In an all-too-brief 20 pages, Hyatt continues to flex his muscles and do what he’s quickly becoming a master of… scaring the bejesus out of you with his glimpse of a world shockingly close to our own. Sure, there’s been an alien invasion and a major war… but what's scariest is how shockingly quickly mankind has adapted to it… and profited.
Police officers McCabe and Thompson patrol the streets of post-alien invasion Tucson, questioning morality, justice, and vengeance, all while maintaining a lazy grip on the concepts of law and order. Sure, it sounds heavy, but Hyatt expertly parcels out his information, embedding deep within his characters actions. And once that information sinks in, a second read-through becomes all the more chilling, as things that seemed mundane at first glance take on a heavier weight.
Based on the world created in his previous books (a world scarily close to ours!), this short story is a sweet, savory appetizer. And, like good Chinese food, you want more an hour later. Sure, an alien invasion happened, but the more unsettling things are the xenophobia and mob mentality running through this new world. We can only hope that this is the opening salvo in another great chapter of Hyatt’s deft exercise in world-building.
“Thompson and McCabe watch three huge, canine-like creatures crack open the dead man’s chest with their claws. They slurp up his guts. The alpha tears off the head with a snapping bite, swallowing it whole, and gazes at the officers with a cluster of reddish eyes. One of its pupils lingers on McCabe.
'They hate it when we watch,' Thompson says.”
VERDICT: FIVE out of FIVE Stars
Creative Team: Ryan Hyatt (writer)
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