Cobalt nodded, “Well, I am having difficulty researching whom he is exactly.  From what Pudgy told me, and what some of his friends have said, this man appears to be from Germany.  He also runs a company, though this appears to be a shell company, as I can find no reference or trace anywhere.” 

The MP officer looked up from his mountain of notes and changed the subject, “where is the plane now?”  Cobalt turned, “oh that is in my basement.  Would you like to see it?  I really need to stretch my legs.”  The assembled men nodded in unison, so the worried host stood up and motioned the group to follow him.  The stairs to the basement were adjacent to the living room, and with the light switch turned on, he started to descend the stairs.  Looking back, he noticed that the MP were going first before the officers, which made sense since who knows could be in the basement.  Cobalt continued to believe the best bet was to be open and friendly with them.  He knew that they were aware of a lot more than they were letting on.  Upon reaching the basement, there were beige walls, with a white suspended grid of ceiling tiles throughout the basement.  There was a wet bar that a previous owner had put into the home, but white plastic folding tables were everywhere.  All attention focused on the bi-wing plane sitting on one table, with a myriad of parts around it.  While one MP checked the mechanical room with its variety of tools, the other headed over to the computer desk with a laptop connected to an external monitor.  There was another computer on the opposite side of the desk, with a similar setup.   The Major General and Colonel headed over to the table and inspected the tiny aircraft.  To their amusement, when the tiny control sticks was pushed, the flaps and rudder moved. 

The MP officer touched the tiny machine gun and looked up at Cobalt.  “This was operational?”  Cobalt nodded, “I had to craft my own bullets to fit that caliber, but yes, Pudgy had about 10 rounds.”  The MP nodded, “that is not a lot of ordinance, I take it was meant for defense primarily?”  The officers nodded in agreement, as did Cobalt.  While the Major General was still inspecting and playing with the plane, the Colonel started to speak once more.  “Cobalt, where is Pudgy Hedgehog?  I was under the assumption he lived here with you?”  The worried man shook his head, “oh, he lives over in the forest.  Is it safe to assume you would like to meet him?”  The MP officers’ expression did not change, and their eyes were covered by thick dark sunglasses, but did nod.  “Pudgy does not live far from here, he’s over in the woods nearby.  I will take you over there, but I need to get my rifle and pistol.”  Cobalt walked over to the gun safe and worked the combination lock.  He took out a 22-caliber deer rifle with a scope and slung it over his shoulder, and then he clipped on a 38 pistol onto his belt.  The MP officers tensed up, and were taken aback when Cobalt asked, “the forest is no longer safe, so I hope those guns are loaded.  I have been attacked in the forest, as well as here in my home by the Kaiser’s forces.  Can one of you go upstairs and lock my front door please?”

A taller officer with a dark complexion nodded, and ran up the stairs, then ran back downstairs in a short time.  Cobalt remembered when he could do that without hurting his knees.  The other MP walked up to the table where Cobalt was standing and inspected his rifle.  “There’s not a lot of power in that rifle, why aren’t you using something better?”  Cobalt laughed, “Well I had my grandfather’s shot gun, but that exploded when I fired it.  80-year-old firearms are a bit problematic.  Major General, Colonel, do you have better shoes?  It snowed in the forest; I can lend you some boots.”  The two officers shook their heads, and the Major General pointed, “no thank you, let us go into the woods.”  The group exited the home through the basement door, and after it was locked, started to head through the back yards of the homes in the area.  There were snow drifts, and ice piles from recent snowfall remaining, but everything was a muddy mess.  Down the hill they went, with the MP officers falling on their rear ends when they slipped.  Their uniforms got muddy, resulting in the superior officers to decide that they would take another path down the hill.   Eventually they all were standing on the road across from the thorn bush when Cobalt stopped and looked left and right a couple of times. 

The Colonel, “why are you stalling?”  Woosh, a brown delivery truck flew by from out of nowhere, nearly clipping a MP with its mirror.  Cobalt grumbled, “that’s why, I have been nearly hit several times!”  The man motioning to follow, the group ran across the road, while yet another white delivery truck barreled towards them not even slowing down.  Upon reaching the thorn bush, they again descended a muddy hill to reach the forest floor.  Thankfully, no one fell down this time, since the hard packed ground had many flat stones which served as steps that they could use to descend.  Pudgy’s water wheel was turning quickly with the creek water, while the alternator whined while it made power for the underground home.  The assembled group of military officers were started to regret the declined offer of boots, as the woods were quite slick due to the recent snows.  The Major General pointed to the water wheel, “what is this?”  Cobalt turned, “It is how Pudgy’s house has power.  I also have a solar cell wired in, but with the winter months, it does not make a lot of power.  Pudgy’s home is over there,” the man pointed to a hillside. 

The group saw little round windows peeking out of a hillside, as well as a tiny round front door and a bigger round door nearby to it.  The group walked over the creek, and towards the underground home. The astonished men watched as a puff of woodsmoke escape from a tiny chimney sticking out of the ground.  Cobalt knelt beside the front door and tapped gently on it.  He could see Pudgy inside the windows, and his little friend was coming out.  The front door opened, and the storm door was picked up and propped open.  Pudgy waved, “hi Cobalt!”  It was then when Pudgy saw the other humans dressed in uniforms standing behind him looking astonished.  Cobalt pointed towards each man who accompanied him. “This is Major General Williams, and this is Colonel Jackowski.  The MP officers never introduced themselves, but they are with the two officers here.  They are from the Air Force, Pudgy.  I had to tell them everything.”  The hedgehog nodded and waved, “hello everyone, would you like to come into Pudgy house for tea and cookies?” 

The hedgehog scampered back inside the home before anyone could answer.  The Colonel’s mouth was agape and looked at Cobalt. “A … talking hedgehog?”  The two MP officers were standing beside trees, keeping an eye on the perimeter, and on Cobalt.  The home’s bigger round door started to open inwards, as it was a bifold, and soon the interior big room was revealed with Pudgy peeking over the door jamb.   One MP walked over and peeked his head inside. “It seems clear sir, it is tight though.”  The Major General and the Colonel walked over, and tentatively stepped inside the room, having to duck their heads.  They slid into the banquette seating and saw the fine woodworking throughout the underground home’s big room.  Pointing to the metal door to the left side of the room, “what is that?” The lead officer asked.   Pudgy bounced and wiggled his nose, “that is the power room, Cobalt tell Pudgy do not go inside.”  Cobalt chuckled, “it has the batteries, and wiring for the power systems.  The whole home is wired for LED lights, as well as USB power jacks.  Hey Pudgy, how’s the well doing?”  His little hedgehog friend pointed, “Pudgy having trouble with well, think frozen. But Pudgy have water inside, so good till thaw coming.”  The man nodded and watched the two seated officers trying to get comfortable. 

The Colonel spoke again, “Pudgy Hedgehog, your friend filled us in on many parts of your adventures.  We would like to hear your side, the whole story, and please start from the beginning.” Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy woke up and saw Pudgy mom smiling at him. It was all warm…” the hedgehog started to speak.  Cobalt laughed, “Um Pudgy, not that far back.  Let us start with the trip underground to see Doomcock.” The men started to laugh, and then were regaled with the grand tale once more.  Pudgy acted out scenes and did little dances along the way.  The MP officers even came over to watch the show, and all-in attendance were amazed at what had happened to the little critter.  Hours passed, and eventually the story wrapped up.  After a brief break to stretch everyone’s legs, and a chance to peek through the interior door to see the rest of Pudgy’s home, the assembled group reconvened within the large room and outside of the door.  The Major General cleared his throat and adjusted his jacket.  “Well, I must say, that is an amazing story.  I would accuse you two of making the whole thing up, but I believe you, since we have evidence to support many parts of your story.  I appreciate your candor.”

The Colonel nodded and spoke clearly while looking at Pudgy.  “We located Doomcock’s secret exit in Texas and have set the appropriate forces to monitor it.  We also have been in direct communication with him and have expressed our intentions.  Our mediators are currently in talks with Xanadoom, and the appropriate parties have been notified.  The existence of an underground base for all intents and purposes must be kept secret.  It is for that reason; we have been monitoring your activities here.”  Cobalt nodded, “I assumed as much.  Probably spy satellites are overhead taking pictures, as well as the occasional fly by of a predator drone.”   The colonel blinked, “I do not know what you are talking about. We were here originally to speak directly regarding the matter of the underground individual that will not be spoken of further. However, now with the revelation of another force that is of national security interests, we have an impasse.  The US Armed forces were willing to let you go, with the appropriate non-disclosure agreements signed, but now I am unsure.”

The Major General nodded, “from what you have described, it sounds like we have a German national that is intent on continuing the second world war.  A war, I might add we won and has been over for many decades.  I do not believe in the supernatural aspects of what you are describing, nor do I believe in the magic you have further outlined.  I do believe your story, that you are dealing with something or someone that needs to be investigated further.  For that reason, I think you should both come with us for further discussion.  I…” The Major General stopped mid-sentence as he noticed that Pudgy had tensed up and was staring into the forest.  Cobalt looked down, and then saw his little friend’s reaction change.  The man turned his back on the officers and started to unsling his rifle from his shoulder.  The MP officers turned as well, with their mouths agape.  Standing by the creek was a swirling cloud of black mist, that was forming into a thick miasma that seemingly was becoming a humanoid form.  Cobalt whispered, “Pudgy, shut the door.”  The hedgehog scampered over to a set of gears beside the door, and quickly started to turn the cranks.  The bi-fold doors started to swing shut, with the two officers seeing the swirling cloud of black mist. 

The black miasma floated towards the group of men, while Cobalt stepped out in front of the two officers.  The burly men were staring in disbelief, while their hands instinctively dropped to the pistols.   The cloud pointed a skeletal finger towards the underground home.  Speaking in a thick German accent, “Guten Tag, ich habe eine nachricht fur Pudgy Hedgehog.”   Cobalt translated in his head, and repeated, “you have a message for Pudgy?  All right, what is it?”  The black miasma rushed forward, and grabbed Cobalt’s throat, and lifted him from his feet.  Struggling, the man tried to break free, feeling his breath leave him.  He dropped the rifle and struggled for get his pistol out.  The forest started to sparkle, and his vision fade, but thankfully he was able to get his pistol and fire one round into the mist.   The creature howled and dropped its prey onto the ground.  The gun firing echoed through the forest, and unnatural howls and growls started to fill the woods.  The two MP officers watched in horror, frozen with fear, as Cobalt aimed the pistol upwards and fired again in the center of the dark miasma.  The creature roared again and started to float backwards towards the creek.  One MP walked quickly to Cobalt’s side, and then checked on him. 

The man was all right and was trying to pick up his 22 rifles.  The second MP pointed to the cloud, “I do not know what the fudge you are, but you are not welcome here.”  The two MP officers withdrew their pistols, which Cobalt recognized as 50 caliber desert eagles in a black finish and started to fire rounds into the dark miasma.   Cobalt rolled over, and sighting the rifle scope, saw another group of creatures flying through the forest.  He shouted, “Pudgy, brace the door, we have 4 more coming!  Tell the Major general about the bench!”  The two MP watched as Cobalt stared to sight and fire the rifle into the forest.  More of the back shrouded smoke creatures were flying through the trees and dodging the fired rounds from the deer rifle.  The officers had never revealed their names, until one shouted, “hey Washington, to your right!”  Washington was the dark-complexioned man, and he turned to watch as a shroud of smoke overtake Cobalt, and then fling him away like he had no weight.  Washington grumbled, “this was supposed to be an easy day!”

Meanwhile inside of Pudgy’s home, the little hedgehog was scampering about.  Pulling up braces to lock the bifold doors into place.  The two confused superior officers were watching as the hedgehog reacted to an unseen force.  Before Pudgy could react, the Major General scooped up Pudgy into his hands, and raised him to eye level. “What is going on Pudgy?”  The hedgehog’s eyes were darting back and forth, with his little legs still going. “The Kaiser sent his monsters here!  Pudgy thought had more time!  Please put Pudgy down, must protect you.  Inside the bench is a metal box, Cobalt said never open unless danger.”  The two officers looked at each other, and then the Major General set Pudgy back down onto the ground.  As the Colonel stood up, he found his seat was loose, and picked up.  Inside was a gun safe, but it was not locked.  Opening the lid, which was too heavy for a hedgehog to lift, there was another 38 revolver inside with a box of ammunition.  There was also a box of ammunition for a 22 rifle as well.  Retrieving the pistol, the Colonel put the seat back together and sat down.  The hedgehog continued to scamper back and forth once more, while lowering barricades into place for his home’s exterior.

On the outside, the shadowy creatures were everywhere, howling in pure evil with shrill noises that pierced one’s ears.  The noise was deafening, and while Cobalt weakly stood up to ready another shot, he could see Argente the silver fox peeking out from behind a large rock.  “Get inside and lock your door Argente!” The man shouted over the noise, and she nodded while darting back up the hillside.  She had to warn the other forest critters that lived nearby to her as well.  Cobalt watched as a shadowy creature start to follow her, until he fired off a shot from his rifle to pierce the creature’s interior.   Officer Washington saw the creature drop onto the ground, and smirked, “you need something stronger than a 22 Cobalt!”  The man laughed, “I had better ones, I had to sell them to pay for hedgehog adventures! Besides, I have help!”  The fair skinned officer turned and watched as a huge brown bear roared and swiped hard at the creature throwing it against a tree.  The bear stood up on its hind legs and roared again.  As Cobalt reloaded, he ran up beside Mr. Bear, “Glad you got here!”  The bear looked down as he dropped back to all fours, “I heard the gunfire, I see the monsters returned?” 

MP Washington pointed at Mr. Bear, “of course the bear talks, you are seeing this Murphy?”  The fair skinned MP nodded, “I’m seeing it, and I will take the help any day.  I wonder what else is in this forest?”  Cobalt laughed, “we have a tyrannosaurus that lives up the hill, but he is probably sleeping.”  The two men looked at Cobalt, who stood up and smirked, before another shadowy cloud started to fizzle out of the ground beneath him.   The man was flung high into the air.  Mr. Bear roared, and soon found himself also thrown from his spot as something continued to emerge from the ground.  The black miasmas one by one started to coalesce around a central figure.  As the form materialized, Cobalt landed hard back onto the ground, with Mr. Bear landing nearby.  Coughing hard the man struggled to get back up to his feet, watching as the two MP’s flung away with the back of the creature’s hands.  Full grown men were being thrown around like rag dolls, and it was clear that indeed something strong was required to stop this monster. 

The shadowy figure easily stood eight feet tall, with a long black cloak, and a wide brimmed hat.  Blood red eyes pierced through the void where a face should have been.  Mr. Bear watched Cobalt drop his weapons and run up to a tree that had something strapped to it.  The man grabbed the handle, and as the Velcro straps released, a long-handled axe was revealed.  With both hands on the wooden shaft, he swung hard and clipped the black figure’s leg cutting it off in a clean swing.  The creature roared in pain, thrashing its limbs as it started to fall.  Mr. Bear realizing this meant direct physical attacks would work, quickly rolled over to his feet and charged the creature as it tried to stand up.  His claws extended, he started to rake the creature’s black shrouded body.  As the military policy officers recovered, they saw the two wailing on the creature.  “Fudge yeah,” Washington shouted, and pulled out his night stick.  Murphy nodded, and then raced afterwards, as soon three men and a bear were beating the heck out of the creature.  But the creature had the last laugh, and then exploded into a shower of red sparkles.  Flinging its assailants against nearby trees, the shadowy creature began to reform itself.    Cobalt clothes were ripped and torn open, with several wounds were busted wide open cause blood to flow profusely.  Officer Murphy and Washington were also beat up and mud covered. The brown bear was laying on his side, trying to catch his breath and recover. 

“I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS!” The creature roared in a thick German accent.  As Cobalt looked up, the figure was pointing at the underground home.  “Pudgy Hedgehog!  Listen closely to me, all that you care about, all those who helped you, anyone who ever knew you shall know of me.  You will never know peace, never know quiet, I will always be there.  You will know the truest of fear, the wildest of terrors!  My plans will never be stopped, and I will have my vengeance.  This world will tremble, and quake with the fear my people knew. The past will not remain shrouded, and we will be set free once again!”  The creature extended its long claws and started to pierce Cobalt’s body.  The man wailed, as he was impaled with shadowy spikes.  Mr. Bear roared as he started to stand back up, only to be flung again into the forest.  Murphy looked up from the ground, at the black void that formed the body of the creature.  The light seemed to be pulled inside of it, like a black hole from the science shows.  Meanwhile in the little home  Pudgy was beside himself, hiding in his home, but watching his friends battle the Kaiser’s monsters once again.  When the Kaiser’s voice came out, it was clear that something had changed.  Pudgy thought the shades had been defeated, but they remained.  Their leader could still use their forms despite the host had ceased to be, from what the events unfolding seemed to suggest. 

Inside the big room, the Colonel was peeking through a crack in the door, relaying to the Major General what was occurring outside.  “Pudgy, you will open these doors now!” The Major General barked out in a commanding tone.  The hedgehog scampered back and frowned, “no, you are safe inside, Pudgy need keep door shut!”  The two officers barked again, “you are ordered to open the door!”  Pudgy frowned but saw the angry looks of the two men inside, and he nodded.  The little hedgehog lowered the door supports, and then started to work the cranks to start opening the bifold doors.  Once fully opened, the two officers could clearly see the forest scene.  The shadowy creature was standing menacingly, while its claws were thrust into Cobalt’s body.  A large brown bear was laying beside a tree, starting to bleed a bit from his face.  The two MP’s were on the ground, and mud covered.  As the Major General exited the home, he put his uniform hat on, and spoke in a commanding voice.  “You will stand down, whomever you are!  These men are under my command, if you have something to say, you say it to me!”   

The creature laughed insidiously, “ahh, that is the secret inside the home you were keeping Pudgy?  No matter, these pitiful fools can never stop me.  My forces are invincible,” The Colonel stepped beside his superior, “yeah, we beat you fudging kraut bastards once before, we can do it again.”   The superior looked at his subordinate officer with a sideways glance, and then took several steps forward.  “I presume you are the Kaiser that has been spoken of?”  The shadowy creature nodded and released its grasp on Cobalt.  The man’s body dropped back to the ground, and the long-extended arm returned to a normal length.  The black miasma shrouded figure pointed at the Major General. “Do not interfere in my activities, Major General Williams.  Lest your precious daughter not come home…” the monster trailed off.  The Major General expression did not change, nor did he blink, “you are bluffing, I know precisely what you are doing, and it will not work.  I order you to leave this forest!”  The creature laughed and roared evilly deep from within.  “Order me?  I am your Kaiser!  Your pitiful words mean nothing to me!”  The creature turned its gaze to the open round door to the big room and watched as Pudgy climbed up to the jamb.  “I see you there, hedgehog!  Watch as I dispatch your friends without a second thought!”

Pudgy shook his head and pulled out the golden talisman he wore in his vest.  “Pudgy open gate to North, you go away monster!”  Pudgy started to float off the jamb, and the talisman glowed with a bright light.   A light beam shot out between the two officers and struck the creature squarely in its chest.  Howls of pain filled the air, while the two astonished officers looked down at the hedgehog glowing beside their hips.   The two astonished superior officers looked down, and the Major General nodded, “All right, the magic part was real.”  The Colonel smirked, “I wonder if the Santa part was real too?”   The two superiors laughed, and watched as the shadowy creature slowly disappear, until the forest was quiet once more.    Pudgy dropped to the ground, and his quills were still sparking with electricity.  His brown fur was turning white again, in splotches all throughout his body.  The talisman was tucked back into his vest, while he tried to catch his breath. 

As the assembled group of military officers and police recovered, Cobalt stood up.  He was beat up and bloodied, but thankfully nothing had pierced his body.  The man was walking around bare chested, which was not a good look, as he was out of shape.  But the fact that he had went first, and worked with the MP officers, had raised the assembled group of military men’s opinion of him from the morning visit at the house.   The Major General nodded, “good work everyone.  Wait, is that a bear?”  The large brown bear was walking up to the group of men, and waved his paw, and then stood up on his hind legs and attempted to salute.   The superiors were amazed, and then returned the salute.  The Colonel spoke, “at ease solider, did you serve?”  The bear nodded, “Yes sir, I worked with the 911 refueling wing in Pittsburgh.”  The two superiors blinked, and the Major General coughed, “I did not know we had animals working for the air force?  I will need to check certain reports again.” 

Cobalt smiled weakly, and entered Pudgy’s big room, and got out the first aid kit from under the banquette seat.  While the injured man started to patch himself up, the assembled military men looked at Mr. Bear and Pudgy Hedgehog.  It was abundantly clear that something very wrong was happening not just in this forest, but elsewhere in the world, and they had no idea of its cause nor extent.  It made the worried officers ponder the possibility of an unknown future.  How would they combat spectral and magical forces with conventional weaponry?  The other question was, do they bring them in for further questioning?  There was a myriad of questions today, but now that the monster had been dispatched, everyone started to relax.  But one thing was certain, the peace was over, and war had again returned to the forest. 

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 “Land of Sorrow: Chapter 1: Air Force”

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