Peer Review by Renegade_Writer [ChildOfGod] (United States)

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Hit With Glass Bullets[review for a review!]

By: Mespotz

Some went down screaming. Some flapped their arms like chicken wings. Some dived like they were in a swim meet and plummeted like a stone. Some opened their arms and fell, but still fast enough to die.

Aliyah Alston twirled a curl of oak-brown hair around her finger. She watched the movements of every person as they fell; and all the people, crowded and pushed into orderly lines. "MOVE!"

They had shaggy hair, shiny as plastic. They had dark uniforms with printed logos, that of the vitre, and they stared at every human, evaluating them, before either tossing them over the canyon or keeping them alive. They were the finest of the Grialphines. 

They stood there, lining the humans against the farthest portion of the Grand Canyon. Their weapons were deadly and full of bubbling and boiling poison. There was a whole wall of them; if she tried to run, Aliyah would have to get past them and their enormous guns. Pointless, she figured, because they'd shoot her full of vitre in seconds. "MOVE!" The humans shuffled along. The Grialphines' voices were raspy, as if they hadn't spoken in years.

Aliyah was 5'9, taller than most, so she could see ahead of the line. Her height was a blessing from her father Carlos, who was 6'9, and her mother, Megan, who was 5'8. They were probably in another line, maybe on the snow-barren tops of the Himalayas or the top floor of the Burj Khalifa.

It wasn't like the world hadn't known about this. Just earlier that week, Genevieve Tremell, one of Aliyah's two best friends(and probably the most misinformed human in the universe), spoke in hushed whispers with her and Lynn Murphy.

"Aliens, Aliyah. The aliens are coming." Genevieve had said urgently. "We need to prepare ourselves." Her blue eyes had been full with fear and anxiety, and her usually pristine locks of bright gold hair were ruffled and messed. Aliyah didn't know what to say. She couldn't tell Gene what she knew; The Organization was secretive. If Aliyah told Gene the decades of research that had proven that very point, she might as well be digging her own grave. To the rest of the world, aliens are conspiracies. That was written on the main arch of The Organization before the alien takeover.

Lynn was calm, and reserved, as she always was. "Don't believe the rumors." She'd said, her eyes sharp, those obsidian stones embedded into her light, pale golden skin, like the bricks on her Mexican villa back at her home, or the crust of the gorditas her mother, Fernanda, had always made. "We must rise against conspiracy theories, not submerge ourselves in them." Lynn was always the realist. She kept Gene grounded, and ignorant of the fight ahead of them. 

But now, when all those science experiments and data analyses that The Organization conducted came true; where was Gene's ground now? And what about the millions of humans who didn't know a thing about Grialphines? The Organization needed its work to be a secret, and Aliyah knew that. But sometimes she wondered what would happen if the world had known about the alien invasion before it occurred. 

Lynn and Gene were probably far behind the line. Gene might've been crying. Lynn was probably staring stonily far ahead, envisioning her death. Don't think about it. Aliyah thought. Don't think about it.

"MOVE!" They yelled. Suddenly, someone ran out of the line. Kevin. Aliyah's eyes widened. What was her brave, but enormously stupid brother doing? He punched the head alien. The one who was yelling. Then he screamed something. "VATICAN CAMEOS!" Was he insane?

But Aliyah ran. The aliens, taken by surprise, backed off in disarray. The whole line broke apart. The aliens' vitre fell upon them, clear bullets like glass rain, crashing and shattering on the ground. Fire leapt from the vitre. Aliyah kept running. What was Kevin thinking? And more importantly; was he okay? Aliyah didn't dare look behind her. More vitre rained down upon them, and flames erupted everywhere. Somebody screamed. Maybe they'd been caught in the flames, or struck with vitre.

Could that be Lynn? Or Gene? Or, god forbid- Kevin? Aliyah looked back. She had to look for them. She had to save them. The aliens were getting closer, intercepting the slowest of them all. The Grand Canyon's visitor center was... somewhere? Probably far away. All Aliyah could see was miles and miles of rocky, hot ground. She turned around. She was vaguely aware of someone yelling her name, but she darted through the flames. There were so many people... too many people, Aliyah reflected, who were running around. In the chaos, she could see the rippling figure of a person on the ground, holding another.

Aliyah sprinted through the flames. If only she were wearing the vitre-protectant suit that The Organization had given its volunteers. It was in her closet, all the way back home. She gazed at the thin shape before her. Fernanda Miguel Murphy was on her knees, shaking a limp figure on the ground. Aliyah's heart nearly stopped. It was Lynn. Ash lined her face, and her eyes were closed. "MRS. MURPHY! MRS. MURPHY!" Aliyah yelled, trying to get Fernanda out, but through the fog and dust it was hard to tell whether she had heard. 

The Grialphines were closing in, weapons loaded, eyes full of fury. "We have to make it to a safe spot, Mrs. Murphy!" Aliyah said, but it was quieter now. She was getting more tired. She couldn't scream. Her voice had broken. Her hands on her knees, she breathed slowly as the fires went on around her. People were running. Vitre were falling. Did some hit Aliyah? She couldn't tell. There was too much pain already. "ALIYAH!" Someone screamed. She looked behind her. It was Kevin. Kevin gestured for her to come on. Aliyah looked weakly ahead. "But Mrs. Murphy-" She murmured, before something struck her in the leg and everything went black.

I'd love any comments on this!
I made this into a series on my own time, so I might publish that after this. I had to majorly cut down on this because of the word limit.

I'm too tired right now to beg for reviews :/ so just now that it's out there and please, just please. It makes my writing better, and I'll review yours too. The more criticism, the more I'll love it.

- spotzi

Message to Readers

you just want reviews
you don't want my comments
maybe you just hate the
thought of my bad writing


*to the tune of Attention by Charlie Puth*

please review!

Peer Review

I really like the fast-paced nature of this piece. The action grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until the end, and leaves the reader wanting more! This is a compelling story and the reader develops a real emotional connection with your characters. The scene is vibrant and well-imagined. Overall, good job!

I love the idea of aliens, being a sci fi nerd myself. The Grialphines are very well-imagined characters, and the situation is a suspenseful one. Your invention of "vitre" was clever and quite appropriate, being that aliens would probably have their own types of weapons that humans do not.

I would expand upon the alien invasion a bit more, maybe a flashback to the invasion in Aliyah's perspective, or just simply an explanation of where they came from. I was also confused by why the Grialphines were killing the humans, and what criteria made a human worth saving. And why do they make the humans jump? I know that one thousand words is not a lot of space to world-build, and you did a very good job in that constraint.

Your story is captivating and your characters relatable. My one concern is that maybe you could use some more paragraph breaks in the story, but at the same time the nature of the spaces adds to the breakneck speed of the narrative. You have a very good and well-developed concept here. Yes, the reader has to "make a few leaps of faith", but that is to be expected in a short story. I would love to hear more of this!

Reviewer Comments

Amazing job, and good luck in the competition! I hope my suggestions were helpful to you! God bless!
-July, a.k.a. Renegade_Writer