By Neel Anil Panicker

Alex says he doesn’t want the doll house. Lisa wonders not for the umpteenth time if she had made a mistake. They were about to be married. She twice. Her childhood home. Recalls the golden memories. No, her mom would never have done it. And now that she is gone, her step father wants it removed, calls it an eyesore. Wants to convert it into a room and make money Make but she was going out.

Toime to end her doll day and get into the real world.

“I don’t care what you do with it, I just want it gone,” Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

Lisa stood at the entrance, her slim frame shuddering, her limbs slightly shaking as the sheer harshness of those words seeped in through her tender skin, skittered down the veins, and knifed through her heart tearing it asunder.

How could he, how on earth could a man change so soon, she wondered.  It had been barely a week since her mother’s death and ‘Uncle’ had changed, was showing his true colours.

She couldn’t believe how her mother, a smart and intelligent woman could ever have fallen for such as a man; this selfish, vain man, her step father, the man who had forcefully ingratiated himself into the Kapoor household after her father had died, first posing as a distant relative, a do gooder, a beacon of hope, and then slowly ingratiated himself to such an extent as to propose marriage to her mom.

Perhaps she was fooled in by his overarching ‘care’ and ‘man around the house’ persona, or maybe, she was too starved for love and companionship to have given him the benefit of doubt.

Isn’t that every woman does, barters her life and gives her all to the man in the fond hope and belief that she would change him to her way of thinking, make good of him and thereby make good of their shared lives.

But all that was water down the drain now, thought Lisa as she looked past her ‘Uncle’ at the doll house one last time.

Gennie, the bear eyed her from under a taped bright red wooden table, toy trains and baby dolls attired in frilly girlie frocks with buttoned eyes that smiled resplendently under the glare of multi-hued electric lights made her feel misty.

This miniature doll house was not just the place that she and her mother built box by box with a lot of care and love but this was also her oasis, her childhood retreat, the haven she turned into whenever the pressures of growing up seemed a wee bit overwhelming for her.

And now that haven, that one place that she thought was her and hers alone was also lost.

Lost for ever, its contents to be thrown out and the room itself refurbished and converted into a rental, just one more means for ‘Uncle’ to make money.

Well, she reasoned if that’s what he wants then let him have it, not just the doll house but the entire house and its belongings.

It was time for her to leave, it was time for her to hit the streets, to risk her chances, to step onto to the big bad world, and so what life has in store  for her.

Without that resolution in mind she turned around and walked away, carrying with her only memories, happy memories of a life well lived, a life when everything was perfect and she, and her mother and her father walked and loved and laughed like small little dolls.


First Line Friday – February 16th, 2018





By Neel Anil Panicker

For a long time Venkat sat there, by the shore, motionless and emotionless, his tiny hands clasped tightly together as the waves crashed onto the rocky edges, each thunderous splash lathering his bare torso, drenching him with whatever the angry sea brought in__bile, froth, and salt working as a coolant all over his puny body.

Then, slowly, as the waters turned slightly warmer, he opened his eyes and gazed at his reflection on the waters below.

His face, come alive in the full moon’s golden streaks, had turned a flotilla of reddish orange. But it was the eyes that held his attention as he peered into them, the eyeballs, twinkling brighter than the brightest star, two floating dots in a mass of fluid.

It was then that he realised the full import of what he had done.

And with that came what he thought he had buried in the deepest recesses of his scarred mind__the memories, the horrendously mind shattering memories.

Like some monstrous unhinged ill formed sea creature, it came, the very same memories that stuck to his soul like and crisscrossed past his battered mindscape in all those horror filled sleepless nights of yore.

One among them persisted and bounced back, repeatedly smashing against the half broken edges of his mind, leading him to ultimately break into a long, heart wrenching cry whose virulence ricocheted off the rocks that abutted him, crashing into the sea with a dissonance that stayed afloat for what seemed like eternity.

It was the dead of night and he was in his room, a small dank and smelly doorless tin shed. He felt someone sliding up to him, first a hand, then the legs moving all over him, the lips, the mouth taken over by some brute force and seconds after began the hour long brutal crushing down of his dignity or whatever remained of it.

The sea hissed along angrily as another memory followed.

This time he had a knife in his hand and he was plunging it deep into his employer’s heart. He didn’t know how long he bored it down the man’s chest but he stopped only when there was pin drop silence and the only sound he could hear was that of his own self, his petrified heart beating faster than it had ever in the fourteen odd years of his sodden existence on this planet.

A light glowed in the dark, lighting up the horizon beyond the waters. He knew what it meant. It was time for the boat’s arrival. He had watched it every single night from the netted iron bars of his factory, the soap factory that was his home from the time he was four, bought and brought here to serve his master in more ways than one.

This was his first outing ever, the first time he had ventured out alone.

He looked upto at the sky and the twinkling stars. He had never seen the sun.

It was time he did; the moon would guide him to it.



Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Photo Challenge #200


Thursday photo prompt – Mists – #writephoto

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By Neel Anil Panicker

Richard rubbed the palms of his hands in a vain attempt to generate some heat as he edged past the main gates of the sprawling heavily wooded park.

An icy blast of cold frigid air greeted his arrival.

For a moment he stood transfixed, rendered temporarily immobile, as the full fury of Delhi’s mid-December wintry mornings smashed onto him. He felt the cold, slimy and snake like, slither into his innards, infiltrating every single hollow and crevice of his six foot tall frame which was wrapped in three layers of heavy woollen clothing.

His eyes, by no teary with mist, vainly bored through the murk.

He could see the silhouette of a giant gulmohar tree staring out at him.

Richard felt a cold chill run down his spine as he locked eyes with the large pockmarked trunk, now completely bathed in white, its many branches dropping from the skies, the twigs hanging out like near endless white nails.

The scary vision reminded him of the bed time stories that his grandmother unfailingly  narrated him as a child come sundown.

Enunciated with a distinctive twang and with the appropriate intonations and modulations, all delivered in a deadpan poker face, each story had a ghost as its central character, an evil spirited 100-year-old mysterious white haired long nosed long nailed

apparition that sprang up from all nooks and corners and as mysteriously disappeared into them but not before littering the path behind her in human blood.
“This is not time to be scared of some non-existent ghost especially when he was planning something big”, Richard psyched himself before heading forward for a round around the ten kilometre long circular park.

A good fifteen and two rounds later, Richard felt better; his insides warm and his mind relaxed.

He spotted an empty bench at a secluded outer curve. Now, all alone to himself with nothing but the occasional cooing of a cuckoo from a nearby tree and a gentle breeze kissing his frosty cheeks, he mulled over the future course of action.

True, she was his wife but sure, she was a pain.

In fact more than a pain. She, he reflected, had made his life a living hell. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Who was that wise ass who said that? He racked his brains hard to find a name but soon gave up.

Well, for a change the tables are going to change.

Hell hath no fury like a man wronged.

He was the wronged one in this relationship. And she would pay for that. Pay heavily.

She would pay with her life, Richard surmised.

How, when and where?

These were now merely logistics whose answers he would surely arrive at.

Maybe one more round of the park would do the trick.

With that thought in mind, Richard sprang up from the bench and raced ahead, this time purposefully.

©neelanilpanicker2017#shortstory#flash#fiction #ThursdayPhotoPrompt #481words


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Thursday photo prompt – Signs – #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt – Signs – #writephoto



By Neel Anil Panicker

The encrypted message on the Police website read:

A convicted criminal has escaped from a high security Canadian prison a month ago. According to Interpol, it is suspected that this man named Avtar Singh, age, around 35, has escaped to India, and may be holed up in his ancestral village in Kapurthala, Punjab.

Inspector Sharma stood in the centre of the large hall and looked piercingly at the eight people lined up in front of him.

“You,” he thundered, his baton pointing menacingly towards the only male member around.

“What’s your name?”

‘ Sardar Angrez  Singh, Saheb’.

The voice, despite the advanced age, __he looked not a day less than eighty__had not lost its timbre, and the rich baritone boomed across the four walls of the haveli-styled two story building.

Inspector Sharma twirled his moustache.

He had to be careful.

This was no ordinary family. His subordinates had apprised him about the ‘Singhs.’

Not only were they prosperous, owning several hundred acres of rich farmland, but they boasted of some very powerful political connections.

The elder son, Satinder Singh, had even contested the last municipal elections on the ruling party ticket.

Avtar was a year younger to him.

“When did you last see or hear from Avtar?”

‘A month ago. He said he was driving to Toronto and would be back in a week.’

“Back to India?”

‘No Saheb, back to Vancour where he stayed. He is a truck driver, you see’.

Inspector Sharma chewed the information, his eyes taking a 360 degree inspection of his surroundings.

Clearly, this was a wily old man, tutored to say the right things.

No point wasting his time. He had to take a different approach.

He turned around to leave.

It was then that his eyes fell on the large photograph that hung on the red brick wall opposite him.

He stepped forward and peered into it.

Three reindeer heads, their pointed antlers jutting out, almost breaching the edges of the large rectangular frame.

Not unusual, he thought.

A cold country animal from the deer species.

The man must have brought it all the way from Canada during one of his annual sojourns to India.

He was about to turn around when his eyes fell on the plaster.

He touched the cement around them. They were slightly sticky.

It meant the photo was recently mounted, plausibly less than 48 hours ago.

His eyes lit up behind his dark glasses.

It could only mean his quarry was here, or somewhere nearby.

Now, it was all a matter of finding out where.

#neelanilpanicker2017 #TheWritePhoto #fiction #flashfiction #Thursdayphotoprompt #421words



By Neel Anil Panicker

Don Afzal Bhai was thankful the room was sound proof. He had ensured that.

That way when hard leather connected with soft skin and the shrieking and the wailing and the crying and the pleading commenced, it stayed and died within its four walls.

And as the hour rolled over into the next and the shrieks and wails gave way to soft whispered oohs and aahs, a whiff of fresh jasmine wafted around the exquisitely decked up curtained room that boasted of soft low lights peeping out of highly ornate wooden lampshades that otherwise would have enjoyed pride of place in a millionaire’s abode.

Placed at the four corners abutting the master bed that spread out invitingly like the spiralling waters of a giant oceanic wave full of froth and fury, the lights served another larger purpose.

Its beams fell directly on the massive master bed where lay the most feared mafia don of Old Delhi, naked like a new born, eyes shut, body and mind long lost to the sensual and sexual charms of the woman booby strapped to his body.

The woman, who matched the don every single measurable inch in nakedness, boldness, and naughtiness, was no ordinary woman. She was the Don’s mistress, his favourite stress buster, the   one who’s job it was to ensure his physical welfare.

Over the past decade or so, she performed her duties with a rare aplomb,

gaining besides Afzal Bhai’s trust and continued, a few prime properties in the heart of Lucknow, the place from where she originally hailed.

‘Ah, the pleasures of life’, Afzal Bhai moaned as expert hands worked their magic on his massive oak of a body, pressing a vein here, pulling and pushing a limb there, sending pulsating throbs of sheer pleasure scurrying through his loins.

‘Will you be staying over tonight, sanam,’ she asked, caressing his moustache strewn lips with a bunch of ripened berries, her hands finding solace deep down his lumbar regions.

Like a supremely satisfied cat having smacked clean all the milk, and now spread-eagled on all her fours, Afzal Bhai smiled satisfactorily as he pondered over the question.

Not a bad idea. There wasn’t much business to conduct early in the morning. The durbar could be postponed by an hour or two.

He was about to say yes when Salim’s words of last night reverberated in his ears.

“Boss, he’s trouble. Big time trouble. Ali’s bail application is due for hearing any day.

You need to do something fast. We don’t have much time on our hands”.

Three hours later, when he pushed aside the iron sliding gates of the third floor corner house appropriately christened Jannat Jahan, he was a changed man. Almost magically, his walk had turned sanguine, his kohl lined eyes had a fierce glow to it and as the noontime sun shone brightly on his jet black Mercedes, he slipped inside it through the half opened door, ensconcing himself comfortably in its plush interiors.

Looking over at Salim, who as his wont, was seated in the front seat, he barked “Ali mustn’t reach the court. Kill the bastard before that, preferably inside Tihar Jail.”

















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208 08 August 13th 2017

By Neel Anil Panicker

“How would you like to die? Be deep fried in hot molten oil or mutton chopped into small little pieces to serve the gastronomic tastes of gourmands?”


Ali couldn’t believe his ears. It was his fourth week in Tihar Jail and he was on the phone with Liza and she was talking about death, his death.

“Yes, jaan. Get ready to die. Abbu is after your life.”

The name of the dreaded mafia don Abu Fazal sent a chill down his spine.


Jaan, our little secret is out. Abbu knows all about us. He’s making plans to kill you.”

Ali felt a lump form in his throat. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. Suddenly, the heat in his six by eight feet cell turned unbearable.

‘But how? How’s is it possible. How did you get to know?’

“I don’t know dear. Somebody’s ratted on us. I got to know about it last night. Like most other nights these past few weeks, ever since you’ve been in Tihar, sleep has become my enemy.

I was hungry and headed to the kitchen. Was passing by Abbu’s den when I heard voices from inside. It was Abbu. He was speaking to someone over the phone. I held my breath and cocked my ears to the door. It was then that I heard him say, “The bastard. I’ll teach that traitor a lesson he’ll never forget, even when interred in his grave. How dare he even look at my daughter. Kill him, Salim. I order you to make kheema of that bastard.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. My very own father ordering the murder of his only daughter’s lover?

My heart pounding and my head swirling like a typhoon, I somehow pulled myself away and tiptoed back to my room. Ali my dear, my love, my jaan, they are after you. He’s going to kill you, to kill me also if need be. I know him. He means what he says. I’m scared. I fear for you, for your safety. I can’t bear to think of a life without you…please my love, we need to do something…you need to do something…please…”

Ali heard footsteps approaching his barrack.

“Someone’s coming. Will call you later. Will do something…I promise…have faith, my love”.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #partelevenofadangerouslove#thedisclosure#379



Thursday photo prompt: Knock #writephoto

Behind Devil’s Doors

By Neel Anil Panicker

The full length wall room mirror is plastered with a golden edged sticker that boasts the legend “The Lord’s House is full of love.”

Looking into it, Pramila runs her fingers over her badly battered face, the little finger tracing the knife scar all the way from below the left eye to the lower jaws.

As she turns around, her eyes, swollen and bloodied, fail not to notice the imprint of strong male hands just below the left collar bone.

On closer examination, it also reveals five linear marks, much like those left behind by a screeching heavy duty truck tyre.

For a moment her frail body convulses as her benumbed brain remembers the bestiality of the previous night.

Like a statue she stands there, her body and mind as if in limbo, transfixed, unmoving, stony, and lifeless, God knows for how long.

Then slowly, she stumbles back to her senses and peers beyond at the reflection of the man on the bed, a man who barely a week ago had sworn in front of the holy fire to love and protect her from all danger, a man who was her lawfully wedded husband.

He eyes hover on his naked maleness, on the massive six foot hairy frame spread-eagled on the master bed; on the oversized head that juts out of hard boned rippling muscles as if it were a enormous ocean liner’s enormous hulk.

Her gaze falls on his eyes, a bulbous blood red, emitting sheer evil

even when closed.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #thursdayphotoprompt #fiction #251words

 Read  the second part here: 

Her eyes further travel down and take in the hairy hands, oversized and resembling a grizzly  mountains bear’s, at the tightly locked fists__small little iron balls, they seemed to her.

These were the very same hands that had last night and for every previous night, unbuckled the leather belt and assaulted her mercilessly, unmindful and unmoved by her heart wrenching cries and copious tears, her vociferous protestations and gut splitting pleas.

Her mind’s video plays out the scenes of horror; the blows, the beatings and the beratings, reliving  the pain when those fists had landed, first on her spine, then her head, hands, legs, and finally on her face, the brutal impact sending her careening to the corner walls, smearing the hexagonal shaped mosaic floor in thick veins of blood, her two front teeth a flotilla of broken dreams.

And so it runs, like a slow motion movie, unspooling one torturous reel after another, as the  happenings of the last seven days and nights come alive like with a frightening fury and traumatize her deeply scarred psyche with an intensity she can do without.

Stark images of one man’s untold brutality, slow and hazy, come into focus…the belt beatings, its brass knuckles tearing into supple flesh, the hands and legs contorting in murderous pain, the stilted voices of protest dying a million premature deaths…

She turns around and stares one last time at the man who had made her life a living hell.

There he was, even in his sleep, managing to send a shiver of fear down her spine.

And then something strikes in her mind. A long buried memory from school comes alive…her teacher, the English teacher’s words…Pramila, remember, to quietly suffer injustices is the biggest injustice that one does, not just to oneself but to society as well.

The words, long forgotten, now jolt her back from her stupor.

She then and there resolves to fight back the injustice meted out to her.

And then her eyes constrict and her lips tighten as her mind toughens with a new found fierceness.

She was going to give as good as she gets. Blood for blood, tooth and tooth, an eye for an eye.

It was payback time and at the receiving end was her newly minted husband, a demonic two-horned, evil eyed, alien skulled, wide whiskered monster in a man’s clothing.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #thursdayphotoprompt #fiction