By Neel Anil Panicker

The silver grey Mercedes car which sported at its back and front the two digit number 99, sped past the afternoon rush hour crowd in central Cochin.

Ensconced inside in the backseat of the 1. 75 crore S –class car, 54-year-old Prakasham Muthuswami flicked his wrist and checked the time: The gold dial flashed 1: 30.

He heaved a sigh of relief. He had two full hours to himself.

He was glad for this brief interlude which came courtesy his good friend, Thomas Chandy, the powerful State Minister of Trade & Commerce.

“Sir, Minister Sir is unwell. Sudden stomache problem. Has conveyed his apologies. Said will meet at the Club tomorrow evening.”

The bastard. Didn’t he know what his ‘problem’ was.

The one most of his friends suffered from. The one he too suffered from, the one the solution for which he was now heading towards.

He closed his eyes and began to dream about how the next hour or so would unfold.

But in his swam the horrific visions of the past one week.

His daughter was dead and her body parts found scattered all over the city precincts.

“Don’t worry Prakasham, we will find the culprit; and I personally will skin him alive”.

A spasmodic muscular reaction ran through his paunchy frame forcing Prakasham upright in his Italian leather cushioned seat.

As beads of sweat began to plaster his dark, swarthy skin his mind raced with terrifying scenes of a life in prison.

Will they find out; will anyone discover his dark secret, he wondered.

For the first time since this morning and for the umpteenth times since returning back from his daughter Anjali’s cremation at Benaras, Prakasham began to shiver in fear, the inner palms of the hands turning wet as the fast thinning hairs on his near bald head stood erect like small little flags on half mast.

He had read somewhere that greed was the nemesis of all men. He wondered if it would turn so in his case too.

His mind on a turmoil, he closed his eyes and drowned himself in sleep.

#NEELANILPANICKER #fiction #A-ZCHALLENGE #episode7ofA-Zchallenge #dayseven

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