Hours had passed since the hedgehog had taken off from the aircraft carrier. The little plane was back at 5,000 feet and was flying in a north east direction. The ocean was vast, and stretched in all directions, with white puffy clouds floating around all sides of the plane. The radio had gone silent, as well as the GPS notifications, with the only sound being that of the engine with its familiar hum. Pudgy was extremely glad that Cobalt put in a heater, because without it, he would have been freezing cold. In time though, he started to see the outlines far below of an island. Checking his paper map, and breaking a piece from the USMC cookie, the hedgehog nibbled while trying to figure out where he was.
“Ire … Land?” The little hedgehog said with his mouth full. As the plane continued to approach, the GPS fired back up, and pinged from someplace called Cork. One by one, the instruments started to react, and soon a new set of voices filled the radio. The accents were thick, but in English, so Pudgy could sort of understand them. Soon however, the plane was back over the ocean, and the island was passing behind him. The hedgehog had been using the goddess’s magic talisman to preserve his fuel, but even magic had its limits. External tanks 1, 2 and 3 were empty. Cobalt had rigged the external tanks to drain first before the main fuel tank would be accessed. The main tank was still three quarter full, but his paws were starting to hurt holding the magical device.
The GPS went dark again, and flickered several times, before it resynchronized with the next tower. Pudgy read out loud, “Wales?” The critter was incredibly happy to see land passing below the plane. It was a sea of pale green and brown, with patches of snow scattered about. Pudgy remember when he chatted with Purple, she said that it did snow in the United Kingdom, but it was not often. They very rarely had to shovel, let alone need to use a snowblower. Checking the map, he saw the plane was passing over a place called Llandovery. Doing some math in his head, the little critter’s nose twitched, and he finished the cookie. Math was hard, but gingerbread cookies made math easier. He figured it would be about an hour more to go till he got to Purple’s house.
Very importantly, Cobalt had loaded aerial photos over his friend’s home. The GPS also would help him locate her house. So, easing the stick forward, Pudgy started to descend the airplane. Of course, once that occurred, very proper sounding British men started to talk over the radio. There was an unlisted flight that had appeared on their radar over Hereford. Pudgy was staying quiet, until someone started to speak over the air force radio channel. “This is Air Commodore Winston, welcome to the United Kingdom Pudgy Hedgehog. Your American counterparts advised you would be approaching our airspace soon.” The hedgehog wiggled his nose and pushed the transmit button. “Hello Air Commodore, Pudgy flying to Birmingham.” The radio had banter in the background, as the other Royal Air Force personnel chatted amongst themselves. Why on earth someone would use Pudgy hedgehog as their call sign, they did not know?
The commanding officer laughed, “yes, we have been informed of that. Please descend to 500 feet, we are going to send a helicopter to escort you.” Pudgy nodded, “okie dokie sir!” The plane continued its descent, and when the critter plane’s altimeter read out 500 feet, he levelled the plane. The English countryside quickly sped below his plane, and he watched as farms spread in all directions. He wondered if somewhere down there if hedgehogs were playing and having adventures too? He wiggled in his seat, as he had gone numb again, and sipped from a little nozzle that was connected to a water bottle. As the GPS read out in a robotic voice, “Worcester,” Pudgy saw a helicopter whiz past him at a terrific rate of speed. It was so quick; he could not get a good look at it.
The astonished RAF airmen who were piloting the helicopter were cursing when they passed the tiny plane. As they made a bank turn to circle back, the helicopter came to fly alongside the tiny plane. Pudgy watched as a green helicopter, with a yellow top part where the engine was connected to the blades, pulled up to fly beside his plane. Turning, Pudgy waved at the pilots. The men had open mouths and were pointing at the plane. In a couple of moments, Pudgy received a communication from his friends flying beside him. “This is Flying Officer Davenport … Pudgy Hedgehog, what sort of plane is that?” The hedgehog bounced in his seat, “Pudgy friend Cobalt tell Pudgy, that this is Curtis P-40 Warhawk.” The pilots nodded and pointed at the engine with its painted tiger mouth on the engine. The pilot laughed, “over here we call those Tomahawks. Well, please stay safe Pudgy, and be aware we will be watching.” The critter waved again, and then watched as the helicopter flew away.
Another hour passed, and Pudgy started to recognize places he had seen before as the space craft flew over the city of Birmingham. He also continued to descend and was starting to skirt the tops of the tallest pine trees in the city. Lower and lower he went, causing people to point up to the skies as the tiny olive drab airplane, with its American flag on the tail passed by overhead. He passed by a very tall white stone office building and watched as office workers all stared and pointed as he passed by. The GPS picked up again and started its turn-by-turn directions. As the hedgehog was following the road instructions, he also dodged the occasional confused bird. Upon reaching her street, the hedgehog pulled the lever to lower the landing gear. Tense minutes passed, and the occasional delivery truck to dodge, Pudgy landed his plane on the street.
An elderly man dressed in a grey wool coat was walking with his grandson, with both staring at the tiny olive drab green plane pass by. Pudgy waved, which drew a wave and smile from the child. “Grandpa look, there went a tiny plane with a hedgehog in it!” The older man blinked and smiled, “I think I recognize that critter. Michael, let us go see if we can find that plane.” The older gentleman stopped, and with the assistance of a wooden cane, turned and began to walk slowly. The little boy bounced and held his grandfather’s hand, “did you ever fly a plane like that Grandpa?” The older man smiled, “well, mine was a lot bigger, and it did not have a tiger painted on its engine.”
The two humans walked slowly, as the elderly man’s speed was slightly faster than hedgehog speed. Of course, having two bad knees and a hip replacement would slow anyone down. In time though, they reached a row of homes, and the tiny plane parked in a driveway. The little hedgehog was climbing out of the cockpit, while a beautiful woman with red hair was running around the house. The little boy looked up at his grandfather when he saw the elderly man’s expression change. “Grandpa, what is it?” The man looked down, “Grandson, do you remember when I returned from Warwick castle? I helped that hedgehog fight a monster. We will come back tomorrow. Your mother will be very cross if I do not get you home soon.”
Purple had just dressed herself when she heard a motor running in her driveway. After pulling a purple t-shirt on over her head, she maneuvered through her bedroom, to reach the front window of her home that looked out towards the street. There was a tiny olive drab green plane pulling up into her driveway, complete with a menacing looking tiger mouth painted on the engine compartment. “Oh my, Pudgy made it all the way from New Jersey!” She exclaimed while running through her home, nearly tripping over her dog Eddie. She put some purple and white tennis shoes on. Putting her keys in her front pocket, the excited woman opened the door and ran outside. A quick jog down the stairs that ran on the outside of her home, which led to her driveway. “Pudgy! You are here, welcome back to Birmingham. My word, look at your plane?!?”
The little hedgehog was climbing out of the cockpit and fell onto the ground. “Pudgy can’t feel bottom … HI PURPLE LADY!!!!” The little critter was on his back, and waiving his paws at her, as he tried to get feeling back into his lower part of his body. The woman smiled and giggled, while she walked around the plane taking it all in. “My word, Cobalt really did go all out this time.” As she reached the tail of the aircraft, she noticed an elderly man with his grandson across the street staring at the plane. She waved, “Hello Mister Williams, as you can see, I have company.” The little boy was pulling his grandfather excitedly across the street. The elderly man was walking behind, laughing, “all right, all right, we will go see the plane Oliver.” Oliver ran around and saw Pudgy stretching beside the plane. The little boy picked up the hedgehog roughly and ran back to his grandfather.
“Grandpa look, it really was a hedgehog flying the plane!” Oliver shouted excitedly, which drew a smile from the elderly man. Purple started to speak, “Oliver, please be gentle with Pudgy, you shouldn’t hold him like that.” The little boy watched as Pudgy started to let go, and a stream of liquid escaped the hedgehog. Thankfully, he was not being held close, so there would not need to be an explanation of why Oliver’s clothes were dirty. Purple smiled, and gently took Pudgy from Oliver, and watched as the hedgehog started to bounce again happily in her hands. Pudgy waved, “Hello, Pudgy remember you from Warwick Castle! You were with the RAF and helped Pudgy take on the shade monster.” The woman looked down at her little friend, and then up at Mr. Williams. The man smiled, “Yes, I remember that day. A couple of the lads and I decided to get dressed up for a reunion, and was planning on heading to the pub. Then ghosts, a banshee, and a German shadow monster started to attack a hedgehog from America.”
The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy never got a chance to say thank you mister. Thank you,” the critter said while wiggling his nose. Oliver was beyond excited, and the little blonde-haired boy with round glasses was busy inspecting the plane. The elderly man smiled, “you are very welcome my good lad. I would much enjoy a good story as to what was the cause of all of that nonsense though.” Purple smiled, “well, you caught Pudgy on another grand adventure. So, once we secure the plane in the garage, I was going to take him inside for tea and biscuits. Would you and your grandson like to accompany us?” Oliver tugged at his grandfather’s wool coat, “please Grandpa?” The elderly man laughed, “your mother will be very cross, but all right.” The boy bounced and helped Purple push in the airplane into the garage that was on the front of her home. The plane just barely fit, but since there were no garage doors, blue rubber storage containers were pulled in front of the plane’s tail. A gray tarp was then thrown over the plane, to disguise it further.
Purple scooped up Pudgy from the ground and motioned both Oliver and Mr. Williams to follow her. In a matter of minutes, the younger humans were able to get up to the front door. Mr. Williams however was having a devil of a time getting up the stairs and was leaning heavily on the cane and the hand railing, to pull himself up the stairs. He grumbled about stairs, getting old, and many other matters. Eventually he was able to reach the front door wheezing hard, and hands shaking. The trio of humans entered the home, and soon were sitting down around the living room. Pudgy then began to tell his grand tale. The little boy and his grandfather listened in amazement. Their hostess put the kettle on and started to make the tea. Thankfully, she had gone shopping the day before, so she had a supply of biscuits. When she returned with a tray of biscuits and cups of tea, she sat the tray down beside Pudgy. The hedgehog was on her coffee table and had just got to the part of Warwick castle.
The story ended, with Purple giving Pudgy an annoyed look. “Then Pudgy teleported away, and never let me say goodbye.” Pudgy frowned and started apologizing. The woman giggled, and patted his head, but noticed the funny white spots and gray discoloration throughout his quills and fur. As she served tea to Oliver and Mr. Williams, Pudgy continued his tale. The existence of ghost soldiers, the tank battle in Missouri with Loki, and then the submarine battle on a lake in Texas, drew audible gasps from the room’s human occupants. The hedgehog sipped from a saucer of tea, and then continued with the rescue mission to Mt. Rainier to save Hecates’ Daughter. It was then when the Kaiser’s description resulted in an audible grunt from the elderly soldier. Oliver was fascinated, and sipped the tea, while hanging on every word.
After Pudgy paused, he started to tell of the Kaiser’s appearance in the forest. How all of his friends were attacked worldwide by the shadow monsters. Purple nodded, “yes that was scary, they tried to get inside my house. I talked to Starry, the monster tried to pull one of her boys out of the bedroom window.” Oliver shrieked but calmed when Pudgy spoke of the talisman, and the trip to New Jersey to meet the Rabbi. The shadow monster was obliterated with the aid of a holy coin. The little plane was fueled, and then flew all the way to Purple’s home. The hedgehog, realizing that the military may not like it if he revealed their involvement, omitted the part regarding the stop on the carrier. The elderly soldier nodded and sipped the tea. “Hmm, it sounds like those kraut bastards are trying to come back. Pudgy, your friend Cobalt … where does he think the Kaiser is?”
The hedgehog nodded, “some place called Obersalzberg.” The elderly man started to choke, which drew a look of concern from Oliver. The little boy swallowed his biscuit, “Grandpa are you ok?” Mr. Williams nodded, “Yes. That is the summer retreat for Adolph Hitler. After the war ended, the allies destroyed that place. Why would anyone go back there?” The critter waved his paws, “because there is a museum there now. The Kaiser is collecting artifacts for some reason. Cobalt thinks something really bad is there.” Purple frowned, “my goodness, Pudgy, this sounds really bad. We should contact the authorities, maybe even the military?” Before anyone could speak, there was a knock on the door. Purple stood up, and then walked over and opened her front door. Outside on the covered porch, there stood a man dressed in a dark blue RAF uniform. The man had a silver flecked black beard and piercing brown eyes. “Good afternoon Sarah, might I inquire if you had a hedgehog stop by for a visit?”
The woman laughed, “Pudgy, the RAF are here to see you. Would you like to come in, I just served tea?” The soldier smiled and took off his uniform hat and followed her inside. There was already an elderly man and his grandson inside sipping tea. Mr. Williams stood up and saluted, which the soldier returned the salute. “Mr. Williams, it is good to see you once more. Oh, and I see Pudgy hedgehog is here as well.” The little critter waved, “Pudgy recognize your voice, you were nice man in helicopter that flew beside the plane.” The unformed man nodded, “yes. I see you forgot my name though, Flight Officer Davenport. So, did I miss the debriefing?” Mr. Williams laughed, “yes, but I think our hedgehog friend can tell the story again. There were a few parts I wanted to ask some questions about.” So, while Purple handed a cup of tea to Davenport, Pudgy began to tell his tale once more.
After the story was finished, Oliver and his grandfather had to leave. His mother indeed was very cross, when the afternoon visit, was dragging on into the evening. Soccer practice was missed, and the coach was inquiring as to the child’s absence. Sarah waved, and thanked the two for stopping by. Davenport shook hands, and saluted once more, before returning to his seat. With the door closed, the woman looked at Pudgy, “I see from the arrival of the RAF, the authorities have been notified. I take it, you glossed over some parts in the story?” The flight officer nodded, “he is working with the United States Air Force. They in turn notified us of this operation, so my appointment here was to ascertain what is going on?” The woman nodded, “the situation is bad, but Pudgy has many friends helping, so we can stop the Kaiser once and for all. Pudgy, what is the plan though?”
The critter sipped some tea and wiggled his nose. “The rabbi told Pudgy, there is another temple in Mechelen, Belgium. That rabbi will be able to provide another holy coin, to increase the power of talisman. Once Pudgy has coin, and another refueling, will fly the airplane to Obersalzberg. Hecate’s Daughter is already there and will help Pudgy take on the Kaiser. But, Pudgy worried,” the hedgehog trailed off. Davenport nodded, “I concur with your worry, my little friend. From everything you described, it sounds like the Kaiser might not be there. What would be the next place to check?” Sarah looked at the hedgehog who was starting to look incredibly sad, “what is it Pudgy?” The critter sniffled, “the Rabbi told Pudgy of a horrible place called Auschwitz. Cobalt told Pudgy, Hecate’s daughter concerned if Kaiser went there, would be unstoppable.”
The two remaining humans frowned, and Sarah was the first to speak. “Yes, that would be unbelievably bad indeed. I have seen ghost shows that the camp is incredibly active. So much so, that the tours had to stop.” The soldier nodded, “yes, I remember that program. Pudgy, Sarah, I must report back to the base. Please do not leave until we have cleared your departure. I will call the phone number associated with this home to advise when it is safe to depart. I believe we may need to inform our NATO allies of this operation. But then again, perhaps the American plan of this being a secret operation is best. I do not have to remind you Sarah, this is classified. I do not wish to return, to make your life difficult.” The woman nodded, “yes I will keep this secret.” Davenport stood up and put on his hat. When Pudgy saluted, the soldier smiled and returned the salute. He exited the home, with Sarah shutting the door behind him. Turning back to Pudgy, “so you are now a soldier?”
The woman walked back over to her couch and sat down opposite from Pudgy. She reached out, and gently picked up the critter and started to hug him softly. “Oh Pudgy, one of these days, I really hope your visit does not coincide with a worldwide catastrophe.” She giggled, and listened to the missing part of his story, where he got to land on the aircraft carrier. She could only imagine their reaction and resumed hugging the hedgehog. Out of the corner of her eye, her gray Pug trotted out and sat down at her feet looking up expectedly. Smiling, “Eddie, I know, it has been a busy day. This is Pudgy, he stopped by for a visit again.” The dog barked and wagged his tail as he looked up at the tiny hedgehog in his human friend’s arms. “Pudgy, I need to make supper for myself and Eddie. Are you still hungry?” The critter shook his head, “no, Pudgy full on yummy biscuits.” Nodding, she sat Pudgy down on the couch. “All right, I will make supper, and be right back.” As the woman stood up, the dog at her feet bounced, and ran off to the kitchen.
The critter stretched out, and soon fell fast asleep. He was exhausted from an exceptionally long time in the plane. When he woke up, he was in his friend Sarah’s lap looking up at her. She giggled when she saw the hedgehog covering his eyes slightly, so he would not get in trouble. “Pudgy, it is all right. Did you have a nice nap?” The critter bounced happily, “Yes, Pudgy feel better. Can we call Cobalt now?” The woman nodded and smiled, “I think that is a good idea.” She reached for her smart phone and started texting Pudgy’s friend. Soon a video call was started, and Cobalt was in a little square on the phone’s touch screen. The hedgehog waved and started to tell all about the flight to the carrier, and then to Purple’s house. The 2 visits by the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom surprised the man a bit, but was glad they were escorted and did not shoot down the plane.
Cobalt coughed a bit, “Pudgy, I had another long conversation with our military friends, as well as Rabbi Elazar. I have more information, about the next leg of our plan.” Sarah nodded, and petted Pudgy gently. Then realizing the camera angle was shooting video basically up her nose, decided to reposition Pudgy on her shoulder. Once the camera angles were fixed, Cobalt laughed and continued his discussion. “In Mechelen, Belgium is a holocaust museum. It is called Kazerne Dossin, and it is along a river. The building is a big white rectangular building, with a huge courtyard in the middle. I am unsure if you could land the plane there, so I am suggesting the big grassy park beside it. Rabbi Elazar has spoke with Rabbi Aharon, who will meet you there. The Belgium Rabbi’s temple is to the south in Brussels, but he is the Rabbi in residence at the museum. Once there, he will talk to you, but would not commit to giving you his coin. When Elazar told him what happened, the reaction resulted in a couple dropped calls, most likely from him overreacting.”
Sarah sighed, “or cursing loudly, that the Nazi army was returning. And not the fake Nazi’s, real ones who committed all the atrocities throughout Europe during world war 2. I remember my grandmother’s stories, hiding in the London subway during the blitz.” Pudgy looked up, “blitz?” The woman frowned, “the German army sent waves of constant air attacks to the United Kingdom. Constant aerial bombardment, huge parts of the cities were blown up from above. Thousands died,” she trailed off sadly. Pudgy looked sad, but before he could say anything, Cobalt started to speak again. “Pudgy, this was a terrible time. Therefore, people actively work towards peace, and why we must never forget our history.” Sarah nodded, “lest we repeat it again in the future.” The man nodded, “Exactly,” he said while pulling up some papers.
“Pudgy, I also received a telephone call from Eris. She is all right, but when I explained what is happening in Obersalzberg, she would not listen to me. Darned woman decided to head to the museum to scope things out for us, she was too excited to help on a Pudgy adventure. I have not heard anything from our demigoddess friend Angeliki.” Sarah looked confused, and Cobalt nodded while explaining. “Hecate’s Daughter’s name is Angeliki. I was politely corrected she is not a woman, but a demigoddess. Although, if I say woman enough times, I sometimes can hear her in my head correcting me.” The man started to laugh, which made Purple smile as well as Pudgy bounce happily on her shoulder. “Pudgy, I received a strange call from an army intelligence officer. But after speaking with the man for a couple of hours, I realized what he was after. It was the hidden naval base at the bottom of the lake in Texas, and the abandoned tank base outside of Branson.” Sarah blinked, “oh my, I wonder why he would want more information on that?”
Pudgy rubbed his nose, “Cobalt, is that where the treasure passed through?” The critter watched his friend nod, “exactly Pudgy. Remember what our ghost solider friend told us. In the ocean off the coast of France, they came across a German fleet. The Hecates talisman, as well as several other treasures were on the ship. Each place the treasure stopped, there has been unforeseen accidents and mysterious happenstance.” Purple frowned, “I bet that the Army has records on the treasure, and they wanted to know where the talisman was?” Cobalt nodded, “the army believes that the treasure was being moved little by Hitler and the German forces to a secure location outside of the country. It is unclear if the Nazi forces were aware of what they had, but Hitler had a penchant for the occult. The Kaiser is continuing that same practice, and the museum at Obersalzberg, had brought a wide array of artifacts and treasures back to one place.”
Purple looked confused, “Cobalt, I am confused. Is the Kaiser … Adolph Hitler?” Pudgy frowned, and started to sniffle, “Pudgy hope not.” The man looked serious on his video square, “No, the armed forces do not believe that to be the case. They would not say how but could confirm that Hitler was indeed deceased. But I have a theory.” Purple frowned, and then petted Eddie who was sleeping beside her to the right. “Cobalt, what do you think we are dealing with?” Pudgy frowned, “it is a demon?” He nodded once more, “the two Rabbis spoke and told me about something called a Mazzikim. If what they are saying is true, then this demon could be thousands of years old. It would make sense to collect the holy and occult relics, to increase its power.” After a moment to take a sip of coffee, Cobalt nodded again and waved a piece of paper. “Oh, and there is also another lead, courtesy of our friend Mexican Iron Man.”
Purple cocked one of her brows up,” you have him helping as well?” Pudgy bounced, “how is he doing, did he get back safe from Mt. Rainier?” Cobalt smiled, “he’s fine. Lori lost her job when the Kaiser liquidated the company’s holdings. It caused a massive default, and then a slew of margin calls on her company. Lori is doing fine though, she started day trading, and is doing quite well. He got back to his home safe and had just recently met with her in New York City. The Kaiser’s company was a shell company, as we expected. But the Kaiser made a mistake and listed a mailing address in the business registration documents.” Purple looked at Cobalt with a sad expression, “where was the mailing address?” Cobalt sighed, “Brzezinka …. Poland. That is the city right beside Auschwitz. Pudgy, I let MP Washington know all about this. He has forwarded the information to his superiors, and I was informed that NATO was going to be notified of this.”
Purple sighed, a knot starting to form in her stomach, and then she heard Pudgy whimpering on her shoulder. “Cobalt, maybe Pudgy can’t handle this?” The man nodded, “I have the same concern.” Pudgy tugged gently on her red hair, “Pudgy have to go, have to stop the Kaiser. We will not be safe till he go away forever.” The woman picked up the hedgehog and started to hug him gently. Looking down to see the scared but determined little face looking back at her. “All right Pudgy …. all right,” she said while rocking him gently. Cobalt nodded, “you can see, he is determined, so all we can do is help him as best that we can.” He laughed, and then yawned. “Pudgy, Purple, I need to get going. Please call me again before you leave for Belgium. I suspect the RAF will also be stopping by again for a visit.” Ass Pudgy and Purple waved at the phone, the man disappeared and then the phone went dark.
The hedgehog yawned again, and Purple nodded. “It is very late here, so I think it is time for everyone to go to bed.” She hugged Pudgy again for a long time, before placing him on the couch. Pulling down a light crocheted purple and pink blanket, she covered up her tiny friend. In a matter of seconds, the hedgehog was out cold once more. Then the woman turned, and covered Eddie the dog with his favorite blanket. Standing up from the couch, she walked over and checked that her front door was locked. After a couple other items to check, Purple headed back to her bedroom and shut the door. In time, the home was quiet. Pudgy, Eddie, and Purple was warm and snuggly in their respective sleeping places. While she was worried, the sense of excitement of another hedgehog adventure made it hard to fall asleep. Though eventually sleep won out, and Sarah fell to sleep.
One reply on “Land of Sorrow: Chapter 6: Valkyrie”
Good to see Purple Valkyrie & the soldier from the previous story. I’m worried for Pudgy but excited to see what happens next.