For starters, no one knew where she came from. One day, she just showed up. Everyone called her Mrs. Hamilton, but we never saw her husband or any children. There were rumors, though.
We always knew when Mrs. Hamilton was around because she cackled. She cackled loudly and often.
Mrs. Hamilton always made you think of Halloween. She had stringy hair, a long nose, beady eyes, greenish skin, even a wart on her chin. She was tall and thin. She wore long dresses and floppy hats.
We usually saw her at dusk, walking around her yard. Sometimes she sat on a bench under a sycamore tree in her backyard with a big black cat at her side. She never spoke to us, and we never had the courage to approach her.
“Mrs. Hamilton looks like a witch,” my sister said at dinner one night.
“Sarah!” my mother scolded.
“Well, she does,” my father murmured.
“Jack!” said my mother, biting her lip.
One Halloween, I was the last one home after trick-or-treating. I always tried to get as much candy as I could.
As I stepped onto our front porch, I heard a familiar cackle. It was louder than ever, though. I looked over at Mrs. Hamilton’s house, which strangely had been dark the whole evening.
I saw a figure rising above the roof. It looked like a woman riding a broomstick. Her robe flapped wildly behind her. She flew in ascending, widening circles, her cackling ever fainter. Then she rode across the wondrously bright full moon and into the murky darkness beyond.
I never saw Mrs. Hamilton again.