Tonight’s bedtime story is Chapter 9 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 9…
🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #55
Chapter 9 – The Act
A few minutes had passed. Fred was standing still, looking towards the door.
“They will come in soon,” Fred said to me. I could hear some men creeping up to the door.
“I’ve not only paid for accommodation, but protection too,” the man in the chair said, beginning to smile.
“Don’t worry about what happens next,” Fred said, looking up at me.
Suddenly a group of men kicked down the door, all armed with rifles. Straight away they fired at Fred and the bullets went straight into his body, knocking him back onto the floor.
“Fred!” I said. The men pointed their rifles at me.
“Keep the boy alive,” the suited man smiled, standing to his feet. “I have a use for him.”
I looked at Fred. This wasn’t right. He was lying on the floor, as if he was dead, and I couldn’t see him breathing.
Two men grabbed me by the arms. Then I heard Fred’s voice speaking inside my own head.
“I will follow you,” Fred said. “Don’t fight back. Not yet. They will take us to the Firestarter. It’s our only chance of stopping these fires. Just let them have you for now. I will be close by.”
The large man in the suit ordered the men to put me in the back of his car with them.
“Now,” the suited man said. “Hurry up. You stay in the back with the boy. I will drive us to the forest where I wish to take him. The Firestarter will love to see what we are bringing him now. He said he could use another child.”
“What about that thing?” one of the men said, looking down at Fred.
“It’s dead,” the suited man said, kicking at Fred’s lifeless body with his shiny shoes. “Bring it too. Put it in the trunk. We’ll bury it in the forest.”
Another man walked in and went to pick up Fred’s body. It wasn’t bleeding, but there were bullet holes in the side of Fred’s chest and stomach.
“It’s heavy,” the man said, trying to heave Fred off the floor. “I need help!” Two more men came in to help, and all three struggled to pick up Fred’s tiny body, and they carried him between them as they followed me and the other two men as I was dragged outside, into this large man’s car, and we were soon driven in the direction of the Chatamanga Rainforest.
The drive was quiet, but I could still hear Fred’s voice in my head.
“It stinks in here,” Fred said. “I think he’s kept actual dead things in here before.”
I realised I could have a conversation with Fred just by thinking.
“What are we doing?!” I said. “You could stop all of these men if you wanted, couldn’t you?”
“The Firestarter has a relationship with the big man,” Fred said in my head. “I saw it when I read his mind. We need him to expose the Firestarter.”
“Can’t you stop those fires he’s already started?” I said. “You are more powerful than before. The way you just snapped that rifle in half earlier…and I’m sure you had something to do with me being able to speak Chatamangan.”
“The Chatamangan was you,” Fred said. “Your powers are developing fast. I was told you were a special one, an unusual kind of child, but I didn’t believe your development would be this quick.”
“What do you mean?” I said. “Who told you I was special?”
“A voice. Never mind for now,” Fred said. I could still hear him in my head as if he was sitting right beside me. “I don’t think I can stop the fires by myself. But we will see. The Firestarter is bound to be close to the fires, but he will hide unless he is called upon by someone who wants him to do more work.”
I looked out the window. The two men either side of me were still clinging on to my arms.
“How do you feel about the forest burning?” I said to them.
“Shut up,” the large suited man in the front said. He was driving, next to another man with a rifle.
One man beside me shrugged.
“Do you realise how important this rainforest is?” I said. “It produces the oxygen we breathe, it removes carbon from the atmosphere. Too much carbon in the air is not good…”
“Shut up!” the large man in the front said.
“How can you live with yourself?” I said to the man, unafraid with Fred in the trunk. “You’re destroying the homes of animals who live in the rainforest.”
“There’s plenty more rainforest where that came from. It’s huge!” the man said. “We are only taking a relatively small piece.”
“It’s a disgrace,” I said. I started to feel angry. I had that same surging, swelling feeling that I had when I was back at home, when Fred was threatened and my body started to grow.
“Not yet!” Fred said in my head. “You don’t want to ruin the plan! Stay calm.”
I took a deep breath in, and blew a deep breath out. “Okay,” I said to Fred. “Okay, okay.”
Story written and read in English by Adam Oakley, Copyright © Adam Oakley