The sun dominated the brilliant blue sky while the clouds scattered in deference to the gentle breeze, which toyed with the gentle curl of brown leaves hanging from slender branches, a layer of crunchy mulch marking the path of the young girl who skipped along a shady path.
She stopped at the barbed wire fence which blocked her way. Standing on exuberant tiptoes, she called out “Uncle!” A smile blossomed on her face as an older man stepped out of the nearby house, and she began to bounce slightly with excitement, her long brown hair dancing over her slender back.
“There you are, Uncle! How are you?” she inquired as her face glowed with a youthful enthusiasm for life, her radiance embracing the man she called Uncle.
He strolled over to the fence, a kindly smile creasing his face as he looked down at her. “I am well, Kailey. What are you up to tonight?” he asked with a chuckle.
“I came to borrow your air pump. My mom’s friend is coming over with her kids, and we are all going to go bike riding.”
“Oh, good. So you’ll have kids to play with today,” he said as he turned to retrieve to pump, smiling as he handed it to her.
“Yup!” she said with barely contained glee, taking the pump and tapping it against her leg in a steady rhythm.
He looked down at her for a long moment, lips tightening with a thin smile as his beefy hand darted out to tuck her hair behind her ear, then slithered down to rest on her chest, covering her budding breast, his fingers curling as he squeezed her soft flesh.
“Lucky kids. I’d like to play with you, too.” He spoke with a leer, his beady eyes intent on her face, which paled as she stepped away from the fence and out of his reach.
Her eyes skittered away as she continued to back up, the cords in her throat working as she struggled to speak. “I better.. go.. t-they’ll be here soon.”
With that, she turned and ran, her long hair streaming behind her.