By Neel Anil Panicker

The silhouette of the man reflected on the concrete below catches his attention.

From his vantage position in the park that overlooks the row of single story
houses across the street, Ashfaq Shaikh plays the waiting game.

The next ten minutes are expended in silence.

The shadow doesn’t move.
The man on the balcony is immobile.
There is no movement at all; his right hand seems stuck to his waist, his head slightly tilted to the right, all senses stilled. His quarry seems to have elapsed into La La Land…gone into a reverie.

Watching his target so close, a sliver of wave rushes through Shaikh’s veins.
His skin moistens; he could feel his wrists hairs turn skyward.

His eyes constrict as he shields them from the glare of the early morning June sun.

For the umpteenth time, Shaikh has trouble reining in his emotions.

His hands slide inside the pockets of his Pathani suit.

Warm fingers make contact with cold steel.

His fingers slide snugly over the trigger.

A familiar heady feeling rushed through his mind.
He knows it’s just a matter of time. He knows it’s a battle.
He just has to keep his nerve.

Seconds later, his patience seems to have been rewarded.
The shadow’s changed contours, slightly.

He spots the all important movement.

From ten feet apart, Shaikh keeps a hawk’s eye.
The newspaper boy has just hurled the daily onto the balcony.
As the man bends down to pick it,
his oval shaped head comes in the crosshairs of the telescopic lens.

Shaikh presses the trigger.
The next instant the a red blotch smears the man’s temple.
He slumps to the ground.
Shaikh doesn’t honour him with a second look.

He knows Kamlesh Tiwari, firebrand leader of the Hindu Samaaj
Party has left for his heavenly abode.

A smile escapes the killer’s face as his hands disappear inside his right pocket.
He steadied himself and gets up, casually walks out of the park.

In one moment, the hunter has turned the hunted.
He doesn’t mind.
The twenty eight year old bearded Secretary of the Muslim Solidarity Front relishes such battles; loves playing such cat and mouse games.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory



3 thoughts on “neelwrites/flash/fiction/shortstory/23/10/2019

  1. Love the combined prompts in your storyline Neel. Great stuff. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re most welcome Neel.


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