Saucy Wenches writing prompt for June ’09.
Rabbit and Popcorn
This was my year.
Six years in a row, I’d lost to that smirking sorceress. Six long years, each dedicated more and more to the Wicked Witches Most Dishonorable Gardening Gala, and six small silver awards adorning my mantlepiece.
That gold cup was mine this year. Grimly, I stood, dusting the last few bits of soil clinging to my hands. My garden was perfect. A riotous, joyfully chaotic garden. A proper witch’s garden, both functional and beautiful. Mounds of silvered death camas nestled next to four foot spires of spotted foxglove. Blindweed shared space with vigorously blooming poison ivy. Belladona and bloodflower grew in a deadly tangle beneath a line of deep red azaleas. Every bloom or leaf could be used in any number of potions, poisons, or alchemical concoctions.
Well, the fragrant chocolate and raspberry roses were better suited to love potions than poisons, but they were necessary for the olefactory impact of the garden. If anyone asked, I’ll cackle and mutter something witchly about the evils of meddling in the love affairs of mortals. I’ve been working on my cackle, just in case.
I’d spared no expense in the garden’s care this year, sheltering it from even the hint of early frost and fertilizing it using unicorn dung that I’d gathered myself, which had been an adventure in and of itself. You’d think the horned mules would be grateful to have it carted off, but I’d been lucky to leave their fields with a wheelbarrow’s worth of the stuff and my skin intact! Frowning, I made a mental note to curse them after the Gala finished. Nothing terribly wicked – a cluster or two of vampire flies should do the trick and remind them of their place. Best fertilizer or not, they were still just livestock.
My poison apple tree crowned my effort. Juicy multicolored apples dangled tantalizingly low so that any passing heroes might easily sate their hunger in their deadly flesh.
Of course, I live in a suburb of Cincinnati. Not many heroes to be concerned about, but it paid to be prepared. One of my cousins had let her garden grow lax and a hero sauntered right into her kitchen while she was making cinnamon rolls and tossed her right into the oven.
Granted, being slain by a hero was the most witchly way to go, but the entire situation was a bit embarrassing. She hadn’t even been baking the cinnamon rolls to entice children to her home, she’d just been hungry.
With a sideways glance, I checked the garden. The judges weren’t due to arrive for another hour. Nobody was in sight. Carefully, I tiptoed to the back of the garden, gently brushing aside a wall of dangling brugmansia trumpet flowers to reveal my secret weapon.
They were doing wonderfully, and the scent of a nearby cluster of chocolate roses completely masked the faint scent of butter and salt.
Popcorn plants weren’t exactly evil – they weren’t poisonous or deadly, even in large doses. They weren’t beautiful, though the clusters of crisp white blooms were cute in their own way. Cute was not considered a desirable aspect in a witch’s garden, and if the plants were found, I would almost certainly be deducted for them.
Despite all of that, they were the key to my success this year. A little known fact about popcorn plants was that they were absolutely irresistible to rabbits. And not just any breed of rabbit, but carnivorous demon-rabbits from the seventeenth dimension.
That sorceress could cheat all she wanted, using enchanted fertilizer and regimenting her garden in hideously tidy beds (very unwitchly, if you asked me), but there was absolutely no way she could possibly trump my rabbits. A garden without wildlife was no sort of garden at all, and there was nothing more witchly or evil than a garden populated by picturesque, bloodthirsty bunnies.
The bushes to my left parted to reveal a twitching nose and a pair of glowing red eyes. I cackled as I backed away and went inside to change into my pointy hat and black robes. This was my year.