By Neel Anil Panicker

“I remember, it was a cat’s paw. No, not a cat exactly, a bigger cat…a tiger perhaps. She stuck her neck out and caressed my cheeks and then sat on my knee and …”

“Hey…hey…hold on there”, Inspector Chacko butted in even his face registered the first traces of annoyance after what had already become an hour long inquisition.

His interrogate stopped in her tracks; then, looked askance at her inquisitor, who continued as if nothing had happened.

“Now, when you say you had a dream and in that dream this big cat, this tiger that is, appeared, right?”

The sixteen year nodded her head even as a strobe of light escaped through a slight slit on the glassed roof above and lit up her left profile.

Her face, innocent and beautiful as a fairy’s, lit up even further like a thousand watt bulb.

“The teenager adjusted her spaghetti and fluttered her eyelashes even as her hands rested on her bare knee.

“Yes, and just when I wondered what would happen to me, the tiger, began to lick me…”


“Stop this! I tell you either you come clean and confess, or I keep you locked here for two more days”. There was a new found edge to the ace detective’s voice as he spelt out the threat.

His words echoed all around the underground interrogation room of Cochin Crime Branch Main Office that cold December evening, sending a chill down the spine of his young suspect.

After a moment of awkward silence when the only noise one could hear was the sound of the buzzing fan above, the young girl said, albeit softly, “MR WHOEVER YOU THINK YOU ARE, I KNOW YOU ARE TRYING TO PIN ME DOWN FOR THE MURDER OF MY FATHER, BUT TRUST ME, YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO TO DO SO BECAUSE FOR IT ALL WAS DREAM AND I DID ONLY AS .WERE INSTRUCTED BY THE ALMIGHTY”.

As the sixty something heard these words, an ache developed somewhere around his chest. As he clutched his palm and pressed it against his upper torso, he knew for sure that pinning down the brutal murder of Mr Satwik Ahuja on his adopted minor daughter would be one hell of a task.

As the stark realisation dawned on him,  Chacko realised he needed to extricate himself from the constricting surroundings, if only at least for a while.


Looking down on his prime suspect, he hissed, “I am leaving you all alone for sometime. However, when I come back, I expect from you a proper answer to my question____when, how, and why did you poison to death Mr Ahuja, the man who treated you as you own daughter and showered you with all the love in the world.”

As the steel doors shut behind her, Mandira Reddy aka Mandira Ahuja’s lips curved into a slow smile.

It was the smile of the Devil herself.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory




3 thoughts on “neelwrites/flash/fiction/shortstory/08/03/2020

  1. This is good Neel. Thanks for the inclusion

    Liked by 1 person

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