Such a scrawny kid, living in this primitive shed, just a pile of boards that he fashioned into a shelter for himself. But it was safe so far, and he was smart to wedge himself between the timbers whenever the witch strolled by. She was looking for him and more of the abandoned children.
The witch had a large hooked nose sporting disgusting warts, enabling a true nasal voice that whined in seesaw songs of inducement. She didn’t materialize as her true self. Her outside appearance was a mash of Cinderella and Snow White in order to lure the children. She would walk down the street singing pretty lyrics of enticement, peering into alleys, looking for the young unwanted, hoping to acquire them for her next meal.
Tom knew this. Her look didn’t fool him because he was a disagreeable sort and had been cautioned by the elders that she would come soon after the adults disappeared. The streets were unforgiving, but he chose to hide on his own, listening to the vicarious advice of the elders. This put Tom and the few other survivors into a dangerous position. Help was coming, the elders promised it. Tom only had to remain safe and hidden till that time.