Read Part One:

Read Part Two:

Read Part Three:


Inside Central Prison ( Part Four):   

By Neel Anil Panicker

Date: January 14, 2015

Place: Cell No. 3, Barrack No. 12, D Block, Central Prison, Delhi

Time: 03. 10 am

The piercing hoot from the prison guard’s long whistle echoes and crashes into the four walls of the cavernous barrack. It is official sleep time. One by one all the cell lights are switched off. Soon after, the only sounds that one can be heard are the slow metronomic beat of receding footsteps. Prison guards begin retiring to their rooms for a well deserved rest; few breaking out in beaming smiles, relieved their shifts have ended.

Soon after the central metal gates clang shut. The barracks descends into complete darkness.

Like a bat that spreads its wings enveloping everything under it in a darkened hue, time hangs still from every corner of the dome shaped corridors leading all the way down to the ends the rectangular hallways, either sides of which houses a neat row of 12 cells in all. Every cell barring one houses six inmates each.

An eerie silence pervades the place. It will last for the next eight hours. All the 71 prisoners have surrendered to sleep__their antidote against pain, boredom and inertia induced loneliness.

In his corner cell, second right from the last, Bob is wide awake. His mind: a cauldron of conflicting emotions. Sleep is a million miles away. In fact he hasn’t slept properly since the first night of his arrival here, and that was a good seven days ago.

Something has changed. It was as if he has woken up and he was a different person. That he had a different body and a different mind and even a different name. That he comes from a different country, and worse, that he didn’t even know who he was, or what he wanted. Or worst, even why he was living.

The events of the past one week were all a first time for Bob.

For the first time in his life the international contract killer had failed; failed to execute an order; to honour a contract that he had taken to kill someone.

The hired killer closed his eyes and immediately the events of the last week sprang alive in his mind in resplendent technicolour. There he was at the intersection…hands in his pocket, waiting for the signal to turn green…the target a mere metres away… then the move, the slow practiced walk, the false stumble… and then the twisting of the long blade into his prey’s heart.

But guess what?… nothing of that sort had happened. Bob had frozen, his hands failing to extricate themselves from his pockets.

Something else had caught his attention…to the corner, to his left, a lone figure in a long midnight black robe ambling past the white Gothic walls __the girl, not a shade over twentyfive, her eyes__ a striking pastel blue___half mocking, half smiling; the walk, strong and graceful like one of those lead dancers that he had once seen in a Moscow hall during a gala sing and dance extravaganza, a few years back while on an assignment for a Spanish client.

And then the blackout.

And then, four hours later, on regaining consciousness, the victorious, power drunk hawkish eyes of the City Police Commissioner and his alcohol scarred slur, “Welcome to our city, Mr Bob. I hope you enjoy your stay here”

The booming voice behind those words hit him again much like the full knockout punch of a heavyweight championship player’s fierce left jab under the chin just before the final whistle signaling the end of the game.

He had been floored, beaten at his own game, and that too by a mere girl.

Who was she… where did she come from…how does he know her… or does he even know her… those cat eyes, all blue, half friendly, almost welcoming, a trap, a bait, powerful and enchanting enough to force him to abort his mission and  get caught.

His mind raced through the silence of the night hunting for answers to questions, questions that racked his brains making them hollow with each passing hour.

Two hours later, his mind and eyes locked in quiet contemplation, Bob found his answer. It lay in his past. The resolution to his present dilemma and even his future course of action lay in he undertaking a journey into his past.

He fastened his memory belts and lifted himself up into the stratosphere. Like Noah’s Ark, his mind’s float would soon come back with answers.


©neelanilpanciker2016#come,light my fire#04



In continuation of





By Neel Anil Panicker

For the third straight night the food lies undisturbed. The rectangular plastic tray watches, gloomy and forlorn, clinging to the corner walls inches away from the single door, still expectant as she   desperately waits for the intended beneficiary to come and partake of her offerings.

Unmindful to all such overtures, in another opposite corner, just under the window that streams in the barest of light from the outside world, sits Bob, crouched on all fours, his hands cupping his head.

As the knuckles of his large hairy hands bore into his skull, the world around him suddenly turns pitch dark.

And then the images take over.

…he is swimming in the sea, the waves, gentle and kind, playfully splashing on him and the salt from the water licking his lips; his mind a flotilla of bitter sweet desires.

And then they change, suddenly turn into monstrous floats, restless and angry, tossing and turning and twisting, soon constricting him in a tight embrace. The little boy, terrified and nearly drowning, watches on helplessly as angry roars smash into his ears in decibels unaccustomed to a child who has barely seen seven summers.

Desperate and gasping for breath, the child flails his arms and flings his legs around but the waves show no mercy as they rise higher and higher only to unleash one final fury and shove him deep into the bottomless pits of the ocean never to rise up again.

As the last gasps of breath get sucked away, the child looks upwards, in one final entreaty, and in his dying eyes swim the smiling visage of a man who brought him into this world__his protector and  father.

The prison walls break out in a maddening cry as the dead of the night gets smashed into smithereens. In his desolate corner, Bob plunges into the depths of darkness as his crazed wild eyes, reddened with rage and humiliation,  threaten to pop out of their sockets as an angry dam of long restrained tears break out in thunderous roars.

For yet another night the man the international police know simply as the ‘Happy Killer’ has lost out to sanity.

The black hole of madness has just begun.

For the first time in a long, long time, Bob, the criminal, is not relishing his stay in prison.





Monday Motivations

Read part one here:

COME, LIGHT MY FIRE series…part two


By Neel Anil Panicker

The metal doors slammed shut and with that began the excrutiatingly slow dying out of the footsteps of the prison guard.

Within moments the long corridors that led away from the heavily fortified underground cell turned

pitch dark.

In a corner, with his back pillored to the hard stony walls, and barely inches away from an open toilet that looked like it had seen better days, sat crouched, Bob__his hairy hands forming into a pyramid that reached all the way upto his formidable forehead.

The man better known among the city police force as simply ‘The Killer’, (though out of gratitude to his other talents, they had also added an extra moniker to that: The Happy Killer) was, for the first time in his life, lost in deep thought.

Tossing his shoulder length long jet black hair aside, Bob cupped his hands over his eyes and, reprised the happenings of the previous day__the day he was caught, or more correctly, allowed himself to get caught.

Where was he? Yes, Connaught Place, Inner Circle… the zebra crossing… cars zipping by in the maddening peak time afternoon traffic. His killer eyes watching from across the road…and then he spots him… his quarry…the man__thirtyish, grey suit, bowler hat, his hands slinging a Samsonite all black leather case.

The signals turning red…people shoving past him…his hands sliding inside… fingers clasping the nine inch long push dagger knife (a gift from a fellow killer while serving time in a Brazilian prison).

The well choreographed fumble, a sudden stumble… and then… a hand over the shoulder, a sudden stab, below the chest, to the left and the body slumping to the ground. All over in less than five seconds.

Just a regular day at work… business as usual. Time to move away, melt into the crowd of footers… Then he spotted her…the girl, across the street, her eyes…something in them…a beckoning… a call…his life, his future…he stood there transfixed…lost…until they came… the police.


(This is in continuation of my earlier post ‘Come, light my fire’.) I intend to turn into a long short story/novella.)