This story is about the increasing number of cases of child abuse and sexual assault nowadays. The main culprits in most of the cases are known people. So working parents should be aware of such things and give time to their kids.
That day was a normal day. Many children were running back from their schools back to home. The roads were filled with vehicles and people had a tough time manoeuvring through the traffic jams as the roads were overflowing with school buses.
Small children always have created a drama before going to schools and their parents would be seen often consoling and comforting them. After all, kids always hated school.
Shini was different. She hated home. Her walnut sized heart adored all sorts of teddy bears and barbie dolls. She preferred staying back at school and playing with her toys. Sometimes she would love having a war of all the toy soldiers and the animals. Her tiny brain was too good at imagining things. Shini dreamt of becoming a soldier one day. Even her Papa had got her a gun for her last birthday. Her mama that day called the school teacher.
" Is Shini there at school? I waited for her at the gate but I couldn't find her. Please let me know soon. I am worried. I have to reach back office also."
"Yeah madam. She is here only. Playing with her stuff . Don't worry. I will get her."
Shini was a five year old girl. It seemed as if she adored her school and her toys more than her parents or her home. She didn't even want to meet her mama.
Her mama rushed to the school to pick her up. And as usual Shini didn't want to go back home.
"Mama! I don't want to go. Pick me up when you come back. Please!"
There were tears collecting at the corner of her eyes ready to roll down her rosy cheeks. Her little Lilliput-like hands were too cold to hold. Her big eyes were looking like fleshy red tomatoes.
"What has happened child? Did anyone tease you? Or is anyone disturbing you? Tell me sweetheart! Uncle Sam must be waiting for you. He loves you, Shini!"
" Mama! When will you come back and be with me? I miss you. I don't want to stay at Uncle Sam's home. I feel afraid. Look at my new doll mama! She looks like you.I am going to stay with her here only."
Shini's mama held her in her arms. She carried Shini till the school gate and noticed something strange. Shini's neck was bruised. It was bleeding.
"Oh my God! What have you done with your neck? How did you get hurt like that?"
Shini kept as quiet as some winter night. She was looking at the ground and string at the ants. She didn't utter a word. Shini's mama doubted that something abnormal was happening with Shini. She cleaned up the bruise on Shini's neck and kneeled down on the ground to talk to Shini.
" Look at me Shini darling! Uncle Sam will take care of your very well. He is a nice man. Mama and Papa are busy. We will come back in the evening with a lot of chocolates and bangles for you.Okay?"
Shini came out from her dreamworld of roaming around with the ants and muttered something. Her mama had never felt so much of fear in her daughter's voice.
"Mama! Come back soon."
Shini's mama left her at Uncle Sam's home and left for her office. Uncle Sam was Shini's neighbour.
He was indeed a good man. As good as a person with a kid's face and eagle's eyes.
He loved Shini. The love was too much for Shini to handle. She was a kid. Shini was too young to understand what was happening with her. She didn't tell anyone about how Uncle Sam loved her and how he got her chocolates for her all the time and ended up eating Shini's neck. He was a wicked lion on a constant hunt mode looking for a meek lamb to feed on.
Uncle Sam was really an animal without a heart. He was one of a kind. That day Shini was left in his house as usual and her mama left for office.
He was an old man who was in his fifties.The buttons of his shirt were ready to pop out of his large and round pot belly. The round glasses resting on his sharp and pointy nose made his eyes look bigger than ever. His French beard never suited him. He looked like a goat with that beard on his face. Somehow every person he met became a very good friend of his. Maybe they got impressed by his crooked smile and their hearts melted away like the wax of a candle knowing about the demise of his only wife.
To Shini, he was a sweet poison.
That day, Shini was sitting in the corner of her room after her lunch. All she needed was a teddy bear to sleep with. But she felt like colouring. It had been days since she had wanted to paint about the war between the soldiers and the animals at the zoo. She searched for her art file in her bag. She found it. Shini wanted only some crayons and paintbrushes to get her thoughts on the sheet of paper in her art file. It was play time for Uncle Sam. He always used to play with her. This time he had hid the crayons in the dining room.
"Shini! Go and search for your crayons! Within ten minutes. Or we will have to come back to play hide and seek!"
"Yes Uncle! This time I will win!"
Shini knew deep inside that she will never be able to find her crayons and again the hide and seek game was going to make her have nightmares. She had to remove her clothes and dance in front of him on some song and then Uncle Sam would play hide and seek with her; he would hit her or sometimes bite her too.
Shini was feeling bad and unclean. She searched for her crayons in the whole dining room. She couldn't find them.
She was the lamb now. She had to get ready to be a prey for the lion. She was too innocent to understand that this lion was not only the king of the jungle but more than that.
Uncle Sam came over to the dining room. " Shini! Your ten minutes are over, dear! Time for the Hide and Seek game!"
Shini started crying loudly. This time she couldn't stand his playfulness. She didn't want to be a lamb.
But Uncle Sam lifted her up and whispered into her ears. The smell of cigarettes from his shirt was too strong. Shini was feeling dizzy. He whispered,
"Do you remember that this is a secret between you and me?"
Shini was unconscious. The hide and seek game started.