He had been on his way towards the lake, just like a normal day, to get a drink and some food.
Something was wrong, and it was something very, very strange.
That morning he’d woken up like a normal day. He shuffled around his burrow for a bit, thought about what he would do, before heading outside to do it.
Nothing strange about that, he thought. And with that, Randy the Hedgehog continued walking.
After a few minutes of admiring the scenery, the sunshine, the grass and the water in the distance, he passed Timmy the Turtle.
“Good morning, Timmy! Would you like to come to the lake with me, for a morning drink?” Randy asked.
Timmy slowly lifted his head, the same way the sun would lift itself off the ground each morning, and turned towards Randy. “That sounds like a mighty fine idea! I’ll come with you to the lake.” And so the two friends walked together. Timmy could walk right next to Randy, because his hard green shell protected him from Randy’s spikes.
Randy was used to scurrying around to get things done. Needless to say, he had to walk slowly so that Timmy could keep up. But something was still bothering Randy, and he couldn’t figure out what it was.
He decided Timmy could help him.
“Timmy,” Randy asked, carefully. He didn’t want to sound silly in front of his friend. “Is something different about today?”
“What do you mean?” asked Timmy in his low voice.
“Well…” Randy thought about how he would try to explain himself. A few moments passed before he was able to continue speaking. Randy never had to think about what he was about to say. This wasn’t a problem right now, because Timmy was used to taking things slow. “Something feels different about today. I’m not sure what it is, but it is making me nervous! Does that seem silly?”
“Everything is fine and dandy, Randy.” Timmy said, chuckling at his own joke. “Nothing is different. Today seems to be just like every other day.”
“That’s what I thought, but I keep feeling like something is different.” The two were coming up to the water’s edge now.
“Everything is fine, Randy.” Timmy said.
Perhaps Timmy is right, Randy thought. If I can’t think what is wrong, then nothing is wrong.
They were finally standing at the water’s edge when Henrietta the Hawk landed on a branch in a nearby tree.
“Hello Henrietta!” Both Randy and Timmy called out at the same time.
“Good morning boys!” Henrietta replied warmly. “It’s a nice day, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is! The sun is shining and Timmy and I are about to get a drink from the lake!”
“Isn’t that nice?” Henrietta called out. “It’s good to see two friends playing together.”
Randy liked Henrietta. She was very nice and was looking out for her children. He considered Henrietta to be the closest thing to a mother he had.
“You can join us if you want.” Randy said. “There’s always room for more friends.”
Henrietta smiled and said that she would love to, but she had to get food for her babies who were waiting back at the nest. “Maybe next time!” She said and looked at Timmy.
During the conversation, Timmy had been looking in the water, but he hadn’t been drinking. Randy thought this was strange and asked Timmy what was wrong.
Timmy said nothing; he just moved his head down, closer to the water, with his eyes wide open.
Randy decided to take a look as well…
At first, Randy didn’t see anything strange. All he could see were ripples slowly moving across his reflection which was peeking over the edge of the grass.
“What are you looking at, Timmy?” He looked over at Timmy, who had leaned in so close that his nose was almost touching the water.
Randy tried to look closer, which was hard because of his round body shape. Timmy had a long neck, but Randy had short legs and almost no neck to speak of. Nevertheless, he leaned over the edge as far as he could and looked down.
There was nothing there, just his reflection staring right back at him.
Randy looked so hard until he squinted and his eyes began to hurt. And then… he saw it.
It’s me, Randy thought. It’s not just a hedgehog. It’s me. I’m Randy the Hedgehog.
“Since when have I been Randy the Hedgehog?” He asked no one in particular.
That’s what felt so different about this morning! He thought. I woke up and thought about what I was going to do… I’ve never done that before! I’ve never had to think about anything and now I’m thinking about everything!
He paused for just a moment, and then loudly he called out “I CAN TALK! SINCE WHEN CAN I TALK?!” Timmy was startled, he looked up at Randy. “Timmy! Timmy! I can talk! I looked in my reflection and I realised who I am! I realised that I exist! AND YOUR NAME IS TIMMY! TIMMY! This is amazing!”
Randy stopped, and realised that someone was watching him, and had been for quite some time.
Suddenly Henrietta didn’t look as friendly as she did before. Her eyes were black and she was perched high above them, staring down, leering.
“Timmy…” Randy said, as Henrietta spread her wings. “Run… Timmy. RUN!” Randy turned and ran as fast as he could, but realised Timmy wasn’t close beside him. Randy spun back around, just in time to see Henrietta’s beak pierce through Timmy’s soft, green skull. Randy was just close enough for Timmy’s blood to splatter across his face, stinging his eyes.
“Wha…” He managed to say.
Henrietta pulled her beak out of Timmy, letting his head fall lifeless to the grass. “Don’t say anything,” she said quietly. There was still an eyeball dangling by a bloody thread from her beak. “I woke up this morning and realised not only that I was a bird of prey that killed innocent others… but that I liked it.” Randy’s thoughts raced; If he tried to run, she would surely kill him.
“Y-y-you…” He stammered. “You killed my mother! And now you’re back for me!”
“Your mother was a good for nothing whore. And now it’s your turn to die!” Henrietta lurched forward, and the next few seconds went very slowly for Randy, but in reality only lasted a fraction of a second.
The hawk screeched and loomed over him, he was terrified, but something had to be done. He pushed himself up onto his hind legs, and jumped, spinning towards Henrietta, his spikes like rotating spears of death. Each one ripped into Henrietta’s flesh, much the same way a meat grinder would rip apart a newborn baby. She then fell under Randy’s weight onto the grass where she was immediately crushed, spurting all the internal organs and their contents out of her anus.
The world was getting darker. Randy lay on his back in the blood soaked grass for a few moments. Eventually he pulled himself up.
“I’m too old for this shit.” He said, lighting a cognac-dipped cigarette, and then stumbled on all fours, the stink of death following him through the gathering mist, back home.
– Scott Sandwich