‘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.

#44: Jumping into Ashes

General Hawk’s city in the sky burned after Dragon Father and Dragon Little won the day. Dragon Little took in General Hawk, with his singed, burnt wings, into the Infinite Corridor in the bellly of Bonny’s Revenge.

It was a city resting in the clouds, made out out of wood collected from the ground: giant nest palaces, malls, homes, and more.

As soon as General Hawk was imprisoned, Dragon Father disappeared, waking up. With him disappeared all the denizens of the city who were trying to put the fire out. General Hawk remained behind, in prison, as the did the city. Without anyone to put the fires out, it burned.

Dragon Little, now almost 3 years old, leaned on the railing and looked at the fire slowly consume the city. Bonny’s Revenge hung within jumping distance of the cloud.

Dragon Little was mesmerized by the sight, and watched it until the last ember died.

Then she watched the wind move the black ashes here and there.

Then she climbed up to the plank, walked it, and jumped to the cloud. She was kilometers above the ocean, but she wasn’t scared. She was so used to walking the plank that there was no risk of her falling.

She walked among the ashes. Then she touched them. They were no doubt cool to the touch now, since she did not flinch.

She moved the ashes around and looked at how they behaved.

She raised her hand and looked it. Dragon Little smiled, seeing how black her hand was.

She did it again, with both hands, and enjoyed how both her arms were now covered in the black ashes.

After a few minutes, she just jumped into a pile of dusty ash.

She jumped in and out of different piles of ash for hours, it seemed.

Then, tired, and looking like a black cloud walking on a white cotton floor, she made her way back to the plank, and from the plank to the ship.

The only thing I could see of her were the two slits of her green eyes. The rest was simply black. She went into her cabin, and within minutes fell asleep.

A few hours later, Dragon Father appeared on the deck. His day had been spent, and he was not once more asleep and dreaming.

“Joy!” he shouted. “Joy!” He immediately went into the cabin. There, my sharp dragon ears heard him say, “Joy, time to wake u--DEAR MOTHER OF GOD WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO!!!!”

What came next I will leave to your imagination.

—Told by The Red Dragon

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

#45: Like Father, Like Daughter

#43: I Feel a Song Coming On