By Neel Anil Panicker
‘I was angry. So I killed them.’

Despite the wintry cold, hot beads of sweat began to run down Inspector Sharma’s temple.
He shook his head in one rapid motion and moved towards the haggard looking man who stood with his back to the wall.

Now inches apart, the Crime Branch super sleuth looked into the eyes of the middle aged balding man in front of him.
A pair of strangely alien eyes, the pupils, white spherical splotches that contrasted eerily against an all black skin tone stared right back at him__unflinching, emotionless__as if they were just two stones jutting out of a mountain edge.

And then despite his years of dealing with criminals of all ilk including the hardened, the crazed, the hopeless, and also the utterly remorseless; knowing them and their psyche fully well, he felt himself increasingly lost as he desperately tried to figure out into which category this man who had a perpetual scowl on his regular worker class face belonged.

And so there they stood ___the cop and the criminal, locked eye ball to eye ball, none refusing to blink, both holding on steadfast to whatever life principles each were individually wedded to, as time stood still as if waiting for deliverance.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity and long after the two had studied to perfection every single bodily contour of the other, Inspector Sharma decided enough was enough and that he needed to light a smoke.

Pulling himself away from the high octane tension ridden atmosphere, the cop strode out of the room, slamming the door behind him with a ear splitting kick of his heavy police boots.

Outside, as he stood in the small apology of a square box sized garden dragging nicotine into his perforated lungs, the cop wondered whether his presence or absence would have any bearing on the outcome of the day long interrogation.
Hardened criminals, once they have been ‘broken down’, either admit to or deny the commission of the said crime or crimes. At times they even go ahead and admit to crimes they have no connection with.

But here, this man was proving to be a real tease.
It wasn’t the admission of his crime that raised the heckles of the cops on duty at R.K Nagar Crime Branch Police Station; instead, it was the sheer brazenness of the admissions.

‘Sir, I have committed 20 murders, no wait minute, I think it is 25.’ 
And then after a while, ‘No! Make that 36. Yeah, that’s right. I believe that’s the count.’

As Sharma heard the man bandy about figures with such practised ease as if he were trotting out a batsman’s batting average, the senior cop thought, and not for the first time that evening about human nature, and about what goes into the functioning of the human brain, what mind could be so diabolic as to slaughter like cattle some thirty odd innocent men, and then carry on with the everyday humdrum existence that is life without so much as looking back over the shoulder at the macabre trail of destruction that’s been left behind.

#FOWC #523words

Written for multiple prompts:

FOWC with Fandango — Tease






By Neel Anil Panicker

Gavin Smellie hated his new environs. At 52, with over two decades of a hardcore criminal life behind him he expected a little more respect from the authorities.

That evening as he stepped out of his barracks and looked upwards, his eyes closed shut as the harsh rays of the mid-October sun pierced onto his gentle skin, sending a searing pain that shot all through the innards of his all bones physique.

He hated the humid weather; dry he could bear; but not the sticky something that clung to his skin like leech__sucking and sapping away all energy from his fast enervating self.

Move on! He heard a gruff voice shout out from behind.

Gavin turned around only to see a greenhorn prison guard jab the butt of his rifle at his bottom.

He quickened his pace and began to take long strides along the perimeter fence, the only 15 minute outing that was allowed in the entire day at Kochi Central Jail, Kerala.

‘Excessive! Isn’t it?’, a voice whispered into Gavin’s ears.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #novella #173words

Written for multiple writing prompts:

Saturday Mix – Opposing Forces, 18 August 2018



A CHURCH SEX SCANDAL (Part 1-realistic fiction)

Representative Image

By Neel Anil Panicker


Father Alphonso paced the vast expanse of his second floor inner seminary. Barring the dim light of a torch that was set on an ornate teakwood desk at the far corner of the high ceilinged hall that doubled as a prayer-cum-library, darkness pervaded all over.


After a few minutes, he slowed down a bit, and then abruptly stopped. He then forked out a black fountain pen from his inside his cassock side pocket and began to twist and turn it around his long fingers.

A sure sign that he was near to an answer to whatever dilemma it was that had seized his mind.

He peeped through his rimless circular glasses at the man who stood with his head bowed a few feet away abutting the domed entrance. The man, Joseh Puttanveettil, was known to him; not just he, the bishop knew his wife Mary as well.

They were members of the local parish in the adjoining district; regular Church goers. In fact he had not only attended their marriage ceremony solemnized around a decade ago but also blessed their first born  a year after.

If his memory served him right only last week had they celebrated their daughter’s natal day.

Finally, he strode upto Joseph who still stood with his head slightly bowed, hands respectfully around his rotund belly, and asked, his rich priestly voice booming and ricocheting off the walls, “Are you certain ‘bcoz what you allege are of a serious nature and could have very damaging ramifications? Can you give concrete proof to validate all that you have said”?

Unhesitatingly, without batting an eyelid, Josesh vollied, “Centum, Father. I know what and who it is that I’m accusing. The man is a vicar. He holds a very high post in the Church. But I’m unafraid as I know I can substantiate all that I have told you with rock solid evidence.”

The bishop mulled the answer for a while, and then stepped forward and placed a hand on Joseph’s still bowed head. “If that is so I am taking this matter up. Let there be a full investigation. Let the truth prevail. You may go now.”

Later, the bishop sat at his desk and wrote out a single line letter addressed to the Archbishop Diocese.

“Rev. Father Archbishop Raymond Titus,

Serious allegations of sexual misconduct have surfaced against Father Benjamin Mathews, the vicar of our local Congregation.

I recommend an immediate full-fledged investigation into the charges and subsequent action thereof before the matter spills over onto the public domain, the damages thereof being unimaginable.


Rev. Father Alberto d’ Zouza

Bishop of the Third Congregation

Diocese of Malabar Church,

Church of South India,


#neelanilpanicker #Church #sexscandal #ThreeThingsChallenge #Saturdaymix #fiction #storystarter  #432words

Three Things Challenge, 11 August 2018

Today’s things are: bishop, vicar, post

Saturday Mix – Same Same But Different, 11 August 2018


Inspired by

Three Things Challenge, 03 August 2018

Three Things Challenge: spatula, drama, brownie

Saturday Mix – Double Take, 4 August 2018

This week we are seeing double with ‘Double Take’.

The ‘Double Take’ challenge focuses on the use of homophones* to build your writing piece. You have two sets of homophones and you are challenged to use all of them in your response – which can be poetry or prose.

Our homophone sets this week are:

heal – to cure of disease
heel – hind part of foot
he’ll – contraction of “he will”


lain – past tense of lay
lane – narrow road


By Neel Anil Panicker

Once word got out that a murder had taken place, and that the victim was none other than the very controversial forty something Miss Raphael, the lane outside her duplex villa that overlooked the Arabian Sea was choc-o-bloc with ever nosy neigbours and sundry hangers on, not to say the ubiquitious melange of official, semi-official and unofficial newshounds of all ilks and denominations.

A few, the intrepid among them had already set up large sized cicrular discs and were beaming non stop exclusive “Breaking News” with pushy reporters, mikes in hand, hurling an array of never ending questions at whoever claimed to have ‘inside info’ about the crime or the murdered woman, or anything even remotely related to both that could be deemed newsworthy.

“Her full name’s Raphael Mathews. Mathews was her ex-husband, claimed one.”

Another a few meters away, stared into another camera and thundered, “She was a witch…kept to herself…practised black magic.”

A third, this time an eighty something toothless man mumbled, “I know her, Have known for past 30 years. She’s a good woman. A good cook too. Made delicious brownies.”.

Standing at a distance, Detective Chacko watched keenly the unfolding drama.

Mulitiple voices, mutlipile opinions.

What was fact and what was fiction?

He lit a Camel and inhaled deeply, blowing out smoke rings into the dew laden morning air.

It had been fifteen minutes since the Forensics team had come with their hi-tech equipments. The team of five had put on gloves, scanned the house, and everything in its vicinity with fine combed precision.

What had they gathered so far?

He began to make a mental checklist.

First the body.

It was found lain on the kitchen floor, the around five feet heavy frame clothed in a dazzling red maxie, the legs spreadeagled like a woman’s on the delivery table, the right hand still holding on to a wooden spatula that looked as if it had been liberally dipped in a bowl of custard cream.

A half baked brownie cake rested in an oven whose lid rested beside it.

In the only other room stood a wall televsion that was tuned in to a religious channel, with a well known faith healer mouthing homelies to an audience who one could make out by their sunken eyes and depraved and deprived visages seemed were the flotsam and jetsaum of life, theones society had given the short thrift.

On the granite floor lay a couple of yoga mats and around them were several scented candles and incense sticks even as strong smell of camphor hovered all over the high ceilinged heavily curtained room.

A box of bright red powder that looked not unlike vermillion lay scattered nearby and on them was etched what looked the heel marks of a child.

Who was the child? Had he come here for a heal? So, was this some kind of mumbo jumbo healing session that had turned horribly wrong?

But then there was also a near ready cake in the kitchen. Besides, a woman lay dead with apparently no visible injury marks on her body.

The evidences were not really matching up.

There was definitely eerie about the entire thing.

Detective Chacko thought for a while, then scratched his week long pepper and salt stubble, and stepped towards the waiting crowd of onlookers.

His hawkish eyes went searched for the man he had earlier heard saying somehting about the woman being a good cook, of having known her to make delicious cakes.

He’ll be a good staring point, he inferred.

#neelanilpanicker #crime #detectivechacko #murder #arabiansea #ThreeThingsChallenge #SaturdayMixMelange #fiction #589words



By Neel Anil Panicker

‘She lacks discipline,’ Senior Authorised Flight Examiner Paulose Abraham exclaimed as he looked over at the two trainee cadets ambling towards the tarmac.

“Well, that may be true, but she’s definitely not lax in her duties. In fact she’s quite eager. Ever ready for a challenge. At least that’s how it was when she first walked into my office and enrolled for the flying course.”

Paulose lifted his custom made Ray Ban all black aviator glasses and squinted his eyes as the mid-afternoon sun lashed down at the metallic sheets of the hangar, the third among an array of five that stood some five meters from the western periphery of Haralanka Airport.

The senior pilot looked over at Flight Instructor Ashish Tripathi a tad amusedly, his eyes cringing into a smile, before replying, “To lift a bird is easy. Bringing it down is the tough part.”

Ashish opened his mouth to say something, when a voice from behind beat him to it.

“Sir, Trainee Pilot Sharmistha Chaturvedi reporting for duty. Awaiting orders, Sir.”

The two senior airmen looked at the 21-year-old trainee who stood smartly a few meters from them, a never before seen steely resolve accentuating the high cheek boned angular face that was brimming with a new found confidence.

Barely looking at his mate, the senior captain commanded, “Ok, go ahead. I guess you’re  ready to fly solo.”

Minutes later as the small plane took off into the skies and completed a couple of sorties, the two men walked over to their command office.

“I told you she’s got talent”, remarked  Ashish as he placed his official airman’s cap on the hanger.

#neelanilpanicker #flashfiction #saturdaymix #274words

Saturday Mix – Double Take, 7 July 2018

lacks – does not have
lax – loose discipline


hangar – garage for airplanes
hanger – from which things hang




By Neel Anil Panicker

The 8: 22 halted, offload some weight, picked up a few, departed.

9:15 followed suit.

People clambered in, hurried out, their gloved hands dragging suitcases and bag, all heading to or heading back from the island, the one the glossy travel brochures highlighted as “Top  50 Places to visit before you die”.

Seated at a corner bench of the lone platform, Stephen watched with a weary nonchalance the merry spectacle of humankind scurry past him to experience Nature’s unadulterated bounties.

A pigeon flew in and rested on the precipice. He turned around and for a brief moment the two locked eyes.

Maybe there was something in his eyes, maybe she read him better than the hordes of backpackers who sped past him without so much as a glance, for, seconds later, the bird emitted a strange sound, and then fluttering her wings, flew away.

After she was gone, Stephen’s gaze hovered around the spot where she sat.

And there he saw__the gloves, rather, a single glove, an off brown near fading ‘left hand fit’ glove.

And with that came she, her memories, like a massive avalanche, lashing and hurling and cutting into every single sinew and nerve, hitting and hurting him relentlessly and mercilessly, until he was finally sucked into the bottomless oceanic pits of sorrow.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #flash #shortstory #216words #photoprompt #mindlovesmisery

Photo Challenge #215