We left Jared with a sleeping giant after Mina took off into the forest looking for Hans Leiter, the murderer of her husband.
After only a few minutes, the beautiful giant stirred from her sleep. Jared watched as she opened her eyes. “Where is the beautiful lady?” the giant asked.
“She ran off into the woods,” Jared replied. “I have something for you.”
The giant sat up and looked at Jared’s hand. “Ahh! Peanut butter!” She eagerly took the jar.
“I have a few more jars in my packs,” said Jared. “And I was hoping you could give me some information in exchange.”
“Of course,” replied the giant. “My name is Emily by the way, what’s yours?”
“My name is Jared,” Jared replied.
“Jared, nice to meet you. You are my forever friend since you have brought me peanut butter. Now what can I do for you?”
“I need to know the location of Hans Leiter. The beautiful lady that you captured means to kill him. I think he should be warned.”
“Then come with me to my house,” replied Emily. “I will make peanut butter cookies and Hans Leiter will come to us.”
“Are you sure?” asked Jared.
“Oh yes, Hans can’t resist my peanut butter cookies. As soon as he smells them baking, he will come.”
“Alright, if you can take me back to my snowmobile…” Jared began.
“I can take you back to your snowmobile,” Emily interrupted. “But you will have to ride on my shoulders to get to my house. The way is too steep for your vehicle.”
As Emily predicted, her house stood on top of a high cliff too steep for Jared’s snowmobile. The cliff overlooked the Icicle Sea. Jared jumped off Emily’s shoulders and admired the view.
“Yes, it’s beautiful isn’t it?” said Emily. “I can see for miles and miles. I saw the beautiful lady’s ship sink and I thought that was the end so I stopped paying attention because shipwrecks make me sad. Then when I looked again a few days later, I saw her long boat on the beach so I had to go down and find out if she had any peanut butter.”
“Why are you so interested in peanut butter if I might ask?” asked Jared.
Emily laughed. “I will tell you as I make the peanut butter cookies. Come on, let’s go in and you can sit by the fire and get warm.”
“Hundreds of years ago, more ships wandered into the Icicle Sea than these days. Hans tells me it’s because the new ships have better navigational instruments. Of course some ships sail here on purpose but even those are now few and far between,” Emily began.
“About 15 years ago, a large cargo ship found it’s way here not too far off the shore. Despite it’s huge bulk and size, it was no match for one of the giant sea serpents that prowl the Icicle Sea. The sea serpent wrapped itself around the ship and squeezed as hard as it could, breaking the ship in two.”
“As the ship sank, the crew jumped overboard, which became easy pickings for the sea serpent.
“Thankfully, the cargo failed to interest the sea serpent. After his meal, the serpent left. I swam to the sinking ship and found a container full of peanut butter.”
“Living all my life by the Icicle Sea, at first I didn’t know what it was. Eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I tried it. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Here is a link to Emily’s gluten free peanut butter cookie recipe scaled down to human proportions.
While the cookies cooled, Emily heard a knock on the door. “Hans! Nice to see you!” said Emily as she opened the door.
Jared turned to look at the visitor. Hans Leiter stood a little over six feet tall. He wore a large Stetson on his head. He was older, perhaps in his early 50s with a salt and pepper beard. He was handsome in a rugged sort of outdoorsy kind of way. He carried himself with self-confidence bordering on arrogance.
“Emily! You know I can’t resist your peanut butter cookies!” replied Hans Leiter. Emily bent down and he gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Come in, come in Hans!” Emily replied. “You must meet my new friend Jared. He was the one who gave me the peanut butter.”
Hans Leiter walked in, holding out his hand in friendship. “Hans,” said Hans Leiter.
“Jared,” replied Jared, shaking his hand. “I read your book. I have to thank you. It saved my life.”
“Oh,” replied Hans. “Which monster attacked you?”
“A Manticore,” replied Jared. “But I played my guitar and everything was fine.”
“I’m glad I could help,” replied Hans. “I…
“You know a woman named Mina means to kill you,” interrupted Jared. “She said you killed her husband.”
“Oh yes, I heard her broadcast. I knew she would come for me eventually.”
“Why is that?” asked Jared.
“Because I really did kill her husband. Mina’s husband was my brother.”