“Adam, it’s missing!”
“What’s missing, Ben?”
“Your Arnie, the one with the beaver in it!”
“Oh, no . . . I traded 12 marbles for that one. It’s my favourite. Are you sure it’s not around here somewhere?”
Adam and Ben scrambled around on their hands and knees looking for the lost treasure. They heard a loud caw, and looked up to see a big black crow tugging hard at one of the pink plastic clothes pins holding their mom’s clean sheets on the line.
“Stop!” hollered Adam. They ran forward, waving their arms at the crow. The pin came loose and one side of the sheet it was holding fell toward the ground. The crow flew off with the clothes pin in its beak.
“C’mon Ben . . . I’ll bet he’s the thief!”
They ran out the gate and down the road, just as the crow flew into the yard of the biggest house on the block. Ben grabbed Adam by his shirt to stop him.
“This is the old house everyone says is haunted, Adam. A witch lives here. Bill says there are strange gobbling noises that come from this house.”
“Oh, well . . . maybe we’d better not go any closer.”
“Aww, c’mon, I want that Arnie back.” Now Adam gave Ben’s shirt a tug to hurry him along.
The boys stopped beside the stone wall surrounding the house. Adam pointed at a large tree near the fence. Its limbs had grown over the wall. “Let’s climb this ole tree . . . we’ll be able to see in the yard then.”
The boys struggled up the tree and clambered along a big limb overlooking the yard. The crow cawed loudly as the patio door slid open. Adam grabbed Ben’s arm, making him still. They stared wide-eyed at a black-haired woman wearing a black coat. She walked through the door and looked toward the crow perched on a trellis in the yard. She slipped off her coat and tossed it on a nearby chair.
“Well, Blacky did you miss me?” The crow leapt off the trellis and soared over to her, landing on her outstretched arm. He shook his wings back into place.
“Caw, caw,” he answered.
Her laugh was light and airy.
Adam whispered to Ben, “She doesn’t look like a witch to me.”
The woman walked toward a vegetable garden, the crow riding on her outstretched arm. “Let’s get you some lunch,” she said to the crow. The crow flew to the ground as she knelt next to a row of peas.
“Look Adam, she’s feeding him peas.” The crow, with its head back and beak open, was making strange noises as he swallowed the peas. All of a sudden, the woman jumped up and screamed, “Aaaaahhh! Get him, get him!”