I spent the next day getting to know my neighbors. It turned out I had been right to ignore them all the years before. They were rude people. Even the woman who lived in the darling yellow house with the swag of autumn leaves draped around the door sneered, as if I wore garbage for perfume, when I asked if she knew anything about the little red-boot wearing witch.
“She comes every year,” I said. “Her name is Alice.”
“Well, what do you want with her?” Ms. Yellow House asked.
“I don’t know exactly,” I lied. “I suppose to make sure she is all right.”
“Why wouldn’t she be?” the annoying woman asked.
“She hasn’t grown. Not an inch.”
Ms. Yellow House began slowly closing the door, as if one of us might become violent at any sudden movement, but I stuck my foot in to stop it, which caused her eyebrows to jump halfway up her forehead, and her mouth to drop open.
“Also, her guardian appears to be a goat,” I said.
“I’m going to call the police.”
“Good idea,” I said, and removed my foot. I sat on the front step to wait, remembering a time when folks didn’t leave visitors to chill on their stoop but, clearly, that was not the time I was in.
this was a perfect halloween-morning-short, especially if, like me, you prefer scary seasoned with plenty of sad.
i’m not sure i’m 100% clear on the l’il witch’s cycle, but i’m nonetheless a big fan of the story’s mood—spooky and funny and bitter and melancholy; a big old bag of tricks and treats.
and you know i love that curiosity-foiled cat.
short review for a short story—i have two hours before work to try to review a month’s worth of reading and i am not optimistic about it!
read it for yourself here: