The bronze charger shook its mane and sprang away down the shoreline of the lake, heading for the empty plinth at the far end. The horse would jump back up there, the king's raised swords would quiet the frothing waters of the lake, and the kraken wouldn't get into my world. We had won.
Something reared up out of the water, up and up.
It was huge and glistery wet in the moonlight, black as ink, and roaring. Water streamed off it, and its eyes were hot red sparks set high in its towering shape. Everything shimmered behind the steam that flowed off the creature's shiny black hide. The kraken had come.
I covered my ears to shut out its voice, but I couldn't stop looking. Jagiello's horse skidded to a stop. The bronze King turned to face the kraken, with his crossed swords raised high. He shouted in a voice like the bells of a hundred steeples; if there were words, I didn't hear them.
Then he aimed the two swords straight over his horse's neck at the kraken, and charged into the shallow lake. Sheets of water shot up from the plunging bronze hooves — and then the horse stopped, swayed, and almost fell. It dragged one hoof free with a fat, sucking sound, and I realized that its great weight had sunk its feet deep into the mucky lake bottom.
I saw the kraken arch steeply, coiled to attack. The horse threw its metal head and strained its huge shoulders, trying to pull free. King Jagiello stood high in his stirrups, his body curved taut like the horse's body because of course they were one being, cast in bronze, and doomed.
My clutching fingers found something heavy in my coat pocket: my grandmother's chain link purse, full of silver dollars. Silver is magic. The purse hefted beautifully in my hand. I hauled back and fired it off as hard as I could, and it smacked the dripping monster somewhere high up, and stuck there.
The kraken voices shrieked and squealed, the sparky little red eyes turned in my direction.
I yelled, "Kraken, kraken, stinky kraken, come and get me!"