‘The Squashbuckler Diaries’ are the daily tales of Joy Shelley’s Life in the Dream. The ‘Lost in Dreams’ books will tell the story of what happens to her at ages 6, 9, 12, 15, and so on. The diaries tell us what happens before, after, and between the books.

#19: Mary's Death

At the very end of one of their adventures, Mary came out of Dragon Little’s cabin, and a spike pierced her body.

Mary was Dragon Little’s nanny. She raised Dragon Little (the name I lovingly give Joy Shelley) from before I arrived at her father’s dream, from before the age 2, possibly since she was a newborn.

When Dragon Father disappeared to do what he does in his waking world, Mary would stay behind, feed her, nurse her, put her to bed, teach her, potty-train her, and serve as her absent father.

During their adventures, Mary would always stay in the cabin, away from trouble. But on this day, with the adventure seemingly over, one last spike was thrown, and it was thrown at her.

Mary looked down at her pierced body, then turned to dust that fell to the floor

Dragon Little was just near her when it happened, and she saw everything.

“Mary!” She shouted. She was not yet three at the time. “Dad! What happened!”

Dragon Father looked at the dust. “She’ll be fine, Joy. She’ll be fine. I’ll do a spell that will bring her back.”

They had just defeated powerful sorcerers and Dragon Father learned a few spells. Of course,as the dreamer, he had almost complete control (although unknown to him) over what he could do in the dream.

Dragon Father chanted, moved his arms. Sparkles of light came from his fingers and danced above the mountain of dust.

But the dust didn’t move, and Mary did not return.

Dragon Father looked confused. “I must have done it wrong. I’ll do it again.”

He did, and nothing happened.

“Dad! I want Mary!”

“It’s okay, Joy. I’ll bring her back.”

He tried and again and again and again, dozens of times, but could not bring Mary back.

Dragon Little was crying. “Maaaaryyyy! Daaaaad!”

Dragon Father looked around. “You know what,” he whispered to himself. “That wasn’t Mary. That was someone the sorcerers put in her place.” He turned around quickly. “The real Mary’s coming right now. Right over there!”

But again, Mary did not appear. For all his power as the dreamer, he could not summon her back.

He sighed.


He took Dragon Little in his arms. “I’m sorry, Joy. I’m sorry. She’s dead.”

“What happened to her?”

“I’ll explain.”

And he did. But looking back at how hard this was for my Dragon Little ist hard for me. I will tell you what happened next tomorrow. For now, I will rest.

—As told by the Red Dragon

Watch how I came up with the idea for this post:

#20: Mary's Death Part 2 - The Nestling and General Hawk

#18: The Bad Mood Morning and the Pizza