4 of 5 stars.
A predatory beast straight out of folklore materializes amid midnight missions in this tale of the US-Mexican border region. What starts as a tense military maneuver appropriately morphs into a confused horror scene.
Carl Weston, home from Iraq and now stationed in the southwest desert of Texas as part of the National Guard is part of a collaboration between National Guard, border patrol and the DEA. A hot tip suggests that upwards of 150 desperate illegal immigrants will be crossing near abandoned Paradise, Texas. Each is a mule hefting 25 lbs of cocaine for the coyotes that organize the trip. The mission is to arrest the coyotes, seize the cocaine and round up the mules.
Weston and his rookie partner Brooks quickly realize that things are not as they seem when screams from the back of immigrant pack leads to a confused stampede of bodies and dozens of abandoned backpacks of cocaine. Despite the coyotes best efforts, chaos ensues. Weston, in trying to contain the panic and still corral the illegals and the drugs, spies a monster killing and feeding on stragglers. It’s unclear as to whether his higher ups were aware of El Chupacabra . . .
This tale is included in Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters edited by John Langan and Paul Tremblay after first appearing in Five Strokes to Midnight.
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