The Hand That Rocked the Cradle

Bhatnagar posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-55 on 2023-09-24

It was the darkest night for her. The pitter-patter of rain falling outside did not give her any excitement or joy this time, rather it acted as a nightmare.  “Before I die, I have to tell you the secret.” Those words from her dying husband were like knives that pierced her heart. At this point she was confused, whether to mourn for her husband’s death or curse his soul for the secret he had hidden from her. “Savitha Tai, what are the timings for cremation? Arjun Baba is coming, isn’t he?” Soon, Savitha’s 2 BHK was swarmed with neighbors and their condolences. “Yes I even heard that Arjun isn’t in the right state of mind. He would be reaching anytime soon.” The neighbors continued to talk. Arjun came for cremation and completed his father’s last rites. When he and his mother were alone in the home, Savitha raised a topic. “Arjun, you do remember our house help Vimla who worked with us for quite sometime?” “Oh yes ma, I clearly remember. I always teased her and her plump daughter.  “Yes that’s right. She and I had delivery in same hospital. I had you and she had a daughter. I want you to find her.”  “But why Ma. Plus is it really necessary that we are talking about her at this critical moment. I mean you understand right. It’s been only few days since dad is gone…..” “And I have mourned enough.” Arjun was shocked at her mother’s demeanor.  After few days, Arjun came up with Vimla’s address. “Let’s go.” Savitha and Arjun were standing outside Vimla’s home, when a sweet girl opened the door.   Arjun was awestruck. As he still remembered her as Vimla’s plump daughter. Vimla was dumbfounded seeing her ex employer.  “Jiji, didn’t Sahab come with you?” Vimla stammered as she spoke. “He is no more.”  Both Arjun and Vimla were stunned at the way Savitha spoke out those words…..emotionless. “Vimla I have come to taken what’s mine. So I will be taking my daughter with me.” Savitha continued as she saw the inquisitiveness in Arjun’s eyes. “You know what your father told me on his deathbed? Listen carefully” Twenty years ago, when I was in agony of labor pains, I passed out. When after few hours, I opened my eyes and you were handed to me. It was the best moment of my life, but your father seemed little worried. I knew he never wanted a girl so I could not fathom the reason for his worry. Vimla was with us since then, since she had nowhere to go, your father took her home and she worked for us. Your father was not very fond of Vimla and her daughter and as a result, they had to leave, when Vimla found other work.  Then all the questions were answered on that fateful night. I switched your baby girl with Vimla’s baby boy”, is what he said before he took his last breath.   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!