The last thing Raj wanted on her six hour long train journey was to be seated right opposite to a crying baby.
She tried maxing out the volume of her playlist, and pulling the jacket hood over her eyes, yet couldn’t seem to zone out the thunderous wailing of the newborn.
Accepting defeat, she lifted her hoodie and saw the baby being held tightly by a lady who Raj figured was the mother, sitting in the window seat opposite to her. Rachel noticed the glares and the disapproving nods the from the other passengers and sighed.
She looked at the mother and noticed her soft whispers to the child asking it to quiet down. The mother looked up and Raj noticed that her eyes were tired and puffy, as if she had spent the last one-hour crying.
“Is everything alright?” Ran asked
The mother looked shaken when Raj spoke and nodded frantically. “Y-yes. I’m alright.” She managed a weak smile.
Raj was not convinced. “Can I try holding the baby, if you don’t mind?”
The mother hesitated for a second, then carefully passed the crying baby over to Raj .As soon as she held the baby and rocked it for a couple of seconds, the cries began to subside.
Raj smiled in victory. It was a trick she learned from watching her elder sister with her niece.
“There,” Raj spoke. “All better now.”
Once the baby had fallen asleep, Raj looked up again at the mother expecting her to be relieved but found her sobbing uncontrollably.
“I hope I’m not overstepping but, is there a problem?” She asked.
The woman looked like she was running a million calculations in her mind before she spoke. “I, I need to get away. Fast.”
Rachel calmly responded, “Is there a reason for this?”
The mother began crying uncontrollably again. Raj held her hand tightly until she gained composure.
“My-my husband. He’s an evil man. He beats me, and I know he would hurt my daughter too. I had to get away before that happened.”
Rajfelt her rage rise up but she had to be level headed. “Hey, look at me. I’m going to help you out. What is your name?” She asked softly.
“priya ” She replied.
“Alright priya I need you to calm down and tell me if your husband knows you’ve run away.” Raj inquired.
“I think so. He must’ve figured it out.” Mary had stopped sobbing.
“Okay. Once we arrive at the destination, we will go to the nearest police station-“
“No! Not the police. My husband is an influential man. I cannot be seen in public. I just need to get to my mother’s house.” Priyaspoke frantically.
“Okay. Okay. No police. We will get you there, are you sure you and your daughter are going to be safe there?” Raj asked dubiously.
“Yes. He doesn’t know the place. I-I just need to get away. Fast.” Mary looked like she was going to sob again but Raj held her hand tighter.
After what seemed almost 2 hours, Raj had gotten Raj to calm down and heard the terrible stories about her husband.
Around 1 hour from their destination, the train came to a screeching halt at a ghost station and the passengers looked around in confusion.
The door to carriage opened and two police officers followed by a young couple who looked around frantically.
“My baby!” The woman screamed, running towards Raj and taking her daughter out of her hands.
Raj couldn’t understand what was going on and was about to protest before she saw an officer place handcuffs on Raj
“You are under arrest for kidnapping and second-degree murder.” The officer spoke.
“We should’ve never hired you. How could you do this to us? We trusted you.” The man spoke, hugging his wife.
“You took my son. I won’t let you take my daughter too.” The woman screamed and the other officers asked her to calm down.
Rashmita put the puzzle pieces together and stood, frozen in utter shock.
She looked at Raj as they escorted her outside and saw her as she threw her head back and laughed like a maniac.
“I got you, Rashmita! I got you.”