First thing ever written on my own volition, so I would love to hear any and all comments, critiques or questions. I had fun writing it, too.
The loud whirring of the nearby heating units began to subside, drowned out by the growing sounds of footsteps and silence. The hedgehog's stubby claws clacked against the wet pavement as the gravel made a soft, low sound that soothed his running brain. The fur on his face swayed while he exhaled a soft gray cloud into the frigid air which would have been seen even if he wasn't smoking. The cigarette lit up as he took another drag, switching paws to warm his hand in the pocket of his black faux-suede jacket. His quills, brown at the tips and gradating to white, stuck out over the collar of the soft black coat. Muted green eyes searched the dark sky unsuccessfully for a single star between the slowly passing brick buildings.
His mind had been racing without provocation since he began the walk, his pack of smokes constantly emptying all the while. What am I doing with my life he thought, Why can't I find someone? Where is my love? In fact, my only regret is that I have never loved." He sighed as the phrase lingered in his mind. My only regret is that I have never loved. He was not the type to have regrets, not any more. Sure, mistakes were made, but nobody could live without mistakes. It was a simple truth he had learned in his first year at college, since he had developed what seemed like a permanent cheesy grin, complete with teeth slightly stained from coffee, cigarettes, and not brushing. But that single thought was plaguing him for weeks.
My only regret is that I have never loved, he continued to dwell. He never directed the word 'love' to anyone, not even his family members. Sure, they were his family, and perhaps he took them for granted, but he just never felt the urge to say it. He decided between chucking his cig butt and lighting up another that he was looking for someone to direct that feeling to, for one person to love unconditionally. The cheesy gay romance novels he'd enjoyed recently, with tigers falling for foxes and wolves for huskies lingered on his mind. It doesn't matter who I fall for, wolf or leopard, fox or vixen, as long as it's someone... his running inner monologue decided. He watched a cougar walk with his rabbit, his tail rubbing against her leg. The hedgehog's jealousy flooded him quickly as he took another drag, sighing as the envy fled just as quickly.
His footpads smacked up the steep brick hill. Realizing that he was on his 5th or 6th smoke since he'd left, he looked at the fingers that enabled his habit. Pah, quitting. Just one more thing I have to do, he snarled at himself as he stared at the yellow stains on his fingers in the dim light. A female coyote talked curtly on the phone as he passed. He took another drag, wondering about her romantic life. Well, she's probably better off than I am, he figured.
The list of things for him to do that night went through his mind, which really consisted of two small write-ups for his criminology course. He looked at his cigarette pack, noticing that he was down to four cigs, including his upside-down lucky one. Well, I need more anyway, might as well grab a couple energy drinks, he figured, since staying up all night was clearly his best option.
My only regret is that I have never loved, ran though his mind again. Brief depression set in once more as he thought about how easy it would be to take his bike and ride it into the river. On a cold night like tonight it would surely kill him, a group of badged horses and pigs examining a dead hedgehog on the riverbank the next day. His quills stuck up around his thick glasses at the thought. Dammit, I stopped taking those damn pulls to get away from those sick ideas! He flung the exhausted cig to the ground and watched it explode in the street as he lit another, still angry at himself for allowing the idea to enter his mind.
He walked to the main street of the small college town. "Is that the only coat you had, faggot?!" he heard across the intersection. Looking up quickly, he noticed it was just a hyena heckling his friend for wearing a bright red puffy jacket as both hyenas stumbled amicably down the street. The hedgehog chuckled at the drunks behind a cigarette, taking a drag. The street was relatively busy for a frigid Tuesday night, he noticed while walking in front of two girls, a leopard and a particularly fat skunk. He was somewhat chubby himself, but at least he knew not to wear a skirt on a cold winter night. He chuckled at the thought and lit up another smoke, his pack nearly empty.
Taking a spot on a wooden bench outside of the local cornerstore, he continued his cigarette and his fur-watching. A bear couple, both in glasses and nerd-tees similar to the ones that he liked to wear, checked to see if the adjacent bar was still open. It was not. A drunken ferret belched as he passed the benches. Three attractive females in sweatpants and collegiate sportjackets, a panther and two cheetahs, walked by the hedgehog as he watched them pass through his thick black-rimmed glasses.
He flicked the cigarette and headed into the store, grabbing an energy drink and an energy 'coffee-based shot' from the fridges inside. A cute but clearly exhausted vixen tied a garbage bag as they exchanged pleasantries, being that he was a frequent customer. As he approached the counter, his claws clacking lightly on the tiles, the fox put aside the bag and headed to the register, her fluffy tail following limply. They traded smiles as he set the caffeine between the two animals. A cheap airhorn fell from the shelf without provocation.
"Fuck!" she exclaimed, "This whole place is falling apart!"
He quipped with a chuckle, "And the airhorns will be the first to go!" She joined him in laughing as she pulled down his favorite brand of cigarettes from above the counter. It was good to have a full pack, even though his lucky cig was still in his pocket.
The vixen began to reach below the counter after swiping his card. "Would you like a small bag?" she asked politely with an exasperated smile, her ears limply angled to the sides.
He declined with his usual toothy grin, threw the cans and smokes into his large coat pockets and raised a hand in a lazy wave as he exited the store. His quills bristled in the cold air as he lit his lucky cigarette. He walked down the bridge to his dorm, his mind finally blank for the first time in hours. He was relieved that his mind had finally stopped for a second until he realized that relief was actually another thought, which broke the respite. He cursed himself, taking another drag before cracking open the cold energy drink and taking a sip. His face contorted in confusion, Chocolate and... mint? What the hell? He decided to finally read the label: Irish Blend Coffee. He shrugged and continued down the street.
Finishing the smoke and the drink conveniently as he approached his building doors, he keyed it open, greeting the warmth but not the smell. After walking up a few flights of stairs, he approached his room, the numbers on the door faded. This damn place is like a really shitty motel he thought, keying open his own door. He shut it immediately after entering the small, cozy, single room, slinging his coat into the closet, the short quills on his arms seemingly thanking him for the ability to breathe. Flipping open his laptop, the hedgehog decided to play some tunes: nerd rock like Cake and I Fight Dragons. Shirts flew from the desk to a bare spot on the floor just before he took a chess set from the same desk and put it on a shelf. He took a deep breath, grabbed his pen and 4-subject notebook, flipped to the empty section and began to write: The loud whirring of the nearby heating units began to subside, drowned out by the growing sounds of footsteps and silence...
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