by Kay Donnelly
fizzy pink lemonade
The woman who lives next door to us is a witch. She warned me not to tell anyone, so that is why I am writing it down. You couldn’t say that was telling, really, could you?
You see, I was always kicking my ball,‘accidently’ into her garden to see what was going on, as I had my suspicions. First of all, she wore different clothes to anyone else. As well as that, she always looked at me like she could tell exactly what I was thinking and what really drove me crazy was, that even though I always knew where I had kicked my ball, when I got into her garden, it had always moved to a different spot. But I could never find any real proof that she was a witch.
I am only 10 years old but I am not stupid and I know a mystery when I see one. Our next door neighbour was a mystery and my mission was to solve it.
I never before had the guts to ring at her door at Halloween but although I was really scared, this year I figured out that it was the only chance I had of ever getting into her house. I made my mind up, I was going to be brave and face the dragon in her den.
My sister and I were trick n’ treating up and down our street but my sister wouldn’t go inside our next door neighbour’s gate with me, even though I said I would give her a packet of Smarties. Well, I gathered all my courage together and marched right up the path and knocked at her door.
When ‘Witchiepoo’ came out, I said, “Trick or Treat”.
“Come in come in, come in, my don’t you look great in your Vampire outfit” she said.
I thought she was a bit too friendly but anyway, I stepped into the hall and she brought me into the kitchen. I waited for her to bring out a bowl or basket of treats like everyone else but that’s not what happened. Instead she looked at me with those staring green eyes and surprised me by saying, “Trick”.
I looked at her like as if she had two heads because that’s not what adults are supposed to say. I tried again. “Trick or Treat.” She got the answer wrong again, “Trick” she said
We both stood there looking at one another. We were not strangers. She was living there for three years now and she knew me and I knew her. But there we were, sizing one another up and down and I don’t know about her but I certainly was wondering what was going to happen next. I looked out the window to see if my sister was watching at the gate but she was gone across the road to the next house. That’s sisters for ya, never there when you need them.
“Well,” Witchiepoo said, “what’s keeping you, I said trick, so go ahead and do your best trick for me.”
I knew she was not playing the game properly but I couldn’t figure out what my next move should be. No one had ever said, “Trick” to me before. I was going to kill my Mother when I got home, because she never warned me “ Make sure you have a trick ready if someone asks you to do one.” It was all her fault that I was stuck in this ‘tricky’ situation, if you see what I mean.
Witchipoo was getting impatient “ Well if you don’t have any trick for me that’s just too bad; no treats for you tonight.”
I suddenly remembered a trick my grandfather had taught me. He was a bit of a magician one time and loved to show off whenever he got the chance. He would never explain how he did his magic tricks except this one time when it was just the two of us alone. I begged him so much to show me one of his tricks that he finally gave in and explained how to do the disappearing penny trick. It took a lot of practice but I stuck at it until I got the knack. For a while I had great fun trying it out on my friends. I became a bit of an expert at it but then everyone got bored, so I stopped doing it and forgot all about it.
Witchiepoo had a smug look on her face but it disappeared when I said “If I can do a trick now will you give me some treats.”
“It had better be good one” she said.
I rooted around in my pockets until I found a coin. Copying the jargon that my grandfather used, I held the coin on edge, between the thumb and first finger of my left hand, balancing it carefully. “Keep your eye on the coin,” I said, as I crossed my other hand over and back around the penny saying, “Abra, Abra Abracadabra!” I pretended to take the coin into my right hand, but the trick is to ‘palm it’ (magician’s lingo) in the left one. Then thrusting my right hand into the air, I pretended to throw the coin into space, opening my hand to show it was empty.
“It’s gone off somewhere in the room and it is moving around” I said ,“Look I think I see it moving across the top of the dresser and down the wall.” While her eyes followed where I was pointing, I secretly placed the coin, which I had kept in my other hand, under the cushion of a chair near me.
“Watch it now” I said “It is moving down the side of the wall and coming across the floor and it just jumped up on that chair! Look under the cushion if you don’t believe me.” I knew I had really tricked her by the look on her face.
She got up and made her way over to the chair. “This chair,” she said, “and this cushion?”
“Yes,” I said waiting for the surprise she was going to get.
She slowly lifted the cushion. I nearly jumped out of my skin as instead of my coin, a big black toad hopped out from under the cushion on to my lap. I jumped , dropped my bucket of treats and ran for the door. The last words I heard were, “Promise you won’t tell anyone my secret or else…”
I didn’t even look behind me but I could hear Witchiepoo laughing her heart out. That was the day I found out she was a real witch. Don’t tell anyone.