The Stought Brothers: ‘The Mystery at the Market’ – Chapter 4
A BarbWire Exclusive Fiction Short Story Series…
Here is the fourth serial installment of the middle grade (ages 8-12) story, The Stought Brothers: “The Mystery at the Market.” First, a brief reminder of what this is and then the installment 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. So along with being a place for columns and opinion pieces, I’d like for BarbWire to become more like a magazine. Columns, editorials, and articles are all integral parts of magazines, but fiction and other cultural writings are as well.
You can read more of my reasons for experimenting with this idea from an earlier post.
Click on the “The Stought Brothers” tag at the bottom of the post to view all the chapters of, The Stought Brothers: “The Mystery at the Market.”
The Stought Brothers: “The Mystery at the Market”
By Gunner B. Summit
“You did well, Rasheed,” Ahmed Al-Majid told him. Rasheed couldn’t have been happier. This was the first time he met the leader of terrorist group Al-Sayf.
“Thank you, Emir,” Rasheed said. He called him “Emir” as a title of respect. He also kept his head bowed.
Two armed men were in the room with them. They were at the headquarters of Al-Sayf. But Ahmed always feared for his safety. So he made sure armed guards constantly surrounded him.
Ahmed also insisted on carrying a weapon of his own. The weapon he usually carried was a Beretta 9mm handgun. That was the handgun the American military used.
“In fact, you’ve done such a great job, I want you to do even more,” Ahmed told Rasheed. He paced around the front of the dark, cramped room.
Rasheed felt a rush of excitement as he stood on the X taped one the floor. Everyone who came into Ahmed’s office had to stand on the X. You didn’t move from it unless Ahmed ordered you to do so.
“We now need you to find out how close we can get a vehicle to the hospital,” Ahmed said. He wiped his sweating forehead with the back of his hand. There were no windows in here. There was no air conditioning either. Ahmed had two electric floor fans running. But they didn’t cut through much of the heat.
“Take pictures of the parking lots. Take pictures of the emergency room entrance. Take pictures of anywhere cars go near the hospital,” Ahmed instructed him. He now had his hands behind his back as he walked around the room. “We want as much intelligence as we can get on where we can drive a vehicle.”
Ahmed was Arabic. He was born in Chad 45 years ago. Chad was a nation that bordered Nigeria to the northeast.
Ahmed had spent many years with the Janjaweed before he formed Al-Sayf as his own terrorist group. The Janjaweed were nomadic Arabic tribesmen who acted as a militia. They lived in Chad and Sudan—the nation that bordered Chad to the east. Many people viewed the Janjaweed as terrorists.
Ahmed engaged in battles while with the Janjaweed. He eventually felt that he was such a good fighter and leader that he should have his own group. So five years ago he formed Al-Sayf. He now used it to attempt to gain power and land, and to force people to believe as he did.
“Yes, Emir,” Rasheed said in reply to the order to take photographs. He kept his bowed and asked, “May I ask what specifically we are planning?”
The two guards in the rooms were both native Nigerians like Rasheed was. One of them stepped forward, clutching his rifle in his hand and glaring at Rasheed.
“I apologize for asking my question,” Rasheed said, his head and shoulders sinking lower.
Ahmed held up his hand and motioned for his guard to step back. “It’s okay.” He looked at the other one who never moved.
“Yes, brother. I will tell you exactly what I am planning,” Ahmed told him. He walked up to Rasheed and stood in front of him. “You already know we are going to strike at the infidels at the hospital. Now I will tell you how we are going to do it. We are going to use a VBIED.”
Rasheed’s eyes grew wide. A VBIED—vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Civilians called it a car bomb. The damage it would do would be incredible. He had seen photos of such attacks. He had seen videos of such attacks. A properly positioned VBIED could bring down most of a building like the Lagos Tranquility General Hospital.
“Emir, the attack will be glorious!” Rasheed said as he looked Ahmed in the eyes for the first time.
Ahmed placed both his hands on Rasheed’s shoulders. “I know it will, my brother. I know it will.”
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