An enormous icy hedgehog roamed the snowy woods.
It hadn’t always been so large. It began life as small as any hedgehog, and like its kind, it disliked being in the company of other creatures. But, although most hedgehogs felt a prickle only when pressed against each other, this one felt the spines at a distance, and desperately sought isolation. It spent all its time alone, in the coldest corners, feeding on frost and silence. It seemed, some said, that it needed so much space to grow. And it grew, until it was impossible to hide.
Nearly ten feet tall and twice that in length, the hedgehog strutted through the wintry forest, squeezing through trees and frosted shrubbery. Its fur gleamed like bright white slag, and a thick bushel of icy needles covered its back. Its tiny eyes were pure argent, an absolute blank, for it had lived so long alone that it saw nothing.
When winter passed, the hedgehog did not depart. Wherever it went, it walked in its own winter, and left behind patches of snow in the sunlit meadows, which took days to melt.
Some thought its huge blue body was an icy armor, that would one day melt and reveal the small ruddy hedgehog hiding beneath. Yet others said a broken gland accelerated its tremendous growth, and it would collapse one day, from sheer internal pressure. But it did not melt, and it continued to grow.
There were certain individuals, however, who were fond of the hedgehog, who followed it (from a distance) and gave it food (which they left in its path). For, although it was a rather shocking beast, it had an icy, brilliant beauty. And they were drawn to it for some reason, perhaps for the same reason that brought it into being.
R.C. Weissenberg is a writer of various things, who spends most of his time in the Southwestern United States. He enjoys sketching, playing guitar, and reading obsessively.