By Charles Etheridge-Nunn
Baba Yaga lives a few doors down from me. You can tell where, the bungalow has giant chicken-feet. It stands about twenty feet above our houses and when it sits down, we all have to step over the gangly legs.
I used to worry that it’d chase me. She said she had it house-trained, then walked off laughing. That didn’t reassure me. Nor did the missing children.
“Puts them in a giant pot,” a neighbour said when we walked our dogs. He was a teacher in a nearby school.
I didn’t know any children, but was still worried by the news. It didn’t help that Baba Yaga kept making such leading statements, “Stew surprise again tonight.”
We didn’t invite her back to the neighbourhood meetings after she brought a meat dish which my teacher-slash-dog walker friend swore he found a shoelace in.
“Another one’s gone,” he said. My friend the teacher-slash-dog walker helped me put up signs offering a reward for my missing dog. George vanished from my garden, but it wasn’t as important as missing (probably eaten) children.
One of our neighbours attacked the chicken-legs and screamed for her son back. The police took her away and searched her house for missing children, just in case. They found nothing.
My teacher-slash-dog walker friend lost his dog, too. We arranged to meet up, to search for her. I went to the meeting spot and found Baba Yaga instead. She stood in our gossiping spot and said, “Police took him away.”
“Your friend. He’s been taking children. Keeping them in his basement.”
“I dread to even think.”
“You know, I always thought it was you taking children.”
Baba Yaga shook her head and said, “No. I don’t eat children any more. Dogs, but not children.”