"This way," the woman croaked, crooking her gnarled finger at him. She hobbled a few steps closer to the house with the boy in tow.
"I...I don't think so." Grady took a step back, pulling his arm away from her wrinkled hand.
"Don't ye want to know what's wrong with ye?" Her strange purple eyes did not waver from his.
"How did you know? I mean, how could you tell something was wrong?" Grady held his ground; he had a feeling the old bat might be crazy.
"Well, I can see it, can't I?" She nodded in the direction of his still smoking arm. "Come now, I have just the thing, Grady."
Grady started at the mention of his name. The old woman was already hobbling up the stairs into her shadowy house. Grady stared after her. He wondered how she could see it -- the billowing smoke that should have been so obvious -- when no one else had been able to. And, he had never laid eyes on this woman before; how could she possibly know his name?
"Come, come!" She wagged her hand at him to follow. "I won't bite ye," she paused, "...but Willow just might." She gave a crooked smile before being swallowed into the house.
Grady stood for another moment on the woman's front lawn, trying to get his wits about him. Just then, Grady felt something long and swindly pushing, a little more than gently, between his shoulder blades, causing him to stumble forward.
Apparently, Willow was impatient.
Grady hurried the last few steps into the old house.