The woman nodded. "An old person like me needs to be extra friendly. I'm all alone here except for Jackson," she said, pointing to the cat. "I want people to think well of me. That way, they won't play tricks on me or make up nasty rumors."
Abbey nodded. That made sense. The woman was alone in this tiny house at the end of a long road. If she didn't give out candy on Halloween, some of the kids might do bad things to her property. But if she gave out great candy, she'd never have a problem.
"Thanks again," Abbey said as the girls left the house.
"Come back next year," the woman called.
"Wow, that was worth the trip." Abbey started the long climb up the hill.
"And even worth the trip back," Wendy added.
"Ten pounds at least," Abbey said. She lifted the candy bar from her bag.
"Yeah." Wendy hefted hers. "It must cost her a fortune to buy these. But I guess she really wants kids to like her. I know I'm going to tell everyone how nice she is."
"Me, too." Abbey was about to put the candy bar back when she heard the roar. She froze for an instant. "What was that?"
"Just some kids fooling around," Wendy said, though she didn't sound very sure.
Abbey hitched up her skirt and walked faster up the steep slope. Another roar ripped the air, closer this time. Abbey looked back and screamed as the dark beast leaped from the tall weeds, sprinting toward them on four legs and growling, it's sharp white teeth glistening like ivory daggers.
"Run!" she shouted.
Abbey dashed up the hill. The chocolate bar felt heavier and heavier. She dropped the bar and ran harder. By her side, she saw Wendy toss her own bar to the ground.
At the top of the hill, Abbey paused and looked back. "We made it," she gasped, trying to catch her breath. "What was that? A wolf? A lion?"