By Neel Anil Panicker

Detective Chacko parked his unmarked police car on the side street and made his way towards the main street. In a few minutes, he had left behind the hustle and bustle of The Mile, the luminous stretch that was what one famous Youtuber had gushingly described as ‘Fashion Mecca of the East’; also the ‘mile that drove shoppers galore from miles away’.

The ace cop turned towards a side street, a nondescript corner secluded enough to escape the out of town shopper but conspicuous enough to be spotted by those who knew what they were looking for.

A few Gothic era buildings later, his steps led him to the entrance of a two story off white Gothic styled building that had no identifying marker, not even a nameboard.

Chacko walked past the the entrance, an unmanned single wooden gate. A side hollow led him up a flight of creaky wooden stairs.

As he climbed those ten odd steps or so, his eyes and ears were assaulted by a barrage of visual and aural melange. Red, blue, green, yellow, pink, brown, white, black___you name___a virtual splash of vibgyoric colours__myriad mural shapes, dragon eyes, fiery demons, strange animal figurines of multitudinous shapes and sizes__all splattered on the steps and walls around___giving it the striking feel of some high brow Impressionist art!

As his startled eyes took in this melange of colours, bombarded from above  eclectic high pitched decibel levels that would make the roar of a jet engine sound like a frightened puppy’s squeal.

“Sir, be forewarned: the place is the city’s best kept secret. The hunting ground for all seekers of nirvana___the best high quality heroin to be found south of the Vindhayas.”

The words of the informer rang in Chacko’s ears as he reached the top of the stairs, and turned right towards the extremer right corner.

Towards the corner room where he knew a murder had taken place barely a week ago.

The victim__a beautiful nineteen year old international exchange student; also, the only child of Spain’s Ambassador to India.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory


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