I am a bad person with a dark secret.
Last year I murdered a Hedgehog. Not my proudest moment…nevertheless it’s time to confess. (ooh, Im a poet and I don’t know it).
Arguably It was manslaughter, I mean, I didn’t plot to massacre the flea-ridden shrew, so I imagine I could have my sentence reduced in the absence of a calculated conspiracy.
It all started when we moved into our new home last May, a lovely leafy area, advancing to a 3 -bedroom house, little garden and it’s very own hedgehog… a real one! How lovely, we thought, with very little consideration placed on the fact that we have 4 cats.. a potential nightmare for “Harold”, we’ll call him.
Harold had brought the community together, and for the last 4 years had been fed and watered by the previous occupiers of our house, coupled with our neighbours on either side. Christine at number 78 had let him into her house on occasion and fed him pedigree chum, and Lynne at number 76 (the toilet attendant), had crafted a little wooden hutch so he could seek shelter on cold nights.
Harold was loved.
The first two weeks in our new home, we kept the cats inside so that they could get used to their new surroundings before we set them free to roam their new neighbourhood, but before long it was time to let them out. You may think you can see where this is going….but the cats had absolutely nothing to do with the death of Harold. I am completely to blame.
You see, the previous occupiers had let the garden go a little bit and on the first ‘dry day’ I decided I would cut the grass. A day I will regret forever. The grass was getting on for 8 inches in length (not quite 8 inches….I know exactly what 8 inches looks like). So out of the garage came the fly-mo.
With the lawn-mower powered up and strimmer at the ready, I began to hack through the thicket with haste, so I could get back to season 4 of ‘Ru-Pauls’s Drag Race.’ I was surprised at what a good job I was doing …with the £39.99 ‘Homebase bargain purchase’, and had lovely straight lines of ‘crew -cut’ grass.
After I emptied the first load , I continued on the third line of my landscaping master-piece, when all of a sudden I hit a snag. The sound of the blades working harder to cut through the obstacle, combined with a sinister and aggressive juddering of the fly-mo, could only mean one thing.
I daren’t look down and stood silently for -what felt like 5 minutes -calling my husband for moral support as I remained frozen in the assumed position.
Yes….I had mowed down Harold in cold blood. He lay there motionless and a little (a lot) worse for wear as he took his final breath. As I said, Im not proud and I felt a wave of guilt sweep through my body.
“Shit – the neighbours”, shouted my husband. “We’ll have to dispose of the body” he said.
He was right, Harold was the epitome of community spirit….and his body lay cold in the half-hacked grass in full view of each one of our neighbours…What would they say? What would we tell them?
We had to act fast…no time for a ceremonial burial… and we couldn’t draw any more attention to ourselves..there had already been sufficient commotion to generate concern, and my husband was now an accessory. So Harold’s final resting place was the wheelie bin of number 80 (we don’t know them), encased in a Tesco Bag for Life.
That was the end of it…or so we thought. Bin day wasn’t for another 6 days…I wouldn’t rest until he had gone, for fear of his homicide being traced to us at number 77. That Friday morning I breathed a huge sigh of relief as the Hedgehog hearse arrived to take Harold away…but this still wasn’t the end.
A few nights later, I saw Christine leaning over our fence attempting to summon Harold with a tin of dog-food…this continued night after night for about 2 weeks. When this stopped, Lynne knocked on our door to see if we had seen ‘the hedgehog’…she was worried that she hadn’t seen him for a while.
Karma – I was being punished for my crime, with constant reminders from our neighbours, confirming how much Harold was adored, this only added to my guilt. Of course I had to play dumb…and blame the cats.
“They must have scared him off” , I suggested. Little do they know that within 2 weeks of joining the neighbourhood, I had killed their beloved communal pet.
So …the truth is out.