‘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.

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

Dragon Little did not understand anything of what Dragon Father said about death. She was three years old.

He tried to bring her back again and again, but could not. He did not yet know - and perhaps never will - the laws of the Dream, what you can and cannot summon as a Dreamer. Nor did he know - and perhaps never will - the power of Dragon Little that causes such permanent death in dreams.

I will not explain it to them. The older she ist when she finds out, the better.

That night, after Dragon Father vanished, Dragon Little found it very hard to get along. She was all alone. Where before she had Mary to talk to her and play with her, now she was alone on the deck.

Dragon Little called for her, “Mary!”

She searched for her in all the spots where Mary would hide during hide-and-seek. “Mary? Mary?”

She looked for her in the Infinite Prison below deck.

“Mary? … Mary? … Mary?”

“Pirate Girl, are you looking for Mary?” I recognized General Hawk’s deep voice. General Hawk ist a half-eagle, half man, towering far above Dragon Father. He ist one of the villains they had imprisoned, not long ago. His wings had been burnt off in battle, and he can not longer fly. After his defeat, Dragon Little and Dragon Father put him with the other villains in the Infinite Prison.

“I can’t find Mary,” tiny Dragon Little said.

“Pirate Girl, Pirate Girl...  I could not help but hear what had happened. Your Mary… she is dead.”

“Where is she?”

“She is gone,” he spoke softly, in a warmth I’d never heard from him before. “She is never coming back.”

“What? I want her back! I want Mary!”

“I know… I know you want Mary,” he continued. It was as if he was speaking to his own child, and not his worst enemy. “But she cannot come back from where she is. She is…. She is gone but not because of you. She would want to see you, I am sure. She would want to play with all the time, and help you go to sleep. She is dead. It happens sometimes in battle. She still loves you.”

Dragon Little cried. Her father was not there to console her. Mary was not there to console her. She was alone.

“There there, little Pirate Girl… There there….” I could hear the rustling of his feathers on human flesh and my body tightened, ready to leap into action.

“There there… Cry… It is a sign of your love for her…”

The rustling continued, but so did the crying. He had reached through the metal bars and simply caressed her hair. He was not doing evil.

As she cried, he said. “You know? Maybe I can help you? If Mary is ever… If you need your Mary and you really miss her… Then maybe you should come here and I will talk to you. I am not Mary, but maybe you can be…. my Nestling?”

I could hear her move her head. She was probably nodding.

“Okay, Nestling. It is a deal. Now cry, little Nestling, cry as much as you want to.”

—Told by The Red Dragon

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

#21: Mary's Death Part 3 - Who's Next?

#19: Mary's Death