Tonight’s bedtime story is Chapter 8 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.
I hope you enjoy Chapter 8…
🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #53
Chapter 8 – The Interrogation
Fred still didn’t seem to understand that he wasn’t seen as a normal creature by human beings. As he continued to walk into the little village, more children would see him, scream, run away into their cabins or huts; and mothers and fathers would emerge, looking for what was so scary, stepping in front of their children to protect them as soon as they saw Fred.
One of the young men had the courage to step forward and start shouting at Fred to go away. It was in a language that I couldn’t understand. I wanted Fred to at least stop walking for a moment, but he didn’t. It was as if he was feeling the place out, being guided to a specific cabin, the largest one in the distance, and he began to walk through a crowd of gathering people that were still keeping their distance.
I was following after, but nowhere close to Fred. No one had noticed me yet. I already looked different to these people. My skin was lighter because I hadn’t seen as much of the sun as they had. Soon I noticed a few of the villagers catch my eye. They started shouting at me too, asking me something, but I didn’t know what they were saying.
“Can you understand them?” he said to me.
“No,” I said. I shook my head. I approached Fred, and as I did, the villagers started to surround us. Some of them were holding knives. One of the men had a large rifle, and he raised it to aim at Fred’s head.
“Wait!” I said. Suddenly I was speaking their language. I didn’t know how. I was trying to speak English, but it was coming out as Chatamangan.
“Continue,” Fred said.
“Wait!” I said again, not knowing what was going on. “This is a safe creature, he has come to help. The rainforest is burning. This one has come to help.”
Fred was staring at the largest cabin in the distance, beyond the crowd.
“Step back from it!” the man with the rifle yelled. “Get away from it! I will kill it.”
“Don’t, please don’t kill it,” I said, protecting Fred with my own body. “Please let us pass through. We mean no harm.”
The man with the rifle looked around. Fred was still staring at the cabin in the distance.
“He’s in there,” Fred said, “one of them is in there, the man that suggested meeting with the Firestarter. I can feel my powers are still growing. Shall I use them?”
“Hang on,” I said to Fred.
“Please, let us pass,” I said to the group. “He has powers he will use, unless he’s allowed to pass through.”
Suddenly the man’s rifle snapped in half. The barrel end fell to the ground. I noticed Fred’s head move slightly.
“We need to go soon,” Fred said. “He knows I am here.”
Fred started marching forward. There was a man with a knife standing beside his wife. He leapt in front of her, towards Fred, and went to stab at Fred. As he did, he slipped and his face went straight into the ground. I wasn’t sure if his wife had tripped him up, or if Fred had done it with his mind.
Fred started to run as the crowd parted. I followed after him, and soon we could see a large, heavy-set man in a suit emerging out of the cabin and trying to make it to his car. The rest of the villagers were not dressed in suits. This man was not a local.
“They are going after our paying tenant!” I heard one of the villagers cry behind us, but before this large, slow-moving man could open his car door, Fred had grabbed him by the ankle and was dragging him back inside his own log cabin.
“Let me go! Let me go you nasty little creature!”
The large man started to kick out at Fred. Fred shook him by the ankle so that his body rippled like a wave, and the wave moved up his legs, through his body, and made the back of his head snap back into the ground.
“Quiet,” Fred said. “We need some answers.” Fred opened the door to the cabin which the man had not had time to lock, and as he dragged the man inside, with me following after, I turned to close the door on an entire village staring at us, wondering what they should do next.
“Let me go!” the man said again as Fred threw his body into an armchair. “I’m not telling you anything.”
The man didn’t try to get up. He was starting to grip the chair in fear. I could see his bottom lip starting to quiver.
Fred just stared at the man.
“Please, don’t hurt me!” the man said.
Fred still stared.
“We need to find the Firestarter,” Fred said, “but we have read that it only responds to genuine calls for destruction. We will need your help to put things right.”
The man’s face was starting to screw up.
“You can’t stop it now, it’s too late,” the man shouted. “We did a deal with the Firestarter. He would get the fires going, and he would stop after enough space was cleared for three Kokula plantations.”
“What’s a Kokula plantation?” I said.
“Kokula is a plant,” Fred said. “The oil is used in your food products. It’s highly profitable.”
Fred turned back to the man.
“And you really think the Firestarter will stop those fires once your space is cleared? You really think he won’t enjoy seeing more of the forest burn?”
The man shifted in his seat. “He said he wouldn’t do more than we paid him to do.”
“How did you pay him?” Fred said.
“Can’t say,” the man said.
“Say,” Fred said. The man shook his head. “If you don’t tell me what happened, then I will find out for myself.”
The man smirked. “How?” he said.
Fred took a step forward and placed his long-fingered hands on the man’s head. I could feel something changing in the air around us.
The man’s head started to glow with red, and then a golden light started to shine out of Fred’s fingers.
“Ow! No! Stop!” the man said. He started to scream and writhe around on the chair. I could see more of the villagers start to walk around the outside of the cabin we were in. I could see them through the windows, trying to sneak. They were surrounding us. More of them had rifles now.
“No!” the man screamed again, and as Fred released him, the golden light disappeared from his fingers. Fred stepped back, and he looked at me.
“He has done a terrible thing,” Fred said, “and with the price he has paid, these fires will be unstoppable.”
Story written and read in English by Adam Oakley, Copyright © Adam Oakley