By Neel Anil Panicker

Shelly closed the door, drew the curtains, and after switching off the lights, sat in the corner edge of the now darkened room.

The last six months had been the most traumatic period of her life what with her husband, her dear darling husband__the one for whom she had turned her back against her entire family, even to the point of severing all relations with them__dead, gone off in a jiffy, perishing to one of fate’s whimsical turns.

Bereft and left with no substantive funds, and with two mouths to feed, life had come to a standstill, where all roads led to a dead end and the only recourse left for her was to step out of her hitherto cocooned existence and get herself a job, any job, a job that would keep body and soul together and help her raise her six year old son.

But who would give a 30-year-old undergraduate with zilch experience a job in a highly cut throat competitive market teeming with ultra qualified super achievers?

None, except one__a man who she met quite serendipitously while at a job interview, a man who owned a company worth hundreds of crores, a 55 year old much married man who lived in a de luxe villa and moved around in fancy cars, also a man with a taste for beautiful women.

And so when the offer came she took the bait and saw in him the crane that would help left her out of the deep morass that her life had become.

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Welcome To Six Sentence Stories

The word of the week is CRANE!

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By Neel Anil Panicker

“I am sorry, I’m very terribly sorry Sir to have lost the contract.”

So, what do you have to say in your defense, Mr Srivastava?”

“Sir, I trust me when I say that I left no stone unturned in my efforts to impress the meeting. Right from doing weeks long research and knowing every single thing about Smith & Sons to even knowing the strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes of Mr Smith as well as his two sons, Robert and Edwin I did all that was humanly possible to ensure that they give us and us only the million dollar worth of contract.”

But alas! Despite all your well intentioned efforts you failed, you failed in securing the deal, this all important contract that was worth over ten million dollars and which now has gone to our arch enemy, the Kapoors. Isn’t that so, isn’t that what is the stark, bitter truth, Mr Chief Deal Maker, the all knowing Perfectionist non parallele?.

“I am sorry sir, but what else could I have done”?

What else? You haven’t done one thing wrong, you have done the most important thing wrong. You made the wrongful assumption and thought Smith & Sons means it is an all male enterprise whereas the reality is that it is hundred percent owned by matriarchal head of the family, eighty year old Mrs Elizabeth Smith who even today takes every single decision about all personal as well as business matters. You stupid fool, you made your pitch but it wasn’t to the right person.

©neelanilpanicker2018 #fiction #shortstory #sixsentencestories #257words



This week’s cue is PITCH!






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





By Neel Anil Panicker

It is a couple of hours after midnight, that still born hour when the entire world and its backyard have taken a sabbatical; that  pregnant pause, that briefest of brief interludes before the deluge begins all over again, before the rambunctious merry go round wheels of life start all over again, spinning forth in a furious abandon__ entrapping man, woman, and all manner of being in its wondrous cosmic cycle.

From the edges, Robin stares at the never ending carpet of blue that spreads out all around him. He cranes his neck and bores his eyes at the waters below. His face has come alive in a flotilla of little concentric rings ala a young girl’s floral dress as it swings and sways around in gay abandon.

For an interminably long time Abdul stands there, his frail body transfixed to terra firma, his dog eared mind in limbo.

Soon after, the memories came hurtling by much like a not so welcome guest that’s long overstayed one’s hospitality.

An oft repeated scene, albeit in painful slow motion, plays out in his mindscape. There he is, a young boy, rail-thin, the bones jutting out like broken down bamboo shoots from around his waists, an apology of a khaki half pant wrapped around them, his hands, equally frail and trembling, desperately holding on to his mother’s fingers as the two, along with his father and his two elders brothers and a sister and a host of others, all relatives and cousins and people from his village run forth, ducking and dipping as all around them ring the thunderous blast of gun shots. A scream and a thud follow. Someone’s fallen, the ground under his feet turns a carpet of red. The last words he hears before he blanks out are, ”Kill them all, bloody immigrants”.

©neelanilpanciker2018 #fiction #ThursdayPhotoPrompt #shortstory

Thursday photo prompt – Blue #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt – Blue #writephoto




This week’s cue is SUSPEND…


By Neel Anil Panicker

“Listen, dear friend, trust me when I this and am saying this not out of my hat but out of my experience, a great many years of hard won experience.”

‘Do I have a choice? Go ahead, I am all ears’.


“So here it is straight off the horse’s mouth: If you want to take a wow class and win friends and influence people then you should suspend all judgement.”
‘Hmm…interesting, in this world there is no dearth of free idea floaters and now that I see you too have joined that ‘Entry By Invitation Only’ club why don’t you enlighten me as to how exactly do I go about this earth shattering path breaking pedagogical strategy that you so elegantly have euphemistically christened as SUSPEND ALL JUDGEMENT?’

“Well, first of all you should keep your eyes and ears open in the class to look around for any and all sorts of non-academic activity and that includes all sorts of shenanigans including coochie cooing into one another’s ears, engaging in near animated discussions about the morals or lack of it of neighbourhood street dogs, and even heatedly analysing threadbare the inverse correlation between the rising levels of global warming and the plunging necklines of Hollywood beauties.”

‘There it is, I got it, a bit paradoxical though it may be. First, I need to keep my eyes and ears open and then close them. A class act indeed’.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #six sentence stories #fiction #short story #237 words






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By Neel Anil Panicker

Call it a momentary lapse in concentration, an slight error in judgement, an inexplicable blackout, or what have you__at the end of the day, it turned out to be a very costly slip.

One that not just turned the fortunes of the match, ultimately leading to the opposition team walking away with the glittering diamond studded five million dollar prized trophy but also one that ensured the sudden, tragic end of Mohan Bisht’s most promising cricketing career.

In the space of one mean full length 22 yard bowling delivery, Bisht’s future nosedived, plummeted, sending him careening into the deep dungeons of sporting oblivion__a dark bottomless pit, a frightful abyss, wriggling out of which was a near impossible task.

In a jiffy one by one his once ardent fans and friends turned into sworn enemies, the near endless bouquets getting replaced with soul breaking brickbats.

Shortly, all that remained with the twenty- something once ebullient cricketer were nightmarish images of that fading November evening when he had let the ball sneak through his open palms while fielding at first slip, that most coveted of fielding positions in the game of cricket.

“How could he…how could he, the best fielder of his team, the one with the safest pair of hands in the entire team, drop this most simple of chances, one that proved to be a most costly slip as the lucky batsman concerned went on to score a century that ultimately won his team the match and the trophy, and with that all the glory that befalls the victorious?”

©neelanilpanciker2017 #sixsentencestories  #fiction  #shortstory #DROPPINGITALL #259words



Thursday photo prompt – Messenger #writephoto by Willow

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By Neel Anil Panicker

Sush or more precisely her wanton spirit loomed large over the residents of Mavilla Manors, the tony neighborhood of Kalyan, a distant Mumbai suburb.

Like an giant albatross it hovered over the lives of its inhabitants, controlling, directing, demanding, even dominating them with brute unbridled authority; an evil power, a devilish force let loose on its unsuspecting victims.

Little Harpreet stood out for special attention. The youngest of three siblings and that included two elder sisters besides a college professor father and a bank employee mother, Preet as he was lovingly addressed, had led a fairly cocooned existence until he was ten years old__old enough to be able to undergo the ten minute walk down the forested lane to where the school bus picked and dropped him; old enough to extricate the spare key from the inner pouch of his red Scoobie Doo bag and open the kitchen door and let himself into the sprawling five room house by the river; change into fresh clothes, and sit down for lunch that the maid would have prepared, and then proceed for his daily tuitions at Sawarkar’s, located six houses down the road.

But not certainly old enough to distinguish and differentiate between good and bad, or even right and wrong.

And that’s how he met, or rather came face to face with evil, stark dark blood sucking evil.

It came stealthily, deviously, dressed in external finery, morphed in human form, as a seemingly innocent and ultra charming fifteen-year-old that went by the rather fanciful name Harrison Malhotra, the adopted son of the late Sushmeera Biswas, Sush for short.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #ThursdayPhotoPrompt  #thealbatross