By Neel Anil Panicker
“He died in his sleep”.
Detective Chacko looked at the young woman, who stood in front of him, her head slight bowed, a deeply sad expression plastered on her high cheekboned face.
Even in the fading lights of the serring sun, further darkened by the near opaque swish of the bedroom window curtains, he could make out the charade.
This woman, thirtyish, and blessed with enough oomph to have given the legendary Marlyn Monroe a rum for her money, was faking it.
A myriad questions swirled in the senior cop’s mind, but, he brushed them all side to concentrate on the task at hand.
“Ok, tell me, when did you last see him?”

“Around 8”.
Chacko smiled inwardly.
A woman not easily deterred; someone either quite used to police procedures, or, crafty enough to know her way around cops, he surmised.

Changing tack, Chacko asked, this time in a voice higher than his usual octave, and more direct, “Listen Miss, we know your father has been murdered, and we have reasons to believe that someone either very close to home, one who knew very well his daily routine, or an outsider who had access to such information is the killer.  So, without much ado, I would now ask you a few questions, and I expect you would provide answers with utmost honesty, as every bit that you say and don’t would go against or in favour of you, should we press murder charges, which, I believe is quite likely, more so as your father, the deceased Mr Ravish Goswami was an acclaimed author and winner of this year’s highest literary honour, the Jyananpith Award.”

The woman, monetarily zapped by the sheer bluntness of the cop, quickly recovered, and offered a cool “I am his daughter, my father’s favourite child, and you can ask me whatever you like. I have nothing to hide. All I want is, and if what you say is indeed true, the killer, whoever he or she may be, get punished for such a heinous crime”.

Quite good at stagecraft; pretty rehearsed too her responses, thought the ace cop as he motioned the young woman to take a chair for what he knew would be a very interesting tete e tete.
#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory


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