An ethereal, dewy blend of juniper berries, lavender absolute, orris root, frankincense, spikenard, and bergamot.
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She herself had short red hair and a face which was not so much freckled as one big freckle with occasional areas of skin.
Pepper’s given first names were Pippin Galadriel Moonchild. She had been given them in a naming ceremony in a muddy valley field that contained three sick sheep and a number of leaky polythene teepees. Her mother had chosen the Welsh valley of Pant y Gyrdl as the ideal site to Return to Nature. (Six months later, sick of the rain, the mosquitoes, the men, the tent trampling sheep who ate first the whole commune’s marijuana crop and then its antique minibus, and by now beginning to glimpse why almost the entire drive of human history has been an attempt to get as far away from Nature as possible, Pepper’s mother returned to Pepper’s surprised grandparents in Tadfield, bought a bra, and enrolled in a sociology course with a deep sigh of relief.)
There are only two ways a child can go with a name like Pippin Galadriel Moonchild, and Pepper had chosen the other one: the three male Them had learned this on their first day of school, in the playground, at the age of four.
They had asked her her name, and, all innocent, she had told them.
Subsequently a bucket of water had been needed to separate Pippin Galadriel Moonchild’s teeth from Adam’s shoe. Wensleydale’s first pair of spectacles had been broken, and Brian’s sweater needed five stitches.
The Them were together from then on, and Pepper was Pepper forever, except to her mother, and (when they were feeling especially courageous, and the Them were almost out of earshot) Greasy Johnson and the Johnsonites, the village’s only other gang.
Wild English roses, French gardenia, vanilla, honey, golden ginger, blood orange, pine resin, pink pepper, crushed berries, tuberose, bergamot, and geranium.
A gentle white scent, breezes laced with the scent of springtime blooms and citrus. Lemon, lemon verbena, neroli, white musk, white florals, white sandalwood, China musk, bergamot and a drop of vanilla.
And then they turned a corner, and saw the bridge. It could have been one of the bridges over the Thames, five hundred years ago, thought Richard; a huge stone bridge spanning out over a vast black chasm, into the night. But there was no sky above it, no water below. It rose into darkness.
Stone and darkness.
‘Ratty!’ said the girl in something between a squeak and a horrified swallow. She had a large, water-stained red button pinned to her ragged clothes, the kind that comes attached to birthday cards. It said, in yellow letters, I AM 11.
A scent that slips through the cracks: peppermint, lavender, bergamot, and mandrake.