Gary entered the house from the back door. As he shut the door he looked down the alley to see if Old Black Maggie followed him.
“Somebody chase you home,” Gary’s mother, Betty, said while chopping vegetables for the supper meal.
“No,” Gary said. “Well kinda.” He flipped his shoes off.
“Who?” she said.
“Old Black Maggie,” Gary said placing the loaf bread on the table.
“I hardly think you would have to run from Old Black Maggie,” she said. “She has to be at least 75 years old.”
“She has special powers,” Gary said.
“Like what?” she said and turned to Gary.
“She just has them,” Gary said, “She’s a hag.”
“She’s strange,” she said, “But she’s not a hag. I remember when she was younger. They say she was quite pretty when she was young.”
“All I know is that I don’t want her near me,” Gary said.
“Than stay away from here and don’t tease her,” she said.
“I gave her a nickel at Russell’s so she could buy some cat food,” Gary said.
“Well that was nice of you,” she said. “I don’t think you will have to worry about any curses at this point.”
“Russell said that don’t make any difference,” Gary said. “Hags are in the business of curses and it makes no difference whether you do good or bad to ’em.”
“Well, Russell ought to know,” she said and added sardonically, “he owns a grocery store.”
Gary ran up the stairs to his room and looked out the window. It wasn’t quite dark yet. His window overlooked the alley that ran beside their home. He strained to see where the alley intersected with the next street. Behind a tree he saw a shadowy figure. He rubbed his eyes and it was gone. “Only a hag can do that,” he murmured.
That night Gary woke several times and moved the curtain aside with his finger just far enough to look out into the alley. Dogs barked throughout the night. A siren was heard and the lonely distant whine of a truck’s tires on the highway. The city seemed dead, but Gary was certain Old Black Maggie was hard at work either doing an evil deed or plotting her next one.