The Last Invader


Exterior shot of the Suyash Cybercafe in Mumbai, India

Twenty-seven-year-old Alicia Vasquez rapidly manipulated the keyboard in front of her at the cybercafé in Mumbai, not far from Mahim Bay. She’d left Ranbir at a local cinema watching that superhero movie while she arranged for the two of them to join the next Chadar Trek. The fellow who’d died of a heart attack a week ago in Ladakh had put off most of the tourists, at least temporarily, so she was able to get a discount.

However, that man, wasn’t just a man, he was resistance, like her, and his death wasn’t accidental. Alicia would use Ranbir as a pawn, planting an electronic signature on him indicating he was the agent, not her. If the ancient alien machine hidden in the Tibb Cave detected the sign and attacked, she’d have time to plant the detonator, ending the ancient alien invader’s resurrection forever. Long live the human resistance.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 148.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Mumbai, India. Mumbai, formerly Bombay, has such a long and rich history, there are many stories that could be told. I looked up news items for Mumbai and came up with Dead trekker’s family urges caution from “The Times of India.” Apparently, a 35-year-old man participating in the Chadar Trek, a ten-day hike across a frozen river bed at extreme altitudes with temperatures reaching -35 degrees F, and with hazards such as oxygen deprivation, perished of a heart attack near Tibb Cave.

With no disrespect to him or his grieving family, I used this as the jumping off point for my wee tale of the potential revival of an ancient alien threat and the long-lived human resistance attempting to eradicate the last strongholds of the extraterrestrial machines.

Find out more about the trek at

Oh, I used the Suyash Cyber Cafe as the scene for my story.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit

By the way, now that my first two short stories have been accepted for publication, I’ll probably have less time for many of these online challenges, as I’m redoubling my effort in creating tales to submit to anthologies and periodicals. I’ll still be around from time to time, though.

22 thoughts on “The Last Invader

  1. Great twist on this one, and of course I’m a sucker for an alien invasion. Alicia has a lot more going on than it seems on the surface — poor Ranbir sounds like a dupe, but hey, at least she’s on the right side of the resistance. And maybe he deserves to be a pawn, who knows…

    Congratulations on getting not just one but TWO stories in anthologies! That’s great! Are you going to be focusing on getting more short stories published this year? Good luck! I’m trying that myself, and boy, it’s an uphill trek sometimes.


    • Thanks, and yes, I want to make 2019 the year of being published. Two short stories right off the bat is a terrific start, but I don’t want it to end there.

      As I’m sure you know, even after a story is accepted, the publisher suggests some edits. To my dragon story, their suggestions were easy, but between the initial writing and submitting, I took a writing class, so when I re-read it after acceptance, I thought I could do a lot better, so I’ve spent most of today adding some dimension. I’ve got two new stories, both due at the end of the month, in front of my beta readers, and I’ve got two other stories, due in March and April respectively, that I need to be working on, and all that doesn’t include editing my novel (though the 1st chapter has gone through my beta readers this week).

      Busy, busy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good for you, being so organized and planning it all out like that! I am hoping to get my first publication soon, myself. I already did one round of revisions, and now I’m waiting to get (and approve) their “suggested” edits, “with a view toward publication,” which is definitely the most promising response I’ve gotten so far. I have another dozen-plus stories that have been out and rejected that I either need to resend or consider revising first, plus another half-dozen longer ones that I’ve received critique feedback on but haven’t had the time to actually revise yet. So hmm, I should be doing that right now, shouldn’t I?


      • Congrats for doing lots of editing! Having just shamed myself in the previous comment for not working, I did in fact hunker down and revise a story and am printing it off for my writers’ group, hooray!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Nazir. Sometimes resistance means sacrifice, and if you fight a war long enough, sometimes it eats away at your compassion. Fortunately, it’s fiction and no one was killed in the writing of my story.


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