Thursday photo prompt – Alone #writephoto

Hosted by the gracious Sue Vincent at


By Neel Anil Panicker

Prisons make for great camaraderie.

Call it brotherhood of the underdog, survival instincts, or sheer boredom,

it is not unusual for two people locked in a common cell to turn into best buddies over a period of time.

It’s two in the morning, though within the darkened walls of a prison cell, time is but a mere statistic, meaningless and of not much value.

Crouched in a corner and still holding in his hands the tiny cell phone, Ali just about had time to digest the earth shattering news that Moosa had conveyed to him seconds ago when he looked up to find his prison mate not just wide awake but staring down at him from across the cell room, a mystery smile playing on his lips.

It was a look that transported Ali back to his childhood days in his impoverished village in Gorakhpur; a look the landlord’s henchmen at the orchard farm used to give him when they suspected him of stealing mangoes.

Momentarily shaken, Ali quickly regained his composure, and looked his cell mate in the eye.

The two locked horns for what seemed an eternity. It was his cellmate who broke the stare and flashed a smile, only this time it was a wide, friendly smile, a smile that seemed to say, “don’t worry man, we’re both sailing in the same boat. All your secrets are mine too and shall remain so, forever buried in my heart’.

It was not long before the two convicts got talking. Before daybreak, Ali and his cell mate, whose name he came to know was Lakhi alias Lambu had become thick buddies.

Within the next few days and nights, the two had shared enough of their lives and confided just about enough to forge a strong bond of friendship.

Come nightfall and as the prison would plunge darkness, the two friends would huddle around the bed and converse for long hours till they fell prey to sleep.

It was while in the midst of one such nightly conversation that Ali received a call from Liza, a call that had the potential to change the course of his life.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #alonelyvigil#parttenofadangerouslove#ofprisonnights#358














The Six Sentence Cue of the Week is….pickle




By Neel Anil Panicker

Memory is a harsh bitch that refuses to leave long after it’s expiry date.It comes unheralded when one least expects or desires for. For Liza, the gateway to her memories are manned by pickles.

Like a massive dam that one can no longer rein in, they finally burst out, drenching her to the gills.For a long time she swam in its waves, cruising through the crests and troughs of past happenings, remembering, forgetting, and re-remembering small, intimate, delectable tidbits, random musings and snapshots flushed out from the attics of a long deadened past.

And then they stopped, suddenly and as quickly as they had come, leaving her furiously famished__ for love, her mother’s love, for the touch of supple fingers on a small child’s head, for the taste of coastal food, for fish, deep fried and blood red, it’s innards little fillets garnished  with the paste of over a dozen hot spices, and then for pickle, bitter mango pickle, her mother’s special, and her childhood weakness.

Overwrought, Liza slipped on her negligee, tiptoed out of her room, and walked towards where the kitchen was, her movements guided by the moon’s rays that ricocheted off the high ceilinged roof tops and clashed against the glassed chandeliers, breaking into tiny shards of brilliance illuminating her pathway.

In no time she was in the large, hall sized kitchen, her hands on the sill, opening and closing a million glass tumblers.Sugar, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, apple pie…she finds them all but what’s missing are the pickles, her mother’s special pickles, the one that she made on her own and the one that Liza cried for and demanded again and again like the stubborn, spoilt child that she was__a frail ten year old slip of a girl, a girl with pony tails and her mother’s heart beat.

There she stood, bereft and lonesome, staring into nothingness, grieving, craving, lusting for pickles, simply unable to fathom that the past is but a storehouse of long dead if not buried memories.

#neelanilpanicker2017 #fiveofdangerouslove #dangerouslove#fiction#words334










Hosted by Josie at


By Neel Anil Panicker

Call it a momentary lapse in concentration, an slight error in judgement, an inexplicable blackout, or what have you__at the end of the day, it turned out to be a very costly slip.

One that not just turned the fortunes of the match, ultimately leading to the opposition team walking away with the glittering diamond studded five million dollar prized trophy but also one that ensured the sudden, tragic end of Mohan Bisht’s most promising cricketing career.

In the space of one mean full length 22 yard bowling delivery, Bisht’s future nosedived, plummeted, sending him careening into the deep dungeons of sporting oblivion__a dark bottomless pit, a frightful abyss, wriggling out of which was a near impossible task.

In a jiffy one by one his once ardent fans and friends turned into sworn enemies, the near endless bouquets getting replaced with soul breaking brickbats.

Shortly, all that remained with the twenty- something once ebullient cricketer were nightmarish images of that fading November evening when he had let the ball sneak through his open palms while fielding at first slip, that most coveted of fielding positions in the game of cricket.

“How could he…how could he, the best fielder of his team, the one with the safest pair of hands in the entire team, drop this most simple of chances, one that proved to be a most costly slip as the lucky batsman concerned went on to score a century that ultimately won his team the match and the trophy, and with that all the glory that befalls the victorious?”

©neelanilpanciker2017 #sixsentencestories  #fiction  #shortstory #DROPPINGITALL #259words


Thursday photo prompt – Mask #writephoto

Hosted by the excellent Sue Vincent at



By Neel Anil Panicker

Sweet Alice. That’s what she was known as back in kindergarten.

Cute Al was what her grade one teachers addressed her as.

For a greater part of her schoolhood, Alice served as a most pleasurable stress buster for all.

All that changed when she tipped thirteen.

In a jiffy she turned from cutesy to voracious man eater.

Rohan was her first prey. The spindly guy with long locks who sat directly opposite her in class would never know what hit him.

Soon to follow were Amit and Mukesh, the former the class topper and the other junior football captain.

The next two months saw almost her entire class falling for her charms, whatever that may be.

By the time she left school, she had turned sixteen though was far from sweet.

Her assets included a bouncy voluptuous figure that had the potential to stop a ten tone truck on its tracks; jet black kohl lined bedroom eyes that held within them the promise of forbidden bliss; and a racy tongue that she used to good effect to entice, entrap and enlist more members to her ever burgeoning fan club.

She now boasted of an endless string of lovers, all snared, consumed and discarded within the span of 24 hours__the maximum retention period being an elephantine one week.

The fact that she had a short fuse only added fuel to the fire and as her infinite admirers would have testified, playing with fire had turned into a combat sport as they all rushed to bake their cakes in her red hot oven.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #Thursdayphotoprompt #fire #alice


Thursday photo prompt – Messenger #writephoto by Willow

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By Neel Anil Panicker

Sush or more precisely her wanton spirit loomed large over the residents of Mavilla Manors, the tony neighborhood of Kalyan, a distant Mumbai suburb.

Like an giant albatross it hovered over the lives of its inhabitants, controlling, directing, demanding, even dominating them with brute unbridled authority; an evil power, a devilish force let loose on its unsuspecting victims.

Little Harpreet stood out for special attention. The youngest of three siblings and that included two elder sisters besides a college professor father and a bank employee mother, Preet as he was lovingly addressed, had led a fairly cocooned existence until he was ten years old__old enough to be able to undergo the ten minute walk down the forested lane to where the school bus picked and dropped him; old enough to extricate the spare key from the inner pouch of his red Scoobie Doo bag and open the kitchen door and let himself into the sprawling five room house by the river; change into fresh clothes, and sit down for lunch that the maid would have prepared, and then proceed for his daily tuitions at Sawarkar’s, located six houses down the road.

But not certainly old enough to distinguish and differentiate between good and bad, or even right and wrong.

And that’s how he met, or rather came face to face with evil, stark dark blood sucking evil.

It came stealthily, deviously, dressed in external finery, morphed in human form, as a seemingly innocent and ultra charming fifteen-year-old that went by the rather fanciful name Harrison Malhotra, the adopted son of the late Sushmeera Biswas, Sush for short.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #ThursdayPhotoPrompt  #thealbatross


Welcome to Six Sentence Stories

Six sentences any way you like, any genre, any length, any order…just six. Link up at the turn of midnight! Hop around!

Use the cue SKIP.

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By Neel Anil Panicker

Mrs Lakra stared in horror at the lifeless body that lay on the ground a mere two feet from where she was standing.

Hot tears streamed out of her eyes as she realized that she had become a widow in the prime of her life; that her husband of three years was no more, that there was now no one who she could quarrel with, albeit good humouredly,  as she had done so for almost every waking hour of their shared existences.

As the gravity of her loss gradually sunk in, the tall statuesque woman burst out in wild shrieks, her heartrending cries forcing the colony denizens, most of whom were readying themselves to a spell of nightly sleep after partaking of their dinners, to step out of their houses and rush towards the park.

“He’s Akash from B Block, the affable guy who runs the photocopying business from his ground floor flat,” shouted out a bespectacled septuagenarian, his frail body shaking uncontrollably.

As the muted murmurs and bare whispers gave way to animated talks, a young man who was watching the proceedings from behind a mango tree in the far left corner of the park, quietly stepped away from the lush surroundings and skipped out through a desolated corner gate.

He held on to his wrists from which was dripping fresh blood that marked a trail on the soft earth all the way to a bylane across the road lane into which he disappeared.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #sixsentencestories #fiction #skip #205words


Thursday photo prompt – The tunnel – #writephoto

Hosted by the talent Sue Vincent at

Man caught in the light at the end of the tunnel


By Neel Anil Panicker

Nature’s elements hold sway here, man a mere slave to them, his senses long gone


Raghav cocks his ears against the dank walls but hears nothing. He extricates his hands from the folds of his back, towards what he believes is his face.

Nothingness stares back at him.

It was as if he were gone blind, his eyeballs mere black dots surrounded by blacker contours.

Something slithers around his feet. Cutting through the jaggedness and the overall dampness, he feels a slight sensation.

Something, he has no means of knowing what that could be, crawls its way up his ankles.

Furiously, his hands jab out at the intruder that’s worming up through the folds of his baggy shorts.

The effort’s disturbed, as all of a sudden, the feeling disappears, as if by magic.

Mystified, his logical brain warns him there is no such thing as magic. That what he’s experiencing is stark life, unfolding, albeit in slow motion, set to rhythmic music by the metronomic beats of his crazily palpitating heart.

It was then that cold fear envelops him. His eyes stab into the darkness; his senses in full vigil.

He feels a deep, searing despair as if he were an utterly defenceless rabbit, caught by its neck and gasping through the very last breaths of life; its predator, a ferocious fox sinking its sharp as nails teeth deep into soft skin, tearing asunder the delicate fabric of life.

The icicles of his brain scream out one word: death.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #tunnel #thursdayphotoprompt #250words