By Neel Anil Panicker

Henry watched as his wife’s eyes turned moist.
It wasn’t the first time he was seeing it nor was it going to be the last time.

The change, the metamorphosis of an effervescent, bubbly lively woman full of joi de vivre into a hapless, helpless wreck had been happening over the past eight months.

It was a painfully slow benumbing of body, mind, and soul. A slow but gradual decline, a depleting of all sources of happiness, a moving away from all life affirming actions, a definite plunge into the bottomless pit of despair and deprivation.

All this__after Allen’s death.

Allen, her son, her darling Al; Allen, my son__our only child.

The first few months had been okay.

Seemed so. After the initial shock and trauma following his needless, meaningless death in an entirely avoidable case of accident exacerbated by mindless rash driving, we had come to live with the reality of his death.

I, by burying myself deep into work; she, by losing herself in spirituality.

God and his contemplation served as a shield, something that served as a buffer protecting her from the ravages of heartache.

That’s what I thought.

Maybe she needed to be transported to a different era, a different zone, maybe a new country, continent altogether.

Henry hoped this shifting of hearth would help her; pull her out of despondency, give her a new lease of life.

He prayed that this would prove to be the divergence that she so desperately needed.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #flash #shortstory #synonyms #mindovermenagerie

#death #bereavement

Saturday Mix – Same Same But Different, 19 May 2018

Same Same But Different
Your ‘Same Same But Different’ task is to take the five challenge words and NOT use them in your writing. That’s right, you need to dig out your thesaurus and find a synonym for each word instead.

Your words this week are:

  1. cushion
  2. time
  3. roof
  4. water
  5. fork

Your writing form is either poetry or prose.





By Neel Anil Panicker

Professor Deep Narayan Mishra turned around and glared at his wife.

“I tell you, “No listening any further to this mad man. Let’s get out and continue the search”.

Antrima lifted her fingers to her lips and half whispered, “Have patience.  We’ve done all. What’s the harm in doing what he says? After all it’s our child’s life”.

Her voice, a soft caress seemed to have melted, albeit temporarily, the rage in her husband’s eyes for he shrugged his shoulders and murmured, “Ok, if that’s what you want.”

The two turned around and peered into the semi darkness. All they could make out was the silhouette of an old silvery haired man, his bare torso immersed in ash.

From behind a flickering flame, he spoke, his voice, a slur, ‘Exactly fifty meters north west from where you are standing, you will find a steep incline. Climb to its top and you’ll  find two amorphous monolithic stones. Walk up and climb on top of them__you, the man, on the right and, you, the woman, on the left. Stay there, unmoving, for the next twenty four hours. When you wake up, your child will be playing beside you.’

“This is insane”. Preposterous is the…”.

Professor Mishra’s words lashed out in the dark, his booming voice, a boomerang that amplified several times over as it smashed against the stony walls of the cave.

‘Also remember, non-believers will turn to stone’.

The two watched disbelievingly as the voice stilled and the flames died out.

#neelanilpanicker #ThursdayPhotoPrompt #fiction #flash #shortstory #250words

Written in response to

Thursday photo prompt: Fallen #writephoto

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Thursday photo prompt: Fallen #writephoto




By Neel Anil Panicker

Ever since Olivia died__and that’s hardly six years ago though it seems as if it were several moons back__I have not been myself.

Things that I had taken for granted have suddenly turned complex; a simple walk in the park is no longer the pleasurable activity that it used to be; instead it’s she and her memories that cloud and blur and assault my mindscape turning each single cellular movement, every single nano step that I take into one excruciatingly torturous experience.

The agony spills over into the day, infiltrating by being, making deep inroads into every single mental and emotional crevice that’s left unguarded, seeping deep into its innards, skimming and sapping it dry off the last ounce of energy.

They, and that includes though who claim to know me__the legion of fellow survivalists__are quick on the draw, inundating me with a deluge of homelies, lathering me with beaten to death aphorisms, ramming their ‘sure shot’ know all advices down my reluctantly sore throat.

I guess they have given up on me as I have noticed that with each passing day there’s that wee bit lessening of such lathering along with the thinning of my vaunted much touted long list of ‘friends and well wishers’.

And now with each passing moment I find myself drowning in utter loneliness where the only sound I hear is the echo of her heart inside my heart though I wonder how on earth could that ever be possible as hers had long ago stopped beating.


Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt!






By Neel Anil Panicker

It was the last day of school before the summer vacations kicked off. The two words: summer and vacations; vacations and summer.

For Jubin, somehow, this year the two words didn’t seem to hold the same magic that it had held all these years.

Until last year, the very thought of summer vacations would transport the twelve year old into fairy land. His mind would float around in fantasy land, conjuring up beautiful images of sitting by a train window seat and gazing at the undulating expanse of greenery and the azure skies as the giant steel wheels under him chugged along the tracks that ran parallel to the sand kissed Konkan Coast.

That and visions of playing cricket by the sea and endless hours spent gorging on his favourite tapioca and jackfruit delicacies were enough to see him through the rigours of class tests, homeworks and group tuitions that were the lot of he and others of his ilk.

“No, this year summer we aren’t going anywhere. Your father’s leave application has been rejected.”

His mother’s grandiose pronouncement, uttered in an unusually staccato tone sealed his fate, sinking him to the depths of despair.

That was until he spotted her, the new arrival next door. That he evening he followed her into the neighbourhood swimming pool and watched, albeit slyly, as she practiced her breast strokes.

The following day and for all subsequent days the pool became his favourite hangout spot.

She sure had made a splash on him.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #thursdayphotoprompt #250words #splash

Thursday photo prompt: Splash #writephoto

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Thursday photo prompt: Splash #writephoto



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.

#neelanilpanicker #sixsentencestories #crane #fiction #flash #instashorts #255words

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