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Moon Cry: Chapter 6: Orick

As Drew drove Pudgy and Alabaster to Orrick, the world around the speeding gray car was falling apart.  While automation had replaced many jobs over the years, key jobs still were done by humans.  And as the humans disappeared, essential elements of normal order were failing.  The cellular phone towers were losing power, because the power plants were not able to operate at full capacity.  Despite calls to modernize and repair over the decades, the country still relied on coal fired and natural gas burning power plants.  Each required people to show up on time, and work long hours to prep, fuel, and monitor the electrical output.  At first, the missing people could be offset by overtime.  But now that vast swaths of people were missing, the plants had to cut back to emergency staff.  

When Drew’s phone was working, he would get emergency bulletins from the news agencies.  Reports were coming in from all over the country, of rolling blackouts.  Pennsylvania for instance generated more power than the state used, so it would send power to the surrounding states.  When Homer City, Conemaugh, and Shelocta workers vanished, the plants kept running due to automated coal conveyor belts feeding the furnaces.  However, the humans who moved the coal trains and trucks into position, dumped the coal onto the conveyor belts, crushed the coal, sent it to the furnace, monitored and filled the boilers; were not around to continue those tasks.  Soon the fires went cold, and the huge towers stopped steaming.  The electrical grids all started to grow cold, and a ring of darkness was forming around the western side of the state.  

The natural gas burning plants were facing a similar situation, as they required power to run the pumping stations that sucked the gas out of the ground.  The nuclear plants were few and far between, and were operating at their normal capacity.  The same was that of the garbage and oil burning plants, though their output too was diminishing as the men who drove the trucks that dumped garbage into the furnace, were not there.  With no power, that also meant the water and sewage treatment plants went offline.  Yes, they had emergency generators, but those required diesel fuel, which ran out over time.  Businesses closed down to lack of utilities, and with no power, the payment processing systems too failed.  People who still used cash were fine, but eventually the cash ran out.  

With time running out, and the military in charge, the decision was made to cut power to the civilian homes.  Now that a national emergency martial law declaration in place, the states could not argue as all levels of civilian control were overridden.  There was a tremendous outcry starting, as the variable power caused frantic broadcasts to a frightened public.  Some chose factual based reporting, while others sensationalized, but that did little to quell the growing fear in the remaining humans.  The department of defense tried to quell the fury by advising the power would remain on at the hospitals, grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies.  As one might expect, a panic formed, and throngs of desperate people were out scrambling for resources.  The worries of the nation were far away, and not in the forefront of the gray car’s occupant’s minds as it sped along the California highway.  

Drew yawned, since he had already worked a ten hour shift.  He had not planned on an extended trip after work to the Redwood Forest National Park.  The drive had been uneventful sof ar, with little to no presence by an authority of any kind.  The man had been worried about the curfew, and possible checkpoints on the roads.  But so far, 4 hours into an 11 hour drive north, the roads were clear.  To save time: Drew had taken highway five, and was driving the speed limit.  Yes the humans were disappearing, and yes he had seen no police anywhere, but he knew someone was watching somewhere.  The highway was virtually empty, which was unheard of in California known for its legendary traffic jams.  There would be the occasional 18 wheeler, who despite being an empty road, stil needed to pass him as he was driving.  

Pudgy hugged Drew multiple times and was telling his grand tale from the very start of his adventures.  In four hours, he was up to the part where he met the Kaiser for the very first time.  The man would nod, smile, and occasionally pet the hedgehog gently.  The little critter would bounce happily, and keep telling his story.  His most recent grand adventure was going on the attack, and finished with the climactic battle in Poland against the Kaiser and his demonic forces.  As the story ended, Pudgy promptly fell asleep.  The owl had already nodded off, around the part of the civil war ghosts.  With a very quiet car, Drew had a long while to ponder.  It was amazing that this little hedgehog had so much activity, in such a short period of time.  The man couldn’t help but be a little jealous, since he would like to go on the occasional adventure, but like Cobalt … he had to work.  

Checking the dashboard, Drew noticed that the car was less than an eighth of a tank worth of fuel.  This led to a small concern in his mind, that if the power was out, would the gasoline stations still be operational?  For that matter, if they were, would there be people around to work the stations.  And, would the store be open, because he really needed some coffee.  Checking on the critters, they were still fast asleep in the passenger seat.  Like the man, the two travellers had had a very busy day.  The radio hissed as it turned on again, “this is W106.5, Fremont’s home for the greatest hits.  No music today, we have the emergency generators on, and I am unsure how much power we have.  Update: the attempts to enforce the curfew were abandoned across most of the state.  What few police remained, were unable to enforce anything.  The solar, wind, and tidal power farms are operational, but their power is being diverted to essential operations.  The state is for the most part is dark, and we are receiving multiple reports of shots being fired.”  

The tired man yawned again while listening to the broadcast, and saw a sign that read Love’s Travel Stop.  Nodding to himself, he put the turn signal on, and then exited the highway.  Driving down the off ramp, he merged onto an empty side road and then pulled into the truck stop.  Hundreds of the large trucks had pulled in and parked around every available spot.  With his car running on fumes, he located an empty pump, and pulled up to it.  Shutting the engine off, Drew rubbed his eyes.  Since the car had stopped, the owl woke up and was looking at him with gold eyes.  He smiled, and went to pet the owl, but it pulled back from him with one wing starting to puff out.  Pulling his hand back, the man instead opened his door and exited the vehicle.  The truck stop had power, with the fluorescent lights hissing overhead.  He walked up to the pump, and saw a red light on with a message.  “Press to call the attendant,” he read out loud, while pushing the button.  

“A tired and grumpy female voice rang out, “the interior buildings are closed to the public.  Do you want gas?”  Drew nodded, “yes please, 87.”  The pump clicked, and the terminals all began to light up.  The LCD price loaded, and his mouth dropped, “12 dollars a gallon?”  The female laughed, “and you will pay it too, I betcha?”  Shaking his head, he reached into his back pocket, and pulled out his credit card.  He followed the on screen prompts, and then paid for the transaction.  The pump clicked once again, and the nozzle unlocked from the pump.  Pulling out the nozzle, he opened the fuel door , and started to fuel his car.  Mumbling to himself, “24 gallon tank at twelve dollars per gallon …. two hundred…..eighty….eight dollars to fill up?  I will be having a chat with Cobalt when this is all over.”  The man said, while nodding, and watching the numbers spin.  Thankfully, he did not need to put all 24 gallons in, only $287.54 in.

He returned the gas filler back to the pump, and pressed the call attendant button. “Hey, I need to use the restroom, any chance I can get inside?”  The pump did not react, and in fact started to turn off.  “I guess that is a no, well…. in that case …”  Alabaster watched the human walk behind the car, and he stayed at the rear end of the vehicle for a time.  Afterwards, the man returned back to the driver’s seat, and shut the door.  Turning the engine back on, Drew pulled the car out from the gasoline pumps and drove past the convenience store and trucker service center.  Inside the brightly lit building, was not a single person.  Drew had been very lucky it would seem, and nodded to himself while pulling back onto the onramp for the highway.  He merged onto an empty lane, and brought the vehicle back up to speed.  

The radio hissed again, “ok, we’re back again!  The generator ran out of diesel, so we siphoned some off from the termite guy’s truck from next door.  All sporting events are cancelled immediately, all concerts are cancelled, all movie theaters cancelled…. all …” Drew listened as the radio station DJ basically read off a list that encompassed 95% of daily life was not happening anymore.  The man got a smile on his face when the DJ started to swear, “and since the mother fudging FCC ain’t around no more, I get to do what I always wanted to do!”  The familiar sounds of a familiar heavy metal band whose name starts with “M” started to play.  It was not one of the safe radio songs they normally played.  It was so fudging what, which is one of the raunchier and vulgar songs.  

Of course as the really vulgar sections started to play, a certain hedgehog just happened to wake up.  Drew was not paying attention, and was listening to the music with a smirk on his face.  Until a little voice started saying those naughty words, and bouncing beside Alabaster.  Drew looked down at the seat, “uh oh! No Pudgy, do not say those words, they are bad.”  So instead of saying the words, the hedgehog started to make beeping noises.  The Pudgy version actually was very silly, and Drew started laughing.  It also turned out that someone from the FCC was listening, because he heard the DJ swear, and then suddenly the radio went dead as the transmission was cut.  The car was quiet once more, save for the sound of wind passing by the vehicle.   

The air conditioner in the car was spotty at best, and was on the list of things to repair.  He didn’t mind usually, because with the windows down: a terrific breeze blew through the vehicle.  Road signs offering directions began to appear, with flickering lights illuminating some but not all signs.  Steering to the slight left, he merged onto highway 580, which too had no traffic at all.  Drew pressed the seek button on the radio, and found another station that was operating.  It was mid-discussion with two very animated older men.  “You know what this is, it’s those hippie liberal commie yahoos from out east.  They couldn’t figure out a way to advance their green agenda, so they engineered a great disappearance of all people.”  

Drew blinked, and looked to see that he had switched over to AM 1240. “Ohh, that’s why …” he muttered.  AM stations were notorious for religious and insane political channels, as well as off the wall offerings.  The other elderly gentleman shouted, “Bernie, you are so full of it.  We all know that our one true lord and savior has called back all of the faithful.  It is judgement day!  Repent listeners, for the day of the coming of our Lord is upon us.  REPENT!”  Bernie shouted back, “oh stuff it Jack, we know that is a bunch of shiitake mushrooms!  If only we had voted for …”  A third exasperated female voice cut into the broadcast and started to speak.  The woman sounded tired, which only made sense  given everything that had been going on.

“We will let Bernie and Jack collect their thoughts, during a brief break for the news.  This Is Brenda Smith of AM 1240, your source of news and opinion.  The defense department has issued a press release for immediate dissemination.  At current estimates, almost 75% of people have disappeared.  The reports have varied, and are based on state reported data.  The armed forces remain staffed, and ready to step in to assist in day to day operations.  Power substations are being disabled, to ensure that the limited power supplies are used properly.  Please do not interfere with utility workers, nor their escorts by the various branches.  Please remain home, and keep the roads free of traffic, so our forces can mobilize to the areas that they are needed quickly.  And now, back to the show ….”

Bernie was still shouting, “it’s those left leaning liberals!”  Jack shouted back, “no, it is the rapture!”  Drew shook his head, and looked at Pudgy, who was awake and looking out the passenger side car window.  “Whatever it is, they are both wrong.  Pudgy, do you know what is going on?”  Alabaster looked at the hedgehog, who turned to face Drew and started to talk.  “Mr. Drew, shortly after Alabaster came to visit …Cobalt came over to Pudgy’s house.  After he brought supplies, and fixed things, he was walking back to Pudgy house.  Cobalt didn’t feel good, and then vanished in front of all of Pudgy’s friends.  Alabaster tells Pudgy, his family may be able to help, so we have been travelling to where the family is.”  

The man nodded, “and that is in Orick?  Ok, I see.  After I get us there, then what?”  Pudgy rubbed his chin with his paw, and then turned to his owl companion.  The snow white owl looked back, “do not tell him any more.  We do not know how we will react?”  Pudgy whispered, “Pudgy know, but Mr. Drew is nice, we should tell him.”  The owl shook his head, and then looked out the window.  Pudgy turned back to the man, “somewhere in the forest is family.  We will ask them what to do, and then Pudgy will know how to help.”  Drew nodded, “ok, sounds good to me …that is the best plan we have.”  He could tell the owl did not trust him, and suspected he may have told the hedgehog to hold something back.  But there was still a long road ahead, and opportunities to get more information along the way.

The lights of the dashboard illuminated the front of Drew, but the rest of the car was dark.  The windows were not fully open, but open far enough to thoroughly cool the vehicle.  Even at night, it was still very warm, and the driver was sweating a bit.  Pudgy and Alabaster settled back into the gray fabric seat, and watched the stars in the night sky speed by the windows.  The highway ran through vast swaths of farmland, which were dark, but as they started to approach the Livermore city limits, it remained dark.  The gray car’s headlights were the only source of man-made light, which prompted a comment from the man. “It really is dark, the power has been cut.”  The road started to pitch upwards, as they were nearing a mountain range.  Pudgy started to yawn again, and drifted off to sleep.  

As the hours passed, Drew was starting to feel the effects of being up way longer than usual.  He pondered whether or not to pull over, and take a nap.  But as soon as that thought crossed his mind, the realization that he might not wake up again, made him change his mind and push on.  It wasn’t the first time he was up this long, there was the double and a half shift he worked for Christmas.  After cresting the mountain, the road started to wind down the mountain.  He took his foot off the accelerator, and was able to coast down with the brakes.  This allowed the car to save some fuel, which they needed every drop to make it to their destination.  As a slight fog started to form as they descended, what should have been a sea of light in the distance, was a vast void of darkness as far as the eye could see.  

As the car continued to drive down the highway, road signs would briefly illuminate from the headlights.  Drew read out loud, “Castro Valley … Ashland … San Leandro … Oakland Zoo… I wonder what is going on at the zoo?”  Drew pondered whether the animals were probably ok, but the humans that ran the zoo would be the issue.  Who would feed the animals? And more importantly: were they still doing that surgery on the giraffe, as the local news had reported the other day?  That would be absolutely terrible to have the surgeon disappear during the procedure.  “Never in all of my life … did I think I would have to worry about something like this?”  Drew muttered, and tried to search the radio again.  It was all static, with no channels operating.  However, once the vehicle started to enter the Oakland area, a ribbon of light could be seen.  The military had kept the power on to the hospital, and several other key buildings along the road.  He could see flashing lights from the police checkpoints still setup at the intersections.  The man wondered if there were any people left to work in the area?

The highway widened to 10 lanes, and after driving all by himself for at least an hour, he came upon a couple big rigs driving along in a convoy.  As Drew navigated around them, he noticed it was the white truck competitor shipping company.  “Booooo!” He called out the window, and laughed.  The highway ran along the San Francisco bay, and over a series of causeways that ran along the shoreline.  The man looked left, because even at night, you can still see the golden gate bridge on this stretch.  To his shock and horror, the bridge was dark.  They had even turned off the red blinking warning lights at the very top.  The safety lights were there so the airplanes and helicopters would not hit it when flying at night.  Gripping the steering wheel a bit tighter, a knot started to form in his stomach, as he continued to drive.  

After an unknown period of time passed, a big sign that was suspended over the roadway by huge aluminum pipes appeared.  The sign read: Point Richmond Toll Plaza 1 mile.  Drew wondered if the toll plaza was still running?  He did not have to wait long, because at the rate of speed he was going, he would make it there in a couple of minutes.  As his rear end was starting to go numb again, the tired man tried to shift position.  Looking to his right, he noticed the owl was awake and looking at him again.  “I know Alabaster, I’m too close, but I need to change position.”  The owl did not respond, but kept a watchful eye on him as he shifted around to get more comfortable.

As the car turned a slight bend, the dark toll plaza lay before them.  Normally there would be ten open lanes, staffed by toll plaza workers, and a brightly illuminated plaza.  None of that was the case, and nine of the barricades were down, except for the one closest to the toll services building.  Drew slowed the vehicle, and maneuvered his car through the one open booth.  There were no workers, but the LCD screen was still illuminated somehow.  Drew read out loud, “toll by plate active, just drive through.  We will mail you a bill.”  Nodding to himself, he could see the plate scanning camera flash behind the vehicle as it passed through the toll booth.  It was more expensive to use the toll by plate, but given everything going on, the bill was going to be a bit delayed.  Was the postal service even still operating at this point, the man pondered?  The vehicle cleared the plaza, and was back on the open highway.  

Gradualling he pressed the accelerator, and brought the vehicle back up to speed.  The stretch of road after the plaza was over the open water.  Unlike the Golden Gate bridge, the bridge that carried this highway was moored into the bay floor by massive concrete and steel pilings.  It was built this way because the span was too great to be able to be supported by suspension cables.  There were also earthquake concerns, which the man really hoped that there would be none of which to speak of.  That was the last thing people needed, was an earthquake.  The bridge was dark, and the surrounding hills dark as well.  It was beyond eerie at this point, until all of a sudden the radio fired up with a station playing instrumental hip hop and slow jazz.  Someone was still broadcasting on an AM transmitter, which was both a surprise and a welcome relief.  Tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, as someone was playing a trumpet solo for way too long, he heard the sound dip down and the DJ start to speak.  

“I’m just gonna let the smooth mellow sounds play in the background.  This is DJ Jamaal, of AM 740, San Quentin’s home for funk.  Our music is so good, it should be criminal.  This is a news break … disco is not dead, and will be on in 4 hours.  News reports are spotty at best cats and kittens, but here is what I have.  As of a couple hours ago, we have lost all connection to the rest of the country.  All the national news operations are offline, including the associated press.  A rag tag coalition of local news reports have been communicating with each other, to form a chain of reports.  The disappearances have continued to accelerate, with whole cities going empty.  Fires have broken out, as overloaded electrical grids due to lack of power, caused brownouts and transformers to explode.  The electrical sub stations in San Rafael have been turned off, as well as Baltimore Park.”

Drew nodded while he listened to jazz fusion playing in the background.  In time the transmission started to crackle and fade, not due to power issues, but because he was driving too far past the transmitter.  The car was dark and quiet once again, and the huge highway lanes started to narrow down.  Soon the signs indicated that the highway had changed to 101, and his pocket started to vibrate.  Carefully retrieving his phone, he saw that he had 2 bars of signal, and a flood of messages were coming in.  There were several worried, then angry, then really fudged off angry text messages coming in from the lady friend that he had been speaking to earlier when he ran into Pudgy.  The man did not blame her, and if he got back from this Pudgy adventure, would apologize.  In a worst case scenario, he could show her the hedgehog, and blame him for being late.  That made him chuckle, as the thought of her trying to be mad while Pudgy bouncing in her hands.

As the hours passed, the vehicle sped along a 2 lane highway along and over the mountains.  It wound to and fro, up and down, and side to side.  During the day, this stretch was very scenic.  At night however, it was all darkness, save for two beams of light that were cast forth in front of the vehicle.  Pudgy woke up in the passenger seat, started bouncing, and was wiggling his nose.  “Mr. Drew, Pudgy smell ocean!”  The extremely tired man nodded, but did not look at the hedgehog as he yawned terribly.  Turning his head to the left, he could see the ripple of ocean water in the distance as the moon light lit up the coastline.  The vastness of the pacific ocean was shrouded by the darkness of night.  But to the relief of the exhausted man, he could see signs for the town of Orick approaching and then passing by his headlights.  

Orick was a small town that was the start of a vast national and state park.  Famed for the redwood trees that you could drive through, it was also the best place to see wildlife.  Hundreds of picnic and camping sites stretched all the way north to the border with Oregon.  Drew was falling asleep while driving, and the car would start to veer to the side, before he would wake up and steer back.  After the fifth time that happened, he saw that the car’s gas tank was almost empty per the gauge on the car’s dashboard.  The engine was starting to sputter, so it was crystal clear he needed to pull over.  Before finally giving up, the engine turned off as it burned through the last gasps of fuel vapor.  There was enough momentum to reach a darkened liquor store that was in a plaza beside the road.  

The vehicle coasted into a parking lot, in front of the closed store.  Drew pressed the brake pedal, and slowed the car to a stop.  They were parked in a spot in front of the store, and the man put the vehicle into park.  Turning the key in the ignition to the accessory position, he turned on the car’s overhead map light to illuminate the interior.  The exhausted man turned to look at the hedgehog and owl.  “We ….made it to….Orick.”  Drew’s eyes involuntarily closed, and he slumped over in the driver’s seat.  They had made it to the town, and the car was safely stopped, so the man could sleep easily now.  He started to snore like a buzz saw, which spooked the owl.  Alabaster had never heard a human make a nose like that before, and wondered where the rumbles were coming from?

Pudgy bounced happily, excited that they were here, but also concerned for his friend.  Alabaster was motioning to him with his good wing, “Pudgy, I think we should let him rest.  We were able to sleep, while he made this strange box move for us.”  The hedgehog nodded, and looked around the vehicle, as well as through the glass.  The snow white owl flapped his one good wing, and was able to gain enough lift to get up onto the dashboard.  He wanted a better vantage point to see from.  The owl was not able to see much, because the light from the map light was messing with his normally keen eyes.  Owls could see very well at night, provided there was no man made sources of light that would interfere.  “Pudgy, I do not see any light outside, so it would appear the humans went away here too.”  

As the owl turned back to his hedgehog companion, he saw Pudgy was climbing the door handle.  The hedgehog shimmied across the arm rest, and found the door pull.  The owl watched, and realized that the critter was trying to pop the door open far enough to get out.  After a couple of attempts, Alabaster watched the handle pull out, and then heard the door click.  It started to drift open slowly and with a terrific screech.  Alabaster turned back to Drew, who was still snoring as he slept.  The hedgehog jumped off the plastic armrest, and back onto the fabric seat.  Alabaster motioned towards the man in the driver’s seat, “Pudgy ….”  The hedgehog turned to his human friend, and watched as his dark skin started to go translucent.  His body was fading, and the snoring sound was diminishing.  Pudgy quickly scampered over to hug his hand while it was still visible, hopefully he could hug him one last time before he went away!  

“Thank you Mr. Drew!”  Pudgy felt the hand disappear, and watched as his paws passed through the spot where Drew used to be.  Soon the seat was empty, and the vehicle was dead quiet.  The hedgehog started crying, and began to wail loudly while sniffing his nose.  The owl hopped off the dash and onto the passenger seat, before hopping out through the partially open vehicle door.  The owl knew he was out of place, and his companion needed time.  There was no longer a reason to stay in the car, so after checking that he had all of his things, Pudgy turned and followed the owl down through the doorway.  He landed on the cool concrete parking lot with a thud, and continued to whimper.  “All of Pudgy’s human friends are gone now …”  The critter continued to wail, and was crying terribly still.  Alabaster remained quiet, and continued walking slowly past the vehicle’s front tire.  

As the owl listened to the sobs of his hedgehog companion, his feelings were becoming muddled.  All of his life, he had heard the stories.  He watched with his own eyes: the atrocities that the humans wrought on the animals.  But yet, all the way on this journey, he had come into contact with nice humans.  They were friendly, and willing to help Pudgy and his owl friend.  He knew what his mother would say, and chide him that one good deed does not outweigh a lifetime of bad ones. But still, he had a doubt, where there was no doubt before.  As the two animals cleared the front of the car, they watched as the headlights were starting to dim as the battery was being drained.  Pudgy looked up, and sniffed the air with his ears perked up, as he started to see a darkness that blotted out the stars above them in the sky.

He heard a long hoot from an owl, and looked at Alabaster.  “Do you hear that, Alabaster?”  The snow white owl nodded, and sounded a greeting call in return.  There was no response, so Alabaster sent another call once more.  This time, there was a return call, which made the owl happy.  “Looks like they heard me, so I suspect we will be joined soon Pudgy.  I am curious who it is?”  The hedgehog scampered up beside the owl, and nodded while sniffing his nose.  As the two companions continued to walk away from the vehicle, another snow white owl flew down from the night skies above, and landed in front of them.  As this new owl turned around, Pudgy could see that its dark brown markings mixed in with the white feathers. The new owl waved its wings, and hooted happily.  The hedgehog watched as Alabaster bounced over and touched beaks with the owl.  

Alabaster did not say anything for a long time, until he motioned with his good wing towards Pudgy.  “Pudgy … this is my mother.  Mother … This is Pudgy Hedgehog.  He helped me get here …”  The female owl walked over, and immediately pulled the hedgehog in close to her body.  She wrapped both Alabaster and the hedgehog in her wings, and hugged the two gently.  After a long quiet time passed, the mother owl let the two go.  As she folded her wings back she spoke,  “Thank you Pudgy … for bringing my son to me.  Oh, where are my manners?  My name is Ice Feather … I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”  Pudgy bounced happily, but noticed the mother owl was inspecting him closely with her gold eyes.  The hedgehog companion of her son was dressed with a little backpack and a metal helmet with a round circle attached to the front of it.   After inspecting Pudgy, she turned her gaze onto her son.

“Alabaster …. What is that on your wing?” Ice Feather said with concern in her shrill voice.   Pudgy waved at her, “Pudgy had to splint his wing.  When Pudgy found Alabaster, his wing was bent backwards.”  Alabaster nodded, “I ran into the tree when we exited the leyline node.  Pudgy lives nearby to where the tree ring is, along with his woodland friends.”  The mother owl was pecking at the splint with her beak.  “I see … and this was to help you heal?”  The two nodded, and watched as Ice Feather motioned with one of her wings at the splint.  “Pudgy … take it off please.”   The hedgehog scampered over to his companion, “Pudgy unsure … last time Pudgy checked …Alabaster had an ouchie wing.”  The mother owl gave him a look, which any critter would recognize, and started to carefully remove the splint.  

In time, Alabaster was freed from his restraints.  Ice Feather nodded, and then pulled out her son’s injured  wing with her beak.  As Alabaster’s wing extended, he winced slightly.  “Looks like you are mostly healed, my son.  You can fly, but you won’t be fast.”  Alabaster nodded, “yes Mother.  Did we make it in time for the Grand Parliament?”  His mother nodded, “we will speak as we fly.  As our hedgehog friend is a ground walker, I will carry Pudgy.  I am certain Grand Claw will want to meet with the hedgehog who helped bring you to us.”  The mother owl said as she walked around the hedgehog, and pecked at the back back on the hedgehog’s back.  “Pudgy … normally I would say my claws might hurt.  But you have that strange thing on your back, which I can grab onto without concern.  Our tree is not far from here, and I am sure that you do not wish to walk the whole way there?”  

The hedgehog nodded in agreement, and tied the straps of his pack around his body.  He also tightened the strap over his shoulders securely, and once ready spoke clearly to the mother owl.  “Pudgy ready … please don’t drop Pudgy.”  The two owls hooted as they laughed, and the hedgehog watched as Alabaster started to flap his wings.  He was grimacing from the pain, but after a few attempts, he was able to ascend into the night sky.  Pudgy watched the mother owl take off, and then circle around to snatch the hedgehog in her claws.  The little critter watched as the ground quickly went away as he was carried high into the sky.  He also saw that the gray car’s headlights went dark as the battery ran out.  Whispering to himself, “thank you again, Mr. Drew, for everything.” 

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 6: Orick”

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