The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) - Rick Yancey



The sleeping woman will feel nothing the next morning, only a vague sense of unease and the unshakable feeling that someone is watching her. Her anxiety will fade in less than a day and will soon be forgotten.

The memory of the dream will linger a little longer.

In her dream, a large owl perches outside the window, staring at her through the glass with huge, white-rimmed eyes.

She will not awaken. Neither will her husband beside her. The shadow falling over them will not disturb their sleep. And what the shadow has come for—the baby within the sleeping woman—will feel nothing. The intrusion breaks no skin, violates not a single cell of her or the baby’s body.

It is over in less than a minute. The shadow withdraws.

Now it is only the man, the woman, the baby inside her, and the intruder inside the baby, sleeping.

The woman and man will awaken in the morning, the baby a few months later when he is born.

The intruder inside him will sleep on and not wake for several years, when the unease of the child’s mother and the memory of that dream have long since faded.

Five years later, at a visit to the zoo with her child, the woman will see an owl identical to the one in the dream. Seeing the owl is unsettling for reasons she cannot understand.

She is not the first to dream of owls in the dark.

She will not be the last.



I’m not talking about real aliens. The Others aren’t stupid. The Others are so far ahead of us, it’s like comparing the dumbest human to the smartest dog. No contest.

No, I’m talking about the aliens inside our own heads.

The ones we made up, the ones we’ve been making up since we realized those glittering lights in the sky were suns like ours and probably had planets like ours spinning around them. You know, the aliens we imagine, the kind of aliens we’d like to attack us, human aliens. You’ve seen them a million times. They swoop down from the sky in their flying saucers to level New York and Tokyo and London, or they march across the countryside in huge machines that look like mechanical spiders, ray guns blasting away, and always, always, humanity sets aside its differences and bands together to defeat the alien horde. David slays Goliath, and everybody (except Goliath) goes home happy.

What crap.

It’s like a cockroach working up a plan to defeat the shoe on its way down to crush it.

There’s no way to know for sure, but I bet the Others knew about the human aliens we’d imagined. And I bet they thought it was funny as hell. They must have laughed their asses off. If they have a sense of humor…or asses. They must have laughed the way we laugh when a dog does something totally cute and dorky. Oh, those cute, dorky humans! They think we think like they do! Isn’t that adorable?

Forget about flying saucers and little green men and giant mechanical spiders spitting out death rays. Forget about epic battles with tanks and fighter jets and the final victory of us scrappy, unbroken, intrepid humans over the bug-eyed swarm. That’s about as far from the truth as their dying planet was from our living one.

The truth is, once they found us, we were toast.


SOMETIMES I THINK I might be the last human on Earth.

Which means I’m the last human in the universe.

I know that’s dumb. They can’t have killed everyone…yet. I see how it could happen, though, eventually. And then I think that’s exactly what the Others want me to see.

Remember the dinosaurs? Well.

So I’m probably not the last human on Earth, but I’m one of the last. Totally alone—and likely to stay that way—until the 4th Wave rolls over me and carries me down.

That’s one of my night thoughts. You know, the three-in-the-morning, oh-my-God-I’m-screwed thoughts. When I curl into a little ball, so scared I can’t close my eyes, drowning in fear so intense I have to remind myself to breathe, will my heart to keep beating. When my brain checks out and begins to skip like a scratched CD. Alone, alone, alone, Cassie, you’re alone.

That’s my name. Cassie.

Not Cassie for Cassandra. Or Cassie for Cassidy. Cassie for Cassiopeia, the constellation, the queen tied to her chair in the northern sky, who was beautiful but vain, placed in the heavens by the sea god Poseidon as a punishment for her boasting. In Greek, her name