In the middle of the night, I awoke to a low growl. Confused, I groggily fought my way up through thick layers of sleep to realize it was Misha. Fully awake now, I shushed him and listened. Faint footfalls crunched outside. Whoever it was, they weren’t on top of us yet, but they weren’t far away. I shook Pip awake and held a finger to my lips as she blinked up at me. Misha growled again, making Pip sit straight up in her sleeping bag.
“Get the gun,” I whispered. “And hold onto him,” I gestured at Misha, who stared intently at the tent flap. I dug my large hunting knife out of my bag and unsheathed it. “And don’t shoot me,” I added.
“Don’t go out there!” Pip hissed.
“It’ll be ok,” I said. “You remember how to use that, right?”
“Yes, but I still don’t think you should go.”
“It’ll be ok,” I repeated, as much for myself as for her. I unzipped the flap as quietly as I could.
Misha twitched behind me, but Pip held him tightly in the crook of her left arm. In her right hand, she clutched the gun, her finger loosely on the trigger. “Be right back,” I whispered. “If you see anyone who isn’t me, shoot them.” I slipped out before she could answer, leaving the flap open in my wake.
Holding my knife in front of me, I crept away from the tent, every muscle in my body tense with anticipation. The clouds had dissipated, leaving a clear, moonlit night. I didn’t see anyone in the immediate area. Our fire had gone out. I crouched low and made my way around the smoldering pit to the check on the horses.
Dancer huffed and regarded me with huge, calm brown eyes, his scruffy coat in desperate need of brushing. I gave him a good scratch. Blitzen shook her head and whinnied, shoving her nose at me to be stroked too. They didn’t seem upset. Perhaps what we’d heard were simply sounds of the winter forest settling for the night.
Just as I had the thought, a huge arm covered in stinking fur grabbed me around my neck and a grimy hand clamped roughly over my mouth. I sputtered and backed up into what felt like a brick wall. Without thinking, I stomped down hard with my right boot and shoved my butt out as far as I could, surprising him and breaking his hold on me. I whirled around and got low, grunting like an animal and diving for his knees. I didn’t manage to knock him over, but I drove my knife deep into his inner thigh just above his knee. When I heard the solid wet ‘thock’ of its hilt hitting his flesh, I jerked it up all the way up to his groin, severing his femoral artery.He didn’t so much fall as crumble to a sitting position on the snow. He grabbed at his leg and looked at me. I scuttled backward on my butt like a crab, putting a couple more feet between us even though I was pretty sure he was bleeding out. “Demon,” he hissed. “I know you.” I crept forward again, my bloody knife held before me like an offering. “Get away from me,” he said.“You’re dying,” I said back. “How many of you are there?”
“All of us. We’re coming for you.”
“Yes, but how far away?” I asked, exasperated. We didn’t have time for this. I was absolutely sure he was part of a group.
“We’re everywhere,” he said, fading. The blood beneath him was turning black, growing like a cartoon shadow. “You and your little girlfriend are going to die.”
“Not before you,” I said, rising. I looked around in the gloom. The horses huffed and stomped their feet. Was it possible he’d been alone? Maybe just a scout?
As I turned to go back to the tent a single gunshot shattered the stillness of the night. I broke into a run, skidding through muddy snow, sliding to a stop just beyond the fire pit. A body lay in a heap outside the tent. It was too large to be Pip. Cautiously I approached and leaned over. I could tell it was a man, or formerly a man, but that was all. His face had been completely obliterated from the point-blank shot. I peered into the tent, saw a smoking barrel, and Pip’s pale face beyond. “Are you ok?” I asked her.
“Misha’s gone!” she cried, pushing her way out of the tent. “He ran away when I fired the gun!”
“We’ve got to go, Pip. Others are coming.” I began throwing things into my pack and stuffing them down. Gently I took the gun from Pip. Her hands were shaking.
“We can’t leave Misha!” she yelled at me.
“Pip, we have to go. They’ll kill us, or worse. Get your stuff now!”She rolled up her sleeping bag quickly and secured it to her pack, zipping up her parka. Mine was already done and strapped to my pack. “I’ll get the horses. You stay here,” I ordered.
Creatively Green is the blog of freelance writer, avid crafter, and La Mamma Verde (the green mom), Wenona Napolitano. This blog features everything about her creatively green life from green crafting to eco-gardening, green parenting and green living in general. You will also find articles on writing, being a mom writer, and see guest posts from authors. Full of green musings, eco-product reviews, book notes, eco-friendly crafts and so much more.
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
In the Kitchen with Dani Ripley - Recipe for APOCALYPSE COOKIES #InTheKitchen #Horror #EcoApocalypse #Dystopian
I’m Dani Ripley, author of the eco-apocalypse novel North Woods, available now on Amazon.com. Thank you for having me as a guest blogger!I love baking and I have far too many favorite recipes to count, so I thought I’d offer something a little different today.
In my novel, a few characters come across some industrial-sized bags of old flour and chocolate chips and discuss how they might be able to use them to make cookies for their community. I got to thinking later – would they really be able to do it? Where would they get the sugar? The butter? Is there a recipe I could adapt that might work for such a thing?
The answer is yes… but a few details need to be sorted out beforehand. First, you’d obviously need milk-producing animals to get the butter (lard works too, but you probably want to keep your animals alive). You’d also need access to some kind of sugar. Because my novel is set in the northern forests of Canada, I’ve assumed plenty of maple trees, and maple makes sugar (Google it; it sounds delicious). The small community in my novel also has a few goats they use for milking. With that in mind, please enjoy my recipe below for Apocalypse Cookies, the way I imagine they’d be made by the camp featured in my novel North Woods.
*Recipe adapted from Alison Roman’s Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookie (original recipe available on her website alisoneroman.com)
Makes 24 cookies
• 1 cup plus 2 TBSP (255 grams) salted goat milk butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
• ¾ cups (155 grams) maple sugar
• 1 TSP (4 grams) vanilla (if you can find it)
• 2 ¼ cups (281 grams) all-purpose flour
• 6 ounces (175 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips
• Salt for sprinkling (flaky salt preferred if you can find it)
Line the baking sheet with parchment (or grease with goat butter). Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Slowly add flour, then chocolate chips, and mix just to blend. Divide dough in half and roll each into a log shape, then chill outside (or in the fridge) until totally firm, about 2 hours.
Heat oven (if available) to 350 degrees; if no oven is available place rack approximately 1 foot above the medium fire to hold cookie sheet.
Slice each log into ½-inch thick rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with salt.
Bake until all edges are just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Be sure to let cool slightly before sharing it with the horde!
If you’re interested you can actually try this recipe, substituting salted butter for the goat butter and ½ cup of granulated sugar and ¼ cup brown sugar (combined) for the ¾ cup of maple sugar. They should turn out like shortbread crossed with chocolate chip cookies.
Are you planning to try the recipe above, or are there any special treats you’d miss if the world as we know it ends?
I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know in the comments below!
Genre: Horror, Eco-Apocalypse
Publisher: Dani Ripley
Date of Publication: Jan. 26, 2023
Number of pages: 337
Word Count: 64,537
Cover Artist: Dani Ripley
Tagline: Outrun the horde. Survive the ice.
Post-apocalyptic female buddy-western set against a backdrop of a sudden, cataclysmic ice age.
Hax can barely remember her real name, it's been so long since she's used it. “Hax” is a shortened version of the word Haxa – the Swedish word for witch - a nickname given to her by people afraid of her seemingly supernatural abilities: appearing out of nowhere then disappearing again just as quickly; uncannily accurate weather pattern readings; and extraordinary skill at tracking prey, human or otherwise. Or perhaps it was simply her propensity for sudden and extreme violence.
A natural loner, Hax isn’t bothered so much by the apocalypse as she is by other people. As such, she’s surprised to find herself traveling with a small group after a long solitary stint in the woods, but when a larger, more savage gang threatens her new people, she’s unable to convince the smaller group of the danger. Realizing it’s too late, she abandons them to their fate, but not before one of the younger members, Pip, sees her escape and decides to follow.
After witnessing the brutal slaughter of their fellow travelers, the two strangers set off through an icy northern wilderness to find Pip’s father, whose last known residence is a camp near the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. In order to survive, Hax and Pip will have to find a way to escape the ruthless horde of marauders still stalking them at every turn, as well as withstand extreme cold, starvation, and exhaustion. And above all, they’ll have to learn to trust each other.
Dani Ripley lives in Michigan and loves writing.
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