Margaret whistled off key. That young spiny mammal understood that tooting in the dark drew lethal enemies. Well, bring on the badgers, and set up a welcome for the weasels; she meant to die. There was little more to live for after she had been so summarily rejected by Alfred.
Something rustling in the undergrowth, however, made the adolescent hedgehog catch her breath. Maybe tomorrow would be a better time to leave the mortal coil. After all, her littermates hadn’t eaten all of the low-hanging brambleberries. It was probably unwise to perish on an empty stomach.
Bright eyes glistened behind the leaf cover.
Margaret inched backward but tripped on a twig.
Sharp teeth were suddenly revealed in the moonlight.
A snout opened wide. Alfred began to sing the aria, “O vin dissipe la tristesse.”
Margaret sighed. “So, I wasn’t good enough to duet ‘Doute de la lumière’ with you?”
“That it should come to this!”
“Hearing you practice?”
“Seeing me vulnerable.”
“Tosh and assorted nonsense. You’re not worth suicide.”
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
“Nah.” Margaret flung an overripe berry and then another at Alfred’s head. “Counterpoint only works with interdependence. With you, a gal’s better off with polyphony or not singing at all.”
“Frailty, thy name is woman!”
Margaret fled into the brushwood “Alfred, thy name is ‘lunch.’ You oughtn’t to sing in the woods. Let’s hope that ferret behind you seeks chord progressions.”
“To be or not…”