If You Tell

Pradnya Surve posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-55 on 2023-09-12

Fourteen girls rescued in raid………. Television and leading newspapers carried headline stories. Lakshmi sat at her desk staring at the screen. A pile of the day’s newspapers lay before her. Beneath her façade of a dedicated activist rescuing girls from trafficking was the burden of a secret that carried for years. Lakshmi adored her daughter Mimi, who was apple of her eye. *** Lakshmi’s friends and colleagues became her close relatives. Pallavi was introduced to Mimi as her aunt and Akash is her uncle. Lakshmi had memories of her parents toiling away in the fields. Images of her frail and malnourished siblings haunted her. How are they? Have her siblings fallen into the same trap as she did? Should I tell Mimi about her relatives, the unfortunate poor souls away in a remote village. No, I cannot take away her happiness and joy in life. I cannot let out the secret. Sweat trickled down Lakshmi’s face as she tried to bring a smile to her face. *** The school records had Mimi, daughter of Lakshmi and Suresh. Lakshmi’s hand trembled as she signed Mimi’s school admission form. Tears flowed as the horrendous memories of a forced marriage, trafficking and rape pregnancy surfaced. Mimi is a bright child. She has a secure family and home. Let me hide this secret so that I never reveal it to Mimi. *** Suresh is a kind hearted human being. He accepted Mimi as his daughter and is a loving father. Lakshmi often woke up after she felt a strong forceful hold on her arm. Rakesh the perpetrator had dragged her up the stairs and into a dinghy room. Lakshmi felt like screaming and cursing the demon who ruined her. Wait….  Mimi may not be able to face this awful reality of my life. Bad memories have long shadows. I cannot let them fall on Mimi’s life ******* Sexual abuse and an unwanted pregnancy. What will happen if Mimi gets to know reality. Lakshmi got palpitations at the thought. She held her secret closer and pushed it deep down into her subconscious. *** Lakshmi got a call from Suresh, “Come to the living room”. As she entered the living room. She saw Mimi and Suresh sitting on the sofa. As Lakshmi settled on chair, Suresh cleared her throat. Mimi, I have something important to tell you. Lakshmi’s heart began to beat rapidly. “Mimi, I am not your biological father”. “No,,,,,,, Lakshmi woke up screaming. “What happened Lakshmi” Suresh held Lakshmi as she was about to fall off the bed. “Here, drink some water”. The following days seemed longer than usual to Lakshmi. She moved around like a zombie. *** “This is Anmol”, Mimi introduced the love of her life. Lakshmi watched Mimi’s marriage ceremony and celebrations overcome with emotions yet with the guilt of keeping a secret from her daughter. “Even honorable men keep secrets for the safety of those they love”   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!