Cookies For Davey
Davey Crimmens wheeled his bike around the corner of Third Street, slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop less than two feet from the old woman. Jesus, where did she come from so fast?
"Davey, could you help me, please?"
Davey hesitated, weighing his options. He could keep on riding and ignore her, but he was already in trouble for sneaking off to the swimming hole yesterday. One more incident and mom would ground him for sure. And the old woman knew his name, which meant she most likely knew his mother. Parking his bike against the old wooden fence, her followed her through the gate.
"What do you need?"
She smiled at him, and motioned for him to follow her inside the house. "Could you move my rocking chair in front of the window for me please? Been trying to move it all day, but these old hands, you know." She held her hands out in front of her.
Davey shivered as he looked at the bent and gnarled fingers. Must be some kind of disease. The quicker he got out of here the better he'd feel.
Grabbing the rocker he hefted it toward the front window. "Here?"
She smiled at him again, running a hand over his dark curls. "That's perfect, sweetie. There's a plate of chocolate chip cookies for you in the kitchen. Why don't you take some to your friends?"
Davey made his way to the kitchen, stopping short when he saw the card placed next to the plate of fresh baked cookies. "Cookie's for Davey."
That was strange. How could the old woman know he'd be the one coming by today? His mother must of have told her. Good thing he stopped. Grabbing a handful of cookies he turned back to thank her, but she was gone.
Shrugging he shoved a cookie in his mouth, closed the front door behind him and grabbed his bike. He'd thank her tomorrow, or better yet tell his mother to thank her. That should score him some points.
Mike Thomas was waiting for him at the end of the street and Davey pulled up next to him, handing him a chocolate chip cookie. "Sorry, I’m late."
Biting into the cookie Mike grinned at him. "Was beginning to think your mom locked you up."
Davey shook his head. "Naw, she was mad, but not that mad."
"So what took you so long?" Mike licked the chocolate from his finger. "You got anymore cookies?"
Davey handed him another one. "I had to stop and help the old lady on the corner move a chair. Worth it though. These are the best cookies I've ever tasted."
Mike dropped the cookie he was holding. "You mean old lady Harrod?"
Davey hopped off his bike and picked up the cookie. "Five second rule."
"Don't eat that cookie!" Mike's voice trembled slightly, but still came out just short of a scream.
Davey stared at his best friend, his hand automatically stopping short of his already open mouth. Mike was pale, eyes huge, body shaking. "What's wrong with the cookies?"
Turning his bike around, Mike headed in the direction of his house. "I’m going home, Davey. Old lady Harrod's dead. She hung herself yesterday."
Davey stared at Mike's retreating back as he grew smaller and smaller in the distance. Dead? Sniffing the cookie he broke it open. It looked real. Could she have baked them before she died? But he'd seen her. Talked to her. Tossing the cookie in the ditch he wiped his hands on his jeans, a strange feeling washing over him. He suddenly felt hot and cold at the same time, and his hands were shaking.
Grabbing his bike he set off toward home, wobbling slightly. I'm not scared. Mike's acting like a baby. Probably lying anyway. Trying to scare me. Well, I'll show him. I'm ten years old, and I'm not scared of no ghost.
Davey managed to get past the corner without looking directly at the house, peddling fast he sped down Main and turned on Parrish, eager to get home. "Mom, you'll never guess what Mike told me."
"I'm in here, Davey." Claire Crimmens called out from the living room. Smiling at her son, she put aside the paper and gave him her full attention. "What did Mike tell you? I hope he's not trying to get you sneak off again."
Davey shook his head. "Naw, he said the old lady on the corner hung herself yesterday. But I know she didn't, 'cause I seen her when I rode by. Helped her move her rocking chair in front of the window."
Davey saw the color drain out of his mother's face, but she was still smiling. "Mom?"
Claire patted the seat next to her on the couch. "Come here, Davey."Waiting until he was seated next to her, Claire placed her arm around him. "Mrs. Harrod was old, sweetheart, and she had crippling arthritis." She gently stroked his hair, running her fingers through the curls. "She had a son, and he always visited in May. He was supposed to be here today, but there was a car crash and he was killed. I guess she just couldn't face the thought of going on without him."
Davey swallowed, blinking hard at the wetness behind his lashes. "But I saw her mom. Talked to her. She gave me cookies."
Claire pulled him close, continuing to stroke his hair. "I was supposed to go over today and move her rocking chair for her. She liked to sit in front of the window and watch for his car. Always had a huge plate of chocolate chips cookies on the table with a little card that said "Cookies for Davey." Claire raised his head, looking into his eyes, noting the unshed tears. "Her son's name was Davey too. Don't be scared, sweetheart. You did a good thing and I'm very proud of you."
Davey leaned in closer. "I ate the cookies, mom," he whispered.
Claire hugged him and stood up, pulling him up with her. "And I'll bet wherever she is right now she's smiling knowing that her "Cookies for Davey" didn't go to waste. Come on, you can help me cook supper."
Davey followed his mother to the kitchen, his step a little lighter, back a little straighter. He was ten years old and he'd seen a ghost. Heck, he'd not only seen a ghost he'd talked to one, and he'd eaten cookies. Just wait until he told the guys about that. Maybe Susie Whitlow would sit with him at lunch.