PHOTO PROMPT © Jilly Funell

By Neel Anil Panicker
‘So are you telling me that the killer, whoever he is, was stupid enough to walk through the school’s frontgate, wing his way past the Principal’s Office, the front window of which overlooks the frontyard, then coolly climb up the iron bar steps, step into the library and murder Mrs Elsa __all this without a single soul noticing his arrival or departure?’

‘Or, maybe someone did notice, but is choosing to keep quiet’

“Who could that be, Sir?”

A half smile formed on Detective Chacko’s lips.

‘If I were to know that would I be listening to your gibberish, Mathai?’

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.



A BRIDGE TOO FAR  (genre/crimefiction)

By Neel Anil Panicker

Waiting is something Freddie D’ Costa detested like the plague.

Killing time___that was not his forte.

He would rather kill.

And thoughts of murder were racing through his mind as he waited and peeped outside from his 12th floor hotel balcony.

His eyes were fixed on the ocean blue waters that loomed ahead; on the bridge that raised itself to a half salute.

Inhaling deep into his Marlboro, his hawkish eyes studied the waterscape all around it, at the mass of humanity that was crawling their way towards the pier, the flotsam and jetsum that wafted in and out of Harry’s Harbour every single hour of the day.

His eyes caught a hand, a brown weather beaten leather bag that moved in sync with other bodily contours.

He raised his vision slightly, and saw the face that connected the hand.

Instantaneously, an agony dripping howl escaped his throat.

‘Damn’t! I’d warned them not to send stupid Charlie.’

His eyes darted helter skelter as he watched with increasing exasperation the silhouette of the diminutive young man get closer and closer.

At the instant, from the corner of his eyes, he spotted Customs Inspector David Storm loom into view from the northern periphery, taking purposeful strides towards bay area.

‘The gold’s gone,’ he half howled.

Below him, the moon’s beams caught his exasperated visage forming dysfunctional patterns as the waters heaved and sighed much like young lovers on exploratory missions at the dead of the night.

#neelanilpanicker #FFfAW #TTC #FOWC #flash #fiction #storystarter

FOWC with Fandango — Balcony

FOWC with Fandango — Balcony

neelwrites/killerinthemountains/storystarter/detectivechackocrime fiction/329words/16/10/2018


By Neel Anil Panicker

Ahmed dragged the jute bag towards the jagged edges of the cliff.

The effort proved too taxing; he soon found himself heaving; the pain in his chest that had subsided a week ago, now returning with increased intensity.

Sweating through his military green cotton shirt like a pig , he clutched his chest squarely with his palms even as thick droplets of perspiration oozed out of his temples in a slow zig zag manner much like the silvery white glacier that stretched out below him.

The mountains only helped exacerbate his medical condition.
A man of the plains, his body wasn’t acclimatized to the rigours of life 5000 metres above sea level.

He decided to change tack.
He opened the mouth of the bag and the placing it towards the slope, kicked it contents with all his force.

The co-relation of effort to reward, though, took some time.

And then it began to give fruit. He watched as the headless body of Thomas Kuriakose, senior pracitising lawyer of Kerala High Court tumbled out of the bag and fell like a ball of cotton deep down the folds of the thousand feet valley below.

He watched the gory spectacle, then slowly turned around, and made the slow trudge down the hilly slope.

His limbs ached as he walked. He even rested for a while under shade of of cedar tree, and then once he had recouped himself, he resumed his downward journey heading towards the village that spread lout like a green carpet ahead of him.

His eyes were now twinkling; his pursed his lips and even sang the opening lines of an yesteryear Bollywood song; his favourite number, of Kishore Kumar, the one whose voice he was crazy about.

He needn’t have worried anyone would hear him.

It was well past midnight, and that villagers of Koyencheri, the small hamlet that nestled the eastern fringes of the world famous Munnar mountain ranges were sleeping like there was no tomorrow.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #storystarter #329words #ThreeThingsChallenge #crime #detectivechackocrimemysteryseries.





By filing a defamation suit against your accusers, you have done yeoman’s service to all women.
#MeToo requires men, as shameless and immoral as you, who when faced with a barrage of sexual harassment charges that in sickening detail lay bare the extent of your depravity and reveal in full glory your avowed predatory skills, decide to strike back, taking recourse to that oldest of ploys of all powerful men ___the filing of million dollar defamation suits.
By stooping to such a low level, you have ensured that the #Me Too campaign reaches a very high level.
If only for that singular act, you deserve high praise.
And also a special praise goes to our revered PM Narendra Modi for supporting men as ‘noble’ as MJ Akbar, Honourable Minister of State for External Affairs.

#neelanilpanicker #metoo #metoocampaign #metooindia…/m-j-akbar-sues-journal…/20181015.htm




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”.

#neelanilpanicker #firstlinefriday #FOWC #TTC  #fiction #shortstory  #350words

FOWC with Fandango — Draw




Photo Credit: C.E. Ayr

By Neel Anil Panicker

“Do you also see what I see?”.

‘Sir, I see a man. I have had him verified. His name’s Daniel. Is the caretaker. Been working in the garage for over five years now. Said he worked at a castle 50 miles away. Got that verified too. The guy’s clean as a whistle.’

Detective Chacko turned around, looked at his junior, and wondered whether jealousy could be the reason his boss had attached such a nincompoop to him.

If so, he would have to make do under the circumstances.

Striking a more placatory note, he said, “Good job, Thomas. Now, I want you to once again look at the screen and tell me what exactly you see”.

A minute later Thomas’ blurted out, rather triumphantly, his childish voice reverberating all across the semi darkened basement room of the Crime Branch Main Office of Cochin Metropolitan City.

‘Sir, I see another man. He’s sitting on the bench. He’s holding a single leaf; his eyes darting around, as if he’s waiting for someone.’

Chacko latched on to the reply, “Good. My gut tells me this man is tied to the double murders. How is that so is something I have to find out.”

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #flashfiction #SPF #sundayphotofiction #shortstory #storystarter #TTC #FOWC #crime #detectivechackocrimemysteryseries #200words

Sunday Photo Fiction – October 14, 2018

FOWC with Fandango — Castle



By Neel Anil Panciker

Students come in all shapes and sizes and, might I add here, orientations, inclinations, and affiliations.

I first saw him in an English Class.

Well, spotted would be a better word.

It was Day One, Week Three of the mid-season batch, an early morning batch, a seven o’clock batch. The marketing whiz kids had in their greater wisdom even coined a word for such a batch___A HAPPY EARLY MORNING BATCH.

A wisecrack friend of mine, on hearing of this, had puked out a better word for this__he called it A LATE MIDNIGHT BATCH.
One full year of taking such batches and I was wondering whether the marketing guys had made a genuine error in christening it as such.

For, there was nothing happy about an early Happy Morning batch.

All the stakeholders involved were very unhappy.

First, the students.

Most of them I discovered, came from small towns and cities__Tier 2 and 3__, and hard pressed as they were for survival, stayed in hole in the wall four in a room sets. Here, closeted in such confined spaces they studied, at times even cooked, if the owner was magnanimous enough to allow them such a luxury, studied, and slept. The lucky ones even had an attached washroom sans any door or fittings.

This hell hole, roughly the kitchen size of a regular middle class home kitchen, was the universe of these starry eyed young twenty somethings who had made the metaphorically ardous decision to pluck themselves out of the comfy environs of back of beyond single school villages and moffusil towns and sleepy hamlocks that scatter through the length and breadth of this vast country.

After a spartan breakfast that more often than not would be the obligatory sattu washed down with what else but a glass of tap water, they would walk down to the centre after having taken the metro, rickshaw, or shared auto, and then, like ants following one another, troop into the classroom ready for a gruelling six hour classes.

So, as I said, for these students, there was nothing happy after all this to sit and listen and try to make sense of the English chatter that happens all around them and in front of them, on the white board as the suave English bred faculty tries to run them through the Greek, Latin, German, French, Scandinavian or what have you root derivatives of such fanciful words as blitzkrieg, gastronomic, and ignoramus.

Completely ignorant, and all at sea, these village boys would look at one another utterly nonplussed and imagine their plight when one of them would be asked to string together a sentence with one of the words in it being one of the above mentioned.

This after I had explained in detail, with more than a couple of example sentences, the meaning of  the words.

Imagine their plight as ten pairs of eyes___ eyes that belonged to another class of students, who also were part of the same class, but hailed from the metro hub that is Delhi, and whose parents were moneyed enough to ensure them quality English medium education__, bored into the hapless student, and the class erupted in half giggles and guffaws as the HMT (Hindi Medium Type) stood there and did nothing but scratch his three month old scrubby beard as if doing so would magically tickle his brain cells enough to generate the answer that all of us  expected of him.

And imagine my plight when, day in and day out, all through the year, I would be conducting such classes with clockwork regularity.

Trust me, it’s a lose-lose situation for all, there’s no happy outcome such polar opposites sit in the same class for how in the hell can you compare apples with oranges, and expect the same outcome from both.

Obviously, both the fruit types would rebel at some point, and that’s exactly what happened in less than a fortnight’s time.

#CLASS #655words


FOWC with Fandango — Beard

FOWC with Fandango — Beard

For today’s Three Things Challenge, the words are: clockwork, imagine, orange.