Creative Writing Prompt | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Set the Scene | Writing |

By Neel Anil Panicker

Inspector Sharma parked his police car behind a side street abutting Karol Bagh Metro Station and walked the next fifty yards leading into the congested bylanes, careful to keep his head down and appear as nondescript as he could.

‘Mingle, be one with your surroundings’, was the salient piece of advice meted out to him by his seniors when he had just begun taking his first tentative steps into the dizzying though highly risky world of professional sleuthing.

Ten minutes later, Sharma found himself at the end of a narrow side street, and staring upwards at a nondescript double storied British–era building. With its plaster peeling off its moth infested outer walls and a huge windowless frontage that was smeared in black soot, the building stood out like a sore thumb even in this most drab of surroundings__a kilometre long circular stench-filled stretch that looked as if it were cold shouldered by the winds of modernity that were blowing all across wannabe bustling Delhi city.

A minute later he had climbed the rickety wooden stairs and walked down the darkened hallway to the left.

Reaching its dead end, he found himself face to face with a wrought iron door above which hung a copper board on which was etched in calligraphic gold the words “Royal Capital Library”.

Sharma drew in a deep breath and wiping the dirt off the seven inch sole of thick leather boots, he pulled the latch and stepped in.

The moment he did so and inspected the new environs he drew in a sharp breath, and for once stood there, completely in awe of what he was looking at.

There they stood; like armies of soldiers, swords in hand, dressed in battle gear, standing proud and tall in the bright red splattered battlefield, all ready and itching for battle; their glossy visages screaming out vengeance and ultimate victory over the formidable enemy.


Only, these were no Alexander’s band of worthy world conquerors but were mere books.

Books of all shapes and sizes and colours and vintage; books that lay in wait, awaiting the dainty hands and nimble fingers of the intellectual warriors who slided from one end to the other of the vast rectangular hall.

Chacko took a 360 degree slow turn as his eyes soaked in every single detail all over the seven rows of neatly lined up books. He noticed that their spines faced outward, that each book was colour coded with dots, that the fiction section was arranged in an alphabetic order, the there were two types of shelves__ the lower ones stacked the children’s section and had soft floor cushions while the others were slightly higher and were choc a block with adult reading material and all around the corners spaces lay a teak wood circular tables around which sat, their heads immersed in thick leather bound tomes, men and women of a certain age, their butts glued to comfy leather arm chairs.

All around muffled stillness and a wizened old silvery haired man, so utterly immobile that one could have been mistaken him for an Egyptian mummy, sat behind a small corner desk marked Librarian, and completed the picture of a place that looked like a much needed oasis of intellectual wealth in a city and world that seemed to have forgotten that there existed a world beyond movies and video games and mindless kitsch.

Here, thought Inspector Sharma, lay all that a person needed for his well being__the best of succour for the mind.

Inadvertently, he let out a sigh. How long had it been since he had stepped into such a library, any library for that matter__one, two, five, ten? Ten long years? As the harsh reality dawned on him, he realised that caught up as he were with chasing criminals and putting to pasture the dregs and deadbeats of the world had left him with no time to

connect with the world of books, with a passion that had consumed his life as a teenager, that had even led to he committing his first ‘crime’.


The thought of crime brought him cruelly back to terra firma. Realising he had a job to do, he looked to his right, found what he was looking for, and walked up the end of the hallway, careful not to make any noise that would disturb the congregation of readers who sat, their heads buried in books, all around him.

“Excuse me, I am looking for Dante’s Inferno”. The man behind the desk looked up at him and nonchalantly replied, ”Ninth column, third row, seventeenth from right”.

Slightly nonplussed but still gladdened by the quick precise response, Inspector Sharma wound his way back.

In no time he had extricated what he was looking for and retreating to a quiet corner, hurriedly opened Page 79. There, lying, as if in wait for him was a half torn white slip of paper with the words, “Tonight, 11: 20; Chattarpur Farm House”.

Inspector Sharma let out a low whistle. Babloo Mental__It was time’s up for Delhi’s most wanted gangster.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #novella #inspectorsharmacrimeseries  #844words

Time To Write: Set The Scene 9 [Creative Writing Prompt]





three line tales, week 123: a strange reflection in a puddle

By Neel Anil Panicker

His feet firmly implanted to the edge, the brand new off grey canvas shoes pointing inwards towards the mouth of a an ill formed puddle full to the brim with last night’s inexplicable deluge, Wendell___his ill famous heavily lined visage heavily covered under the forbidding shade of a ‘black as a bat’ hoodie___, watches intently the trajectory of the plane as it wings past the twin Petronas Towers.

Five…four…three…two…one…the thumb finger inside his baggy trouser pocket reaches and presses the soft push button of the remote.

Instantly, the until now languid skies break out in a deafening moan 3000 feet above as Malaysian Airlines Flight No. ML 739 carrying 379 passengers blows up into smithereens.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #flash #117words #ThreeLineTales #shortstory #bombing #plane #terrorism #crime

Three Line Tales, Week 123




SPF June 3 2018 (1 of 1)

By Neel Anil Panicker

Inspector Sharma took a while to orient himself to the near blinding darkness. Only seconds before he stepped off the torturous 47 degree summer madness that was Udaipur and arrived at the ghostly single room dilapidated mud house located a kilometre and half off the city municipal limits; the nearest signs of civilisation being a rusty hand pump sans its handle at the roundabout leading to the gravel led pathway.

And then commenced the sensory badgering.

Pressing a handkerchief to his nose to fight off the all pervasive smell of ammonia, stale cigarette smoke and cheap country hooch liquor, the senior cop’s eyes began to scan the mayhem that lay all around him.

The place screamed debauchery with a capital D; empty beer bottles, condoms packets, cigarette butts completed the picture.

It was then that he saw it. At first they looked like betel stains. Small irregular blotches of near fading red imprinted onto the yellowed walls that was sans any distemper; an assembly line of insects moving, albeit in super slow mode, in and out of the tiny slits between the purplish brick laden walls.

He inched his way through the muddy dankness and flashed a torch.

Red blotches flared to life.

He knew what they were.

The elusive serial killer was back in business.

#neelanilpanicker #inspectorsharmacrimeseries #fiction #shortstory #instafshorts #flash

Sunday Photo Fiction – June 3, 2018

Photo Prompt: C.E. Ayr




By Neel Anil Panicker

The thieves took everything except the dog. Probably, they thought, whoever they were, what harm were an old ever wheezing half blind apology of a dog who could barely walk on half a limb.

But then the band of highway robbers who climbed the ten foot high wired fence after cutting off the power supply and putting to sleep the four guards stationed round the clock at the perimeters of the acre-long estate showed that they were after all just human and could be outwitted by a mere four legged doddering German Shepherd who had long passed his  expiry date.

Or, how else could one account for the fact that the entire gang, the half a dozen who committed the midnight heist and made off with the booty that included among others a couple of rare paintings, a steel trunk that contained gold and silver artefacts, and four bespoke limited edition watches, each worth at least a million dollars, was behind bars within 24 hours of the crime?

 “Those Picassos were the rarest of the rare. But that’s besides the point. What’s more important is that Tiger’s instincts are still top class, what say, my dear lady?”

Duchess Mary Margaret of  Lancashire looked admiringly at her husband before replying, “Tiger’s instincts plus yours. So thoughtful of you to plant that micro chip camera onto to Tiger’s neck belt.”

#neelanilpanicker #flash #flashfiction #FirstLineFriday #228words

First Line Friday: May 25th, 2018

Your line for this week is:

The thieves took everything except the dog.



Dog & Grave Headstone

By Neel Anil Panicker

‘It’s a miracle she’s alive. They almost broke open her skull. I know it’s police work. But still don’t trouble her much.’

Inspector Vincent Pala of Kozhikode Rural Police Station nodded his head as Dr John Abraham walked out of the third floor ICU room of Mary’s Hospital.

As the door closed behind him, the senior cop turned around and walked towards the hospital bed.

He knew he didn’t have much time.

He gingerly flicked open a pocket notebook and pen in hand, directed his gaze at the septuagenarian.

“Mrs. Sebastian, I know this is a very wrong time. But I hope you understand it’s a crime we’re dealing with here.  I will ask you some questions. Blink your eyes once if it’s a yes; twice, if it’s a no? Hope you understand?”

The elderly lady blinked her eyes once.

 “Mrs Sebastian, at the time of the attack you were at your house alongwith your paralytic husband, your eldest son Vinny, his wife Inglieas and their four-year-old child Esther, right?”

She blinked, once.

“Do you know who killed them?”

 She blinked, once more.

Inspector Vincent bolted upright.

“Ok, who’s it?”

“Spitz …”.

Inspector Vincent wondered how he would interrogate a family dog accused of murder.

#neelanilpanicker #sundayphotofiction #flash

Sunday Photo Fiction – May 27, 2018



By Neel Anil Panicker


MorgueFile April 62433e902

‘I think this person is the murderer.’

Akshay Rawat, senior inspector of Simla Police Station looked from across the table at his friend Detective Chacko.

The two, known to each other for the past seven years, had struck up a lively friendship ever since the famous detective from the coastal state of Kerala had helped nab an absconder, a notorious scamster, and handed him over to the Uttarakhand cop.

As a quid pro quo gesture, Chacko had come over to the hills and was partaking of the hospitality of his policeman buddy when the triple murders took place.

A woman and her two daughters were found dead inside their two storied bungalow just off Mall Road, the mile length tourist hot spot of Simla.

But this man was in Delhi at the time of the murders. See this photograph of him against the backdrop of the Red Fort. He says he clicked it on January 23, the day the murders took place.

Detective Chacko peered into the photo.

‘Look, the photo has him staring into the clouds. I have the weather report of that day. It says it was a clear sunny day with no clouds; leave alone nimbus formations’.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #lashfictionforthe purposefulpractitioner #200words #insta #shortreads #shortstory

Written for





By Neel Anil Panicker

Inspector Sharma peered through his long range telescopic lens at Antop Hill that looked like an ant hill bathed in sheer white.

Nothing much of significance as far as the eye could see.

He shifted his gaze towards the foothills, at the river front, then slowly zooming in on the bridge that bisected Wayfarer’s.

It was teeming with camera slinging tourists, all looking down at the silvery waters that held Nature’s umpteen marine charms.

It was then that he spotted him. Hovering around the central foyer was the man sporting a blue cap.

Carlos the Killer, was back in action.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #flash #instashorts #100wordwednesday #writingchallenge  #INSPECTORSHARMACRIMESERIES

100 Word Wednesday: Week 72

Hosted by