TITLE: Monsters of Wintervast Island
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
Someone from the mainland might have marveled, starry-eyed, at the ethereal horse like it was miracle. But for me, someone who knew the tales of the equinocus, I saw it for what it truly was.
I held my breath, shutting out the chill, and absorbed the sight of it standing only twenty yards away. Snow flew in a flurry around me, spreading the metallic scent of my blood into the whitewashed storm. I dropped the knife I’d used to slice open my skin; the knife I’d used to lure out the equinocus.
The Fat Man stood beside me, squinting through his facemask until he saw it, too. He muttered into his earpiece, “Snow pony, ten o’ clock from my position. Move in.”
Two ghost-like puffs of breath escaped the equinocus’s nostrils as it tasted my blood on the howling wind. Its powdery ears, seemingly made of fine snow, twitched toward the sound of the Fat Man’s gruff voice.
“Earn your pay, girl,” he grunted, raising his rifle loaded with lard-filled bullets. He pointed it through the snowstorm at the part-horse, part-apparition. I knew what he wanted, but my legs refused to move. For a moment, we stood at an impasse, none of us breaking the frozen spell.
He jerked the gun barrel toward the equinocus and barked, “Now, Stacie.”
For the money, we need the money, I chanted to myself. The only way I’d get paid was if they caught that creature. To do that, they needed me.