By Neel Anil Panicker

That morning as Ragini stepped out of her mud hut by the village and made the ardous two kilometre long climb up the forested hill, for the first time ever, her mind was assailed by doubts. Missing was her usual effervescence, missing too was her trademark buck toothed smile that she offered to one and all, missing too were the usual bunch of magnolia flowers she carried with her, safely tugged in the inner folds of her worn out saree, an old yellowed cotton one that clearly had seen better days.

Many a time in the past six months she had been tempted to buy a new one. ‘Get some new dresses. You look like an old hag. What’s happened to you?  Look at how you’re carrying yourself nowadays’, her septuagenarian mother-in-law would admonish her, an event that by now had become an almost daily ritual.

“I will, Nan, I will,” was all she would reply as she went about her daily household chores.

An hour later she arrived at the clearing, and gazed at the monolith oblong stone that stood upright, its face, vermillion smeared, the tongue glistening a shiny black.

She extricated the gold bangle from her saree fold and laid it at the deity’s feet.

“Oh Lord, this is all I have. All these years I’ve been good, done nothing wrong. But my husband’s still in the clutches of that woman. Give him back to me, quick. Do that, else, or I’ll bathe you in her blood”.

©neelanilpanciker2018 #fiction #ThursdayPhotoPrompt #shortstory #250words

Thursday photo prompt – Shrine #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt – Shrine #writephoto




Thursday photo prompt – Window #writephoto

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By Neel Anil Panicker

Dear Lady Unknown,

Please accept the two flowers that hang outside your window.

You might wonder why two red roses. Well, let me tell you.

The first one is to announce my love for you. The second one is for me.

Confused? Well, let me gain explain.

Unknown to you, for the past one year, I have been secretly watching even following you.

I know some may term it as stalking but what other option does a perennially shy but hopelessly smitten in love person like me have?

The first flower is in remembrance of the day when I first saw and fell in love with you. You can call it my First Love Anniversary gift to you.

The second flower is in furtherance of my New Year resolution which is to be bold.

I have resolved to take my love for you to the next level.

I would now like to come out in the open and declare my love for you in front of everybody, and most importantly would like to lock eyes with you and utter those three magical words.


But for that I need a little push, a wee bit nudge, a small but all important encouragement that will help me to break free from the shackles of shyness and timidity that have been my life all through, and transform into the strong, confident, bold, and charming man that I have aspired to be all my life.

So, here it is.

If you too feel the same for me as I so undoubtedly do, then place a flower of your own, a white lily, next to mine before the sun wakes up tomorrow morning.

If not, please treat this as my first and last ever interface with you.

Let the flowers to wilt if that is their fate.

Meanwhile, I shall await and see what destiny has in store for me tomorrow morn.

Until then…


Unknown Gentleman

©2018neelanilpanicker #flashfiction #322words #shorstory #WRITEPHOTO


Thursday photo prompt – Thaw #writephoto

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By Neel Anil Panicker

Richard stood, his trekking boots rooted to the rocky edges, his mind stilled by the mesmerising sight of pearly white mountain peaks jutting out into the cloudy skies. Below him, sparkled a carpet of cedar and pine trees, clothed in eclectic colours and dotted around them were heart stopping bottomless crevices alongside which drifted gorgeous waterfalls__froth-filled skeins of white lawn.

‘Some other day, some other time, he would stave off a day or maybe a week to soak in the indescribable pleasures of the Himalayas,’ he promised himself.

Not today, not now, he reminded himself.

For now, he’d a job to do.

He had climbed this high, a staggering 8,000 metres above sea level; come this far, criss-crossing continents, hopping in and out of planes, all the way from distant Detroit, not for nothing.

He had come to bury a memory, a bad memory that began a decade ago, and now threatened to last an entire lifetime.

He turned around to look at Irene. Her mouth agape, staple buck tooth smile in place, she gazed in wonderment as the ghostly river below them turned an amber.

She was his memory, his bad memory, the one he had come to bury.

But for that he had to first kill her.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #ThursdayPhotoPrompt#fiction #flashfiction #somethingtobury#209 words


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


Thursday photo prompt – Portal – #writephoto

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Weekly Writing Prompt #118

Weekly Writing Challenge

DOOR Template Instructions
Poetry and/or Flash Fiction
December 4th 2017 | #118

(5) Words: | GHOST | PINCH | RATE | GOLD | BURY |



By Neel Anil Panicker

A beautiful woman, the most beautiful he had ever seen, her ‘slender as a twig’ body clad from top to bottom in white appeared out of the cumulus clouds above and swung a magical wand towards him.

Immediately, Richard felt a strange, tingling sensation all over his body as shiny golden beams of light lit the night sky.

The all white apparition smiled beatifically down at him.

A honey dipped voice, soft as gurgling mountain waters whispered,

“Young man, follow my instructions carefully for you are about to become the luckiest man on this planet. Take seven steps from the East of your hut and stop, facing the mango groves that lie beyond your backyard.

Now start digging fifty feet into the ground. You will soon hit a dead end. That is the clue for you to turn left and dig another two feet. Soon you will see a small slit in the earth. It leads to a tunnel.  Crawl through it for about ten feet and you will have entered a cave. It is the Abode of Kuber, The God of Wealth.

Buried there are glittering diamond necklaces, gold earrings, precious stones, silver, platinum… take what you want…it is limitless and they are all yours”.

Richard couldn’t believe what he was witnessing and hearing. The pupils of his eyes dilated twice its normal size. His ears lobes strained to catch the soft, magical voice that was being drilled into his head.

Could this be true? Will he become rich? With such wealth he can virtually rule the earth, be master of everyone, own everything that he had ever wanted or lusted after?

Still unbelieving of his good fortune, he pinched himself on the cheek.

“What’s this month’s rate?”, he heard a familiar voice shouting into his ears.

Richard opened his eyes and found himself staring into the perplexed face of Raghav Sir, his regular customer, the gentleman from whom he bought old newspapers. Old newspapers that he bought and sold for a living. His dream had just turned to dust.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #flash #shortstory


Thursday Photo Prompt HOSTED BY sue vincent


By Neel Anil Panicker

Raymond looked down at his feet and kicked Jack’s once muscular body, now just a crumpled mass of tissue turned ‘cold as winter’.

It had taken him a good hour to get rid of his best buddy, and more specifically partner in crine.

Good riddance, he screamed out in gay abandon, a cry of unbridled joy, absolutely aware that standing where he was, at the promontory that stood atop a gargantuan rock at the extreme right edge of the mile long deserted beach, none would hear or even see him as far as the eye could see.

He flicked a Marlborough from his inner baggy pockets and cupping his large alligator hands struck a match as an icy wind swept by.

Three quick inhalations deep into his lungs and he was a calmed man.

Slowly his gaze lifted far into the sea towards a solitary speck of land__Sir Albert’s Island.

His wrinkled eyes sparkled with untinted joy.

He had made it. Well, almost.

Nearly five months of threadbare planning, three murders, a couple of shootouts, and a daring mid-day bank robbery later, he had managed to lay his hands on a pile of money.

The spoils of the day added upto a staggering five million American dollars.

He touched the peak of his felt hat in acknowldgement of the success of the mission.

It had been worth it, the sheer daredevilry, the bizarre risk of crash landing a two seater rented aircraft and hoisting his band of four robbers straight into the bank’s inner santum sanctorum, the exact hexagonal area where the huge vault lay, and then fighting and shooting their way out into freedom, the massive steel trunk full of hard cash acting as a much needed shield.

Raymond’s mind suddenly flicked back to the present. He had double crossed his way to a pot of money.

But knowing the ways of the Spanish Police well enough, he knew that if ever harboured any hopes of enjoying all that wealth he had to get to the island and thereafter beyond to be absolutely safe.

His mind went into a tailspin as he stared out into the ever darkening sea waters.

(c)neelanilpanciker2017 #fiction #flashfiction #ThursdayPhotoPrompt


Thursday photo prompt – Ebb – #writephoto

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By Neel Anil Panicker

Adani closed his eyes and the visions came floating by.

A near dilapidated apology of a mud house sans windows and doors.

He peeped inside and saw a creaking wobbly legged old wooden cot and lying on it an eighty year old woman spitting blood and bile onto the mud floors, her flaked skin and mangled bones spreading out all over like blackish blood cots on deadened bones.

On the floor around her lay in various stages of wakefulness, a shirtless man and a reed thin woman, and five small kids who looked equally emaciated, their socket less eyes staring out into the increasingly darkening roofless skies above.

The youngest among them, barely seven years old, was the template of utter gutter filth: a mixture of urine, bile, blood, spit and vomit was plastered all over his stark naked body, an obnoxiously pungent odour oozing from every single pore.


Adani opened his eyes and saw a hundred television cameras aimed towards him.

A woman thrust a mike. “Sir, how does it feel to have struck gold in this wilderness?”

Gautam Adani, the owner of Adani Power, a Fortune trillion dollar multinational conglomerate smiled wryly, “It feels great, a bit ironical though, as we knew never knew all this while we were living under a pile of gold.”

©neelanilpanicker2017 #ThursdayPhotoPrompt #theebb #fiction #flashfiction #218words