The Stought Brothers: ‘The Mystery at the Market’ – Chapter 1
So here it is—the first serial installment of the middle grade story, The Stought Brothers: “The Mystery at the Market.” I wrote about this last week—why I am doing this—and I’ll briefly explain why again. Then the story begins.
Nonfiction is great. But fiction is important too. And instead of just complaining about all the filth that is out there, we should start producing entertainment—culture—as well. Producing solid entertainment for kids is particularly important.
Furthermore, publishing a serial story is an attempt to expand what BarbWire is. Instead of just being a place for columns and opinion pieces, I’d like to expand it into being more like a magazine. Columns, editorials, and articles are all integral parts of magazines, but fiction and other cultural writings are as well.
Again, you can read more of my reasons for experimenting with this idea from my post last week.
So without further ado, here it is: the first serial installment of the middle grade story (ages 8-12), The Stought Brothers: “The Mystery at the Market.”
The Stought Brothers: “The Mystery at the Market”
By Gunner B. Summit
Rasheed al-Tikriti walked down the hospital hallway in Lagos, Nigeria. He smiled at people as he passed them. Otherwise he looked at the room numbers. And he noticed how many nurses where at the nurse stations. He kept track of other details too. He had worked here long enough that he was even becoming familiar with some of the scuff marks on the tiled floor. He didn’t need to notice the scuff marks. But he was good at noticing details.
And that was one of the reasons the terrorists had chosen him for the assignment.
It was easy to get a job as an orderly at the hospital. It advertised that it didn’t just care for the sick, but that it cared for the community. And giving people jobs was one of the ways the hospital cared.
So Rasheed got a job at it.
Rasheed was part of the terrorist group known as Al-Sayf. The group operated mostly in Nigeria. A man named Ahmed Al-Majid led it.
Rasheed joined the group a little over a year ago. The terrorists didn’t have him do much at first. Instead they made him go through a lot of military-like training. And they made him study their beliefs, including the speeches of Al-Majid.
Eventually they allowed him to start to do little things, such as deliver messages from a terrorist at one location to another terrorist at another location. Or they had him clean their headquarters. Sometimes they even made him stand guard.
But over time they started giving him more responsibilities. And eventually the day came when they told him they wanted him to get a job at one of the hospitals in Lagos. Lagos was the largest city in Nigeria.
Rasheed was excited when they had told him about the assignment. He hadn’t known exactly why they wanted him to get the job at first. But he hadn’t cared. They had told him that they wanted him to learn as much about the hospital as he could. That meant they had wanted him to be a spy!
He had now been an employee of the hospital for a few months. Everyone liked him. He was good at having conversations with the other staff. The other orderlies admired him. The nurses laughed at his jokes. Even the doctors knew his name and enjoyed talking with him.
Rasheed smiled at how he had fooled them all. About a month ago, the terrorists told him why they wanted him at the hospital collecting information on it: they were going to attack it.
The time of the attack was close. It was just a few days away. The information Rasheed had provided to Al-Sayf about the hospital was excellent. The terrorists knew everything about it. They knew how it was laid out. They knew who worked there. And they knew all its security flaws.
Rasheed’s job now was mostly to make sure nothing unexpected occurred at the hospital that would foil the terrorist group’s plan.
“Hello, Rasheed!” one of the patients said as he passed him in the hallway. The patient had been hospitalized for weeks. He was doing a bit better now and was able to move around in a wheelchair.
“Greetings, friend!” Rasheed said to the man. He walked over to him and shook his hand. “You’re moving so well now we’re going to have to put speed limit signs up to keep you from going too fast!” he told him.
The patient smiled at Rasheed. “Ha! Ha! You’re right! But I bet I’m going to get better before you can do that!”
Rasheed laughed too and then continued walking down the hallway. He soon reached an elevator. And after a short wait he was riding it to the ground floor. He got off it and walked to the hospital exit.
Once he was outside he began his journey back to the Al-Sayf headquarters. He would tell his comrades that nothing significant had changed.
Rasheed smiled again. The coming terrorist attack should kill hundreds of people.
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