By Neel Anil Panicker

Akhtar had his day job__ a manager at the Bank of India main branch. Come evenings, thrice a month, he would bring home a blank cheque leaf, plus a fascimile signature of its owner, usually a rich account holder.

Khadim, the calligraphic expert, would reproduce the signature and write a fancy seven figure amount onto it.

A week later, some six hundred kilomteres away, Haider, a school teacher, would receive the leaf, and pass it onto Taimur, a cashier in a nondescript bank branch who would disburse the specified amount.

The quartet met once a month to distribute the spoils.

#neelanilpanicker #fridayfictioneers #shortstory #100words #flash #instashorts


30 March 2018




This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yinglan. Thank you Yinglan!

By Neel Anil Panicker

Time you got married, Afreen? You know Imtiaz, Afroz’s cousin. He’s just landed a fat paying bank job, is kind, well educated, and good looking too__ideal husband material. What do you say?

Lisa tossed her hair aside and stretched her legs forward. Squinting her eyes to shield herself from the afternoon rays, she looked at the woman seated beside her and wondered, ‘The only ideal husband material for her if ever there was one is Afroz, your husband, the one who ticks on all the right boxes, the one whom you ensnared, and also now the one I got to get back’.

She turned around and looked over; little Salim was playing at a distance, his head bent, examining a small mound of earth.

Shortly, if she played her cards well, the kid would have a new ‘mother.’

The thought made her aware of her task. Slowly, she raised her left arm over her shoulder.

Fifty feet afar, from behind the bushes, the hired killer noted the movement through his telescopic lens, and pressed the trigger.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #flashfictionfortheaspiringwriter #176words #shortstory

FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 20, 2018




By Neel Anil Panicker

Today, right now, this very moment, I am stepping out. Stepping out, but stepping out into what? Well, that’s something that I don’t know. At least for now.

I don’t know what awaits me; I don’t know what the future has in store fo me; or even how it’s all going to turn out.

But, what I do know for sure is that I am stepping out of the matrimonial bond that I thought you and I shared. I do know with certainty that I am stepping out of a non-existent marriage. And I do know with absolute crystal clear clarity and with utmost conviction that I am stepping out of something bad.

Though, I am unsure about what it is that I am stepping into; even unsure whether it is good or bad, but if were to speak of the latter, all i can categorically say and say it with the deepest of conviction that whatever I am stepping out into can’t be worse than what I am leaving behind.

#neelanilpanicker #oneminutefiction #iamsteppingout #callingitquits #life #relationships

#neelanilpanicker #oneminutefiction #iamsteppingout #callingitquits #life #relationships

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of March 19

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of March 19




By Neel Anil Panicker
The oracle lowered his head and pulling the woman by the auricle, whispered into her ear,” You’re the blessed one; the one whom Allah has chosen to shower his riches. Simply follow all that Sajid says and very shortly you will become the owner of unimaginable riches.
Alia gazed dumbstruck, her mind in limbo, eyes staring into the still grey bottomless sockets that were Baba Alauddin Musrshidabadwale’s eyes, or whatever remained of it.
It took awhile for her heart beats to get back to normal and her mind to register the full import of the fortune teller’s words.
Fortune teller? Seer? True, that was what the partially blind man was__the bespactacled half bent silver-haired saintly figure who arrived at her village twice a year, once during the start of the harvest season, and the other just after the onset of winters.
On both the occasions he stayed at a makeshift ‘cottage’, especially constructed by his acolytes, whose numbers kept on increaisng in geometric progression with each passing years.
Here, enconsed in a raised wooden platform, he would, from dawn to dusk give ‘darshan’ to his devotees and solve their problems, at times even guiding them towards their better futures.
It wasn’t that Alia was unaware of the predictive powers of the Baba, but she was taken aback, nee even utterly shocked by his mention of Sajid.
How could he, that vile man, that worthless good for nothing pimp be her saviour? How on earth could Sajid be the medium in her quest to lay hands on the untold riches that the seer had mentioned would be hers?
A sea of such beguiling questions swam in her mind and she tossed one answer after the other into the abyss, trying in vain for a resolution of the dillemma that was plaguing her mind.
And then it struck; the answer came to her with the blinding fury of a massive tsunami.
Her ears ricochted with the last words that the seer spoke to her befoe she touched his feet and bid him adieu__”If you question whatever is told, there will be no fortune. Fortune only favours the brave.”
Her mind now firm and decisive she went out and stabbed Sajid’s number on her IPhone.
Whoring was fun, more so when a horde of testosterone drive men claimed her body every single night; but laying her hands on a hoard of wealth would give an entirely different high, she contended.
#neelanilpanicker #double homophone #fiction #shortstory
#auricle #oracle #hoard #horde #whored

Saturday Mix – Double Take, 17 March 2018

Welcome to the Saturday Mix, 17 March 2018!

This week we are seeing double with ‘Double Take’.

Our homophone sets this week are:

auricle – external part of the ear
oracle – seer


hoard – a great stash
horde – a great many people
whored – prostituted



225 03 March 18th 2018

By Neel Anil Panicker

See these statues, pure gold, ancient Gandhara civilisation, at least 20,00 years old. Each one ten million. All dollars. No bargaining.”


The foreigner squinted his eyes as the afternoon sun shone bright on the hilly terrain, its harsh rays dashing against the rocky mouth of the cave where the two stood.

‘Alright but how I do take them out of the country?’

The man they called the ‘Smuggling King of East India’ looked askance at the white man, as if highly offended by the question.

You’re dealing with Khan, Amananullah Khan. What I do is family business. Been smuggling artifacts since the time you were a kid in half pants. You have nothing to worry. Just tell me where you want this handed over?”

The foreigner dug a dirty fingernail into his pock marked nose.

‘I am leaving for Dubai tomorrow morning. From there I have a connecting flight to Frankfurt via Lufthansa.’

Then it’s settled. My man will check in with you at Dubai and handover the statues at Frankfurt. Thereafter, it’s your baby. And now, my money. Quick, I have other deals to do”.

‘Before that you need to check into Tihar Jail, my friend. You are now under the custody of James Evans Anderson, South Asia chief of Global Anti-Smuggling Operations, INTERPOL.’

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #shortstory #sundayphotofiction #statues #artifacts #smuggling





By Neel Anil Panicker

‘You mean to say the money is there, right?’

Richard looked up at the beastly faces that hovered around him; two pairs of eyes stared down at him, the pupils split wide open, as if they would burst out any moment.
He looked at the swarthy man who reeked of hard country liquor, whose query he was supposed to answer, whose hairy hand rested uncomfortably on his reed thin shoulder, the long blade of a knife digging deep into his collar bone.

He was desperate, and dangerous too.  So was the other guy, who stood a feet away, his blood shot eyes surveying the mountainous terrain around him, much like a famished eagle scouring for her next meal.

Richard made an attempt to move his limbs as much as he could in the foetal position that he was, and cleared his throat of all bile, ‘Yes, you guys are right. The money is there, every single penny of it.’

A sense of elation surged in the eyes of his captors.

‘But there is a problem. It is stashed away high up the hill and…’

This time Richard held his breath and looked at his foes.

They were waiting, their ears latched onto every single word that he had to say.

A wrong word could very well see his end; the men, ruthless as they were, not hesitating in riddling his body with bullets.

‘It is stashed away in Drogma?’

“In the what?”

‘The Drogma. It’s a rock. A rock like no other. A rock with the face of a lion, the shape of an elephant, and a few other distinguishable features only I am aware of, and only…’

Richard waited to study the expression of his captors. All had their mouths wide open, frames half bent, ears cocked, eagerly hanging on to every monosyllabic sound that he uttered, the anxiety on their faces writ alarmingly large.

They had bitten the bait and fallen into the trap.

Richard went for the jugular.

‘Only I can help you get back the bag that is hidden inside the Drogma, the bag that we stole, the bag that contains ten million dollars. So, do what I say and quietly follow met’.

He didn’t wait for their response, but walked ahead. He knew they would follow. They had no option.

#neelanilpanicker #fiction #shortstory #thursdayphotoprompt

Thursday photo prompt – Ahead #writephoto – Face Rock

Thursday photo prompt – Ahead #writephoto






By Neel Anil Panicker

Your sixteenth birthday, remember?

That look on your face says it all.

It’s the same one you gave your Dad when he caught you with that ruffian; the two of you in the


Did you know what happened after that? What happened to Albert, your ‘first love’?

Of course, you knew.

Why else would you have run away from home the very next night and landed

up at Uncle Tim’s, three days later?

How do I know all these things?

Well, I’m your unseen camera, the one you threw away when you found pictures of your

Mom with …”

#neelanilpanicker #fridayfictioneers #shortstory #flash #instashorts #99words