…Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom. People said he existed, but Jem and I had never seen him. People said he went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows. When people’s azaleas froze in a cold snap, it was because he had breathed on them. Any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb were his work. Once the town was terrorized by a series of morbid nocturnal events: people’s chickens and household pets were found mutilated; although the culprit was Crazy Addie, who eventually drowned himself in Barker’s Eddy, people still looked at the Radley place, unwilling to discard their initial suspicions…
…The weather was unusully warm for the last day of October. We didn’t even need jackets. The wind was growing stronger, and Jem said it might be raining before we got home. There was no moon.
The street light on the corner cast sharp shadows on the Radley house. I heard Jem laugh softly. “Bet nobody bothers them tonight,” he said. Jem was carrying my ham costume, rather awkwardly, as it was hard to hold. I thought it gallant of him to do so.
“It is a scary place though, ain’t it?” I said. “Boo doesn’t mean anybody any harm, but I’m right glad you’re along.”
“You know Atticus wouldn’t let you go to the schoolhouse by yourself,” Jem said.
“Don’t see why, it’s just around the corner and across the yard.”
“That yard’s a mighty long place for little girls to cross at night,” Jem teased. “Ain’t you scared of haints?”
We laughed. Haints, Hot Steams, incantations, secret signs, had vanished with our years as mist with sunrise…
To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960