‘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.

#38: Goodbye, Red Dragon!

There ist a reason Dragon Little and Dragon Father almost never see me.

I am too timid for such a frightful and powerful dragon. I have seen too much, been beaten, enslaved, threatened in ways too horrific to mention, hurt in ways that no creature should ever be hurt.

Dragon Little and Dragon Father had freed me a few years ago, and I watch them and guard them from afar. But every time I think I can simply join them in their adventures, I am reminded how much fear had been instilled in me.

In this last adventure, I was summoned for an easy task, but it had taken its toll. And that toll was too much. I had to run. I had to escape. I had to hide.

“I am sorry, Dragon Little. I must go back to my hiding place,” I told her after I put them both back on Bonny’s Revenge.

Dragon Little was crying and petting my head.

“I am in too much pain. I have to heal.”

“Don’t go, Red! Heal here!”

“I have to go,” I began to distance myself from my ship. “I’m sorry. I have to go. Call me if you’re in trouble. But… Not soon, okay?” I looked at Dragon Father. He nodded.

“Red! Please!”

“Goodbye, my Dragon Little!”

I turned my back and flew towards the suns.

I heard her crying muffled by her father hugging her. “She has to go, Joy. She was hurt. She needs to heal. Joy… We have to say goodbye.”

She sniffed a few times, and I could hear her jumping up and down. “Goodbye, Red! Goodbye!”

I had no strength to even turn back and wave my wings. Surely only a small point on the horizon by now, I kept going.

I would not be back for quite a few months. And when I would it would be on her sixth birthday, in a tale that would be told by her father.

—Told by The Red Dragon

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

#39: The Trampoline Stairs

#37: How Joy Wins