I was nine, when it happened for the first time. He came to my room with something in his hand, while I was fast asleep. He woke me up with a kiss. I remember slightly opening my eyes and smiling, as I saw my favorite uncle in front of me. He was my dad's elder brother. He pampered me a lot and always got gifts for me. But this time the gift was different. I looked closer to see what was in his hand. Something was shining against the dim moon light. I sat up and saw that it was a syringe with a long needle.
"What happened?" I slowly slur.
"Sshhh... You will not know anything." He says and plunges the needle into my arm.
The next day, I woke up without my pajamas. I was bleeding between my thighs and the pain was excruciating. I was unable to sit up as I look around the room for help. My uncle walks in with a wide smile on his face. I look at him with fear.
"So baby, did you feel anything?" He asks with an evil grin.
I begin to cry in fear and pain. He rushes towards me and covers my mouth with his hands. He takes out another syringe from his pocket.
"You make another noise or tell this to anyone I shall kill you with this." He says brandishing the needle in front of my weary eyes.
I stop crying and he lets me go. He pushes me back into the bed and rapes me for the second time. I lie motionless, scared of the needle, without a sound. Ten minutes later, he leaves.
This continued for years. My parents and his wife were killed in a car accident and he had no other choice but to take care of me. My grand parents lived in another city and I was too young to travel by myself. He took care of me in every way possible. He put me in the best schools, got me the best clothes and celebrated my birthdays in style. But every night, the beast in him awoke. I could have told my teachers or friends about this. But I did not want to. I wanted to handle it myself. When I reached puberty, he got careful. Along with the needle, he carried a condom. He did not understand that getting me pregnant was not the only problem here. Soon, I developed a phobia towards needles. I did not take any vaccinations and hence was always prone to illness. He took me to the best doctors and got me the necessary medicines, yet did not spare me even for a night.
I decided to put an end to this after my graduation. I was twenty one and all alone. I felt the need to move on. I hatched a plan and neatly executed it. The next day, my uncle was found dead. I called my neighbors who called the cops. They closed the case thinking that it was an insulin overdose. Only I knew what was in that syringe.
So now I was alone and paranoid. Any pointed object scared me. I ran away from chop sticks and forks. Any medication was taken orally. When I couldn't take it any longer I decided to overcome my phobia. On my twenty second birthday I gathered all my guts and walked into a tattoo salon. I got 'Survivor' inked on my arm. It did not hurt much. Somehow the pain set me free. A month later I came back for the second tattoo. This time it was 'Hope'. Tattoos helped me erase my pain. Suddenly, needles became a passion that gave me a new lease of life.
Today with thirteen tattoos on me, I'm the number one tattoo artist of my city. Every day I walk in to my studio with pride, which holds the board 'Needles'.