Land of Sorrow: Chapter 7: Mechelen

Everyone within Purple Lady’s home slept soundly through the night.  As Sarah started to stir in her bed, she realized that today she had to go to work.  Despite how nice and warm her bed was, the covers were pulled back, and she exited her bed.  It was time for her normal morning routine to get ready for the day.  Before she started though, she checked the bedroom door to ensure if was fully pulled shut.  The last thing she needed was to explain why she looked a certain way to a curious hedgehog.    After checking the door, she turned and entered her attached bathroom. 

An hour or so had passed, she was looking in her mirror while applying her makeup.  She knew it would be extremely hard to concentrate today at her job.  Once she was ready for the day, she opened her bedroom door and walked through her home to the living room.  As the woman entered her living room, she checked on her guest.  The woman found Pudgy and Eddie still under their blankets on the couch.  The two animals were still asleep.  Smiling, she walked over to set out dog food and water in her pet’s favorite bowls by the sink.  She opened her cupboard, and got out a fresh back of biscuits, and a little plate.  She also filled up a saucer of water, and then returned to the coffee table to set out fresh food for Pudgy. 

The hedgehog sleepily yawned and watched as his friend was walking away.  She was so pretty, dressed in a set of black pants and a vibrant purple blouse.  With her black purse slung over her shoulder, the door opened and then closed behind her.  The hedgehog snuggled back under the blanket and fell back asleep.  Hours passed, but he woke again when Eddie decided he really needed to get from the couch.  The dog showed Pudgy where certain things were in the home, and soon the two were having a fun conversation.  The dog was amazed at all the little hedgehog’s adventures and had many questions. So, the time passed quickly by, when the two animals heard Sarah entering her home once more.     The two scampered up to her feet and ran around in circles happily.  The woman started to laugh and reached down to pet them both.  “I’m happy to see you both too.  Let me get changed, and then I can make supper.  Pudgy, I had a telephone call from Flying Officer Davenport earlier today.”

The two critters watched as Sarah walked through her home, so they decided to follow her.  That was until she noticed, and then gently shut the door.  Eddie whimpered, he wanted to go in, but this happened every day.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, so he squished down onto the floor.  Peeking under the door, he could see her feet walking around.  Pudgy pondered, and then was able to confirm, that yes, she had purple nail polish on her toenails.  And then this sling shot thing with white flowers dropped onto the floor.  So as Pudgy narrated what he was seeing, Eddie wagged his tail.  However, in a short time, the door opened with the amused woman looking down at the two of them.  “Ok you two, time for supper.”

She was giggling, and stepped over the two critters, heading back through her home to the kitchen.  While she started to poke around in the fridge, “Pudgy, the RAF said it would be all right for you to leave tomorrow.  It is just as well though, the weather is supposed to be bad anyway.  They mentioned that the Air Force informed them of your plane transponder, so they are now able to track you as well.”  Pudgy scampered up and started to hug her ankle, looking up her blue jean covered leg.  Smiling, she waved, and then continued to cook.  Eddie was waiting at his bowl expectedly, and watched as soon she opened the cupboard, and retrieved a can of food.  Opening it up, she walked over and then shook the can to drop its content into the bowl.  Eddie barked twice, and then started to eat. 

Sarah made her supper: which was grilled cheese, and a side salad.  She made a tiny sandwich for Pudgy and placed both on her kitchen table when they were ready.  Still giggling, she reached down and gently scooped up Pudgy to hoist up and place him on the table opposite of her plate.  Pulling out the chair, she sat down, and smiled when she watched Pudgy start nibbling the tiny grilled cheese.  The hedgehog was unsure what cheese she used, but it was not American.  But Pudgy realized that made sense since he was in Britain.  Pudgy started telling her all about what happened with Eddie today, which made her smile.  While it was not a grand adventure, it was still nice to hear.

Supper soon was concluded, and as the woman did the dishes, she listened to messages on her phone.  Then the phone started to ring, “hello Purple!  I heard you have a visitor?”  The woman smiled and looked down, “Hello Starry, yes Pudgy came to visit again.  He flew over here in a little plane, that Cobalt built him.”  In the background, excitedly little boys started bouncing, “Mom!  Can we go see Pudgy!”  The mother laughed, as she tried to find a room free of excited little boys.  Sarah picked up her phone, then the hedgehog from her table.  Walking over to the couch, she sat down, and placed Pudgy up on her shoulder.  Positioning the video phone, the critter could see Starry waving on the screen.  He waved back, “hi Starry!”

Purple asked Pudgy to tell a shorter version of what was going on, and soon the mother’s happy expression turned to concern.  After the story concluded, Starry spoke hesitantly, “is that what happened?  Pudgy, the Kaiser tried to grab my sons.  They were sucked out of their bedrooms and were almost out the door before I caught them.”  Pudgy frowned and whimpered, “Pudgy need to stop Kaiser, or no one will be safe.”  She nodded, “what can we do to help?”   Purple smiled a bit, “well can you stop at the petrol station and get some fuel?  We need to refuel the plane, so Pudgy can fly to Belgium tomorrow.”  The woman nodded, “yes I can most certainly do that.  My sons will never forgive me if we don’t come over to say hi to Pudgy.”  The two women started to laugh, and then chat about other local matters. 

Pudgy had a full belly, so he started to fall asleep, and before he knew it, had rolled down the front of his friend and landed in her lap asleep.  Starry laughed, “our story was so enchanting, we put him to sleep.”  Sarah laughed, and petted the hedgehog gently, while wrapping up the conversation.  He was safe, so the little critter was able to relax and recover.  He needed the time free from worry, a time of respite, for soon he was leaving once more.  The next thing Pudgy was aware of, was that he was covered under the blanket again with Eddie the dog on the couch, and the home was dark.  He was warm, snuggled under the blanket further to get more comfortable, and then fell asleep once more.

However, the light of dawn quickly appeared once more, and Pudgy could hear Sarah in the kitchen making a proper English breakfast tea.  Starry had texted the night before, she would be at the home around 8 am.  The hedgehog watched as soon his hostess arrived and sat down beside him.  Holding the saucer, the woman watched as the hedgehog scampered up and then started to sip the tea.  She giggled softly and looked down at her friend with a sad smile.  Pudgy would be going again today, but this time to the east.  To find a Rabbi, then off to fight a horrible monster.  She felt helpless and wanted to do more to help.  But she did not know how to, other than to be here for Pudgy to rest and recover.  “Pudgy, let us assume that you will be successful, what happens next?”

The hedgehog looked up at her, “Pudgy will fly plane back home. But fuel tank not big enough, will have to make a couple of stops.  Can Pudgy come back here?”  The woman smiled, and nodded, “I would like that very much, Pudgy.  Please promise me, you will stay safe, and return to me?”  The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy promise.”  The two friends sat quietly, safe for the errant snoring from the puppy dog on the opposite side of the woman.  However, the silence was broken soon, as two exited little boys started knocking on the front door.  Laughing while setting the teacup on the table beside her, Sarah stood up and walked the short distance to her front door.  Upon opening it, Starry was standing there, physically restraining the boys from leaping through the front door. 

Sarah smiled, and waved at Starry and her children. “Hello Starry, good to see you.”  Before she realized it, Pudgy had scampered out to the front door jamb, and was sitting beside her foot waving.  The boys broke free and knelt petting Pudgy excitedly.  “HI PUDGY! HI PUDGY!” The two boys excitedly said, while each took turns picking up, hugging the hedgehog, and setting him back down.  Starry soon knelt and scooped up the hedgehog to get a hug as well.  Looking up at Starry, then to Purple, “Pudgy needs to get going soon.”  The two women nodded, and then turned to walk through the porch, and the exterior stairs that led down to the driveway.  As the exited sons bounced around, the group reached the car port that was under the front of the home.  Starry laughed, “didn’t you ever put the garage door on, Sarah?”  Purple laughed, “No, you know how much those things cost?  Besides, the moped fits there simply fine without it.”

While Starry called out direction, the sons carefully pulled back the cover that hid away the plane.  While Purple moved the rubber storage containers out of the way, Starry helped move the plane back and into the driveway.  Everyone was amazed at how the plane looked in the driveway, including several neighbors who were peeking through their windows.  One of the young boys pointed, “Mom, look over there!”  As Starry looked up, an elderly man dressed in a world war 2 era RAF blue gray uniform was walking up the street, leaning on a cane.  Sarah smiled and waved, “that is Mr. Williams, he helped Pudgy at Warwick castle.”  The boys helped to turn the plane around, so the propellor was facing the end of the driveway.  Starry, was helping Pudgy fill the fuel tanks of the plane.   

By the time Starry had finished with all the tanks, the elderly man had reached the end of the driveway.  He waved at Sarah, “hello again, thank you for letting me know today was Pudgy’s departure.  The lads could not make it, so I am here to see him off.  Pudgy scampered up to the well-polished black shoe of the elderly solider.  He waved, and then saluted. “Pudgy going to go to Belgium today, then fight the Kaiser.”  The Airman smiled, and saluted back, “I wish you a safe flight, and good hunting Pudgy.  Please come back to us, I am sure Oliver would very much like to hear of your adventures again.”  The hedgehog nodded, and then scampered up to hug his other friends.  One by one the boys hugged Pudgy, then handed him to Starry to hug as well.  The woman smiled, but sighed, “promise us you will be back Pudgy.”  The hedgehog nodded, and then watched as he was handed off to Sarah.  The woman smiled weakly but hugged him tight.  Everyone had a sense of dread, that this might be the last time they would see the little hedgehog. 

After a long time passed, she sniffed her nose, and kissed the hedgehog on his nose.  Then knelt to place him in the plane’s cockpit.  The critter wiggled his nose and bounced happily in the seat.  Starry pulled her boys back to a safe distance and watched as the tiny critter started his pre-flight checklist.  When everyone was in working order, and Mr. Williams had stepped to the side, the engine fired up and the propellor started to turn.  Starry stared in disbelief, as she watched the canopy roll shut.  With the rear wheel lock released, the plane started to roll forward out of the driveway.  Thankfully, there were not too many cars on the road today, and while Starry ran out to halt traffic, the plane turned.  Pudgy waved at everyone in the driveway, and then went full throttle.  The plane’s tiny engine roared, and the plane began to pick up speed as it proceeded forward. 

In a short period of time, all those assembled watched as the plane took off into the skies.  The landing gear pulled up inside the plane, while several confused birds flew into each other and fell below the plane.  As Starry walked back to the driveway, she looked at Purple, “do you have any tea made?”  Sarah nodded, “yes.  You are all welcome to come in if you would like.  Boys, help Mr. Williams, he has trouble with my stairs.”  Mr. Williams nodded, but kept watching the plane fade away.  “Brings back memories, both good and bad,” he muttered while walking slowly towards the external stairs that led up to Purple’s porch.  Sarah sighed, and worried about her little friend, “please be safe Pudgy.”

Hours passed, and with Birmingham far behind him, Pudgy’s little plane had crossed over much of Great Britain.  London was gigantic, and with instructions from the RAF, he was diverted to stay around the city.  He was passing over Chelmsford when the huge ocean started to appear in the distance.  The RAF tower started to provide Pudgy with a flight plan, he was to fly over the town of Southend-On-Sea and then cross over the water.  There would be a town called Margate, which would mark the actual English Channel.  From there, he should fly due east, to reach Belgium.  With well wishes made, the radio went silent, and the only sound was that of the engine hum. 

Following the directions, it was just as the RAF told him, and soon he was over the open ocean once more.  Huge shipping vessels were crossing between the mainland of France and Belgium to and from the United Kingdom.  Pudgy watched as the GPS went dark, and the radio turned off.  He was too far from any tower to ping a location from, so he settled in for the flight.  In time though, the shoreline of Belgium started to appear and grow more detailed.  The GPS turned back on, and the map started to change quickly, as the plane’s little dot appeared over a place called Hazegras.  The little hedgehog was happy to be over land once more and watched as the heavily populated shoreline towns and cities spread out below him like a carpet. 

The radio fired back up, and all sorts of new people were talking in French, English, German, and something that sounded like German, but had different words.  The city names changed too on the map: Bruges, Ghent, Dendermonde, Wilebroek: each town quickly passed underneath the plane.  As Mechelen appeared on the GPS, Pudgy knew it was time to start to descend once more from his cruising altitude.  The magic talisman was working, and while his paws hurt slightly, the plan had not used much fuel, with only the one external tank being empty.  As the plan descended, Pudgy could see vast stretches of farmland stretching in all directions.  He could also see snow covering most of the grassy areas.  The hedgehog was very glad that Cobalt had packed winter weather gear in the storage compartment of the plane. 

As the plane started to pass over Hefen, a man with a thick German accent spoke in English over the radio.  “Pudgy Hedgehog, this is the 322nd squadron, of the European union air force.  Please respond,” the man said with an authoritative tone.  The hedgehog pushed the transmit button, “Pudgy here sir, just passing over some place called Battel.”  The man coughed, “I understand, we have you on radar as well.  Our counterparts with the RAF had advised of your trip through our country.”  Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy going to Mechelen, have an appointment.”  The man laughed, “Oh, you do?  Well, then follow the river Dyle , it will lead you into town.  We will be in touch.”  The critter could see the river that the man spoke of, and with the information Cobalt provided, he could see where he should fly to.  The plane continued its descent, and soon the town stretched in all directions below him. 

There was a big highway, and then as Cobalt described, a big white rectangular building with a courtyard appeared.  He continued to descend, and the plane skirted the tops of office buildings in the area.  Of course, the tiny olive drab plane flying overhead resulted in no work being done as he passed by the buildings.  Astonished humans watched as the tiny fighter plane flew by and pointed as he passed over a McDonald’s sign.  The critter wiggled his nose, “hey, they have those here too!”  IN time he lined up with a side street beside the building and pushed the lever to lower the landing gear.  Pudgy could see road signs, and read quickly, “Nokerstraat?  Boy, they have funny words over here.”  As described by his friend from back home, the hedgehog could see a grassy park beside the building. 

The plane passed perilously close to the top of several delivery trucks, and over an intersection.  The plane quickly landed onto a concrete sidewalk, and Pudgy steered the plan to slowly rest on a patch of grass that was thinly covered by snow.  As the engine slowly stopped running, and the propeller ceased its revolutions, Pudgy rolled back the canopy glass of the cockpit.  It was much colder than Birmingham, but not so much that it would require use of the cold weather gear.  The park was tiered with words carved into concrete walls, with words painted in them.  There was one section in German, one in something called Dutch, and one in English.  Pudgy read out, “They were singing with soil in their mouths.  A lovely song about the way war hits you right in the heart.  Write about the silence here.”  Pudgy frowned, he had landed on a war memorial.  But this was the only place he could have landed, as the city around him as so densely developed. 

As the hedgehog pulled out his backpack, and mining helmet, he wiggled out of the plane, and pulled the canopy back.  The plane should be safe here, he thought, as the area was completely empty.  This park seemed to have been tucked in a quiet spot, with a huge white stone wall behind the park.  As the critter wiggled to get feeling back in his legs, he began to scamper through the snow.  The white stone wall was part of a much larger memorial to those that had been killed by the Nazi army, and the mass migrations to the ghettos.  Pudgy frowned because he could feel such sorrow in this area.  Each step, he could almost hear someone crying in the back of his mind.    Trying to put that out of his thoughts, the hedgehog found a street crossing, and then when it was safe to cross, ran like crazy. 

He reached the safety of the curb and stopped to catch his breath.  There were signs that directed how visitors could navigate the area.  Pudgy was extremely glad they were in many languages, one being English.  So, he followed the signs, and found the front entrance to the museum.  There was a pressure plate, to open the door, which was going to be an issue.  He did not weigh enough to make the door open, so he found the plate and started bouncing on it.    Much to his chagrin, it did not open the door.  Until he found the right spot, which was overly sensitive.   The glass double doors started to swing open, which meant it was time to run.  The little critter scampered as fast as he could through the opening.  The big doors started to close quickly behind him, and as the doors sealed shut, a burst of cold air rushed behind him. 

The museum had polished concrete floors, with a dark brown stain.  Everything was high contrasts, with white walls, and black or dark brown accents.  Like with most museums, there was a big desk where one would go to pay the entry fee, so Pudgy headed up to the desk.  Behind the desk was a young woman, with round silver glasses, and curly blonde hair.  She looked down at the tiny hedgehog scampering towards her and blinked when he walked around the desk and looked up at her.  “Ja,” the woman asked as she looked down at the critter.  To her surprise, he waved and spoke to her in English, “can pretty lady tell Pudgy how much it is to go in museum?”  The woman blinked again, and then rubbed her chin.  In a heavy accent, she spoke in English. “Adults are 10 euro, and children are 4 euro.  Hedgehogs, well… are 2 euro.”  Pudgy nodded, and took off his pack, and pulled out a rolled bill.  He lifted it as high as he could, and the woman leaned down to pick up the bill. 

After she processed the transaction, she handed him several bills and a coin, which the hedgehog put away in his tiny backpack.  He bounced happily and scampered off into the museum.  There was a big white sign, with black script letters that said, “welcome to Kazerne Dossin.”  What Pudgy did not realize was, this was one part memorial, and one part museum dedicated to the Jewish people and the Gypsies who were deported and murdered during world war 2.  At first the exhibits were a factual retelling of the events that led up to the war.  Then exhibits tone started to change slowly, with more graphic images of the conditions of the cities.  Stories of neighbors turning on one another, telling the Nazi army who were undesirable.  People thought they were safe: they had given up their own flag for that of the new party.  They said the right words, they dressed the right way, yet were deemed dangerous and were sent away to die in concentration camps.  Atrocities were committed, all to restore the honor of the German people and its empire.    

The hedgehog was starting to feel sick, seeing images of skeleton thin humans, dressed in prison outfits. They were loaded into train cars and shipped to terrible places called ghettos.  As he turned a corner, there was an actual train car, siting inside the museum.  Its green painted wood was covered with swastika symbols, as well as a placard that described where the train car was found.  As he sat beside the placard looking up at the train car, the little hedgehog started to cry.  Why would anyone do something so terrible?  The sobbing hedgehog started to attract attention from the errant human museum goer and watched as the critter scampered into the next exhibit.  If Pudgy thought this would save him from the sadness, he was sorely mistaken.

The next wing of the museum was filled with images and descriptions of Auschwitz and the other extermination camps that the German Nazi army used to dispose of the human filth that introduced impurities into the pure German race.   The hedgehog was horrified, at the descriptions of the gas chambers.  He started to cry hysterically in front of an exhibit that held several dolls that had been found at the camps.  Each doll represented a hundred children that had been murdered, with dolls lining the room all along the ceilings.  As the hedgehog continued to cry, he was oblivious at a human man walking up behind him.  “This museum is sometimes too much for adults, so we do not generally recommend children to attend this section.  Let alone hedgehogs,” the man said with a soft tone in his voice. 

When Pudgy turned around and looked up, there was a man dressed like Rabbi Elazar.  He was a bit older, and his white beard was much bushier and more stretched to the upper part of his chest.  Sniffling, the hedgehog wiped his eyes with his paws.  He stammered out, “are … you …. Rabbi Aharon?”  The human man nodded, “yes, I am, and you must be Pudgy Hedgehog.  Let us leave this exhibit, I think the next one will be much better for us to talk in.”  The man walked with a brown wooden cane and moved about the same speed as Pudgy.  It was a unique sight to see the Rabbi and Hedgehog companion walking through the exhibits.  Soon they reached a white stone bench, that was in front of a wall of pictures.  Thousands of pictures were lined side by side on all 4 walls.  Gallery lights illuminated the walls, and Pudgy watched as the older man sat down. 

“6 million Jewish people were killed during the war, Pudgy.  This museum serves as one of many, trying to remind people of what happened, and explain why this can never be allowed to happen again.  This room could never hold all of the pictures,” the Rabbi said sadly.  He watched as Pudgy climbed up the stone bench, and then sat beside him looking up.  The critter was still crying and sniffling, so he was not saying anything now.  The two sat quietly in the museum, looking at the pictures.  After he had a chance to recover, the critter looked up at the man, “Pudgy need your help.  Rabbi Elazar said that you have a Torah coin for the book of Bamidbar.”  The older man nodded, “yes I do little one.  And Rabbi Elazar told me, he gave you the Vayikra coin?”  The hedgehog nodded and pulled out the coin from his vest pocket.  The man laughed, when Pudgy said, “it used to be bigger.  It got shrunk when Pudgy used the talisman with it.”

The Rabbi nodded and rubbed his beard.  “My American counterpart was quite insistent that I should give you the coin.  The shadowy monster attacked the temple, and this … Kaiser …you are fighting, was quite dangerous.”  The man sighed again, “the coin is a family heirloom.  My Father brought it to Auschwitz, and then left the camp with it.  I am hesitant to let it out of my possession, even if you are highly spoke n and vouched for.  I would like to hear more of this Kaiser, and of your travels.  Say, there is a genuinely nice gift shop here with a snack cart.  I could use a cup of coffee.”  The man said while patting the hedgehog on his hand with a gnarled arthritic riddled hand.  Pudgy bounced happily, and then scampered off to land on the ground beside his feet. 

As they turned a corner, the next wing of the museum was filled with more hopeful exhibits.  This section was the eventual liberation of the ghettos and extermination camps, and then the legacy of the survivors.  As the Rabbi had advised, there indeed was a gift shop with a small snack cart sitting outside of its doors.  Pudgy pulled out the money from his backpack, and asked the nice man wearing a gray museum outfit, for 2 decaf coffees.  The young man with brown hair smiled and took the money.  The Rabbi laughed, “why thank you Pudgy.”  In a short time, two cups of coffee were poured.  Pudgy asked if he could have some milk in his, and if the Rabbi could carry the cup.  Both of his requests were granted, and the critter followed to a nearby row of round metal tables. 

While the Rabbi sat down and placed the two cups on the table.  He watched as the hedgehog climbed up the chair, and then hopped onto the table.  In between sips from the small cup of coffee, Pudgy told the Rabbi his grand tale from start to finish.  The man’s expression was that of pure amazement, until the part where the Kaiser and his minions started to appear.  When the tale reached the museum, Pudgy stopped and looked up at the man.  He was sipping the coffee and looking thoughtful.  “Well, I must say, that is indeed quite the tale.”  The hedgehog nodded, “Cobalt thinks that we may be dealing with something called a …m..a…zz…i…k..i..m?”  The Rabbi nodded, “indeed, we may be dealing with a demon.  I am unsure if that is who we are dealing with though.”

Over the speakers that lined the museum, “visitors, please be advised the museum will be closing in 15 minutes.”  The two looked at each other, and the Rabbi laughed. “I feel your cause is just, and I will give you the coin, but humor an old man first?  I would very much like to see your plane.”  The hedgehog nodded and bounced happily.  As he climbed down the chair to reach the floor, the older man carried the cups to a dish tray for the dirty cups.  Soon the critter was scampering beside him through the museum, past the check in desk.  The same blonde woman was walking with an older gray-haired woman, who watched as the hedgehog scampered by.   The rabbi smiled and waved, putting on his round black hat once more upon his head. 

Once outside, the two walked past the giant white stone memorial, and crossed the street when the signal indicated it was safe to cross.  Down the concrete path they went, to the memorial park.  Much to the Rabbi’s surprise, there really was a tiny green plane parked.  It had a terrific tiger’s mouth painted on the engine compartment, and an American flag on the tail wing.  As quickly as he could muster, he increased his speed.  While silently cursing about how his knees ached, he watched as Pudgy scampered up to the tiny plane.  He moved the canopy back, and soon the astonished Rabbi was looking into the cockpit.   He reached into the interior of his coat and withdrew the silver coin.  “Pudgy, I will give you this coin.  If you can bring it back, please do. You must stop this Kaiser, whatever the cost.”

The hedgehog nodded and watched as the Rabbi reached down and dropped the coin.  To the holy man’s surprise, Pudgy started to float towards the coin.  When he reached it and was within his paws, the critter started to glow with an intense white light.  The coin started to shrink down, and soon he floated back down to the ground.  The hedgehog’s quills were sticking out in all directions and were turning gray.  But as the man looked up, he saw the shimmering light of two translucent men standing far away.  One looked like his father, which made his eyes water.  Raising his hand to wave, the ghosts disappeared.  Pudgy looked up at him, “thank you Rabbi Aharon, Pudgy will stop the Kaiser.  Pudgy promise,” he said while hugging the man’s ankle.  The returned the Rabbi’s focus, and he looked down smiling at his new critter friend. 

He watched as the critter climbed into the plane, and started to put away his backpack, helmet, and other effects. While visually inspecting the plane, Aharon said, “Pudgy, where will you go now?”  The hedgehog looked up, “Obersalzberg.  Pudgy has two friends there, that are helping to find the Kaiser.  We think he is going to a museum there for an artifact.”  The rabbi’s eyes went wide, “Pudgy, you need to get there first!  I know what he is after.”  The hedgehog looked up, “what is it, Rabbi Aharon?”  The elderly Rabbi started to cough hard, “it’s the keys.  When they cleared out Auschwitz, there was talk of destroying the buildings and levelling the place.    The Russian army who liberated the camp, took with them keys to several buildings.  While the locks were changed, and new keys made, the original keys were taken as a war trophy.  There was talk amongst my Russian counterparts that they held supernatural power, and wherever they went, ghosts followed.” 

The hedgehog blinked, and then started to think about the exhibits he saw earlier.  He raised his paw, “Was one of the keys for the gas furnaces, that red building?”  Rabbi Aharon nodded, “that, and many far worse places located throughout the area.  The keys were returned to the Polish government, then loaned to the German Museum authority.  Pudgy, you must get there first, and prevent the keys from leaving the museum.  I have some contacts within Brussels, and I will see if I can leverage any further support.”  The hedgehog nodded and started to fire up his engine.  The tiny motor roared, and the propellor blade started to turn.  The critter looked up at the man and waved, before rolling the canopy shut for his plane.  The Rabbi watched as the tiny plane started to move through the park and reached a concrete walkway.  The engine roared when he went to full power, and the plane began to pick up speed. 

In a short distance, the tiny plane was ascending into the skies above the city.  The landing gear pulled up into the body of the plane, and soon it was making a bank turn to head towards the south eastern skies.  As the hedgehog was sitting in his seat, he watched the altimeter slowly tick upwards as he continued his ascent.  The GPS was still reading Mechelen, and the radio started to talk again from the various controllers.  Pudgy set his flight plan destination into the GPS and the radio.  While it was serving directions for the hedgehog pilot, what he did not know was that information was being transmitted elsewhere.  As the hours passed by, and the plane reached its cruising height of 5,000 feet, the hedgehog turned on the heater and settled in for a long flight.  Based on his air speed, he would get there in about 12 hours.  The sun was setting in the western skies, so Pudgy knew he would soon be flying in the darkness once again.  “Pudgy hope gets there in time, and everyone safe.”

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 7: Mechelen”

I really appreciate how you pull no punches in explaining the horrors of WW2. I also enjoy reading about this throughPudgy’s eyes. I hate how people flippantly call those they disagree with “n***s” these days, I hope this story helps others to be more mindful of that.


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