Tonight’s bedtime story is Chapter 4 from my book, “Fred: The Creature Sent To Save Us All.” This is an adventure story for ages 7 and up, with strong themes about environmental protection and the power of the mind. Every Friday I will share another chapter from the book, so if you enjoy the story, you can always follow along next week.
I hope you enjoy Chapter 4…
🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #33
Chapter 4 – The Powers Of The Earth
For a moment my father had disappeared completely, and then his head popped up out of the ground, and the Earth surrounded him from the neck down.
“Let me go!” my father said, “You promised!”
“I have let you go,” Fred said. “The Earth has you now.”
“Let me go!” my father shouted at the Earth, and he was suddenly spat out of the ground with such force that he was thrown up into the air, and he landed on his back.
“You should have let the tree do its work,” Fred said. “You interrupted the operation.”
My father stood to his feet again. He stood up far more quickly than before, but he still couldn’t put all of his weight on his leg.
My father stared down at himself.
“It…it does feel better,” he said, bending the injured leg. “Just…”
“Just not completely,” Fred said. “You ordered yourself out of the most healing environment a creature could be in.”
“I’m…I’m sorry,” my father said, stunned at what had just happened. “I was just so afraid, my legs felt as if they were dangling in a pool. A pool of…”
“Of light,” Fred said. “Yes. That’s correct.”
“But how?” my father said.
“Your books don’t know everything yet,” Fred said. “There’s plenty about the forest that hasn’t been written about yet by your people.”
“I’m sorry,” my father said, turning towards the tree. Now it was as if he and the tree were old friends. “I’m sorry for resisting you like that. Please, if you could please finish what you started, if you could please heal me, then…”
“Just ask it directly,” Fred said. “A tree is not the same as a human. They don’t hold so many grudges or take things quite so personally. Just ask it.”
“Please heal my leg fully,” my father said, and this time the tree quickly snapped down one of its branches and grabbed my father by the bad leg. It snatched him off the ground and threw him up into the air.
“What just happened?” I said, stunned as I watched my father flipping and flailing further and further up into the sky.
“I have no idea,” Fred said.
I looked at Barney. Barney was now sat on his hind quarters, watching my father flipping around, just as I had been. He looked slightly concerned, too.
As my father reached his peak, far above the forest, he started to tumble back towards us again. His screams were becoming louder. I thought a giant bird might suddenly swoop in and catch him. But it didn’t.
“Please catch him!” I yelled to the tree, and just as my father broke through the canopy above us and hurtled towards the ground, just before he splattered into the forest floor, the Healing Tree reached out another branch, absorbed his fall, laid him flat on the ground again, and patted him on the head.
Then the tree retook its original shape, with branches upright, and it stood there, as if nothing ever happened.
“This tree moves through the forest by itself?” I said to Fred.
“Yes. But it’s sure to never be seen in motion.”
My father pushed himself up off the ground.
“Why?” he said. “Why was I thrown up like that?”
“Probably to show you how powerful nature is compared to you,” Fred said. He was just guessing, but I’m sure the tree nodded slightly in response.
“Well, it seems my leg is indeed better,” my father said. “It could be the adrenaline, I suppose, but it feels…it feels strong again.” He started to bend his knees and jump slightly.
“Good,” Fred said, turning his attention away from my father and directly towards me. “Can we please now go to the Chatamanga Forest? It will start burning soon.”
“The Chatamanga Forest?” my father interrupted, brushing the dirt off his clothes. “Just hang on one moment, my son is not going…”
Fred snapped his fingers, and my father froze where he stood.
“He has so many rules for you,” Fred said.
“Yes,” I said. “He wants to keep me safe.”
“Hmm,” Fred said. “Very well. Are you willing to help me?”
“Yes. But what will I have to do?”
“There are tunnels in these forests that are only accessible to humans. They are the fastest route to Chatamanga. I need you to take me through them.”
“But I’ve never…”
“I know, I know, but the knowledge will be in your DNA somewhere forgotten about, unaccessed, temporarily cut off from your conscious mind. I just need you to accompany me.”
“But what about my dad? I bet he’ll still call the police on you.”
“Never mind him. We can take him home and I can unfreeze him when we are far enough away to escape to Chatamanga.”
I felt uncomfortable. I wanted to help Fred, to save the forest that he was predicting would soon be burning down. But I didn’t want to betray my father, or worry him while I was gone.
Fred could see my inner dilemma. He snapped his fingers again, and my father unfroze.
“He’s not going with you to Chatamanga! It’s dangerous.”
Fred turned to my father and stared at him.
“I need your son’s help. He is the only human I trust to not report me as a threat to your civilisation. It is no coincidence that he discovered me. I have been sent here to help.”
“Help with what?” my father said.
“To save the Chatamanga Rainforest from burning.”
“What? It’s not burning. It would have been on the news.”
“It will be. It soon will be.”
“Thank you for healing my leg, but I cannot let my son go with an extra-terrestrial.”
“He’s an intra-terrestrial, Dad.”
“Come on.” My father took me by the hand and led me away from Fred.
I knew that if Fred wanted, he could have frozen my father and dragged me away to help him. He was certainly strong enough. But I also knew that unless I was comfortable doing what he needed my help with, then we probably wouldn’t get very far.
I looked back and saw Fred stroking Barney’s head, and whispering something into Barney’s ear. Barney barked once and trotted back towards us, and he brushed my leg with his head as he ran past us, back towards the house.
Story written and read in English by Adam Oakley, Copyright © Adam Oakley