Ibrahim Khan and the Mystery of the Haunted Lake, page 1
For Abd al-Wakil and Maryam Azzam
Inspired by your love of scary stories
and the Mystery of the Haunted Lake
THE ISLAMIC FOUNDATION
Copyright © The Islamic Foundation, 2010/1431 H
Text copyright 2010 Farheen Khan
MUSLIM CHILDREN’S LIBRARY
THE IBRAHIM KHAN SERIES
Ibrahim Khan and the Mystery of the Haunted Lake
Author Farheen Khan
Editor Fatima D’Oyen
Illustrators Hisham and Sharelle Haqq
Cover/Book design & typeset Nasir Cadir
Coordinator Anwar Cara
THE ISLAMIC FOUNDATION
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A Cataloguing-in-Publication Data record for this book is available from the British Library
CHAPTER ONE Triple Chocolate Delight
CHAPTER TWO Heading North
CHAPTER THREE Camp Chimo
CHAPTER FOUR The Legend of the Haunted Lake
CHAPTER FIVE Early Morning Scare
CHAPTER SIX Scavenger Hunt
CHAPTER SEVEN Another Morning Scare
CHAPTER EIGHT Moonlight Hike
CHAPTER NINE Ghost!
CHAPTER TEN Captured
CHAPTER ELEVEN Heroes
CHAPTER TWELVE The Last Day
Triple Chocolate Delight
“Just open it!” yelled Zayn.
“Patience,” whispered Ibrahim. “You have to do these things in the right order,” he explained, as he sniffed the outside of the rectangular metal box. Carefully lifting it, Ibrahim weighed the box in one hand then the other, a skill he had picked up from all his detective work. After a few more minutes of careful consideration, he was ready.
“Spaghetti and meatballs!” Ibrahim announced.
“Are you sure?” asked Zayn.
“Positive,” said Ibrahim. “Oh, and don’t forget two… no three Triple Chocolate Delight cookies!”
Opening Ibrahim’s lunch box, Zayn let out a yelp!
“How… how did you know?” Zayn stammered.
“Skill, my dear cousin, skill,” replied Ibrahim, ruffling Zayn’s already messy hair, which he liked to keep a little long.
Ibrahim, who was a little taller than his cousin, had short black hair and an infectious smile.
Pulling his lunch box towards him, Ibrahim took out the contents one at a time: a bottle of milk, a bag of grapes, three Triple Chocolate Delight cookies and, of course, a large container of spaghetti and meatballs.
“I wish I’d get a Triple Chocolate Delight cookie once in a while,” Zayn complained, eyeing Ibrahim’s snack. “All I ever get are apples, apples and more apples.
“My parents bought ten boxes – five from me and five from my sister – to help with the school fundraising drive. You’re welcome to have as many as you like,” Ibrahim offered.
“Really?” asked Zayn. “I’ll be over right after school! Can you believe it? The class that sells the most wins a trip to Camp Chimo!”
“Yeah, that would be amazing,” said Ibrahim. “Huda and her grade two friends set up a lemonade stand at our next door neighbour’s garage sale last Saturday.”
“That’s really smart of your sister!” said Zayn.
Huda, who was just a year younger than Ibrahim, was a straight A student and head of the school book club. She always wore her long hair in a ponytail, covered in a long, colourful hijab.
“Come on Ibrahim, we’re detectives and in grade three!” said Zayn “We should be able to come up with an even better idea to win this thing.”
“I think the point is to raise money for schools in Eastern Nepal,” reasoned Ibrahim. “The camping trip is just a way to get us excited.”
“Well it’s working,” said Zayn. “Because I’m really excited!”
It was Friday morning, and all of Greenwood School was waiting for their principal to announce the winning class.
“I’m so nervous,” said Zayn, sitting beside Ibrahim in the school gym.
“Relax,” said Ibrahim. “We all worked hard and the money is going to kids who really need it. It doesn’t really matter who wins.”
“Of course it does!” said Zayn, looking indignant.
“Look! Here comes Principal Williams now,” said Ibrahim.
Mr. Williams had wavy blonde hair with streaks of white. He was tall and had friendly blue eyes that turned a little darker whenever he got angry or upset.
“Sorry for the delay, children,” said Mr. Williams. “I’d like to congratulate all of you for your effort in helping collect money to rebuild schools destroyed by fire in Eastern Nepal.” A light clapping could be heard throughout the large gym. “Now, the announcement you’ve all been waiting for… The class that raised the most money is—Mrs. Morris’ grade three students. Happy camping!”
This time the children clapped and cheered as loud as they could. The loudest of course, was the winning class.
“We did it!” yelled Zayn. “Camp Chimo, here we come!
Mrs. Morris, a petite woman with long, straight brown hair, stood patiently in front of the class waiting for her students to calm down. She couldn’t help smile at their excitement. They had worked hard to collect money for the needy, and she was proud of them. It was the end of the week and they’d be leaving for their three-day camping trip on Monday. All anyone wanted to talk about was Camp Chimo.
“What does ‘Chimo’ mean anyway?” asked David, who loved finding the meanings of new words and using them.
“Chimo means ‘friend’ and is used when saying hello or farewell. It was once widely used by the Inuit people here in northern Canada,” explained Mrs. Morris. “The camp is situated on a beautiful conservation area just two hours north of here. It is on land that another native tribe, the Cree, once called their home.”
“What does ‘conservation’ mean?” asked David, scribbling the word into a small notebook he always kept in his pocket. He wore thick glasses that were too big for his small face, and loved to read. David was also a senior member of Huda’s book club.
A few children put up their hands.
“Yes, Ibrahim?” said Mrs. Morris.
“‘Conservation’ means people are not allowed to cut down the trees or disturb the animals and their habitats,” he answered.
“Correct,” said Mrs. Morris. “I expect you all to respect your surroundings while you’re there. Your science teacher, Mr. Barnell, has kindly agreed to join us on Monday and will be staying with the boys in their cabin.”
“Yes, Mariam,” Mrs. Morris reassured her. “There’s nothing to worry about.”
“My brother said the lake is haunted,” said George, with a mischievous look in his eyes.
George was older than the rest of the kids. He had missed a lot of school last year, and had been kept back in grade three because of his poor report card.
“Yeah, didn’t he say the ghosts snatch you in the night?” said George’s best friend Ali with a wink.
The boys sitting around George chuckled, earning them a glare from their teacher.
“Well, if there are no more questions, class dismissed! Don’t forget to get your permission forms signed!” Mrs. Morris called after the loud children.
Monday morning came with brilliant sunshine. The large, yellow school bus stood waiting in front of the red brick building of Greenwood School. Mr. Barnell’s tall, lanky figure stood at the door of the bus, making sure no one forgot anything.
The excited campers piled into the bus, but no one immediately noticed who was missing. The Khan boys chose a seat near the front so that they could be the first ones out.
“Where’s Mariam?” asked Zayn.
“She probably chickened out,” yelled George, from two seats back.
“Maybe the ghosts got her before she could even get to the camp!” laughed Ali.
“That’s not nice!” said Ibrahim. “She could just be late,” but no one heard him over all the laughing.
A few moments later Mrs. Morris and Mr. Barnell boarded the bus.
“Okay guys, it looks like everyone who’s coming is here,” said Mr. Barnell, wiping his glasses and adjusting the sleeve of his brown tweed jacket.
Just as the bus door shut behind him, a loud horn filled the air.
“Stop, it’s Mariam!” called Mrs. Morris.
A large black car swerved in behind the school bus. Mariam jumped out of the back seat with her bag hanging off one shoulder. The back of her hijab billowed out behind her as she ran to the side of the bus. Just as she reached the door, her bag turned upside down and the contents spilled onto the sidewalk, including a small stuffed bear. This time no one could hold in their laughter. Even Mr. Barnell had a smile on his face as he came off the bus to help. Red-faced, Mariam finally got on and took a seat behind the Khan Boys.
“Okay,” called Mr. Barnell. “Now that we’re all here, let’s go camping!”
The bus exploded in loud cheers.
“It’s been two hours, seven minutes and 34 seconds, Mrs. Morris. Are we there yet?” asked Zayn. “I really need to use the washroom!”
“We’re almost there,” Mrs. Morris answered patiently for the eleventh time. “Please put your stopwatch away; it’ll only make the time go slower.”
“I was just trying to keep my wudu,” Zayn grumbled to Ibrahim. “I guess I should have gone before we left.
“I guess you should have,” said Ibrahim, turning another page of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Soon the bus began to slow down before pulling over to the side of the road. The group had seen nothing but thick, lush forest for the past half hour, so it seemed like they were stopping in the middle of nowhere. A small, worn sign by the side of the road was the only distinguishable landmark.
“Is everything okay?” asked Ibrahim.
“Better than okay,” replied Mr. Barnell. “We’ve arrived!”
The bus made a sharp right turn into a dirt road that led them straight into the forest. Branches loudly scratched against the top and sides of the bus as a cloud of dust rose up behind them. Coming to a stop in a large clearing, the group waited for the dust to settle.
“I just saw a ghost!” cried Ali.
“Not funny,” said Mariam, crossing her arms.
“That’s enough boys,” said Mr. Barnell. “Stop teasing— Ghost!”
Everyone on the bus turned to see what their teacher was looking at. Several metres away from the bus stood a faint image of a man. It was as if a white glow surrounded him. All at once the bus erupted in loud, terrified screams.
“It’s coming closer,” yelled Zayn. “Someone do something!”
Soon another sound could be heard among all the screaming. It was Mr. Barnell, laughing so hard that tears were streaming down his cheeks.
“It—it’s okay,” he choked out, trying to calm the class. “Net—he’s wearing a net!”
The children took a closer look at the shadowy man who now stood right outside the bus door. The ghostly figure had a friendly smile, as he waved at the children.
One by one the students tumbled out, looking embarrassed.
“Welcome to Camp Chimo!” said the friendly ghost, as he pulled off his netting. “I apologize for startling your class, Henry. I just finished removing a wasp nest that I found near one of our cabins, and this mosquito net was the only thing I could find to protect myself from being stung,” he explained.
“Class,” Mr. Barnell said, turning to his students, “Meet Mr. Parker, our guide for the next three days.”
Mr. Parker had shoulder length black hair, which he kept tied with a black band, sparkling green eyes and a deep tan. He was tall and had broad shoulders.
“Hello, campers!” said Mr. Parker cheerfully.
The children mumbled greetings in return.
“Welcome to the only public camping ground within 75 miles of here,” he said. “My family has been living in these parts for generations, helping to preserve and protect this beautiful land. Now, why don’t you settle into your cabins? The girls’ cabin is to the right and the boys’ is just through the clearing on the left. For those of you who need to use the washrooms, there are toilets and showers in each cabin,” he added, winking at Zayn. “We’ll meet back at the meeting place by the fire pit in fifteen minutes.”
The children grabbed their bags and quickly made their way to their assigned lodging. The log wood cabins were so deeply nestled between the trees they looked like tree houses. Each had fifteen bunk beds, enough to fit all the children. The wood floors were covered with well-worn rugs, while the floral curtains made the place look cozy. The smell of fresh earth and pine trees filled the air.
“Subhan’Allah, this place is beautiful,” Ibrahim marvelled.
“Yeah, yeah, very nice,” Zayn muttered, as he came out of their cabin washroom. “You know, I almost wet myself back there! That Mr. Parker guy really startled me.”
“I think we were all startled,” said Ibrahim. “That net and all the dust in the air really made him look ghostly! Try to relax. For once we’re on a real vacation, with no mysteries to solve.”
“You’re right,” said Zayn. “We had to eat a lot of Triple Chocolate Delight cookies to get here. We deserve a vacation!”
The Legend of the Haunted Lake
That evening for dinner the children had a choice between beef barley stew and vegetable bean stew. The Khan boys got their vegetarian stew and found a spot on one of the outdoor picnic benches.
“Bismillah,” said Zayn, starting to dig in. “Wow, I am really hungry. Mr. Parker said the cook is a professional from some fancy restaurant in town.”
“Yeah, I guess you won’t need all those snacks you bought with you,” said Ibrahim.
“It never hurts to be prepared,” reasoned Zayn.
“Prepared for what?” asked Ibrahim. “You could survive for more than a month with all that food!”
“Oh, gross!” said Zayn. “What is this brown, slimy stuff?”
“Probably just vegetables,” said Ibrahim, taking his first bite. “Hmm, maybe Mr. Jones is better at meat dishes.”
“Nope,” said George, from the next table. “Looks like Pot-o-mush to me.”
“Food is food,” said Ibrahim. “Let’s try to be grateful for what we have. Besides, it’s possible this is just the way stew is made where Mr. Jones
Once the children had eaten whatever they could of their dinner, they gathered around the large, roaring fire in the clearing. The fire pit served as the camp’s meeting place, and was surrounded by a circle of logs for people to sit or lean on. Unlike the rest of the camp, the ground here was covered in soft sand.
“I hope you enjoyed Billy’s hearty stew,” said Mr. Parker. “I’ll be trying my bowl a little later. Camp Chimo is very lucky to have a trained chef working for us. Mr. Jones left the big city life behind for the fresh mountain air. Isn’t that right, Billy?”
“Yup,” said Billy Jones, adjusting his apron. He had large hands and a friendly smile. His short, brown beard was speckled with grey. Around his neck he wore a small arrowhead on a string.
“Is that dirt under his nails?” Zayn whispered to Ibrahim. “Maybe that’s why the food tasted so bad!”
“He was probably gardening or something,” said Ibrahim, motioning his cousin to be quiet.
“Now, your teachers have put together scavenger hunt with a list of items for you to find during your stay here,” said Mr. Parker.
“That’s right,” said Mr. Barnell, from his spot around the fire pit. “The first step is to figure out what the items are. You will have a list of clues, but will need to do some research to figure out what exactly you are supposed to find.”
A collective groan could be heard among the children.
“You will be split up into four teams,” their teacher continued, as if no one had made a sound. “There is a small library beside the kitchen, so I advise you to make good use of it. The first team to bring me all the items on their list wins!”
Once the students had been put into groups and had chosen their leaders, Mr. Barnell handed out the list of clues.
“‘I change colour with the season, but am most red on my flag’,” read David, who was on the Khan boy’s team. “I know that one!”
“Shh!” warned Zayn. “Don’t give the answers away!”