PepperCarrot. A Novel by William Mckee

She sat at her workbench. Twirling the feather pen in her hand. A Cat slept peacefully beside her.

The mailman approached the mailbox with caution. Warning: Witch Property, the box read. He had been watching the house since these new witches had moved in. Several nights ago as he was chopping onions he noticed from his window green smoke drifting out from the property. He had concerns for what mischief they were up to. What was worse is it wasn't just a single witch that had moved in - it was a group of them. Three adult witches and a child. He had seen the lot of them leave the house on their broomsticks. He had thought about approaching the house and having a peak through the window but he was worried that there might be traps - or that the witches return and cast a spell on him. The girl had been friendly. He had seen her walking down the road with her ginger cat. He had been mowing his lawns (something they needed to do) when she walked past his house giving him a wave and yelling "Hello Neighbour, I'm Pepper". Pepper had a basket containing mushrooms. She offered some mushrooms to the man but he refused. She tried to talk to him further but he rushed back inside like he was afraid of her. The man stomped up his front door steps, opened the door and headed inside. The door slammed behind him. Peaking out the window he watches as Pepper is steering at the house. He closes the curt-ins and continues to peak out. Pepper calls out to her cat which is distracted playing with a moth, "Come on Carrot, Let's finish our walk". The two continue to walk down the road.

The house might need some maintenance Pepper thought. She the mailbox and looked out to her home in the distance. The garden had grown wild. An ancient oak tree wrapped its way through the house. Pepper had asked her godmothers about clearing it. They were shocked and refused explaining that the oak tree was in fact alive and they wouldn't dare chop it.

Pepper had been given permission to mow the lawns. Maybe if she maintained the house the neighbour wouldn't be frightened of her anymore. She wasn't surprised when she was told that they didn't own a lawnmower. 'Put your training to use and use magic', Pepper was told. She spent the morning looking through books for a spell that would allow her to cut the grass. She found the perfect recipe. The ingredients read: rose petals, cardamom, ginger, coriander, hibiscus, red geranium, and powdered dragons tooth. All were common herbs - except for the dragons tooth which was rare. Pepper stepped out the back door and headed towards the herb garden where the herbs grew. Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a pair of secetares which she used to cut the herbs. She hummed to herself as she works. The sky was turning gray, a storm was coming. The Gods had predicted she was going to make this spell. The first rain-dropped landed as Pepper finished picking the herbs and took a step inside. Pepper had picked the majority of ingredients she needed from the garden. All she needed was the powdered dragons tooth. It was in a glass container high in the shelf. Pepper climbed the ladder and retrieved the glass container that contained the dragons tooth. She had gone to a great deal to retrieve this - travelling around the world in search of dragons and attempted to remove their teeth. In the end she ended setting up a dragon dentist business and was overloaded with toothache dragons that needed a tooth or two removed. Sadly she then found out that the powdered dragons tooth didn't come from dragons but from a plant. The Binomial name for Dragons Tooth was Lotus maritimus. It is part of the genus Lotus. Pepper had to travel to South England for the plant. She found it on a field in which cows were grazing. The plant had grown to a height of 30cm. The flowers were a pale yellow colour. The leaves in three's, 'clover'-like but longer and terminating more suddenly at the far end. Pepper learnt to make sure she knew what she was looking for before setting out on future trips to retrieve ingredients.

Pepper had planted the dragons teeth that she had removed from the dragons in order to build an skeleton army. She would order this army to help out with her duty's around the house. Pepper watered the patch of garden where she had planted the teeth twice a day but no skeleton had risen.