By Neel Anil Panicker

“One for sorrow, two for mirth, three for…”

‘Shh…did you hear that?’, Edward pointed his little index finger towards the bushes.

Instantly, two pairs of eyes turned around, and followed his bidding.

Pin drop silence followed; all could hear was one’s own breathing, and the faint staccato croaking sound of a frog.

It was Raghav who punctured the air with his high decibel voice. “There’s nothing to hear, you stupids. Come let’s play before it gets dark.”

Edward waited for a second more, then looked at Sid who too nodded his head in affirmation. The duo turned around and shouted in unison, “Yes, let’s play. Anyways, don’t we know there’s no such thing as a ghost”

“One for sorrow, two for birth, three for joy, four for a boy, five for…”

‘Ruuuun….ghooooost….’ . It was Edward who first shrieked. Watching him, Raghav followed. And looking at the two, little Sid too joined suit.

And then they were all running nay sprinting__sprinting, tumbling, sliding, falling and rising. And then again they were on their toes, running, running as if they had seen the Devil itself___running raster than the fasted man on earth, running as if their lives depended on it.

And keeping them company, at their heels, was the wind, and the rhythmic words that it carried___’five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret…’

The eerie voice, which had by now taken on an earnest hue, the tone piercing through the wintry evening, making a buzzing sound on the ears of the tiny toys all through, ___ pleading, goading, requesting them to stop… ‘my children, my love, I am here to draw you to my beautiful kingdom. Come, don’t run, or you will get lost in this Earth. Beautiful heaven awaits you. Come my dears…’

A week later the troika met at Edward’s backyard and lit a candle. And then they placed their palms one by one atop the flickering flames and swore aloud, their eyes closed, their lips moving in sync, “Forgive us, oh my dear Lord, we promise that we will never ever enter Uncle Tom’s Garden”.

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FOWC with Fandango — Draw



Today’s things are: mattress, golf ball, green


Today’s things are: mattress, golf ball, green


By Neel Anil Panicker

“Mr John, you mean to say he held a couple of  golf balls in his hand when you last saw him. What time did you say it was?”

This was the second time  Detective Chacko had asked that question this Friday morning in the past two hours, albeit to three different demographic groups.

‘Look, I guess it was around a quarter past seven because that’s about the time when I step out and walk up to the green.’

‘Is it true what everyone says?’ 

The experienced sleuth furrowed his thickset eyebrows as he half cocked his oval shaped head and looked squarely  at the man seated opposite him, studying the reaction his open ended question had posed.

‘What…er…what, what Sirrr…?’

Chacko very slowly lifted the index finger of his left hand and began to rub gently around the chin his ill kept salt and pepper beard around the chin.

‘That, he surmised, was by no means a natural stammer; slurring of this type revealed  a sudden bout of insecurity, even fear.

Call it instinct, or perhaps his years of experience culled from meeting with a range of suspects, but Chacko knew he was onto something here. He also knew that he had to tread very carefully herewith lest this rotund forty-something bespectacled man in rimless spectacles turned suspicious, and thereby incommunicado.

Picking his words carefully, the wily detective gently dropped his next question while at the same time keeping his hawkish eyes pinned down on his interviewee, “Mr John, is it true that you two, I mean you and the dead man’s wife are…sorry were very close, and this was much before you two got married to your respective spouses?”  

The question seemed to have knocked the gut out of John for almost instantly the colour drained out of his handsome face and as his shoulders stooped even as he simply stared down at the mattress below his feet, his eyes looking as if they had seen just seen the Devil himself.

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By Neel Anil Panicker

One moment it was a picture post card scene of sheer happiness; the very next it had turned into madness, with everybody running around helter skelter.

Who invited whom? That was the question on everyones’ lips, every single one of the men and women who had converged on the beachfront, hoping to partake of the salubrious climate, wishing to enjoy the sheer sight of the frothy waves as it lashed against the jagged rocky edges, leaving behind a sea of sand, shells and the excited squeals of children running and playing about with unrestrained joy.

“Hey, did you hear that? It sounded like a bullet shot.”

Deepak’s eyes traced the trajectory of Kiran’s fingers that were pointing towards a stage fifty yards from where they stood.

Jostling, howling, jabbering, screaming, shouting, yelling : that much he could see and make out as he watched with intent eyes the makeshift wooden stage on the northern periphery of the mile long beach.

A group of men, all clad in pure white dhotis and silk shirts, their heads outfitted with ubiquitous Gandhi caps were yelling and screaming, jostling and jabbering, a few even engaging in fist fights with one another.

His eyes narrowed down on a face.

A swarthy face, the top three or four shirt buttons ripped off to expose a thick flock of silvery haired chest, the seven inch long thick gold chain hanging loose around the ‘thick as a bull’s’ neck and glistening in the sand blasted mid-afternoon Sunday sun that was scorching the coastal city of Cochin.

“It’s a party, our Mayor’s. He’s come here; uninvited, of course. He’s just won again. Is celebrating. Looks like trouble. Let’s move. Where’s Priya  and Raghu?”

As Kiran gathered her brood and the family wound their back to their car, a couple of bombs exploded, cracking open the skies.

“Wonder what would happen were he to win the Assembly elections”, hollered Deepak as he hurriedly ferried his wife and kids to safety.


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A Costly Mistake

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By Neel Anil Panicker
“Can you come here for a second”?
The question seemed to have startled Liz for she turned around a little too quickly, in the process spilling the hot cup of morning coffee on to the bed.
Shit, now I just changed the sheets, she hissed under her breath.
Now what the hell does he require, she wondered as she extricated herself out if bed, her belaboured movements a reflection of her utter annoyance.
Yes, what is it now? I just changed your diaper, didn’t I?, she thundered, her thick mannish arms encircling her rotund figure.
Seconds sped by but there was no response.
Just as was about to open her mouth again, a faint feeble voice, a man’s, a very, very old and sick person’s, was heard, “I…I am sorry, but…I guess…I…I have wet the bed again.”.
God knows what devil overcame her but even before the old man had finished muttering his gibberish, Stella had grabbed the steel stool beside her and hurled it onto the man’s head.
The flying weapon landed on it’s intended Target and the old man collapsed on the bed, his head now split wide open and the brains splitting all out, the snow white bedsheet now  morphed a blood red.
It took a few seconds before Stella regained her senses but by the time she realized the mayhem her sudden loss of sanity had wrecked it was too late.
She had not just brutally killed her nonagenarian father-in-law but was also staring at the depressive prospect  of spending the rest of her life behind prison bars.
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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 35

Creative Writing Prompt | Sentence Starter | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Writing |

Creative Writing Prompt | Sentence Starter | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Writing |