Moon Cry: Chapter 1: Alabaster

Spring had finally returned to the forest, and the trees were starting to bloom.  Green shoots were spreading, the grass was waking up, and the birds had returned from their winter migration to the south.  It had been a month since Pudgy Hedgehog had returned from his adventure to Europe and back.  Day by day, he recovered from his injuries.  The little critter had almost completely healed, with most of his quills regrown.  The funny discoloration throughout his fur had disappeared, and he was back to a normal dark brown fur color.  The scars would never go away completely, but  were not noticeable unless one paid close attention to him.  The mental anguish within the hedgehog would never completely go away though.  

While he saved the day, and put the ghosts to peace when they were released, Pudgy had a form of post traumatic stress disorder.  He would have nightmares of the demons, flying around the prison camp, as well as the repeated attacks by the Kaiser and his minions.  The nightmares were decreasing in frequency, which made sleeping throughout the night more of a reality.  Pudgy’s woodland friends would stop by to visit every day to check on the hedgehog.  It was the return to normalcy, and the peacefulness of the forest, which helped him continue his recovery.  Pudgy’s home was safe during the adventure, though it took some work to get it back to livable condition.    

Pudgy’s home was warm, dry, and full of love.  The barricades were removed, and the door bars put away.  The windows were open,which let in a warm spring breeze inside.  The little hedgehog was baking little loaves of bread in his wood stove.  The delicious smell was filling the home, and drifting outside of the windows.  A silver nose appeared in his window and sniffed.  Then Argente’s brown eye peeked inside.  “Hi Pudgy, are you baking today?”  The Hedgehog waved, “yes Argente, I am making oat bread today. One moment,”  he said, while scampering over to his front door.  Undoing the lock, Pudgy opened the round door and watched as his silver fox friend padded over and waved her paw at him.  The critter smiled, and waved back while stepping back to let her inside.  

Argente was starting to have trouble getting inside through the main door, but she was able to enter Pudgy’s home.  The hedgehog laughed, “Pudgy think you may not be able to use the door soon.  Looks like you are growing still,” he trailed off while shutting the door.  the female fox giggled, “well I can’t blame you for that, I remember my mother towering over me when I was little.”  The two friends hugged a time, before Pudgy scooted around her to get back to the stove to check on the bread.  She giggled again, “so I was chatting with the gray fluffy bunnies.  They were all abuzz about some new catapult they had made.  They think they can reach Cobalt’s house now,”  which drew more giggles from the fox.  Pudgy laughed, and bounced happily.  “That would help getting to Cobalt’s house a lot, so I hope they can do it.”

The bread was starting to brown quicker on the top, so the hedgehog got out a dish towel, and opened the firebox.  He pulled out the loaves of bread, and set them on his counter next to the sink.  Turning back to the stove, Pudgy secured the doors, and closed the safety latches.  While the hedgehog turned back to the bread, the critter saw his fox friend sniffing towards the one loaf.  “Hey now, it just came out, we have to let the bread cool.  We can make shaky butter now.”  To the fox’s amazement, somehow Cobalt had helped Pudgy install a cold box for storing food.  It was a lunchbox cooler, which with some creative wiring, was able to be adapted to the power banks of the hedgehog’s home.  He couldn’t keep ice cream, but it did allow Cobalt to bring over milk for his little friend.  

“I still can’t believe Cobalt was able to put that in for you,” Argente said while watrching Pudgy get out a tiny bottle of milk.  The hedgehog started to furiously shake the milk, getting his entire body into the action.  “Pudgy …. can’t … believe … it … either.”  After a couple of minutes, and a second trip in the cold box to recool the mixture, the butter was ready.  Pudgy cut pieces of the dense bread, and spread the butter on one side.  Argente bounced happily, and grinned while she ate.  The two friends munched happily, and listened to the birds chirping in the trees outside.  Pudgy sighed happily, “Pudgy glad things back to normal.”  The fox nodded, “I agree.  Pudgy, you came back from this last one, but I am afraid that you may not come back again.  I would be very sad, along with everyone else.”

The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy knows, and I agree.  No more adventures, Pudgy is staying put here in the forest.”  Argente giggled, “well you are allowed to go to Cobalt’s house or Mr. Bear’s house.  I will allow that,” the fox said as she curled her tail around her body.  The hedgehog put his paws on his hips, “Pudgy says forest includes their homes, so Pudgy has a loophole to Argente restriction.”  The two friends laughed happily for a long time, until the hedgehog stood to put the shaky butter back into the cold box.  Argente could see the long scar running though his back quills, which made her frown.  The woodland critters had seen how injured Pudgy was when he returned.  To the bunnies dismay, Pudgy had not told anyone what happened exactly.  Argente was not pressuring him for details, but Cobalt told her that it was bad.  He would tell her when he was ready, and that was acceptable to the fox.  

“Hooooooooooooooooottttttt……” The sound was unfamiliar to Pudgy, and he looked outside of his window.  “What is that?”  Argente’s ears picked up, “that sounds like an owl.  I wonder why it called out now, it’s still day time?  They only are out during the night?”  The hedgehog looked at his fox friend, “Well, perhaps it was just flying by.  Birds do that all the time, so we ignore it.”  The fox nodded, and looked at the window.  The two friends returned to their visit, and Argente told Pudgy about all of the latest gossip from the other woodland creatures.  Mr. Dinosaur’s cave was now empty.  The bunnies watched as a strange green light filled the cave, and there was a flash of light.  Mr. Bear had gone up to visit, and found the cave completely empty.  Pudgy frowned, as he would miss his dinosaur friend. 

While there was a part of him that wanted to investigate, Pudgy also recognized that the forest was not good for Mr. Dinosaur.  He needed a place to run, and with more food to eat.  Pudgy knew he was a meat eater,  and recognized the fact that the occasional Pudgy party was not enough to sustain him.  Perhaps the moon dinosaurs had arranged for him to visit again, but what was more likely was that he returned to Colorado.  Mr. Dinosaur spoke of a much more advanced cave he had there.  The little hedgehog hoped one day he could visit there.  “Hooooooottt ….. hoooootttt…….”  The owl’s call was starting to sound sad.  Pudgy looked out the window and tried to listen.  He could hear Argente’s breathing behind him,  “hoootooootooooo….”  

The wood stove was secure, and the fire safely contained within.  Pudgy turned to Argente, “we have to look for the owl.  He sounds sad …”  The fox shook her head, “not by yourself, I am going with you.  Owls eat mice, as well as other small animals.  I have seen huge ones, so we must be careful.”  Pudgy nodded, and pulled his round kitchen window mostly closed.  He scampered over to his front door, and opened it.  Argente padded past him, and then squeezed out through the door.  Pudgy laughed while exiting his home, and shutting the door.  “Hoooot!”  The owl’s cries could be heard, in the direction of the bunnies’ warren.  So Pudgy and Argente scampered past the underground home, and its smoking chimney pipe.  Pudgy scurried through the secret tunnel Cobalt had buried for the Kaiser’s monster attacks.  

In actuality it was a long stretch of black plastic pipe used for french drains, but to the critters it was a tunnel.  The shortcut cut off 5 minutes of travel around the side of the hill.  Soon the two friends had emerged from the tunnel, and past Argente’s little cottage.  The bunnies and mice were scared of the owl, so they peeked out of their little doorways. Argente was padding quicker ahead of Pudgy, and continued up the hill.  Huge oak trees were starting to leaf out everywhere, and Pudgy couldn’t believe it.  He rarely was this far up the hill behind his home, and watched as the forest became dense with trees.  The hedgehog also recognized many tracks, including coyotes.  They were becoming more of a presence in the woods, but generally stayed away from his area due to the activity.  

“Hooooooootttt!”  The owl’s cries were becoming much louder, as well as sad.  Pudgy looked around, and the sound was coming from behind a series of trees that were growing around in a tight ring.  “Argente, it sounds like the owl is up there?”  His fox friend nodded, “yes it does Pudgy,  I don’t see a way in, we need to circle around.”  The critter nodded and went to the left, while his fox friend went right.  Ancient oak trees were here, with trunks bigger around than cobalt could reach.  For some reason, they had grown in such a way that they formed a ring, and grew around each other.  The bark was starting to flake off, with  some dark sheets laying on the ground beside the tree.  The bark was a pale white, but the interior exposed was darker brown.  

Pudgy could see an opening ahead of him, and when he reached it, he peeked around.  With his nose wiggling, he sniffed the air.  There was a strange smell, which he had not experienced before.  In the center of the ring of oak trees, was a small patch of ground that held a granite boulder.  The boulder was pale white, with gray veins running throughout.  It was mostly flat on top, which was  mostly covered by an owl.  The owl was snow white through its body, with light brown and dark brown lines that defined its feathers.  “Are …you …. alright?”  Pudgy asked timidly, while watching the owl’s head turn almost 180 degrees without the rest of its body changing position.   Golden eyes locked onto his, and a tiny beak opened. “Hooot! Hoot!”

Argente scampered on the opposite side of the opening, and peeked around as well.  “Pudgy, that is a snow owl.  They are not normally around here,” his fox friend said.  The hedgehog nodded, and started to enter the ring.  As he approached the boulder, he waved his paw at the owl. “My name is Pudgy, and this is Argente.  We live nearby, are you injured?”  The owl cried out again loudly, “hooooooooooooottttttt!”  Argente’s brown eyes gave the owl a stern look, “I know you understand us, so don’t hoot at me mister!”  Pudgy turned to face his fox friend, “Argente, maybe this is a little owl, and he doesn’t know how to talk yet?  Pudgy, remember it took a while before I could talk.”  The owl looked at the two animals in front of it and turned its head.  It started to stand up, and then walk on its talons towards Pudgy.  

The hedgehog started to see what was wrong, as one of the wings was bent in a weird angle.  The owl could not fly, and had been sounding a distress call for help.  Pudgy frowned, “oh no, you are injured, your wing is bent!”  Argente padded closer, “I hope it is not broken.  I am unsure how to fix that Pudgy, maybe Cobalt can help?”  The hedgehog nodded, “yes, Cobalt can help us. Mrs. Owl, are you well enough to walk?”  The owl ‘s golden eyes locked onto Pudgy’s in a strange manner, and almost seemed to glow.  After a moment passed, a masucline voice came out of the owl.  “I am not a female.”  Pudgy nodded, “oh good, you can talk.  Pudgy sorry, never saw an owl before, so can not tell.  What is your name?”  The owl nodded its head, “Alabaster, and yes I can walk. My wing hurts, and I can not fly.”

Argente nodded, “Pudgy’s home is not far from here.”  The hedgehog waved for the owl to follow, and scampered out of the ring of trees.  Pudgy turned to watch as the owl seemed to hop on the ground, but was in fact walking.  The fox was keeping a watchful eye on the owl, and  would stop to allow both hedgehog and owl to catch up to her.  Around the ring of trees, and down the hill they went.  Upon reaching the flat area that was the site of the bunnies warren and Argente’s home, Alabaster stopped and looked around while huffing.  Tiny field mice were peeking out from a wooden door in a small cave built into the hillside.  “Hoot!”  The field mice ducked back inside, and shut the door.  Pudgy stopped by and looked stern at the owl, “stop that!  Mice are Pudgy friends, no scare them!”  

Alabaster nodded, “I apologize. My word, what is that?”  The owl had spotted Argente’s cottage, and motioned with his head towards the structure.  The fox giggled, “that is my cottage.  Cobalt the human built it for me after I returned to the forest with Pudgy.”  The owl hissed, “human!  Their kind can not be trusted!  I will not be helped by such a filthy land destroying creature!”  Pudgy turned towards the owl and placed a paw on his side.  The white feathers were so soft, but the touch immediately calmed Alabaster down.  “Cobalt is a nice human, but Pudgy understands.  Pudgy will still help, if you will let Pudgy help?”   The owl nodded, and soon the trio were scampering around the forest once more.  The secret tunnel could not be used, as the owl was too injured to use it.  

Upon approaching the large round bifold doors of the big room in Pudgy’s home, the owl’s eyes went wide.  They had to stop again, for Alabaster to recover.  The owl was used to flight, and not walking.  “This is your home,” Alabaster asked in amazement.  Soon they had entered through the round main door, and  the owl was inside Pudgy’s wonderful underground home.  Golden oak wood covered the walls and ceilings, and it was so nice and toasty inside.  Which was a problem for the owl, as it was not acclimated for warm places.  Pudgy scampered up to pour a large mug of water for the owl from his sink.  The hedgehog scurried back, and placed the water mug on the ground.  “Pudgy needs to check with Cobalt on what to do.”  The owl narrowed its eyes when the human was mentioned again, but watched as the hedgehog scooted off to a large glowing thing on the wall.  

Alabaster dipped his beak into the water and drank, but noticed that Argente was watching him. “What is it, fox?”  The female fox giggled, “nothing, Alabaster.  I am just wondering why you are here?  The snow owls’ trees are far to the west of here, past the tall mountain.”  The owl shot her a look, “you speak of my home as if you know where it is?”  The silver fox nodded, “I do, my mother raised me close to there.  So again, I wonder, why are you here Alabaster?”  The owl became indignant, “I do not have to explain my actions to a ground walker.”  Pudgy turned to the two of them, “hey shh you two, I can’t hear Cobalt!”  The hedgehog had called his friend using the cell phone mounted in his home.  His human friend was on the wall smiling and waving.  

“Hi Pudgy!  Ok… how to help owls…… let us see what the computer says.  You said the wing was bent at a weird angle?”  Pudgy nodded, “yes, and it hurts Alabaster!”  The owl looked at the hedgehog, “hooooot!”  The hedgehog waved, “Alabaster says hi.”  The man laughed, “hello Alabaster, welcome to the forest.  Ok, I found a veterinarian site on the internet.  It says that the wing might be broken, but can be mended.  I can get some things and come over.”  Pudgy shook his head, “Pudgy thinks best to help Alabaster Pudgy self, owl doesn’t trust humans.”  The man nodded, “I see, ok, I understand.  Ok Pudgy, here’s what we need to do ….”

As Cobalt narrated in the background. Pudgy started to help to fix the owl’s wing.  With Argente helping to hold Alabaster in place, in a quick motion, he was able to snap the wing back into place.  “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTT! HOOT! HOOT! HOOT! HOOT! HOOT!”  It was very painful, but the wing was now back into place.  Thankfully Pudgy still had a roll of gauze from Cobalt to help bandage himself up, so with wood sticks from the fire hopper, the wing was splinted into place.  The man ended the call when the operation was over, and the home grew quiet once more.  Argente looked at Alabaster, “ok, no moving that wing for now.”  The hedgehog looked up at the owl, “Pudgy will make tea now, and we can visit some more.”

The little critter went back to his sink, and washed his paws under the cool water.  He filled up the kettle, and placed it on the still hot stove.  Opening the fire box, he tossed in a few more pieces of wood to get the fire going back to full strength.  Soon the water was bubbling in the silver kettle, and Pudgy turned to smile at his visitor.  “Do you like strong or weak tea,” he asked while checking his container of tea leaves.  The owl looked at him with his golden eyes, “I do not know what tea is?”  Argente nodded, “make it weak Pudgy, I want to be able to sleep tonight.”  The hedgehog nodded, and started to add only a few leaves to the kettle.  The curious owl watched as his host prepared the beverage.  

Pudgy allowed time for the tea to steep within the kettle, before pouring out the steaming beverage into a large mug for Argente.    He carried it over, and set the mug down on a hedgehog sized table next to where his fox friend was sitting.  She wiggled her ears, “thank you Pudgy.”  The hedgehog went back to the stove to get the kettle, and carefully carried it over to where the owl’s cup was sitting on the floor.  He stooped down, and started to pour the brown liquid into the mug.  After filling the cup, the hedgehog stood back up and smiled. “Careful it is hot, so let it cool a bit first.” The host said while turning to walk back to the stove.  Alabaster sniffed, and it did not seem unpleasant.  The owl watched as Argente was blowing on her cup, and taking a tentative sip.  

The hedgehog filled his cup, and then placed the kettle back on the side of the stove so it was off heat.  Turning to his visitors, Pudgy took a hesitant sip.  “Ooo …too hot yet.  So, Alabaster, are you from around here?”  The snow white owl turned his head a bit before locking his golden eyes on Pudgy once again. “That is a strange question, my …. host?  Might in inquire, as to what manner of creature are you?  You are too small to be a porcupine.”  The critter nodded while bouncing a bit, “Pudgy is a hedgehog.  Pudgy came from east of here originally, before Pudgy came to live with Cobalt.”  Argente giggled, “I have to admit, i too had never seen a hedgehog before I met you in New Orleans.”  The owl nodded, “a hedgehog, hmm.  Well, as you have answered my question, I shall answer yours.  I come from the west of this place.  My kind lives in the great tree, high in the sky, over the tall mountain.”

Pudgy nodded, “that sounds like a nice place.  Is your family there?”  While Alabaster watched the critter wiggle his nose and wiggle happily, he felt his guard begin to slip a bit.  “Yes they are, my Mother and Grandclaw.  I was with her when we travelled here, but we were separated.  I flew into a tree, and fell in the grove where you found me.”  Argente blinked her brown eyes, and looked incredulously at the owl, “you flew into a tree?”  The owl shot her a look right back, “well, when one uses the lines, one does not know where they will exit.  I appeared right in front of a tree.”  The hedgehog raised his paw, “Pudgy confused, can Pudgy ask a question?”  Alabaster nodded, and started to drink from the cup of tea.  The beverage tasted good, but it was still a tad hot for his preference.  “Where is your mommy now?”

Alabaster nodded, “time was of the essence, so she most likely has flown on ahead.  Grandclaw sent her on a mission, and I wanted to tag along.  I fell behind … so I was left.”  Argente nodded, “oh, that sounds about right.  My mother did the same with me, it was when I wanted to come, that things went all wrong.”  Pudgy scampered over and started to hug Argente, who was starting to look sad.  The owl looked at the two strangely, but realized what the hug meant.  Alabaster’s tone softened, “I am sorry, Argente.”  The female silver fox nodded, “it’s alright, I made my peace a long time ago.  Plus Pudgy helped me work through some pain as well, so I should apologize to you as well for my tone.”

Pudgy looked up at Argente, and then turned to the owl, “does Alabaster need a hug too?”  The owl started to laugh, “no Pudgy, I am good.”  The fox giggled, and watched as the hedgehog let go and headed back to his cup of tea to take a drink.”  The home grew quiet, as the sounds of the birds chirping echoed in the forest outside the home.  Alabaster blinked, “those cardinals are such gossip mongers.”  Pudgy nodded, “yes they are, but knew everything going on in the forest.  Pudgy found out the deer are pondering on a new area to bed down next year, as the forest is becoming too busy.”  Argente giggled, “well no wonder Pudgy, with all of your adventures ….”  The owl cocked his head an angle, and then leaned down to take another drink from the mug.  “Adventures you say,” the curious owl asked?

Pudgy nodded, and began to tell a much abbreviated version of his adventures.  When the time was appropriate, he would add details, especially when the owl would start to look confused.  The travel to the land deep underground and its golden helmet clad human master, to the moon above with the dinosaurs in their fortress the hedgehog had gone.  Adventures with ghosts south and east, battles with shadowy monsters, all over the world Pudgy had gone.  He mentioned Cobalt the human a lot, which both angered and confused the owl.  It was when Pudgy went to Mt. Rainier, that is what drew the owl’s full attention.  Alabaster halted the story, “wait one moment, you went to my homeland?  Did you see a big tree?”  

The hedgehog had made a second pot of tea, and was sipping a cup of water.  “Yes Pudgy saw a big tree, and it looked like there was an owl in it.  Pudgy couldn’t stop by, Pudgy had to save Angeliki from the Kaiser in the mine.  Pudgy airplane didn’t have enough fuel to sight see,” he said.  Argente looked at Alabaster, “did you see the plane flying by?”  The owl nodded, “yes, my mother went to investigate, but she returned back saying we were not to follow the plane.  She said a porcupine was flying it, and it turns out it was a hedgehog?”  Pudgy continued the story, and explained what the Kaiser wanted to do.  There was a font of dark and evil magic he wanted to activate, which Angeliki was required to do.  Pudgy was able to save her, and escape from the mountain.  

The owl blinked in disbelief, and took a sip from his almost empty cup.  “The font, as you call it, is a source of ancient magic.  My people have guarded it before the time that humans came to infest our lands.  They cut our trees, destroy our homes, dig into land, and defile all that they touch.  But yet, the stories you tell are that Cobalt is a friend.  I do not understand this at all.  Is this the end of your adventures?”  Pudgy shook his head no, and took a deep breath.  He walked around the room, filling up the various cups of tea.  Looking very sad at Argente, he began the tale of his final adventure.  

The Kaiser had found the forest, and sent his monsters to attack.  Cobalt was severely injured multiple times, as well as Mr. Bear.  They were defending the forest with everything that they could muster.  Pudgy needed to strike back, so Cobalt built a much bigger and stronger plane to fly in.  The hedgehog flew to the east, and found help from the humans.  He then flew over the wide ocean, landing on a big ship called the Nimitz. He reached a land called Great Britain, where another human helped him, before he flew across the ocean again to Belgium.  Pudgy started to whimper as he relayed all of the horrible things he had seen in the museum.  The humans were walking skeletons, and were loaded up in train cars to be sent away to prisons.  Argente blinked, and immediately hugged her crying friend.  Even Alabaster was dead quiet, listening in shock at what had happened?

The hedgehog got into his plane once more, and flew to a mountain where the Kaiser was attacking his friends who had travelled from afar to beat the monster there.  Pudgy explained how the magic talisman he was using was able to work, and for the first time Argente heard that it was making him sick as it drained his life.  Alabaster’s beak dropped open, as the hedgehog turned to show the scars from where his quills were ripped out to load the machine guns in the plane.  The Kaiser fled the mountain, so Pudgy had to fly to the worst place to go.  He flew straight into darkness, the infamous prison camp the bad humans had sent all the skeleton people to.  

As Pudgy explained about the demons, the portal to the underworld, and then the activation of the ghost Rabbis, Argente hugged him tighter and tighter.  The hedgehog was crying again, explaining how he used everything he had  left in him to fight the demons.  The Rabbis helped to close the portal, and once the demons had been dispatched, the release of the trapped souls.  Argente was crying as she hugged Pudgy, realizing now why he had not told anyone in the forest what had happened.  Alabaster looked sad, and sighed as well.  After a moment to recover, Pudgy finished his tale with the return trip, and how the talisman and the planes disintegrated.  Purple lady, Brenda, and Cobalt all helped in Pudgy’s recovery from the adventure.  

By the time that story concluded, the sun was beginning to set.  Argente looked at Pudgy, and looked sheepish, “Pudgy, do you have any more of that bread left from earlier?”  The hedgehog sniffed his nose, and nodded while walking back to the sink. “Pudgy hungry too, please stay for supper too Alabaster.”  The owl stayed silent, but nodded.  The incredible story he had been told by his hedgehog host, the hospitality offered, proved that this was not a normal forest.  He must report this to his Grandclaw, but with a busted wing, he was in no condition to fly.  The owl would stay, listen, and decide what the next course of action to do was?  He watched as the hedgehog cut slices of bread, and covered them with a white mixture.  Walking slowly through the home, the owl reached the kitchen table, and saw there was bread laid out for him.  Pudgy and Argente were happily munching on their pieces.  

Alabaster sniffed and then tentatively took a peck from the bread.  It was a strange consistency, and did not taste unpleasant.  But he realized that it was not suited for owls, “Pudgy, might I inquire if you were to have something else?  Perhaps a bit of meat?”  Argente was about to say something, before the hedgehog scampered over to his cold box and got out a couple pepperoni slices, wrapped in wax paper.  They had been cut in such a way that Pudgy could eat them, so it was already suitable for the owl.  As the hedgehog set out the slices, “This is pepperoni.  Cobalt gave Pudgy some, Pudgy was going to make bread with it.  It is salty, so Pudgy is always thirsty after eating it.”  The owl sniffed again, and then started to munch on the tiny slices.

The owl’s bread did not go to waste, as the part he had touched, was cut off and tossed into the fire box.  Argente ate part of it, and Pudgy had the remainder.  As Pudgy had advised, the salt immediately hit, and the owl started to drink from his cup.  “my word, that tasted good, but it is so salty.  No wonder the humans seem to swell up,” Alabaster said with a nod.  Argente giggled, “well that, and all of the wonderful pastries they make too.  What does Cobalt say, he has a donut belly?”  Pudgy chuckled, “yes, which is fun to bounce on.  But Pudgy love their cookies,”  the hedgehog bounced happily.  

The trio talked long into the evening, while Pudgy cleaned up.  The tea was drunk, and water was served instead.  Eventually, it became dark outside, as the sun had set.  Alabaster looked outside through the tiny round window, and sighed.  He felt Pudgy touching his chest, and the owl looked down at the hedgehog, “would you like to stay here till you are well, Alabaster?”  Argente giggled, and had curled up in a spot next to the kitchen.  She was starting to cover herself with a blanket.  The owl looked sheepish, “I do not want to impose on your hospitality, I should go …”  Pudgy hugged him gently, “no, please stay.  Pudgy wants to hear more stories about the owls.  When you are better, you can go.”  Alabaster nodded, “ok, I accept your invitation to stay Pudgy.”

Pudgy bounced happily, and then prepped his home for night time.  The fire box was reloaded with fuel, and the door and windows were secured.  Snow owls were used to a much colder climate, so the hedgehog had taken measures to ensure all of his guests were comfortable.  He scampered into his bedroom, and climbed into his bed.  Getting under the covers, he called out, “good night Argente, good night Alabaster!”    The fox and owl responded in kind, and settled in for the evening.  The home became very quiet, save for the errant crackle of fire within the wood stove.  Hours passed, until Alabaster woke up to the sound of whimpering.  He turned his head, seeing the hedgehog flailing about in his bed.  He was having a terrible nightmare, and his legs were going like he was running.  

Argente looked at the owl and whispered, “every night this happens, but the nightmares are becoming less each day.  When he first came back here, I stayed with him.  It used to be much worse.”  The female fox looked sad, and placed her head back on her paws.  The owl nodded, and did not say anything.  From the story that was told, he could only imagine how much worse it was for the hedgehog.  The whimpering stopped, and the critter settled back down.  The home soon quieted once more, allowing all to fall asleep once again.  

In the morning, Pudgy awoke, and saw Alabaster asleep while standing up.  He had nestled in like the tree birds did, and was a round mess of white feathers.  The exception was his hurt wing, which was still splinted.  Yawning, the hedgehog slid out of bed, and into a small room with a door beside.  His friend had made a bathroom, which was extremely simple, but sufficient for the critters needs.  After preparing himself for the day, Pudgy exited the bathroom and walked past the owl slowly.  He saw Argente who was awake and wiggling her eyes at him.  Their new owl friend had had a busy day yesterday, and was finally getting some much needed sleep.  

Pudgy turned on his sink, and realized the water was not working.  But that meant he needed to pump a bit from the well.  As quietly as he could, he started to pump the well handle, until water started to flow once more.  He filled a cup for himself and for Argente, then took the cup over to his fox friend.  As the two sipped their drink, they watched Alabaster sleep.  Owls were nocturnal, but the mission he had spoken of yesterday meant that he had flown with his mother somewhere.  The hedgehog wondered if they lived near Mt. Rainier, which is far to the west, how did he make it all the way out here to Pennsylvania.  There was also talk of a line, and appearing before a tree as well?  Pudgy had many questions, and the owl had the answers.  

Argente giggled while whispering, “Pudgy can you let me outside?”  The hedgehog knew exactly what she meant, and scampered slowly to his front door.  Opening it slowly, he watched as Argente padded past silently.  She kissed his forehead, and then squeezed out through the front door.  A nice cool breeze blew in from outside, which made his home smell good.  As the hedgehog stood in the doorway, watching his fox friend duck into a bush, he heard a soft hoot behind him.  Alabaster was waking up, and opened his tired golden eyes at Pudgy.  “Pudgy, might i  inquire if you were to have made any of that tea again?”  The hedgehog smiled, “not yet Alabaster.  Argente needed to run outside for awhile, so I just opened the door.”

He left the door open, and then walked past the owl.  “If you need to go outside and stretch your legs, that is fine.  The tea should be ready in a couple of moments,”  Pudgy loaded and lit the firebox in the wood stove, and once the flames had caught, he shut the fire door.  Pudgy washed his paws before he began to fill up the kettle with water.  The hedgehog watched as the owl exited his home to also locate an occupied bush.  The water began to boil as the heat increased within the stove.  Pudgy wondered how long his new owl acquaintance could stay?  Along with, what else do owls eat, since his supply of meat was extremely limited.  The critter knew his friend Cobalt could help, but the owl became upset each time the man was mentioned.  So this was going to require an act of subtlety, to sneak the food in without the owl noticing.   

It was as the hedgehog was pondering, when he saw his human friend walking through the forest with his wagon of supplies being pulled behind.  Pudgy looked on the cell phone hanging on the wall, and it was Sunday, which meant Cobalt was coming over.  “Uh oh,” Pudgy mumbled as he contemplated what might happen next?  The human had stopped at the water wheel, and was busy oiling the motor and chain assembly.  After a quick inspection, the man stood up and then walked across the creek.  In a matter of minutes, he had reached the underground home, and knelt by the kitchen window.  “Hi Pudgy, how are you?”  The hedgehog opened his window, “Hi Cobalt!”  Pudgy wondered what was going to happen next?  Would the owl hide, attack, or accept the human?  Time would tell, and the hedgehog wiggled his nose while bouncing happily.

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 “Moon Cry: Chapter 1: Alabaster”

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