Springwalk Avenue

Nobody thought anything of the new neighbor. After all, she was perfectly normal, if a little eccentric. Anyone who owned thirty-six finches, three parrots, seven chickens, a peacock, and a talking raven was not really “normal” by the standard definition. But she was polite and kept her yard clean and the parrots weren’t too loud, so after the initial fuss and excitement of someone new in the neighborhood, no one minded old Mrs. Macleary, really.

Halloween came, in its time. Macleary had the most elaborate and striking decorations of any house on the block. She outdid even Silas Walton, who worked in marketing and promotions, and had nothing better to do with his time than turn his front lawn into a labyrinth complete with minotaur. It was a little minotaur, a rental from the farm down the road, but it was still a minotaur.

The minotaur was pushing it, of course. The good folk of Springwalk Avenue certainly weren’t bigots, but it simply wouldn’t do to have witches and all the sorts of beastly things associated with them anywhere near their community. Minotaurs themselves weren’t magic, but they were uncomfortably close to it.

So on Halloween night, when all the children of Springwalk Avenue came back from Mrs. Macleary’s house with delicate sugar-spun songbirds that hopped and sang cupped in their hands, well. They simply couldn’t have that.

Something would have to be done.